Abraham Lincoln famously compared America to “apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
The universal principles of freedom and equality under law and under God were the apples of gold, and the Constitution and the country were the pictures of silver. In this formulation he certainly meant that these universal principles were in some way superior and prior to the particulars of this country. But he also denied that we should abstract the principles from the country–the soil, the people, the history, the language, the civic rites–or treat the country as an afterthought.
The universal principles and the country are spirit and flesh, joined into one body, one America. God will that their union be inseparable.