Home » 19 Deborah Sampson Quotes to Motivate and Inspire You

19 Deborah Sampson Quotes to Motivate and Inspire You

“Why can I not fight for my country too?”- Deborah Sampson

Many people are familiar with the story of Deborah Sampson: a woman who disguised herself as a man in order to serve in the continental army and fight in the American Revolutionary War.

What many people don’t know is that Deborah was an incredible person, not just because she disguised herself as a man, but because of her strength and courage throughout her life.

In this article, we will take a look at some of Deborah’s best quotes and learn more about this amazing woman.

About Deborah Sampson

Deborah was born on December 17, 1760, in Plympton, Massachusetts.

She was the oldest of seven children and her father died when she was just a child.

Her mother remarried and had three more children, but Deborah’s stepfather was an abusive man.

When Deborah was just twelve years old, she was sent to work as an indentured servant in a local tavern.

She worked there for four years until she ran away and enlisted in the Continental Army.

Disguised as a man named Robert Shurtliff, Deborah served for seventeen months before she was wounded in a battle near Tarrytown, New York.

She was discovered to be a woman and was honorably discharged from the army.

After the war, Deborah married Benjamin Gannett and had three children.

She later became involved in the abolitionist movement and spoke out against slavery.

In 1838, she gave a speech at the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and became the first woman to speak before the Massachusetts legislature.

Deborah Sampson was a phenomenal woman who overcame many obstacles in her life.

She was a brave soldier, an abolitionist, and a powerful speaker.

Her story is one of courage and strength, and her quotes are sure to inspire you.

Here are some of the best Deborah Sampson Quotes

Two hundred years ago, Deborah Sampson fought in the Revolutionary War disguised as a man. She was an inspiration then and continues to be today.

Here are some of the best quotes from Deborah Sampson that show off her remarkable character!

1. “Wrought upon at length, you may say, by an enthusiasm and frenzy that could brook no control – I burst the tyrant bands, which held my sex in awe, and clandestinely, or by stealth, grasped an opportunity, which custom and the world seemed to deny, as a natural privilege.”

deborah sampson quotes

Throughout history, women have struggled for their rights and freedoms. Many have been held back by traditional constraints and expectations, unable to fulfill their potential or pursue their goals.

But at some point, all those who have felt oppressed must come to a breaking point and decide that enough is enough. For the woman who bursts the chains of her gender in this way, all bets are off.

She refuses to be held back any longer and seizes an opportunity to change her life for the better. Whether brazenly or in secret, she does whatever it takes to find her own path and make her own choices, regardless of what others may say or think.

Through determination and perseverance, she walks proudly along this new path, forging a future that is truly hers alone. And in this sense, she is truly wrought upon at length – forged through trials and fire into a force to be reckoned with.

2. “My companions taxed me with presumption and folly, but I was determined, then and always, not to be a coward.” 

deborah sampson quotes

As the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And for me, that first step was a daring decision to travel into the unknown. My friends and family all tried to talk me out of it, insisting that I was being reckless and foolish.

But despite their concerns, I refused to give in to my fears. I was determined to forge ahead and see where my journey would lead, no matter the risks along the way.

And looking back now, I am proud to say that I never wavered from my path, even when things seemed darkest. In fact, those who doubted me were proved wrong at every turn, as I overcame obstacle after obstacle and achieved glory in far-off lands.

My companions said I was crazy for attempting such an adventure; but in the end, it was their fear that led them astray, while my courage took me triumphantly forward.

This is the true value of setting out on our own path – not merely because we believe we can succeed but because doing so shows us what we are truly capable of achieving.

3. “On the whole, as we readily acquiesce in the acknowledgment that the field and the cabinet are the proper spheres assigned to our Masters and our Lords, may we also deserve the dignified title and encomium of Mistress and Lady in our kitchens and in our parlors.” 

deborah sampson quotes

4. “In whatever I may be thought to have been unnatural, unwise, and indelicate, it is now my most fervent desire it may have a suitable impression on you – and on me, a penitent for every wrong thought and step.”

deborah sampson quotes

As the famous quote by philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau aptly demonstrates, true penitence comes from a sincere desire for change and a deep awareness of one’s wrongdoings.

Every person has done things that they regret, and it can be difficult to confront those mistakes head-on. However, inner reflection and understanding are crucial steps in progressing and becoming a better person.

Notably, true strength lies not in sweeping our errors under the rug or outwardly denying them, but in working through our missteps with humility and honesty. Only then can we truly move forward with peace of mind and a renewed sense of purpose.

