The Rise of Conservatism: Crash Course US History #41


Episode 41: Rise of Conservatism Hi, I’m John Green, this is CrashCourse
U.S. history and today we’re going to–Nixon?–we’re going to talk about the rise of conservatism.
So Alabama, where I went to high school, is a pretty conservative state and reliably sends
Republicans to Washington. Like, both of its Senators, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby,
are Republicans. But did you know that Richard Shelby used to be a Democrat, just like basically
all of Alabama’s Senators since reconstruction? And this shift from Democrat to Republican
throughout the South is the result of the rise in conservative politics in the 1960s
and 1970s that we are going to talk about today. And along the way, we get to put Richard
Nixon’s head in a jar. Stan just informed me that we don’t actually
get to put Richard Nixon’s head in a jar. It’s just a Futurama joke. And now I’m
sad. So, you’ll remember from our last episode
that we learned that not everyone in the 1960s was a psychedelic rock-listening, war-protesting
hippie. In fact, there was a strong undercurrent of conservative thinking that ran throughout
the 1960s, even among young people. And one aspect of this was the rise of free
market ideology and libertarianism. Like, since the 1950s, a majority of Americans had
broadly agreed that “free enterprise” was a good thing and should be encouraged
both in the U.S. and abroad. Mr. Green, Mr. Green, and also in deep space
where no man has gone before? No, MFTP. You’re thinking of the Starship
Enterprise, not free enterprise. And anyway, Me From The Past, have you ever
seen a more aggressively communist television program than “The Neutral Zone” from Star
Trek: The Next Generation’s first season? I don’t think so.
intro Alright so, in the 1950s a growing number
of libertarians argued that unregulated capitalism and individual autonomy were the essence of
American freedom. And although they were staunchly anti-communist, their real target was the
regulatory state that had been created by the New Deal. You know, social security, and
not being allowed to, you know, choose how many pigs you kill, etc.
Other conservatives weren’t libertarians at all but moral conservatives who were okay
with the rules that enforced traditional notions of family and morality. Even if that seemed
like, you know, an oppressive government. For them virtue was the essence of America.
But both of these strands of conservatism were very hostile toward communism and also
to the idea of “big government.” And it’s worth noting that since World War
I, the size and scope of the federal government had increased dramatically.
And hostility toward the idea of “big government” remains the signal feature of contemporary
conservatism. Although very few people actually argue for shrinking the government. Because,
you know, that would be very unpopular. People like Medicare.
But it was faith in the free market that infused the ideology of the most vocal young conservatives
in the 1960s. They didn’t receive nearly as much press
as their liberal counterparts but these young conservatives played a pivotal role in reshaping
the Republican Party, especially in the election of 1964.
The 1964 presidential election was important in American history precisely because it was
so incredibly uncompetitive. I mean, Lyndon Johnson was carrying the torch
of a wildly popular American president who had been assassinated a few months before.
He was never going to lose. And indeed he didn’t. The republican candidate,
Arizona senator Barry Goldwater, was demolished by LBJ.
But the mere fact of Goldwater’s nomination was a huge conservative victory. I mean, he
beat out liberal Republican New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. And yes, there were liberal
Republicans. Goldwater demanded a harder line in the Cold
War, even suggesting that nuclear war might be an option in the fight against communism.
And he lambasted the New Deal liberal welfare state for destroying American initiative and
individual liberty. I mean, why bother working when you could just enjoy life on the dole?
I mean, unemployment insurance allowed anyone in America to become a hundredaire.
But it was his stance on the Cold War that doomed his candidacy. In his acceptance speech,
Goldwater famously declared, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”
Which made it really easy for Johnson to paint Goldwater as an extremist.
In the famous “Daisy” advertisement, Johnson’s supporters countered Goldwater’s campaign
slogan of “in your heart, you know he’s right” with “but in your guts you know
he’s nuts.” So in the end, Goldwater received a paltry
27 million votes to Johnson’s 43 million, and Democrats racked up huge majorities in
both houses of Congress. This hides, however, the significance of the election. Five of
the six states that Goldwater carried were in the Deep South, which had been reliably
democratic, known as the “Solid South,” in fact.
Now, it’s too simple to say that race alone led to the shift from Democratic to the Republican
party in the South because Goldwater didn’t really talk much about race.
But the Democrats, especially under LBJ, became the party associated with defending civil
rights and ending segregation, and that definitely played a role in white southerners’ abandoning
the Democrats, as was demonstrated even more clearly in the 1968 election.
