86. A government Jefferson could love


AT THE DAWN OF THE century, North Dakota was seriously considering changing its name. The thinking was that slimming down to just Dakota might offer a fresh start to a state known mostly for emptying out, its prairie towns dying along with the farmers whose kids left for brighter futures. Then came the shale-oil boom—North Dakota’s Bakken formation pumps out a million lucrative barrels a day—and a 180-degree change in fortune. “We’re No. 1 in so many things,” says Governor Jack Dalrymple, “it’s kind of ridiculous.”

One constant, however, has been the strange and wonderful relationship between North Dakotans and their state lawmakers. In many states, the legislature is a model

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