All men are created equal
The phrase "all men are created equal" in the United States Declaration of Independence is sometimes argued to mean that the United States Founding Fathers were race denialists, genetics denialists, modern day politically correct liberals, and/or socialists/communists, views which all would have been extremely rare or nonexistent at this time.
Instead, the phrase refers to concepts such as equality before the law. It was aimed against phenomena such as the at this time common occurrence in many countries of special rights and privileges for certain groups, such as the nobility. This was sometimes justified with claims that God had created different group of men with unequal rights and privileges, one example being the medieval concept of the great chain of being.
The 1789 "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen", in association with the French Revolution (and the popular motto "liberty, equality, fraternity"), defined equality as "[The law] must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in its eyes, shall be equally eligible to all high offices, public positions and employments, according to their ability, and without other distinction than that of their virtues and talents."
The United States originally did not support many modern forms of "equality". The voting rights in the different states were typically originally restricted to non-poor White men and the Naturalization Act of 1790 limited giving US citizenship to immigrants to only White persons of good character.
Abraham Lincoln in the 1863 Gettysburg Address stated that "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
This was in the context of the earlier issued Emancipation Proclamation and the abolition of slavery. However, the phrase has been frequently interpreted as expressing support for various politically correct views, such as civic nationalism, despite Lincoln stating support for views such as segregation and repatriation. See also Confederate revisionism and in particular the section "Abraham Lincoln".
- What the Founders *Really* Thought About Race
- What Did America’s Presidents Think About Race?
- The Racial Revolution
- Michael Knowles From Prager U Tries To School The Alt-Right