The election of 1968 was a real cluster-Calhoun, I mean, there were riots and there was also
the nomination of Hubert Humphrey, who was very unpopular with the anti-war movement,
and also was named Hubert Humphrey, and that’s just what happened with the Democrats.
But, lost in that picture was the Republican nominee, Richard Milhous Nixon, who was one
of the few candidates in American history to come back and win the presidency after
losing in a previous election. How’d he do it?
Well, it probably wasn’t his charm, but it might have been his patience. Nixon was
famous for his ability to sit and wait in poker games. It made him very successful during
his tour of duty in the South Pacific. In fact, he earned the nickname “Old Iron Butt.”
Plus, he was anti-communist, but didn’t talk a lot about nuking people. And the clincher
was probably that he was from California, which by the late 1960s was becoming the most
populous state in the nation. Nixon won the election, campaigning as the
candidate of the “silent majority” of Americans who weren’t anti-war protesters,
and who didn’t admire free love or the communal ideals of hippies.
And who were alarmed at the rights that the Supreme Court seemed to be expanding, especially
for criminals. This silent majority felt that the rights
revolution had gone too far. I mean, they were concerned about the breakdown in traditional
values and in law and order. Stop me if any of this sounds familiar.
Nixon also promised to be tough on crime, which was coded language to whites in the
south that he wouldn’t support civil rights protests. The equation of crime with African
Americans has a long and sordid history in the United States, and Nixon played it up
following a “Southern strategy” to further draw white Democrats who favored segregation
into the Republican ranks. Now, Nixon only won 43% of the vote, but if
you’ve paid attention to American history, you know that you ain’t gotta win a majority
to be the president. He was denied that majority primarily by Alabama
Governor George Wallace, who was running on a pro-segregation ticket and won 13% of the
vote. So 56% of American voters chose candidates
who were either explicitly or quietly against civil rights.
Conservatives who voted for Nixon hoping he would roll back the New Deal were disappointed.
I mean, in some ways the Nixon domestic agenda was just a continuation of LBJ’s Great Society.
This was partly because Congress was still in the hands of Democrats, but also Nixon
didn’t push for conservative programs and he didn’t veto new initiatives. Because
they were popular. And he liked to be popular. So in fact, a number of big government “liberal”
programs began under Nixon. I mean, the environmental movement achieved success with the enactment
of the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board
were created to make new regulations that would protect worker safety and make cars
safer. That’s not government getting out of our
lives, that’s government getting into our cars.
Now, Nixon did abolish the Office of Economic Opportunity, but he also indexed social security
benefits to inflation and he proposed the Family Assistance Plan that would guarantee
a minimum income for all Americans. And, the Nixon years saw some of the most
aggressive affirmative action in American history. LBJ had begun the process by requiring
recipients of federal contracts to have specific numbers of minority employees and timetables
for increasing those numbers. But Nixon expanded this with the Philadelphia
plan, which required federal construction projects to have minority employees. He ended
up attacking this plan after realising that it was wildly unpopular with trade unions,
which had very few black members, but he had proposed it.
And when Nixon had the opportunity to nominate a new Chief Justice to the Supreme Court after
Earl Warren retired in 1969, his choice, Warren Burger was supposed to be a supporter of small
government and conservative ideals, but, just like Nixon, he proved a disappointment in
that regard. Like, in Swan v. Charlotte-Mecklenbug Board
of Education, the court upheld a lower court ruling that required busing of students to
achieve integration in Charlotte’s schools. And then the Burger court made it easier for
minorities to sue for employment discrimination, especially with its ruling in Regents of the
University of California v. Bakke. This upheld affirmative action as a valid governmental
interest, although it did strike down the use of strict quotas in university admissions.
Now, many conservatives didn’t like these affirmative action decisions, but one case
above all others had a profound effect on American politics: Roe v. Wade.
Roe v. Wade established a woman’s right to have an abortion in the first trimester
of a pregnancy as well as a more limited right as the pregnancy progressed. And that decision
galvanized first Catholics and then Evangelical Protestants.
And that ties in nicely with another strand in American conservatism that developed in
the 1960s and 1970s. Let’s go to the ThoughtBubble. Many Americans felt that traditional family
values were deteriorating and looked to conservative republican candidates to stop that slide.
They were particularly alarmed by the continuing success of the sexual revolution, as symbolized
by Roe v. Wade and the increasing availability of birth control.
Statistics tend to back up the claims that traditional family values were in decline
in the 1970s. Like, the number of divorces soared to over one million in 1975 exceeding
the number of first time marriages. The birthrate declined with women bearing 1.7 children during
their lifetimes by 1976, less than half the figure in 1957. Now, of course, many people
would argue that the decline of these traditional values allowed more freedom for women and
for a lot of terrible marriages to end, but that’s neither here nor there.
