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This Week in Princeton History for November 28-December 4

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, tensions over the American flag are escalating on campus, Princeton’s president indicates the need to plan to educate women, and more.

November 29, 1824—Micah Hawkins’s The Saw Mill or a Yankee Trick, the first American opera on American themes, is performed for the first time in New York. Its opening act includes the lines, “But we, at sixteen, parted: you for college, at Princeton, I to Gates, in Genesee…”

November 30, 1989—More than 100 members of New Jersey’s American Ex-Prisoners of War and other veterans’ groups gather on Cannon Green to denounce flag-burning. The group engages in direct confrontation with students who have recently burned the American flag as part of protest activities. An organizer warns, “We cannot guarantee the safety of anyone who tries to burn the flag in the presence of war veterans.”

Flag-burning protests were staged in response to a federal law banning the burning of the American flag, which Congress had passed in October 1989. In United States v. Eichman (1990), the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Flag Protection Act as a violation of the First Amendment. Emergency Committee to Stop the Flag Amendment and Laws pamphlet, 1989. American Civil Liberties Union Records (MC001), Box 2234.

December 2, 1790—Philadelphia’s Federal Gazette joins with other publications in urging the legislature of New Jersey to act to prevent the ongoing taxation of the funds of the College of New Jersey.

December 4, 1967—In a report released today, Robert Goheen reflects on his ten years as Princeton’s president and identifies “the far more fundamental and important issue of our facing up to the education of women” as a primary reason for the need to adjust financial priorities in spite of other major needs.

Jackie Johnson *70, Katie Marshall *69, and Mary Procter *71. Photo from the Princeton Alumni Weekly, May 13, 1969.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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