We may wonder at the choice of Israel and Rome as the archetypes of the new nation, in view of the long history of suffering of the former and the decline of the latter. We may wonder that our ancestors over-looked the darker days of those earlier nations. They did not. They hoped to construct a republic on principles to sound that if we should decline in piety and public virtue we would meet the inexorable fate of nations, which are as but dust in the hands of God.
– Robert Neelly Bellah