Mel Bradford and the Founding.
While I would agree with Bradford about the constitutional status of the Declaration of Independence (it isn't a legal document like the Constitution or statutes enacted under constitutional authority), I would disagree with him about what set behind Lincoln's appeal to the Declaration. Lincoln was not attempting to re-found the country, rather, he was trying to call the country back to its origins, to the vision of its Founders, and to the idea of ordered liberty that was at the core of the Founders' vision. The Declaration's statement of equality was not a radical and absolute equality of position for all in society, it was a statement of the equality of all human beings before the Creator. Because all men were equal in station before God, so should they be equal before the law that was predicated on the inalienable rights of life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness that come from the Creator and not the State.
It was Lincoln, in the great contest of the Civil War, who was the conservative, the one who sought to walk in the "old paths." Russell Kirk understood this well, and it is a pity that his friend Mel Bradford chose not to appreciate that aspect of Lincoln's political philosophy.