She [America] founds her empire upon the idea of universal toleration: She admits all religions into her bosom -- she secures the sacred rights of every individual; and (astonishing absurdity to Europeans!) she sees a thousand discordant opinions live in the strictest harmony. ... it will finally raise her to pitch of glory and lustre, before which the ancient glory of Greece and Rome will dwindle to a point, and the splendor of modern Empires fade into obscurity.
--- Noah Webster, 1782
My apologies to NZPundit for stealing his post. The quote is so good I just felt like repeating it..