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The Downfall of Republics

….governments are not always overthrown by direct and open assaults. They are not always battered down by the arms of conquerors, or the successful daring of usurpers. There is often concealed the dry rot, which eats into the vitals, when all is fair and stately on the outside. And to republics this has been the more common fatal disease. The continual droppings of corruption may wear away the solid rock, when the tempest has failed to overturn it….

— Associate Justice Joseph Story, 1829

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