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Desecration of Stars and Stripes INTRODUCTION Is it more important to protect the icons of our country or to ensure the right to extremely offensive expressions The issue of flag burning asks America just that question Should America tolerate or condemn Flag burning does seem to be the ultimate act of symbolic protest used to express dissension against the American Government There is simply no questioning the fact that flag burning offends people but the controversy of flag burning tests the dominion of the First Amendment to the Constitution The First Amendment states very simply Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press Harvin It is widely debatable whether or not the American flag is an object that requires the refuge of legislation History of the Flag The American flag played no significant role in American life until the Civil War It was displayed only on federal government buildings forts and American ships at sea It would have been unthinkable to fly an American flag at a private home or public school It simply was not done Only the outbreak of the Civil War made the American Flag transform into an object of public adoration The flag suddenly started appearing everywhere from colleges hotels stores to private homes But the flags growing popularity was not accompanied at first by any sense that is should be regarded as a sacred object or vestige Goldstein History of Flag Burning The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the right to desecrate an American flag However various legislatures have tried numerous times to criminalize the act of flag burning Despite their efforts flag burning is still legal at least for the time being Still the legal future of flag burning is very much in question Although it does not deal specifically with flag desecration the 1931 Supreme Court case of Stromberg v California was the first to test
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