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This Day in Boston History

January 28th, 1916

Louis Brandeis

Brandeis, by Andy Warhol

On this day - President Woodrow Wilson nominated Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. He would become the first Associate Justice of Jewish faith, and serve until 1939. His growing belief in the need for a Jewish state would influence the Wilson administration and millions of American Jews, who before Brandeis' advocacy were generally opposed or non-supportive of Zionism.

As a lawyer in Boston, Brandeis took up many cases defending the interests of smaller businesses and individuals from more powerful corporations. He was responsible for insurance and savings bank reforms, opposed J.P. Morgan's railroad monopoly, supported the minimum wage, and with Edward Filene began the Public Franchise League which supported public regulation of utilities.

In 1949 Brandeis University, the only nonsectarian Jewish-sponsored college or university in the country, was founded and reflects the ideals of academic excellence and social justice he exemplified.


England's Prime Minister never expected this tea tax to cause an outcry, let alone revolution. In 1767, England reduced its property taxes at home. To balance the national budget they needed to find a mechanism for the American colonies to pay for the expense of stationing officials in them. The officials would generate their own revenue by collecting taxes on all imported goods, and once paid affixing stamps on them. This Stamp Tax generated more in the way of protests and smuggling than added revenue.

Religion. Politics. Rebellion. Boston’s pedigree was forged back in England in the midst of religious dissension, where Puritans and Pilgrims sought religious reform, and Cavaliers and Roundheads vied for political power. The question isn't where did Boston get its name – but how.

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