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When the Founding Fathers gave birth to our great democracy, they had confidence that they were part of revolutionary change in the world, and they had great faith in the future of our country. That confidence and faith are reflected in the Great Seal of the United States, where they included these words in Latin: Novus Ordo Seclorum—“a new order for the ages.”

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The American Idea
Scholars, novelists, politicians, artists, and others look ahead to the future of the American idea.

In establishing that new order, our Founders broadened our horizons, expanded our country, and imagined a better world. They also recognized that it is the responsibility of each generation to make America a better place for the next. That grand vision of our Founding Fathers has spurred on today’s young people, fueling their unwillingness to accept the world as it is now. The impatience of youth is what gives me such faith in the future: With the power and passion of young people, our new order will indeed grow stronger and flourish for the ages.

In my recent travels as House speaker, I have met with presidents, prime ministers, and kings, but what has impressed me and inspired me the most are my encounters with young people. At a time when some world leaders question the value of constructive dialogue with their adversaries, young people are engaged in their own dialogue—talking about their hopes for a brighter future, and for peace and prosperity. These are the same conversations our Founders had two centuries ago; as they continue today, so too does the American idea.

Nancy Pelosi is the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
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