E pluribus unum
Novus ordo seclorum
Those words — out of many, one; our undertakings have been approved; a new order of the ages — connoted an unprecedented national optimism, and foretold what has unquestionably turned out to be a new order of the ages.
Fifteen years of literal blood, sweat, and tears — from when Jefferson summarized the two hundred years of philosophy that was the Enlightenment by penning the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and 56 brave men signed it; to when Washington led the Continental Army to the first successful war of independence against the European colonial empires; to the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791 — led to two centuries of mankind’s betterment.
The Great Experiment, enacting what were previously mere theoretical levels of individual liberty — both personal and economic — not only created the world’s wealthiest nation, but the world’s wealthiest individuals (not just the rich, but the average). Emigrants from around the world flocked to America’s shores for their chance to succeed in a world which was genuinely free. And around the world, citizens fought for and achieved those same freedoms in their own countries.