Through perseverance and willingness to learn from our mistakes, we can cultivate the independent spirit so often touted as a hallmark of the human condition. And perhaps most importantly, we gain the wisdom that comes only from honest self-reflection.

After all, accepting where we have been wrong is one of the most important challenges that anyone can take on in life – both for ourselves and for those around us.

Ultimately, only with sincerity, respect, and grace can we begin to forge new paths toward growth, freedom, and happiness.

5. “O Woman! Thy smile is more powerful than the conqueror’s sword. Thy sway is mightier than the monarch’s sceptre.”

deborah sampson quotes

Throughout history, women have been underestimated and discounted simply because of their gender. For too long, society has believed that women are the weaker sex, that they are not capable of leading or achieving great things.

But as the famous quote by Anna Sewell attests, women are far more powerful than they appear. A woman’s smile has the ability to charm and disarm, to break through barriers and forge relationships.

Her sway is mightier than any king’s sceptre, for she has the power to influence and persuade others with her words and her actions. It is time that society recognise the true power of women.

It is time that we give them the respect and admiration that they deserve.

6. “What shall I say further? Shall I not stop short and leave to your imaginations to portray the tragic deeds of war? Is it not enough that I here leave it even to inexperience to fancy the hardships, the anxieties, the dangers, even of the best life of a soldier?”

7. “Such is my experience – not that I ever mourned the loss of a child, but that I consider myself as lost!”

The death of a child is always a tragedy. For the parent, it feels as if a part of their own life has been ripped away. And yet, even in the midst of grief, there is a certain stoicism that must be maintained.

After all, the world does not stop for our sorrows. We must go on living, even though every breath feels like a knife to the heart. In some ways, it is this ability to continue moving forward that defines us as human beings.

We are creatures of hope, constantly searching for something to live for. So yes, the death of a child is a devastating blow. But out of that darkness comes a strength and resilience that we could never have found without it.

8. “I am indeed willing to acknowledge what I have done, an error and presumption. I will call it an error and presumption because I swerved from the accustomed flowery path of female delicacy, to walk upon the heroic precipice of feminine perdition!”

9. “As an overruling providence may succeed our wishes, let us rear an offspring in every respect worthy to fill the most illustrious stations of their predecessors.” 

10. “If anyone imagines that in my situation nothing short of a continued miracle could have kept me unpolluted, I must content myself with the inward satisfaction which conscious purity and virtue always afford.” 

As anyone who has ever been to a public school knows, there are always a few kids who seem to be immune to the germs that run rampant through the classrooms.

While the rest of the students are coughing and sneezing, these kids always seem to be healthy. Some people might think that these kids are just lucky, but I believe that it is more than that.

I believe that these kids have a strong sense of inner purity and virtue that keeps them from being polluted by the negative influences around them. Just as a sponge can only absorb so much water, these kids can only absorb so much negativity.

They have found a way to stay above the fray, and as a result, they are able to stay healthy and happy. I believe that we all have this same ability within us and that if we can tap into it, we can create our own miracles.

11. “As I was born to be unfortunate, my sun soon clouded.”

deborah sampson quotes

12. “Must I forever counteract inclination and stay within the compass of the smoke of my own chimney?”

deborah sampson quotes

The more I live, the more I think that life is about balance. Too much of anything is never good. We must always find a way to stay within the middle path if we want to lead a happy and fulfilling life.

However, there are times when I cannot help but wonder if it is really worth it to live a life that is so constricted and controlled. After all, isn’t part of the beauty of life the fact that we have the freedom to follow our own inclinations?

Why must we always counteract our natural impulses and stay within the safe confines of our comfort zones? Surely there is more to life than this. Maybe it is time for me to take a risk and see what lies beyond the smoke of my own chimney.

13. “I take it to be from the greatest extremes, both in virtue and in vice, that the uniformly virtuous and reformed in life can derive the greatest and most salutary truths and impressions.”

deborah sampson quotes

14. “Your Memorialist has made some Application to receive pay for her services in the Army, but being Female, & not knowing the proper steps to be taken to get pay for her services, has hitherto not received one farthing.” 

deborah sampson quotes

As a woman who served in the Army during the Revolutionary War, I find it outrageous that I have not been paid for my service.

I have made repeated applications for pay, but as a woman, I do not know the proper steps to take in order to receive what is rightfully mine. I have written to Congress and various other officials, but to no avail.

