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Erik Johnson
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The Answers.com wiki (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_is_the_US_the_Grand_Experiment, via Google) comes up with this quote: "The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty . . is finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American People." - George Washington which is definitely a reference by a Founding Father to America as an experiment. However, the oldest I've been able to trace the _exact_ phrase "grand experiment" is the 1978 book by Graff & Bohannan: http://www.amazon.com/Promise-Democracy-Grand-Experiment/dp/0228715253
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Jan 27, 2012