This idea was once critical to American independence (as well as many other Independence movements) – as the American Declaration of Independence clearly shows. This was part of something bigger – as this quote – from page 640 of the reference below states:
In the eighteenth century, the increasing circulation of goods, people, and ideas created new pressures for reform around the Atlantic world.
But gradually, over a period of two hundred years, as Business became more and more powerful – and Business was based on hierarchies which are by their nature unequal – Americans became used to this inequality – instead of equality. Without having the slightest awareness that this huge shift in values was happening.
In that two hundred years they had regressed nearly five hundred years – back to the beginning of the Modern Era. And they couldn’t see anything remarkable going on!
If you want a reference, some kind of authority to back me up, I refer you to Chapter 15 Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of the World from the Beginnings of Humankind to the Present (Second Edition) (Vol. 2: The Mongol Empire to the Present). This is the text for a history class taught at Princeton – which is also taught online.
I enjoy studying and learning – that’s how strange I am. Taking courses like this has allowed me to take a more nuanced view of ideas such as Equality. I’m not quite a ignorant as I was.