I've heard a few people give credit to Alexander Tytler for the following cycle though from what little I've read it may not be correct but that's really beside the point. The cycle happens and it's happening in America and upon the earth now.
People, like the pilgrims and our founding generation found themselves in bondage. They progress to spiritual faith which leads to undeniable courage (public virtue) which progresses into liberty. With Liberty there comes abundance and over time selfishness and pride build up again and that leads to complacency, which is now leading into apathy, which will bring us into dependence and back into bondage. And the cycle repeats it's self all over. Some sections can be long some quick depending on the people and their education and faith I would guess.
Four years ago I heard this for the first time. The audience said we as a nation were in complacency. I heard this again the other night and the audience said we as a nation are now in apathy and dependency. Of course where we see ourselves and where we really are may not be exact but the mood of the people is changing.
So what can I or you do? Lets look these words up in the Oxford English Dictionary and start to ponder.