Justice and Equality


Great is justice! I announce justice triumphant.
A good life, steady trying to do fair, and a sweet, tolerant liberal disposition, shines like the sun, tastes like the fresh air of a May morning, blooms like a perfect little flower by the road-side.

Justice is not settled by legislators and laws—it is in the soul,
It cannot be varied by statutes, any more than love, pride, the attraction of gravity, can,
It is immutable—it remains through all times and nations and administrations,
It does not depend on majorities—majorities or what not come at last before the same passionless and exact tribunal.
As if justice might be this thing or that thing, according to decisions,
As if it could be anything but the same ample law, expounded by natural judges and saviors.
Whoever violates it pays the penalty just as certainly as he who violates the attraction of gravity,
Whether a nation violates it or an individual, it makes no difference,
What is mean or cruel for an individual is so for a nation.

For justice are the grand natural lawyers and perfect judges; it is in their souls,
They rule on the highest grounds—they oversee all eras, states, administrations.
The perfect judge fears nothing
—he could go front to front before God,
Before the perfect judge all shall stand back,

Life and death shall stand back
—heaven and hell shall stand back.

The consciousness of individuals is the test of justice,
How dare you place anything before a man?
I guess the grass is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,
I give nothing to anyone except I give the like carefully to you.
I say that every right, in politics or what-not, shall be eligible to that one man or woman, on the same terms as any.

The sly or shallow divide men like the metals into those more precious and others less precious,
The class of dainty gentlemen think that all servant and laboring people are inferior;
Who shall be the judge of inferior and superior?

Justice, equality, in the soul rule,
Never forget the equality of humankind.
Of all dangers to a nation, there can be no greater one than having certain portions of the people set off from the rest by a line drawn—they not privileged as others, but degraded, humiliated, made of no account.
When the whole combined force of the nation is champion for one human being, outraged in his or her rights of life or liberty, no matter of what color, birth, or degree of ignorance or education he or she may be, then the law is grand.

Who has been just? for I would be the most just person of the earth,
In all people I see myself, none more and not one a barley-corn less.
Whoever degrades another degrades me,
And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.

I see ranks, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, I go among them, I mix indiscriminately.
I praise no eminent man, I rebuke to his face the one that was thought most worthy

To shake my friendly right hand, governors and millionaires shall stand all day waiting their turns.
By God! I will accept nothing which any man or woman, of any color or country, cannot have their counterpart of on the same terms,
As if it harm’d me, giving others the same chances and rights as myself—as if it were not indispensable to my own rights that others possess the same.
The noble soul steadily rejects any liberty or privilege or wealth that is not open on the same terms to every other man and every other woman on the face of the earth.

I salute all the inhabitants of the earth,
Each of us with his or her right upon the earth,
Each of us allow’d the eternal purports of the earth,
Each of us here as divinely as any is here,
Each has his or her place in the procession—
The man who tends the president’s horses, not one whit less a man than the president.

NEXT: EQUALITY OF WOMEN AND MEN