Democratic National Convention 1968

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Matthew Aguayo

English 2

Chris Thayer

June 1, 2010

The 1968 Democratic National Convention Riots

The year 1968 was one of the most controversial years in all of American history. It was a year of struggles for the heroes fighting in Vietnam, for the youth, women, and for black Americans facing both political and social discrimination. Through the year, some of the most famous events in American history took place, from the assassination of Robert Kennedy to the My Lai Massacre, to the most famous Democratic National Convention riots. The 1968 Democratic National Convention (DNC) turned out thousands of supporters, and tens of thousands of protesters. The DNC itself lasted for three historical days, but the effects of the eight days of actions led to major social changes. The Democratic National Convention riots will always be known as one of the most historical and commemorative events in all of American history.

August 28, 1968, delegates began to arrive in Chicago, Illinois, for the 35th Democratic National Convention, with the intention of choosing the new democratic presidential nominee. Chicago was a major “hot spot” for civil uprising, making it the perfect setting for a major political demonstration. The 1960’s gave birth to opinionated activist organizations, such as the famous Yippies, Students for a Democratic Society and the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, who all co-organized the demonstrations outside of the Democratic National Convention. Mayor Richard J. Daley was in great disagreement to the Yippie movement, and after getting word of the protests he publically announced, repeatedly, “Law and order will be maintained,” and gave the order “shoot to kill”, if necessary. Mayor Daley kept his promise; for the 10,000 demonstrators that arrived for the event, they were matched with about 20,000 state police and National Guardsmen. The nation was already facing heavy tension between police and...
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