To many, the Unites States serves as the ideal model of democracy for the modern world. Yet, how truly worthy is America of this status? Although it has been said that, "Equality is as American as baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie," one must be extremely critical when analyzing such a statement. By taking a historical perspective to the question of how "equal" American equality actually is, it is simple to recognize how problematic the "Land of the Free" mentality can be. The early America's most prominent thinkers have been sensationalized and given credit for developing a free and equal system. However, one can recognize that their manner of thinking was far from this idea of "all men are created equal" by critical examination of their literature.
When analyzing equality, a sociological and legal approach must be made. In the case of the United States, the sociological stratification, or division of power, of minority groups had adversely affected the development of the legal system. Especially in the 1600s and 1700s, legal and social equality of those not of the Caucasian persuasion, the less fortunate, and of the female gender was almost nonexistent. This inequality is a direct result of the early American society's ranking system. Equality was not perceived in the minds of such individuals as John Winthrop, John Adams, and James Madison, and as a result, their significant accomplishments towards the development of the American system have tainted the institution itself.
One of the earliest American social groups was the 17th Century Puritans. This society had an extremely unique and strict manner of thinking that was entirely based on inequality. This is clearly represented by the writings of the Puritan leader John Winthrop. In "A Model of Christian Charity," Winthrop outlines the societal rationale, and in turn, the disparity of equality in his society. The gist of the Puritan way of life is that, by the grace of God,