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The Case Of The Chicago Seven

1180 words - 5 pages

In 1968 the United States of America was participating in a violent war that some of the general public greatly disapproved of. Tension between political parties was rising and this did not help efforts with the war. Anti-war sentiment was growing in popularity amongst the younger generation; they wanted to get their voices heard. Protest and riots were occurring more frequently and growing larger in size all throughout the United States. This was the case for a certain eight Chicago men who protested peacefully. The case that followed their arrest became known as the Chicago seven trials. Originally it was the Chicago eight until one of the members, Bobby Seale, was bound and gagged in court ordered by Judge Julius Hoffman (Rubin web). This displayed one of the many mistreatments of the members of the Chicago Seven throughout the case. The case became a highly publicized spectacle throughout the nation. In retrospect the case is noted as a great injustice and an example of abusive power in the Chicago court system at the time.
The late sixties was a time of turmoil in the United States. It was a transition period between the psychedelic sixties and the revolutionary seventies. The youth of the United States was becoming increasingly aware of the politics of war, the draft and other general misuses of governmental power. With the Democratic National Convention being held in Chicago during 1968, political tensions were running high throughout the city. Numerous protests were held during the time surrounding the convention in protest of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s policies on the Vietnam War. Most notably, the group of Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, David Dillinger, John Froines, Lee Weiner and Bobby Seale, who was dropped from the case and charged separately (History.com web). Collectively, the group was arrested for inciting a riot that required police interference to control. The National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence categorized the protest as a police riot, despite general regard to the incident as a peace protest gone wrong. In fact general public opinion suggested that the march on the convention center was a sheer misuse of police power including use of tear gas, batons and mace. The acts that lead to the arrests were completely constitutional on the part of the eight men placed on trial. Furthermore, the trial itself was a clear display of misconduct on the part of the judicial system shown by the mistreatment of the defendants.
The trial took place on September 9th, 1968 about a month after the Democratic National Convention (History.com web). The charges the men faced included: conspiracy to incite a riot via crossing state-lines, use of an incendiary device and general attempt to inhibit police interference (Transcript web). Throughout the trial the defendants were constantly defiant under the instruction of their lawyer towards Judge Julius Hoffman (Transcript web). The men all knew...

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