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1968 in U.S. History - Essay Example

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The year 1968 is regarded as one of the most vital years in American history, marked as the most pivotal period in this history. It was a flashpoint for most of the cultural, political, and social transformations for which the 1960s decade is known. …
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1968 in U.S. History
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1968 in U.S. History

Download file to see previous pages... The period is characterized by the entrenching of the U.S in an unpopular war in Vietnam, while violence, experimentation, unrest, and outspokenness spread throughout the nation. Leaders were assassinated on an outwardly regular basis, the Civil Rights Movement got more powers, and psychedelic music and social experimentation were rampant in most parts of the country. Many scholars view this year as shameful, divisive, or sometimes as a year that galvanized change in America. 1968 was an apex of the gradual upheaval of the 1960s. Tension that had been accumulating for the past years ultimately came to head, across a whole year of violence, revolution and grief. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated; unrest was rampant in Democratic National Convention, as the media covered the Tet Offensive to expose the horrible account of the Vietnam War. The fighting in the Saigon streets during the Tet Offensive or New Year made the Vietnam too real. According to one UPI reporter, the Vietnam in this year meant a first look at death. Photographers scampered from building to building gathering photos on the fighting in the outcasts of Saigon. The North Vietnamese communist groups’ launch of the Tet Offensive in January and its success against South Vietnamese and U.S troops caused discontent and shock across the home front and marked the most intense times of anti-war disputes to date. Apart from being the most difficult and saddest year in America, 1968 was also a presidential election year. President Lyndon Johnson was on the forefront in promoting civil rights legislation but he had also greatly increased American possibility in involving in the Vietnam War. It was therefore not easy for him to leave the White House without protesters being involved; he no longer had majority support and thus announced that he would not contest for the presidency. Eugene McCarthy, a senator from Minnesota engaged in these elections and succeeded in the primaries. Following his success, New York’s Senator Robert Kennedy decided to enter the campaign too. For a long time then, Kennedy had served in one of the highest legal offices in the nation as Attorney General in the administration of his late brother, John Kennedy. Upon his announcement to run for presidency, most citizens were very pleased with his massage, where he promised to end the Vietnam war, and to reduce racism and poverty both in America and in the whole world. Another serious event was noted in April fourth, the same year; Martin Luther King, America’s top civil rights leader was shot to death in Tennessee. He was helping to negotiate a strike between the management and sanitation employees. This made Kennedy to deliver a speech to black citizens, convincing them that what had happened was against the wishes of Americans, since they disliked hatred, lawlessness, and violence, but embraced wisdom, love, and justice. However, these words did not calm down the black community. Their leader, Luther had peacefully led civil rights movement, yet his death cultivated violence in more than one hundred cities nationally. Soldiers were called upon to settle the riots, and hundreds of citizens lost their lives or were injured. As the primary elections went on, Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy tried to show how their ideologies differed, but voters could not notice the differences. They both opposed the Vietnam War; sought enhancements in civil rights; and both promoted social reforms. Kennedy led in primaries in Nebraska and Indiana, while McCarthy led in Oregon. California had the next big primaries, and Kennedy stated that he would withdraw if he was defeated in this significant contest. He won the elections and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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