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It is April 30, 1789, a sunny spring day, and you are a European who has travelled to New York to see the inauguration of George Washington as the first president of the United States.
Standing in the crowd in front of Federal Hall on Wall Street, you are watching the beginning of an experiment in governance unlike any in history. Four million people have separated themselves from the world’s greatest power and then invented a new nation from scratch.
It is not just the newness of the nation that makes its future so imponderable. The founders of the United States have created a form of government that will attempt all sorts of things that are widely thought to be impossible.
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