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In the growth of an institution there are often many stages, before it reaches old age and is cast aside, if that time ever comes. It is the resultant of a variety of forces, some enlightened, some blind. It is shaped this way and that to answer varying demands of business, of politics, of law, of ethics. It may be constricted for a time, or even lose its identity entirely, by being forced into some category with other things-a consequence of too limited imagination, or the urge to standardize. At all events the certified check has been no exception. Like other legal-economic institutions it has been builded piecemeal, with many builders and few architects, much tearing down and rebuilding, and, of course, much argument throughout. But, though it has survived and at times flourished for at least a century as a distinctive American institution, things have now come to a point where some careful planning is needed to safeguard its immediate future.
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