Colonist would not have become resentful of the elite class if they had no sense of universal equality. Belief in a biological or divine hierarchy in status would have upheld the aristocratic system and the Declaration of Independence would have never been written. The fact that these men drafted the document is a confirmation of a ubiquitous idea of equality. Every economic layer of colonial society knew oppression was the consequence of greed, not inherent social status. Planters and merchants learned this from their experience with the British, just as slaves and workers leaned it from theirs with planters and merchants.
While a common justification among slaveholders was that Africans were biologically inferior to Americans, ideas to the contrary grew in conjunction with the success of slavery. The immorality of slavery is a relative to the immorality of economic manipulation of the colonies and abolitionists recognized this.
Although the British saw no fault in their control over the colonies, their actions were still oppressive and corrupt. Jefferson, Franklin, and Addams could see the speck of sawdust in the eyes of the British but dismissed the plank in their own while drafting The Declaration of independence.
“He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.”
“For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury”
“For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences”