Equality is a slogan based on envy. It signifies in the heart of every republican: “Nobody is going to occupy a place higher than I.”
There is, in fact, a manly and lawful passion for equality which excites men to wish all to be powerful and honored. This passion tends to elevate the humble to the rank of the great; but there exists also in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to attempt to lower the powerful to their own level, and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to inequality with freedom.
—Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy In America
A person’s a person, no matter how small.
It is the mark of the cultured man that he is aware of the fact that equality is an ethical and not biological principle.
The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.
I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?
Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” July 5, 1852; Rochester, NY