The oldest trees on Princeton’s campus are a pair of sycamores that were planted to commemorate the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766.
I know, I know. I could have used any deciduous trees to indicate the passing of time and the changing seasons. In fact, in early drafts I used elm trees, which are also significant to Princeton’s campus. However, in a chapter dealing largely with the extent to which it is healthy to use the past as a predictor of future behavior, I thought a passing reference to American history would remind readers that this is something we’re told to do—that things that happened a long time ago matter. The fact that all of my American readers (and good chunk of the rest of you) know all about the Stamp Act just reinforces the theme of the chapter—the idea that no one ever really lets go of the past.
On the left-hand side of this picture, you can see one of the Stamp Act trees.