(Image courtesy of http://www.history.com.)
An important founder and fourth president of the United States of America, James Madison, said the following:
"We have staked the whole future of American civilization not upon the power of government - far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
A democratic and republican government will only ever be successful if its citizens govern themselves according to moral principles. Without order brought about through adherence to principles, a self-governing political system will fail - always.

A Brief History
The United States began radically and explosively.  From the arrival of the first Pilgrims to the immigration of others seeking wealth in the New World, the United States was never guaranteed success.  But by the hand of God's providence, the nation flourished even amid human error.

No form of government will ever be perfect.  I do not say this as a way to justify the wrongs of political leaders; I say it as a truthful reality.  Even the wisest and most God-fearing governments will have moments of chaos and disorder; such is the fate of mankind due to our sinful nature.  Even so, the United States had embarked on a radical form of new government - self-government - that was completely contrary to the traditional monarchies and parliaments of the time.

The idea of self-governance, as James Madison wisely stated, can only work if the people are united around common principles and standards, however.  Madison and other founding fathers united around the commandments of God, the principles that He had instituted before the beginning of time.  And for over two centuries, the people of the United States largely were united around the practice of such principles.  Generally speaking, the people were, therefore, able to govern their own affairs, since each citizen operated under moral standards, seeking righteousness above personal gain.

As time progressed, however, and the progressive mindset began to prevail that claims "we have moved beyond the ways of God," the United States underwent and is undergoing a decline in morality, and thus losing its power of self-governance.  Self-governance only works if common principles are shared among the people.  Today, the principles of God that once united the majority of citizens in the United States have been thrown aside.

For this reason, the saying is true that is often said by Christian historians: "Once morality is lost, the country is doom to failure."  When the United States began to make laws allowing for and approving of sin - abortion being one of the most crucial - we made a drastic turn for the worst.

Even in the most trying time in our nation's history - the Civil War - principles like righteousness, peace, justice, kindness, and respect governed and held together our nation at the top level (President Lincoln and other leaders), leading to a more unified bottom (soldiers and citizens).  By God's providence, wise leadership, through a strict adherence to and a proclaiming of principles, kept the nation together.

Today, the United States is as the people of Israel were in the time of the judges: "In those days there was no king (that is to say, "there was no law, order, or governing principles"), so each man did what was right in his own eyes."  The result of such moral depravity lead to the great downfall of Israel in those days, as is accounted for in the book of Judges in the Old Testament.  Yet God's sovereign rule and purpose prevailed even against man's darkest sins, and Israel was redeemed.  Praise God!

A Brief Commentary
It is interesting as I read and study more about the birth of our nation (preparing to teach American History to freshmen students), the more I see the providence and purposes of God prevailing over man's sin and ways.  I was asked the other day by an older Christian man, "What does your generation feel and think when you see the moral state of our nation and see the events transpiring in the Middle East?"  While I cannot speak for all my generation, I replied with this: "It doesn't effect me at all, though in times of pride I grow scared and uncertain, by and large I am not worried about the future, nor am I fearful.  I know what the future holds because I know who holds it: one day every knee will bow - in Heaven, on earth, and below the earth - and every tongue will confess with certainty and without hesitation that Jesus Christ is LORD!  When the clouds open up and the consuming fire of the Lord God bursts into the whole sky, and the rider on the white horse comes roaring toward the earth, we will all point and say, 'There's Jesus!'  Some will say it out of dreadful fear, while others, like myself, will say it with unspeakable joy and praise."

May God's people know their God and may they serve Him with worship, not given over to fear or a depraved mind, but by encouraging each other and preaching to others the Word of Truth, which is the Word of God.  And we know that He is faithful and just, and is reigning victoriously overall with an unswerving sovereignty and powerful hand.  Praise the Lord!  Amen.