We've always had problems understanding what the words in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution mean and whether or not we have ever lived up to what they actually say.
The Constitution, as it was written was imperfect and has built in provisions to fix it as we go along. An awful lot of people I know however, look at the Constitution in a manner similar to the way they see the Bible, and and they see the founders in a similar light as the apostles.
The people who call themselves strict Constitutionalists resemble in many ways the people who take the Bible literally and can settle any arguments by pointing out the words as written in the Bible and claim the Bible plainly states this or that just as they do with the Constitution.
Despite what the Declaration and Constitution plainly states, all men have never been created equal under the law for inastance. We have, however, been fixing the Constitution along the way by amending it. Ya can't do that with the Bible of course but we can interpret it differently (as we can with the Constitution so saying the Bible plainly say's doesn't work any better than it does with the Constitution.
As Ed Walker say's, "The standard story of the origin of our nation tells us that the Declaration of Independence asserts that all men are created equal and naturally endowed with certain rights including the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that the Revolutionary War was fought to uphold these principles; and that the principles are instantiated in the Constitution. We didn’t always live up to those principles but we’ve always worked towards them, and we [hopefully] get closer all the time." *
We can't deny that the Declaration doesn’t fit well with the standard story, so how well does the Constitution fit?
* Empty Wheel