Student Protests In 1968 And 1970: A Rebellious Generation

1911 words - 8 pages

In the year 1968, the Vietnam War had taken control of the minds and the hearts of millions of Americans and other individuals around the world. The Tet was initiated by Vietcong warriors in South Vietnam, where the warriors launched a full scale attack on every major city in the south of the country. This shattered the dreams of those who had hoped that the war would end quickly and that there would be peace and not Communism in the country of Vietnam. Nixon decided to spice things up a bit and invade nearby Cambodia in 1970 saying that he would not allow the biggest superpower in the world to appear “like a pitiful, helpless giant.” Meanwhile, in many different universities across the U.S, several students felt a spark in them evoked by the war in Vietnam and by the restrictive punishments of their respected colleges. To fight this, they organized gatherings and student strikes to promote their way of thinking to their parents and to anyone who would listen. These students were protesting against the Vietnam War, conformity, and the harsh rules of the elite colleges, to prove that their voices were worthy to be heard.
In universities all over the world, there arose a rebellious spirit in the lives of many students. Why were these students protesting? In France, they were protesting against the strict policies of their schools and against the Vietnam War. These ideals spread from there to close by countries such as England, Italy, and Germany and also in countries across the world such as Japan and South Korea. The War had left everyone questioning whether or not the United States and its allies were going to be able to win this war or not. The window of victory grew smaller every day.
In the United States, there were similar rebellions going on in universities such as Kent State, and Columbia University. By 1968, a new kind of university had transformed a select few of these schools into the “Ivy League” which were elite colleges that enforced the most strict rules of any other school in the nation. There were 8 in all between the 1930s and 1968 and included: Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Cornell, Dartmouth, the University of Pennsylvania, and Brown.
Columbia University was one of the first universities, in 1968, that staged a protest against the war, school governance, and racism. Brown states that a lot of the more conservative citizens, especially the older ones, saw the anti-conformist ways of the 1960s generation as a sign of political mutiny. Columbia was punishing students for living with their significant others, a common occurrence today, but in that generation, it was unthinkable. The students at Columbia were finally speaking out over issues that they have been dealing with for many years. At first, they accepted their punishments without complaint, but when 1968 came about, they had had enough. There were many other factors that also contributed to the protesting that went on at Columbia University.
One of these factors...

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