Some conservatives also complained about the passage in 1972 of Title IX, which banned
gender discrimination in higher education, but many more expressed concern about the
increasing number of women in the workforce. Like, by 1980 40% of women with young children
had been in the workforce, up from 20% in 1960.
The backlash against increased opportunity for women is most obviously seen in the defeat
of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1974, although it passed Congress easily in 1972. Opponents
of the ERA, which rather innocuously declared that equality of rights under the law could
not be abridged on account of sex, argued that the ERA would let men off the hook for
providing for their wives and children, and that working women would lead to the further
breakdown of the family. Again, all the ERA stated was that women and men would have equal
rights under the laws of the United States. But, anyway, some anti-ERA supporters, like
Phyllis Schlafly claimed that free enterprise was the greatest liberator of women because
the purchase of new labor saving devices would offer them genuine freedom in their traditional
roles of wife and mother. Essentially, the vacuum cleaner shall make you free. And those
arguments were persuasive to enough people that the ERA was not ratified in the required
¾ of the United States. Thanks, ThoughtBubble. Sorry if I let my personal
feelings get in the way on that one. Anyway, Nixon didn’t have much to do with the continuing
sexual revolution; it would have continued without him because, you know, skoodilypooping
is popular. But, he was successfully reelected in 1972,
partly because his opponent was the democratic Barry Goldwater, George McGovern.
McGovern only carried one state and it wasn’t even his home state. It was Massachusetts.
Of course. But even though they couldn’t possibly lose,
Nixon’s campaign decided to cheat. In June of 1972, people from Nixon’s campaign broke
into McGovern’s campaign office, possibly to plant bugs. No, Stan, not those kinds of
bugs. Yes. Those. Now, we don’t know if Nixon actually knew
about the activities of the former employees of the amazingly acronym-ed CREEP, that is
the Committee for the Reelection of the President. But this break in at the Watergate hotel eventually
led to Nixon being the first and so far only American president to resign.
What we do know is this: Nixon was really paranoid about his opponents, even the ones
who appealed to 12% of American voters, especially after Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon
Papers to the New York Times in 1971. So, he drew up an enemies list and created
a special investigative unit called the plumbers whose job was to fix toilets. No, it was to
stop leaks. That makes more sense. I’m sorry, Stan, it’s just by then the
toilets in the White House were over 100 years old, I figured they might need some fixing,
but apparently no. Leaking. Nixon also taped all of the conversations
in the Oval Office and these tapes caused a minor constitutional crisis.
So, during the congressional investigation of Watergate, it became known that these tapes
existed, so the special prosecutor demanded copies.
Nixon refused, claiming executive privilege, and the case went all the way to the Supreme
Court, which ruled in U.S. v. Nixon that he had to turn them over. And this is important
because it means that the president is not above the law.
So, what ultimately doomed Nixon was not the break in itself, but the revelations that
he covered it up by authorizing hush money payments to keep the burglars silent and also
instructing the FBI not to investigate the crime.
In August of 1974, the House Judiciary Committee recommended that articles of impeachment be
drawn up against Nixon for conspiracy and obstruction of justice. But the real crime,
ultimately, was abuse of power, and there’s really no question about whether he was guilty
of that. So, Nixon resigned. Aw man, I was thinking I was going to get
away without a Mystery Document today. The rules here are simple.
I guess the author of the Mystery Document, and lately I’m never wrong.
Alright. Today I am an inquisitor. I believe hyperbole
would not be fictional and would not overstate the solemnness that I feel right now. My faith
in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. I am not going to sit here and
be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.”
Aw. I’m going to get shocked today. Is it Sam Ervin? Aw dang it! Gah!
Apparently it was African American congresswoman from Texas, Barbara Jordan. Stan, that is
much too hard. I think you were getting tired of me not being
shocked, Stan, because it’s pretty strange to end an episode on conservatism with a quote
from Barbara Jordan, whose election to Congress has to be seen as a huge victory for liberalism.
But I guess it is symbolic of the very things that many conservatives found unsettling in
the 1970s, including political and economic success for African Americans and women, and
the legislation that helped the marginalized. I know that sounds very judgmental, but on
the other hand, the federal government had become a huge part of every American’s life,
maybe too huge. And certainly conservatives weren’t wrong
when they said that the founding fathers of the U.S. would hardly recognize the nation
that we had become by the 1970s. In fact, Watergate was followed by a Senate
investigation by the Church Committee, which revealed that Nixon was hardly the first president
to abuse his power. The government had spied on Americans throughout
the Cold War and tried to disrupt the Civil Rights movement. And the Church Commission,
Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, Vietnam all of these things revealed a government that
truly was out of control and this undermined a fundamental liberal belief that government
is a good institution that is supposed to solve problems and promote freedom.
