May 14th, 2007 07:27 EST
American Democracy Came From Jamestown, Bush Says
Washington -- The 1607 founding of Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in North America, laid the foundations of American democracy, President Bush says.
During a celebration honoring the 400th anniversary of the settlement May 13, Bush said the Jamestown settlers "planted the seeds of American democracy, at a time when democratic institutions were rare." Bush cited the creation of private property rights that encouraged ownership and free enterprise, the establishment of the rule of law and the formation of the first representative assembly that ensured the consent of the people and gave Virginians a voice in their government. "
However, the expansion of Jamestown came "at a terrible cost " to some, the president added, citing the losses suffered by many American Indians and Africans. Their story is a part of the story of Jamestown," he said, and "reminds us that the work of American democracy is to constantly renew and to extend the blessings of liberty."
"America is proud to promote the expansion of democracy, and we must continue to stand with all those struggling to claim their freedom," Bush said. U.S. history has shown there are many challenges and setbacks on the road to democracy, he said, but freedom has the "power to transform societies," and "liberty is the path to lasting peace."
A transcript of the president`s speech is available on the White House Web site.
See also "American Indians See Opportunity in Jamestown Anniversary."
Additional information about Jamestown and the events commemorating its 400th anniversary can be found on the Jamestown 2007 Web site.