We can't know what it was like to be a British subject considering the traitorous act of declaring our independence from Britain. It would have to rival Alabama considering secession from the United States. It would have to have been a very sobering moment in one's life to recognize that once a person has gone through that door, there is no way to change one's mind and go back to the way it was before. It is a decision that in some people's minds will mark one forever with being a traitor.
Likewise, we can't know what was expected of the new citizens of the United States when the Constitution was drafted, but one thing seems pretty clear in the reading of it: they expected themselves to supervise the representatives sent to congress. Nowhere in the Constitution does it address the responsibilities of the individual citizen. This is not because there are none, it is because the founder simply assumed that the citizen would tend to his own affairs and would not sit by idly while even elected representatives went about the destruction of their protections.
The framers of the Constitution had just fought a bloody war to win the rights that were listed in the design of their government. First was the Articles of Confederation, a first attempt to give themselves the utmost freedom available only to find out that it was too much. Too much freedom can lead to chaos and dysfunction. But, that was their instinct, to leave the person, the state, at utter liberty. I doubt then, as Justice Stephen Breyer alluded in his recent interview on FOX News, that these same people would have been interested in allowing the government the power to do almost anything necessary to maintain control over the people.
It is the flaw of the document that it does not specifically call upon the citizen to go beyond the election and follow up on the promises made and broken. I say that it is a flaw of the document, but really it is a flaw of the individual for when we stopped caring so much about our liberty we began to lose it.
In reading the Constitution it seems apparent that the missing piece is a conscientious citizenry. That was assumed by people who had just laid their lives on the line to secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity. That was assumed by people so rankled at another tax and at not being listened to or responded to by their distant and arrogant government that they literally took arms and rescued the British Colonies from the oppression.
In doing so, they secured to us the weapons to fight back peacefully against the same naturally-occurring despots who are attracted to public service. They gave us everything necessary to secure liberty and assumed that by being Americans, we would make use of them. They could not have foreseen modern advances such as the Internet, as Breyer so self-satisfactorily pointed out, and therefore could not have foreseen that Americans would be confused and distracted by the swirl of interesting facts that make up consciousness in the modern world. They could not have foreseen that we would not chaff under the master's leash. Otherwise, I feel, they would have spelled out to us our responsibilities, of which, I suspect, holding our representatives accountable for their claims and promises would have been chief among them.
Graciously linked and quoted at Refreshing The Tree Of Liberty.