The Cheer of American Life

Although the sunny disposition of Americans relative to residents of other rich countries  is probably related to the religiosity of the U.S. , this chart still made me think of this passage from The Promise of American Life, by Herbert Croly:

“[O]ur American past, compared to that of any European country, has a character all its own. Its peculiarity consists, not merely in its brevity, but in the fact that from the beginning it has been informed by an idea. From the beginning Americans have been anticipating and projecting a better future. From the beginning the Land of Democracy has been figured as the Land of Promise. Thus the American’s loyalty to the national tradition rather affirms than denies the imagine projection of a better future. An America which was not the Land of Promise, which was not informed by a prophetic outlook and a more or less constructive ideal, would not be the America bequeathed to us by our forefathers. In cherishing the Promise of a better national future the American is fulfilling rather than imperiling the substance of the national tradition.”

Chart from the Pew Research Center