How should socialism articulate the two requirements that have always defined it: "to each according to his needs" and "to each according to his merits"? Today when the objective of a rigorous calculation of merits, renamed equality of opportunity or equity, has become not only the dominant value but sometimes the unique value of a dying socialism, it may be appropriate to carry out A journey through time. And so, to observe situations where these two requirements, need and merit, were articulated very differently and then nurtured more daring hopes and emancipatory knowledge. This short essay offers a return to the origins. In one of his beautiful formulations, Pierre Leroux wrote, "socialism appears, and the dawn of the day is 1830". Proceeding here from a few portraits, notably those of Louis Blanc and Constantin Pecqueur, François-Vincent Raspail and George Sand, this essay signals how in this period of genesis, which even coined the term "socialism", the requirement of need was considered to be rector. Far from being denied, however, the requirement of merit remained auxiliary to the requirement of need. In these times already of the first liberal waves, this original articulation then allowed socialism to identify itself first, to resist then and to finally create, both in the field of ideas and in that of experiments, new paths to emancipation and social, economic and political progress. This option of resolutely situating the bet of socialism beyond mere equality of opportunity, as rigorously defined as it is, therefore deserves to be recalled and ruminated on today.