[T]he government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and major social transformations to attain the system of constitutional government and its respect for the freedoms and individual rights, we hold as fundamental today.
Damn, he was totally dead-on with that. Worth pondering, I think. The US Constitution, for all its successes, undeniably had some real crap in it to start with, and arguably still does. (I'm looking at you Electoral College and ambiguously-worded Second Amendment!) One can certainly admire the Founding Fathers and the document they crafted, but to insist there's some magical super awesomeness that needs protecting... that's just plain ahistorical (unless you want to scrap every single amendment past the Tenth and reinstitute slavery, I suppose...)