Hamilton "cemented" the Union by getting congress to agree to assume the states' debts from the American Revolution; in exchange, he gave up his desire to have New York be the federal capital. Ron Chernow's recounting of Hamilton's genius at getting assumption done.
These thoughts cross my mind as I hear people say that the solution to our mortgage problems is to get rid of non-recourse loans. We have long been more generous about bankruptcy than Europe, and it may explain why our economy is more dynamic and innovative. The US is a country about second chances in so many ways (including education); it is a country where it is OK to fail and then come back. We need to be careful about messing with that.