The old Soviet Constitution provided the “Equality of rights of citizens of the USSR irrespective of their nationality or race; in all spheres of economic, government, cultural, political and other public activity”; the Constitution of the United States mentions nothing of the kind, and no evidence exists that any delegates to the 1787 convention believed in a doctrine of human equality.
Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865
Equality Ends at Birth
“[The] “basis and foundation” of the first free government in America [Virginia] was equality of freedom and independence, while the [Thomas] Jefferson perversion was equality at creation. The Declaration of Independence does not say that all men are equal. It says that they were created equal. There equality ends.
All America thought alike on the subject in 1776. Benjamin Franklin, a few days after the Declaration was promulgated, helped to write a Declaration of Rights for the State of Pennsylvania. He copied [George] Mason’s original Virginia Declaration of Rights almost verbatim. His first paragraph was:
“That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inalienable rights, amongst which are, the enjoying and defending Life and Liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”
So the basis and foundation of Franklin’s government was the same as that of Mason’s Virginia. It was equality of freedom and independence.
The Massachusetts Declaration of Rights contains the phrase “All men are born free and equal . . .” The Writings of John Adams (Volume 4, page 220) reveal that the original draft prepared by the Committee of which John Adams was chairman, in 1779, exactly copied George Mason’s original with the words “That all men are born equally free and independent.”
Before the Massachusetts Declaration was officially adopted John Adams embarked for France and on the twenty-ninth day of September, 1779, the Convention struck out the word “equally” and the word “independent” and substituted for the word “independent” the word “equal” making the clause read as it now reads: “All men are born free and equal.” John Adams was embittered by the change and, as we shall later see, had he been present it would not have occurred.
No other State adopted a human equality clause of any character until after 1835. New Hampshire and North Carolina also copied Mason’s original while not one of the thirteen copied from the Declaration of Independence.
When the United States Constitution was under discussion at the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention in 1787 not one delegate from any of the twelve States represented suggested that “all men are equal” either at creation or in life. On June 26, 1787, on the floor of the convention Alexander Hamilton, the patron saint of the Republican Party, said:
“Inequality will exist as long as liberty exists. It unavoidably results from that very liberty itself.”
Apparently every mind in the Convention assented, because not a word may be found in all the Notes of Debates to indicate that any delegate believed in the doctrine of human equality in 1787.
So far as we have found, the doctrine of human equality was not suggested by anyone in the battle that raged over ratification and a bill of rights. In the South Carolina Ratifying Convention of 1788, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, a member of the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, explained that one of the reasons why no bill of rights was adopted in Philadelphia which “. . . weighed particularly, with the members from this state” was that “such bills generally begin by declaring that all men are by nature born free.
Now, we should make the declaration with a very bad grace, when a large part of our property consists in men who are actually born slaves.” If “born free” was rejected in Philadelphia, what chance would one expect for “created equal”?
The Constitution proclaims in its preamble that it was established “to . . . insure domestic tranquility . . . and secure the blessings of liberty.” Nowhere does it hint a purpose to insure or impose equality of men or things. The due process clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, which render liberty and property immune from attack except by the orderly processes fixed by law, insures that American governments may not impose equality.”
(Equality Versus Liberty, The Eternal Conflict, R. Carter Pittman, American Bar Association Journal, August 1960)