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Thomas Fleming on
the government experiment

Thomas Fleming Q: Government was an experiment from the beginning...

A: None of us today, after two hundred years of American government, can realize how much of an experiment this government was. That's the way everyone looked at it. The Constitution had only been ratified after a tremendous brawl. There was a whole party out there who called themselves anti-federalists. The governor of New York, for instance, fought the Constitution tooth and nail right after the moment it was finally ratified.

So nobody knew what was going to happen. At one point Thomas Jefferson said to Washington, after one of his brawls with Hamilton and other people, "ThereĠs no doubt in my mind, the only way that weĠre ever going to get out of this peacefully is the South will have to secede from the North." And at one point some federalist congressman, Northern congressman, came to Southern congressman in Washington and said let's just, realize, we have nothing in common, let's split up into two countries. We'll argue over who gets Maryland and who gets New Jersey and so forth, but let's just go our own way because there's no point in trying to make this whole thing work.

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