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Student Unrest

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A social change was happening in the United States during the 1960’s. The Civil Rights movement was in effect, there was a social devastation from the assassinations of Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. but there was also a huge stepping stone of US and the space program, with man first walking on the moon. The counter culture was a popular development, which was to lead into the Hippy subculture. This counter culture leads the way into the Anti-war movement, which became threaded into the focus of many colleges and universities.

On May 4, 1970 during an anti-war demonstration at Kent State University students protested the Vietnam War and the invasion in Cambodia. Approximately 300 students gathered in protest, ripping the constitution from a text book and burying it, stating that “President Nixon had murdered it”. The rally continued on into the evening hours creating more chaos and intense anger among the protesters about the war. Students became violent in their rally, swarming the town’s streets and busting shop windows. The students returned to the campus to burn down a ROTC army training building. At this time 750 National Guards were sent to Kent State to end the demonstration by James Rhodes, the Ohio State Governor. James Rhodes felt that the students were the out of order and order needed to be restored. His goal was to send students home and end the rally.

There was a big difference between the National Guard representative and the students doing the protest. The veterans that fought in WWII or Korea were opposed to the people that passed on their obligations to fight. General Robert Canterbury felt the students needed to know what law and order was about and was intent on showing them who was in charge. When the National Guard met up with the students on the college campus the students were told to leave and end the rally. The students refused they did not feel the National Guard had the right to make them leave. With the refusal to leave the...

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