Liberty is power . . . the spirit of improvement is abroad upon the earth . . . let not foreign nations with less liberty exceed us in public improvement . . . to do so would cast away the bounties of Providence and doom . . . the world’s most powerful nation to perpetual inferiority.
One would immediately think China, of course, but they were not remotely on the President’s mind when he made these remarks . . . . on December 6, 1825. John Quincy Adams was either prescient beyond belief or not all that much has changed in the world since his first address to Congress.