Mexico, Argentina, and other Latin American countries adopted variants of the plan, and so did Germany and Austria-Hungary. Britain applied it to two of its largest colonies, Canada and Australia, and in the twentieth century recast most of its empire into a Commonwealth of Nations on the same basis. More dramatically, the principle caused men to conceive of some sort of federation of the world, first in the League of Nations and then in the United Nations, both sponsored by American Presidents; and in the not too distant future it promises to bring about a United States of Western Europe.
THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED
Neither the doctrine of revolution nor the principle of federalism necessarily ensured that the government so established would rest on the consent of the governed. This was an entirely different matter, as the history of Latin American dictatorships as well as that of other nations proves. But, as we have seen, it was a basic tenet of the founders of the United States and may w-ell be regarded as America's third contribution to humanity.
The framers of the Constitution spurned European tradition by rejecting a monarchy, a nobility, or a hereditary legislative chamber, placing their trust in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, one which should rule by counting heads instead of breaking them. Starting with a somewhat limited number of voters but in better proportion than in any other country, the suffrage was broadened generation by generation until it came to include all adults of both sexes; and at every point America set the pace for the Old World. The underlying philosophy was not that the common man is all-wise, but only that he can govern himself better than anyone else can do it for him.
THE STATUS OF WOMEN
Women played a man's part as well as a woman's in taming the wilderness, and until very recently, moreover, they were fewer in number than the opposite sex and hence commanded a high scarcity value. From early times foreign observers marveled at the unusual educational opportunities open to them, their immunity from molestation when traveling alone, their freedom to go out of the home to agitate for temperance, antislavery, and other reforms. "From the captain of a western steamboat to the roughest miner in California," wrote one visitor, "from north, south, east, and west, we hear but one voice. Women are to be protected, respected, supported, and petted."
The organized feminist movement arose earlier in the United States than in any other nation not because American women enjoyed so few privileges but because they had so many that they demanded more — in short, all those exercised by their husbands and brothers, including that of suffrage. The famous women's rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, the first in the history of the world, turned the Declaration of Independence to account by proclaiming "all men and women are created equal" with the same unalienable rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." It took the women many years to achieve that goal, but in time they succeeded, and every victory spurred their sisters in other lands to similar endeavors.
THE MELTING POT
A fifth contribution of the United States has been the fusing of many different nationalities in a single society. America has been in the best sense the term a melting pot, every ingredient adding its particular element of strength. The constant infusion of new blood has enriched our cultural life, speeded our material growth, and produced some of our ablest statesmen. Over 17 million immigrants arrived in the single period from -the Civil War to World War I — more than America's total population in 1840 — and today English and Scottish blood, the principal strain in colonial times, constitutes considerably less than half the whole.