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The question heard ‘round the world


Last updated 7/3/2018 at Noon

It’s become part of the story. It was in Philadelphia, in 1787, the final day of deliberation on what would become the Constitution of the United States. Leaving Independence Hall, the 81-year-old Benjamin Franklin was approached by a woman.

“Well, doctor,” she supposedly said, “what have we got – a republic or a monarchy?”

To which Franklin supposedly replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

This was reported contemporaneously by one of the Maryland delegates to the Constitutional Convention, although it wasn’t noted or really discovered until the 20th century. It’s...

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