From the earliest
days of the Republic, this nation's Founders believed that
the United States had a special mission in the world. George
Washington spoke of it on April 30, 1789, moments after taking
the oath of office as first President of the United States.
"The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and
the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly
considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment
entrusted to the hands of the American people." The success
of their experiment, these early Americans hoped, would hasten
the spread of liberty around the globe.
In the first century following the Declaration of Independence,
movements in France, Belgium, Poland, Norway, Switzerland,
as well as in Venezuela, Mexico, and Argentina drew both inspiration
and practical lessons from the American Revolution and its
landmark documents. During the nineteenth century, the adoption
of written constitutions often accompanied changes in governments
in Europe and Latin America.
In 1917, there were approximately a dozen democracies in
the world. Today, there are more than one hundred, and most
of them have written constitutions. While the charters of
many of these nations vary greatly from the U.S. Constitution,
its endurance and stability has surely lent encouragement
and credibility to the cause of freedom-loving people everywhere
who have labored to throw off tyrannical regimes and devise
for themselves a system of self-determination and government
based on the consent of the governed.
Bush’s State of the Union Address, January 31, 1990,
selected pages learn