It is time that women who served in the Army are given the same recognition and compensation as our male counterparts. We put our lives on the line just like them, and we deserve to be treated with the same respect.

I urge you to right this wrong and give us the pay we so rightfully deserve. Thank you for your time and consideration.

15. “Happy for America, happy for Europe, perhaps for the world when, on the delivery of Cornwallis’s sword to the illustrious, the immortal Washington, or rather by his order, to the brave Lincoln, the sun of Liberty and Independence burst through a sable cloud, and his benign influence was, almost instantaneously, felt in our remotest corners!”

deborah sampson quotes

16. “My mind became agitated with the enquiry – why a nation, separated from us by an ocean more than three thousand miles in extent, should endeavor to enforce on our plans of subjugation, the most unnatural in themselves, unjust, inhuman in their operations, and unpracticed even by the uncivilized savages of the wilderness?”

When faced with the threat of foreign domination, most nations would shrink back in fear. But not the founders of America.

Though they stood at the far edge of an enormous ocean, separated from the rest of the world by thousands of miles, they refused to bow to the unjust and vindictive demands of the British Empire.

In their mind, there was no question as to why such a vast nation would seek to subdue a small group of colonists who posed no real threat to their power.

The answer was clear: injustice and cruelty lay at the heart of Britain’s plans for domination, a fact that only spurred the American revolutionaries on in their struggle for independence.

Through grit and determination, these brave men eventually conquered an empire and forged a nation founded on freedom and equality for all.

Today, America stands as a beacon of hope around the globe, inspiring others to resist tyranny and fight for what is right.

And we can all be grateful that our courageous founders had what it took to call Britain’s viciousness into question and finally shake off its shackles once and for all.

17. “Repentance is a sweet solace to conscience as well as the most complete atonement to the Supreme Judge of our offenses; notwithstanding, the tongue of malevolence and scurrility may be continually preparing its most poisonous ingredients for the punishment of a crime, which has already received more than half a pardon.” 

Repentance is both a solace and an atonement; it provides relief to our guilty conscience while also reconciling us with the judgment of God.

Even as our sins continue to be attacked and vilified by others, it is ultimately up to our own conscience and the Supreme Judge to decide how much punishment we deserve.

However, repentance softens this punishment and offers some reprieve from an otherwise harsh sentence. It is a means of making amends, whether that means offering forgiveness or simply seeking reconciliation.

With repentance comes a sense of peace and calm, as our guilt is washed away and we are set on a new path forward. Ultimately, repentance is a sweet solace in a world filled with chaos and turmoil.

18. “November 11, 1802, I arrived at Judge Patterson’s at Lisle. This respectable family treated me with every mark of distinction and friendship, and likewise, all the people did the same. I really want words to express my gratitude.” 

19. “I became an actor in that important drama with an inflexible resolution to persevere through the last scene, when we might be permitted and acknowledged to enjoy what we had so nobly declared we would possess, or lose with our lives – Freedom and Independence!” 

For me, becoming an actor was a deeply personal choice – a way to express myself and bring my views and experiences to the world.

Before I ever picked up a camera or stepped onto a stage, I had already made the quiet but resolute decision that I would set my sights high and persevere until I achieved the indescribable feeling of freedom and independence that comes with being a successful actor.

For me, acting is more than just a profession – it is a lifelong commitment to holding fast to my goals and reaching as far as I possibly can.

And through experience, failure, hardship, and triumphs great and small, I have remained steadfast in my determination to pursue this path with unwavering resolve.

My passion for acting fuels me every day, driving me onward as I work towards that day when all of my hard work will pay off and I’ll have the chance to share my art with audiences across the globe.

So no matter what challenges come my way or how dark things seem at times, there is one thing that always pushes me forward: the knowledge that one day soon, I will finally be free – truly free – on the stage where I belong.


What was Deborah Sampson known for?

Deborah Sampson became a hero of the American Revolution when she disguised herself as a man and joined the Patriot forces. 

How long did Deborah Sampson fight in the war?

17 months

How was Sampson treated once her true identity was revealed?

Her identity was finally revealed during the summer of 1783 when she contracted a fever while on duty in Philadelphia.

Let’s Wind Up…

Deborah Sampson was a brave woman who did not let anyone stop her from achieving her goals. She disguised herself as a man and served in the continental army, and fought in the American Revolutionary War.

Her quotes are inspiring and can encourage you to pursue your dreams no matter what obstacles you face. We should all be inspired by Deborah Sampson’s courage and determination!