I was reading an interesting article about what conceptually what equality means in America historically: http://www.amerika.org/politics/understanding-the-constitutional-notion-of-equality/
At UC Davis I had a great professor Nicolas Dungy. He was pretty radical. Very into Howard Zinn, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hobbes , Locke, and Heidegger. He often threw his chalk and erasers at students.
In his class we were taught that the US concept of equality was Locke and Hobbes derived. In a state of nature we are all equally vulnerable to being killed by each other. The professor demonstrated this by pulling a student from his chair onto the ground, and pretending to kick the crap out of him. That is a state of nature. Chaos.
Under a Constitutional government that equality is suspended and reversed to where we are supposedly guaranteed to be equal in terms of our right to be alive, to be allowed to collect private property, and to pursue happiness.
The irony is that the government is now tyrannous and goes around killing everyone, stealing their property, while taxing everyone to death. Meanwhile, the state also puts numerous obstacles to economic and personal well being. It intrudes into almost every element of our lives.
Modern governments have misinterpreted the phrase equality. Instead of using equality as a baseline to prevent mistreatment from government and from private individuals, it has been treated as an economic price floor at which lower class people get their lifestyles subsidized by the higher classes. The end result of this Marxist version of equality (so wrongly applied to the American economy) is a fascist nanny state and giant bureaucracy that grows ever larger. Eventually, over many years, the level of taxation and regulatory repression has become so great that the long term outlook for the country is completely negative. You can thank Marx, Lenin, and the left wing in America for creating such a tyrannous leviathan of a government, all in the name of their misguided fancy ideals.