Rudolf Steiner, to a Russian delegation of Theosophists, Helsinki, Finland, June 5, 1913:
"You are in a special situation, at the opposite pole as it were from a people, the people of North America, who are rising to a short period of brilliance. Reflect that these American people, your opposites, began to advance slowly westward just in the time when the epoch of materialism had begun in Europe, and they developed this materialism still further. Remember that materialism prevails in the very roots of American civilization. Remember that the people who colonized America took with them the ideas that were current in educated Europe only a few centuries ago. While they were making their way through primeval forests, clearing the land bit by bit and preparing it for agriculture — activities we generally associate with quite uncultured people — they were already imbued with a whole range of materialistic modern concepts. They thought in terms of parliaments, natural science, modern social organization. Everything they accomplished was done under the influence of materialism. Think of the man who is generally regarded as one of their most important writers, the man whom they elected as their president: Woodrow Wilson. In the context of the present day he really is a significant writer; he has produced some brilliant literary studies of social life. But if one looks at his concepts and ideas, at everything he stands for as a representative of the American people, what does it amount to? A house of cards. If the spiritual world were once to breathe upon it, this house of cards — and the whole culture it typifies — would collapse."
Source: Spiritual Beings, p. 238