Youth

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.”

Return to:

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.

Presented by

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

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Photos of New York City, in Motion

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in National

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In