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The declaration of independence of 4th July 1776 states; "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Yet slavery was not abolished until 89 years later in 1865.

Our history has many examples of speaking of equality while enforcing inequality under law, even in modern times we ensure that foreign nationals do not have equal job opportunities in this country, and many agree that they should not. Yes it is no longer about race or colour, it is now about nationality.

The popular view is just to say we are all equal. Clearly we are not physically or mentally equal, so the idea of equality is more complex then that and always has been. Here are some basic ideas about equality from Wikipedia.

Social Equality

Social equality is a social state of affairs in which all people within a specific society or isolated group have the same status in a certain respect. At the very least, social equality includes equal rights under the law, such as security, voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, and the extent of property rights. In accordance with the socialist doctrine, it might also include access to education, health care and other social securities. It also includes equal opportunities and obligations, and so involves the whole society.

Equality In Law

Equality before the law or equality under the law or legal egalitarianism is the principle under which each individual is subject to the same laws, with no individual or group having special legal privileges.
Security, voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, and the extent of property rights.

Equal Opportunity and Obligation

Some use it as a descriptive term for an approach intended to provide a certain social environment in which people are not excluded from the activities of society, such as education, employment, or health care, on the basis of immutable traits.

Equality of Outcome

Equality of outcome, equality of condition, or Equality of results is a form of social justice rhetoric which seeks to reduce or eliminate incidental inequalities in material condition between individuals or households in a society. This usually means equalizing income and/or total wealth to a certain degree by, for example, granting a greater amount of income and/or total wealth to poorer individuals or households at the expense of relatively wealthy individuals or households.

Equality of outcome can be distinguished from the concept of equality of opportunity. Government policies that seek to produce an equality of outcome for all citizens in various areas of life are controversial. As individuals have differing skills and talents, a society cannot easily be made 'equal'. Policies that seek an equality of outcome often require a deviation from the strict application of concepts such as meritocracy, and legal notions of equality before the law for all citizens. 'Equality seeking' policies may also have a redistributive focus.