And for many Conservatives these scandals sent a clear signal that government couldn’t
promote freedom and couldn’t solve problems and that the liberal government of the New
Deal and the Great Society had to be stopped. Thanks for watching, I’ll see you next week.
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don’t forget to be awesome.

1968 Democratic Convention part 1



and without an understanding of this and of the atmosphere surrounding events there's no real understanding of what happened or why by the time the Democratic Party gathered for its National Convention in Chicago the summer of 1968 the atmosphere was as charged as before a violent storm millions of Americans watched in horror as the tragedy unfolded on television they were already in a state of stunned disbelief of grief and apprehension after a series of national tragedies 1968 had been one of the darkest years since the founding of the nation in January in Vietnam the Vietcong and North Vietnamese Unleashed the Tet Offensive and the month of brutal fighting that followed filled the home screens of America night after night television brought the butchery of war into the living room on April 4th in Memphis Martin Luther King jr. was assassinated riots broke out in more than a hundred cities 46 people were killed 10 of them in Washington the flames beyond the Capitol could be seen from the White House and of course on television then on the morning of June 6th the country awoke to the news that senator Bobby Kennedy's brief meteoric career had been snuffed out by still another assassination by the end of June the war in Vietnam had already lasted longer than any war in US history by the time of the convention in August 27 thousand Americans had been killed in Vietnam Chicago 1968 by producer Shana azita in 1968 Chicago won a significance beyond time and place an observer row it became an event in history like Waterloo or their side or Munich as the nation watched in rage and disbelief there were those who wondered whether the democratic process itself is being torn apart it had begun much like any other convention part circus part celebration but underneath the fanfara fury over the war in the jungles of Vietnam would unleash a struggle for control of the Democratic Party my main memory of 1968 that it was crowded and noisy and smoky and turbulent and at any minute I expected somebody to punch me in the nose the leading candidate was Hubert Humphrey as Lyndon Johnson's vice president the nomination should have been his for the taking but when he arrived in Chicago many questioned whether he could hold his party together long enough to win the election Humphrey wanted to be a president worse than anything in the world he had dreamed of it all his life and throughout his career you see this enormous drive to become president and and to get to the top of the political heap as vice president and his candidate Humphrey could not free himself from the grip of the president one place and one person dominated my life that election year Humphrey wrote the place yet now the person Lyndon Johnson everyone knew Humphrey as the president's man a captive candidate when he first went to the ranch after it became Johnson's running mate the first thing Johnson did was put him on a horse for the big Stetson and showed that he was Johnson's property basically who was dominated in every way by Johnson provides president in what ways do you disagree with President Johnson's positions with reference to Vietnam would you mind if I just stated my position on Vietnam because the President of the United States is not a candidate and I did not come here to repudiate the President of the United States I want that quite clear publicly Humphrey was supporting Johnson's war policies he could not forget the president's reactions months earlier when he had tried to carve out his own position on get them I recall waiting for him to come back the evening to see what happened and he came back and washed his hands obsessively in the washroom and and I didn't want to tell me well finally he told me that President Johnson had berated him said he would cause the death of his son-in-law and other American boys in Vietnam if he broke with the Johnson policy Johnson would have to publicly attack him as expedient and trying to hurt his own efforts toward peace Humphrey backed down it was the price he would have to pay for the nomination in 1968 a president still controlled the nominating process so if Humphrey had wanted to denounce the war policy or nine ounce his opposition to 2/7 Johnson could have retaliated by denying them him the nomination and I'm have no doubt that he would have but Humphrey chose to play by the rules he became the representative of Johnson's war but he failed to calculate was the force of opposition building within his own party challenging Humphrey where delegates led by anti-war candidate senator Eugene McCarthy McCarthy had based his entire candidacy on his opposition to the war on the convention floor his forces would lead a battle an insurrection against party regulars of the soul of the Democratic Party in the streets of Chicago another rebellion was taking place young people from all over the country have been arriving in the city they had come to demand an end to the war coordinating the demonstrations was a coalition of peace groups led by veteran pacifist David Dellinger David Dellinger was the soul and the heart of the movement a real pacifist who believed that at some point the goodness of the American people would come forth and would force the government to stop an unjust and world war by 1968 the anti-war movement had been waging its campaign for four years but the war kept escalating Dellinger believed the time had come to raise the ante we felt that we had to go from protest to resistance on the national scale because the war was getting expanding or horrendously there were 200 GIS coming home in body bags every week and