The United States may properly claim the title of the first new nation. It was the first major colony successfully to break away from colonial rule through revolution. It was, of course, followed within a few decades by most of the Spanish colonies in Central and South America. But while the United States exemplifies a new nation which successfully developed an industrial economy, a relatively integrated social structure (the race issue apart) and a stable democratic polity, most of the nations of Latin America do not. They remain underdeveloped economically, divided internally along racial, class, and (in some cases) linguistic lines, and have unstable polities, whether democratic or dictatorial. So perhaps the first new nation can contribute more than money to the latter-day ones; perhaps its development can give us some clues as to how revolutionary equalitarian and populist values may eventually become incorporated into a stable nonauthoritarian polity.
In this section I will examine the early period of America's history as a new nation, in an effort to elucidate through comparative analysis some of the problems and some of the developmental processes that are common to all new nations. And in so doing, I will also highlight some of the circumstances that were unique to American development, some of the conditions that made young America a particularly auspicious place to develop democratic institutions.
There is a tendency for older nations to view with impatience the internal turmoil of new ones, and to become especially alarmed at the