Heres the text of a wonderful lecture given at the Heritage Foundation (scroll down if you want to find a downloadable MP3 file). From smart critiques of a history that serves only to disconnect us from our past to celebrations of Lincolns own superior understanding of the role of history, this is a tour de force, Heres something pretty close to a conclusion:
Perhaps it is not too fanciful to propose that the Constitution itself is our epic, or what passes for one, in function if not in form. It too functions as a text standing at the very core of our national identity. It too serves as a cultural mirror, in which a people is able to see what it is, and is reminded of what it was, and should be. It too is a vessel of American myth and memory. It is an amalgam of both creed and culture, particularly if read, as Lincoln insisted it should be, in conjunction with the Declaration of Independence. Although it does not narrate a shared story, it certainly presumes one, the long and complex Anglo-American experience that produced our understanding of constitutionalism, federalism, individual rights, religious liberty, and separation of powers.
The fact that it does not does not seek to personify the American experiment, does not make Washington the new Aeneas, or indeed name any names at all, may be precisely why it is peculiarly suited to be the object of republican veneration. People will always disagree, and properly so, about the veneration of any particular leader, perhaps even George Washington himself. But the Constitution itself ought to be another matter.