Because Hope Leslie creates a fictional world without legal constraint, Sedgwick could "interpose" on the Indian Question--but without officially petitioning, without receiving the reprimand an actual petition would have engendered, without the need to render her "uttered malignities
" as utterly apolitical as "the whistle of a bird." To be sure, in the years following the gag rule, the petition became increasingly diluted as an effective means of protest.
To Pfaff, whatever the vices and malignities
of these past empires, they did not demand strict adherence to any particular orthodoxy but allowed corporatist diversity within their realm, although frequently encouraging ethnic and religious conflicts on the principle of "divide and conquer." To Moynihan, ethnicity is like a weed in the garden which will not die and will mutate and spring up again in newly-adapted forms to defeat the careful horticulture of nation-building.