Last modified: 2011-12-23 by rob raeside
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The following is an abstract of an interview conducted by Linda Wertheimer of National Public Radio with Professor Robert Goldstein of Oakland University on the background of the flag burning amendment introduced by the United States Congress. The interview was conducted June 24, 1999.
There are several countries that ban the burning of the national flag, ranging from democracies like Germany to non-democratic countries such as China and Iran.
Prior to the Civil War, there was not a lot of enthusiasm regarding the American flag. There was no commercial manufacturer until the Mexican-American War. The flying of the U.S. flag was limited to federal installations, forts, etc. After the Civil War, a new interest in the flag arose. And with it the U.S. flag was represented commercially. The use of the flag with advertising led to various flag codes designed to prevent desecration.
Around 1924, several patriotic organizations in the United States met to develop a common code of flag etiquette, some 30 existing at the time. Their code was enacted by Congress in 1942, as a voluntary code.
In 1989, the Supreme Court struck down the flag desecration laws that were enacted by the federal and state governments.
Information provided by T.F. Mills, 26 June 1999 and abstracted by Phil Nelson, for FOTW.