In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Of Ownership

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: About 1860

Whitman Archive ID: amh.00006

Source: Amherst College Archives and Special Collections. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: This manuscript was probably composed in the late 1850s or in 1860 as Whitman was preparing the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. It is a draft of No. 4 of the "Thoughts" cluster published first in the 1860 edition. In the 1871 Leaves of Grass Whitman broke the poem apart, dispersing its individual lines into newly created poems. The first line in this draft was published as the initial line in "Thoughts (Of ownership);" the second line was published as "Thought (Of Equality);" and the third and fourth lines were published as "Thought (Of Justice)."

Contributors to digital file: Nicole Gray, Andrew Jewell, Kenneth Price, Brett Barney, Kirsten Clawson, Heather Morton, Nick Krauter, and Lisa Renfro

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6 23—


Thoughts 4

Of oOwnership—As if one
fit to own things could
not at pleasure enter
upon all, and incorporate
them into himself or

Of Equality—As if it harmed
me, giving others the
same chances ^and rights as myself—
As if it were not indis‑
pensable to my own rights
that others also possess the

Of Justice—As if Justice could
be any thing but the same
ample law, expounded by
natural judges and saviours,

As if it might be this thing
or that thing, according
to decisions!

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