John Brown Quotes: Unearth the Inspiring Words of a Revolutionary

These quotes attributed to John Brown provide insights into his views on slavery, religion, and his nation’s politics.

John Brown stands as a complex figure in history, renowned for his role in the American abolitionist movement.

He actively assisted in liberating enslaved individuals, advocated for increased awareness, and significantly advanced the cause against slavery.

While some regard him as a hero, martyr, and visionary, others criticize his reliance on violence and attacks as overly extreme.

The following quotations shed light on his character and his unwavering commitment to his beliefs.

John Brown’s father, Owen Brown, relocated their family to Hudson, Ohio, an active hub for abolitionist activities.

There, Owen opened his home as a sanctuary for those escaping via the Underground Railroad.

The town lacked formal educational institutions beyond an elementary school, prompting John to receive his education at the abolitionist Elizur Wright’s school.

Upon his marriage, John Brown relocated to Pennsylvania, where he purchased land and constructed a cabin and tannery.

Notably, this establishment included a concealed room for harboring escaped slaves.

These actions underline John Brown’s unyielding determination to do more for the cause, as evident in the cited quotes.

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Top John Brown Quotes

1. “There will be no peace in this land until slavery is done for.”


2. “I have only a short time to live, only one death to die, and I will die fighting for this cause.”


3. “I am quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away, but with blood. I had as I now think, vainly, flattered myself that without very much bloodshed, it might be done.”

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4. “The angels are ministering spirits. They are not governing spirits.”


5. “In the first place, I deny everything but what I have all along admitted, the design on my part to free the slaves.”


6. “Talk is a national institution, but it does not help the slave.”


7. “These men are all talk. What is needed is action—action!”

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8. “Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children, and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit—so let it be done!”


9. “Slavery throughout its entire existence in the United States is none other than a most barbarous, unprovoked, and unjustifiable War of one portion of its citizens upon another portion. The only conditions of which are perpetual imprisonment, and hopeless servitude, or absolute extermination. In utter disregard and violation of those eternal and self-evident truths set forth in our Declaration of Independence.”


10. “Caution, Sir! I am eternally tired of hearing that word—caution. It is nothing but the word of cowardice!”


11. “I cannot remember a night so dark as to have hindered the coming day.”


12. “Had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends. Every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment.”


13. “When I strike, the bees will begin to swarm, and I want you to help hive them.”


14. “I never did intend murder, or treason, or the destruction of property, or to excite, or incite slaves to rebellion, or to make insurrection.”


15. “I will have nothing to do with so mean an act. I would sooner take my gun and help drive you out of the country.”


John Brown Quotes  About Ending Slavery

16. “Nothing so charms the American people as personal bravery.”


17. “I acknowledge no master in human form.”


18. “Here, before God, in the presence of these witnesses, from this time, I consecrate my life to the destruction of slavery!”


19. “The intent and not the deed is in our power, and, therefore, who dares greatly, does greatly.”


20. “I bring you one of the best and bravest persons on this continent—General Tubman, as we call her.”


21. “This is a beautiful country.”


22. “I want you to understand that I respect the rights of the poorest and weakest of colored people, oppressed—to deny others their rights or liberty—by the slave system, just as much as I do those of the most wealthy and powerful. That is the idea that has moved me, and that alone.”


23. “Be mild with the mild, shrewd with the crafty, confiding to the honest, rough to the ruffian, and a thunderbolt to the liar. But in all this, never be unmindful of your own dignity.”


24. “I believe that to have interfered as I have done in behalf of His despised poor was not wrong, but right.”


25. “To have a seat at the table and shape the future is, I believe, vital. We do need a planet upon which to conduct future oil and gas activity.”


26. “I don’t think the people of the slave states will ever consider the subject of slavery in its true light ’till some other argument is resorted to other than moral persuasion.”


27. “I will answer anything I can with honor, but not about others.”


28. “I never wanted to fight against the Union but could not turn my back on Virginia.”


29. “I see a book kissed here which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament. That teaches me that all things, whatsoever, I would that men should do to me, I should do even so to them.”


30. “All persons known to be of good character, and of sound mind, and suitable age who are connected with this organization—whether male or female—shall be encouraged to carry arms openly.”


John Brown Quotes Regarding God

31. “I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons.”


32. “Holiness does not consist in mystic speculations, enthusiastic fervors, or uncommanded austerities. It consists in thinking as God thinks, and willing as God wills.”


33. “So far, as I ever observed God’s dealings with my soul, the flights of preachers sometimes entertained me, but it was scripture expressions which did penetrate my heart, and in a way, peculiar to themselves.”


34. “Now, let us thank the eternal power, convinced that Heaven, but tries our virtue by affliction. That oft the cloud that wraps the present hour serves, but to brighten all our future days.”


35. “I am as content to die for God’s eternal truth on the scaffold as in any other way.”


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John Brown  Quotes  That Will Help You Understand His Determination

36. “Symptoms are the body’s mother tongue. Signs are in a foreign language.”


37. “This court acknowledges, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God.  It teaches me, further, to remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them.”


38. “The same eye cannot both look up to heaven and down to earth.”


39. “There is a shrine in the temple of age, where lie forever embalmed the memories of such as have deserved well of their country and their race.”


40. “I was shot down by a fifth ball, which struck me squarely in the face, and passed out.”


41. “Tis mean for empty praise of wit to write, as fopplings grin to show their teeth are white.”


42. “You had better—all you people at the South—prepare yourselves for a settlement of this question, that must come up for settlement sooner than you are prepared for it. The sooner you are prepared, the better. You may dispose of me very easily—I am nearly disposed by now, but this question is still to be settled—this negro question, I mean. The end of that is not yet.”


43. “I think every family should have a dog. It is like having a perpetual baby. It is the plaything and crony of the whole house. It keeps them all young.”


44. “I am worth inconceivably more to hang than for any other purpose.”


45. “Schools and churches established, as soon as may be, for the purpose of reli­gious and other instructions. For the first day of the week, regarded as a day of rest, and appropriated to moral and religious instruction and improvement, relief of the suffering, instruction of the young and ignorant, and the encouragement of personal cleanliness, nor shall any persons be required on that day to perform ordinary manual labor, unless in extremely urgent cases.”


46. “I am gaining in health slowly and am quite cheerful in view of my approaching end.”


47. “We think it’ll be mild for the rest of the week, so I don’t think one hot day like this will be an issue. We’re just chilling at home where it’s cool inside.”


48. “No man, with a man’s heart in him, gets far on his way without some bitter, soul-searching disappointment. Happy he who is brave enough to push on another stage of the journey, and rest where there are living springs of water, and threescore and ten palms.”


49. “It is not a case we are treating. It is a living, palpitating, alas, too often, suffering fellow-creature.”


50. “I have been whipped, as the saying is, but I am sure I can recover all the lost capital occasioned by that disaster. By only hanging a few moments by the neck, and I feel quite determined to make the utmost possible out of a defeat.”


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John Brown has  the power to ignite our inspiration and drive us towards becoming our finest versions.

The wisdom embedded in John Brown’s quotes, for example, can serve as a guiding light, offering us profound insights and motivation as we pursue our aspirations.

If you’re eager to explore further quotes that inspire, don’t forget to delve into the wealth of wisdom found in my collection.



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