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Routledge Handbook of Constitutional Law by Cheryl Saunders, Thomas Fleiner, Mark Tushnet

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22General provisions dealing with equality

Brun-Otto Bryde and Michael Ashley Stein

22.1 Equality in political and constitutional theory

In 1776 the American Declaration of Independence stated as an evident truth that ‘all men are created equal’. In 1789 the French Revolution proclaimed in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen that ‘[m]en are born and remain free and equal in rights’. Since then, equality has been a fundamental principle of constitutionalism. Paradoxically, equality is at the same time the most generally accepted principle and a highly controversial one.

There is general agreement that all humans are endowed with the same basic human rights and dignity. Differentiation of rights, and especially political rights, ...

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