From Bill4DogCatcher.com, my alter self.
One of the unique things about our nation’s founders is that most realized that they were not chiseling truths with their declarations. The Declaration of Independence was a unique statement and yet there was hope for a compromise. Full independence was not yet an end goal sought by most or all.
When independence came …. some of the founders became very disillusioned. Patrick Henry later accused George Washington of selling out, with criticism that the role of president would become a monarchy (and it almost did). Henry refused to participate in the Constitutional Convention — he saw no need for a constitution as the states were ‘states’. So he went home to his plantation and stayed there. George Washington tried to bring Henry and his followers back into the government by offering Patrick Henry the Secretary of State position but Henry declined.
As for the Constitution that came some years after the war’s end (1787-1790), the Constitution has proven to be an amazingly resilient document as our nation’s basic law and core law for union. Patrick Henry did throw his support behind adding the Bill of Rights to the Constitution (1791).
Yet, the Constitution is not a truth for all time. It was and is the pathway for union in an imperfect union.
“Whatever be the Constitution, great care must be taken to provide a mode of amendment when experience or change of circumstances shall have manifested that any part of it is unadapted to the good of the nation. In some of our States it requires a new authority from the whole people, acting by their representatives, chosen for this express purpose, and assembled in convention. This is found too difficult for remedying the imperfections which experience develops from time to time in an organization of the first impression. A greater facility of ammendment is certainly requisite to maintain it in a course of action accommodated to the times and changes through which we are ever passing.”
–Thomas Jefferson to A. Coray, 1823. ME 15:488
As for Patrick Henry, after the French Revolution his views changed on a number of thing. In 1795 he pretty much switched sides and became a proponent of federalism — believing that ‘the people’ can descend into chaos when they have no structured government to guide change and to provide a framework for change.