I have to admit; I got my initial impressions of my government from my Grandparents more from my Parents.
They lived thru a lot in the 30's and then the War; the government actually helped people that needed help, back then.
If you were white. If you weren't, then the 14th Amendment didn't really mean that much for you and thus neither did most of the rest of the Constitution. Nor did it mean much if you were otherwise "unfit," as the history of sterilization of the mentally retarded from that era shows.
It was a time period of conservative judicial activism known as the Lochner era in which laws establishing minimum wage or safe work conditions were struck down as unconstitutional under the dubious theory of "freedom of contract."
It was also a time period in which labor-leaders and other leftists were kept under surveillance by J. Edgar Hoover, who was prepared to round them up at a moment's notice. After all, this was a time period in which union members paid in blood for their views and the government turned a blind eye to private union-busting operations like the American Protective League and the Pinkerton Agency, who ran sabotage and intimidation against people exercising their rights, or just openly sanctioned killing striking workers.
Most of my views of American democracy were informed as a child by what we believed this nation should be. Very little of it was informed by what it actually was, then and now. I think most of us are the same.