Americana: School for Scandal

The government was notoriously corrupt. Counterfeiting was rampant. Small businesses were ruined by rocketing inflation. Bribery of public officials was commonplace, and police kept dossiers on everyone. In the midst of the chaos, a dictator seized power and restored order. It was part of an all-too-real experiment in government by a seventh-grade class in California.

Teacher George Muldoon, attempting to demonstrate the inner workings of a capitalist democracy, helped his students set up a mock country. A President was elected, magistrates appointed, money printed, laws written and small businesses established.

But the students were as adept as their elders at beating the...

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