Envisioning a continental "empire of liberty" Young America saw the American nationalist mission as the "hope of mankind." The prospects of the country seemed without parallel in human historyLooking at the many portraits in this book I feel oddly emotional. That type of boundless optimism, the sense that anything could be achieved, and anyone, anywhere, improved, with a little American Know-How is inconceivable... The earlier simplistic adolescent vigor, overreaching but potent and impressive, is now still-naive, still-overreaching (with a sense of entitlement to boot) but in its bloated Late Middle Age is not so "Great" anymore.
I came across a haunting latin phrase: Vis consili expers mole ruit sua ("Strength without wisdom falls by its own weight")...
The portrait of the Reverend Neale, shown at about age 42, is riveting. If it is possible to be swept off one's feet by someone who has been dead for 127 years, I have succumbed.