somehow we had to stop it the demonstrators feared that the convention would be a rubber-stamp of the Johnson war policies and they wanted a massive and highly visible show of opposition you'd have to ask why the Democrats not the Republicans apart Lee because we were the children of the Democratic Party we were the children of the Democratic idea we expected nothing from Republicans we expected everything from Democrats to organize the protests Dellinger had recruited Rennie Davis a longtime activist and one of the most influential leaders of the anti-war movement Tom Hayden though considered a militant by many Hayden had agreed to keep the Chicago protests peaceful political pigs your days are numbered we are the second American Revolution we are winning gippy also in Chicago were the yuppies a fringe group led by Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin they're outlandish miss appealed to young people already in revolt against what they called white bread America stop it why are they up easy happy happy why are the hippies here well that's this we're not a carefully structured organization you'd have to ask each person Hoffman and Rubin had splashed onto the scene in the fall of 1967 announcing that they planned to levitate the Pentagon the Pentagon is gonna rise into the air and when it gets about 300 feet in the air it's gonna start to vibrate slowly at first and then a little quicker and all the evil spirits are gonna pour out the Pentagon's are very heavy Hoffman was a kind of world class character a true believer that if you said it loud enough funny enough and wild enough you get people to listen and maybe PT Barnum like there was a sucker born every minute he was gonna rope him in for good causes in his mind but he was a character together Hoffman and Rubin became darlings of the media months before the convention Hoffman and Rubin had turned their public relations savvy to Chicago and for that they invented the hippies yippie was born in a kind of dope dream as they sat around getting high they started playing around with words and came up somehow but hippy hippy youth international party yippie yippie i o calle and they were off and running the ups are Chicago as their ultimate stage for political theater in a typical irreverent gesture the youth international party would run a pig for the presidency and they announced that they were planning to bring half a million people to Chicago for a festival of life the festival of life sounded life anything and everything cutting loose from nude swimming in Lake Michigan to cavorting at all hours in the parks to sharing dope all night all day long they wanted a permit to put on their anarchists ball the ippi request outraged Chicago's mayor Richard J Daley the mayor was one of the most powerful Democrats in the country and President Johnson was counting on Daley a law-and-order man to keep control of the convention Mayor Daley was really the last of the great old big city titans he was unlike anybody else in the country at the time he was in charge Daley had a National Convention to run but now his city was facing the prospect of thousands of hostile demonstrators and the yippie tactics were only fueling his anxiety the types of threats that are made are absolutely preposterous but just as absolutely believed by the populace and by the mayor they talked about dumping LSD in the water filtration plant they were gonna get the whole city high we're gonna run away with the daughters of convention delegates sometimes they said they'd have huge Newtons at Lake Michigan they were going to break windows and turn over automobiles and use them all the top cocktails they didn't really digest each and every one of these threats but I think a siege mentality set in by mid-july the protestors had repeatedly sought permits for their demonstrations but the city was stalling they wanted to be able to do anything that they wanted to do they wanted to march in the street they wanted to block traffic they wanted use of the parks all night when the law was that the parks have to be clear at 11 o'clock at night they they just didn't want any law to apply against them they wanted to cause trouble fabbi assistant nose on your face daily was gambling that without permits there would be no demonstrations but the protest leaders had come too far to turn back we are pressing to be able to talk with the mayor and to hope that he will come to his shall I say good senses and to grant the permit for the kind of activity that it is absolutely necessary take place during a convention in wartime with just a month to go and still no permits a desperate Randy Davis reached out to Roger Wilkins at the Justice Department and I sit down across from this fellow who looks just like all those kids who went to University of Michigan with me in the 50s so you wonder are there to put on my purpose was to really persuade him that we really wanted a large mobilization which meant for us that it had to be peaceful I talked him for a long time trying very hard to listen deep under his words I just got a sense of a person who was telling me the truth who was truly concerned who had actually made real efforts to engage the city Wilkins agreed to approach the mayor we learn to see daily and I began to tell him about the conversation that I had with Renny and about five minutes into the conversation

1968 Democratic Convention



in 1968 Chicago won a significance beyond time and place and observe a road it became an event in history like Waterloo of our side or Munich as the nation watched in rage and disbelief there were those who wondered whether the democratic process itself is being torn apart it had begun much like any other convention Park Circus part celebration but underneath the fanfare fury over the war in the jungles of Vietnam would unleash a struggle for control of the Democratic Party my main memory of 1968 that it was crowded and noisy and smoky and turbulent and at any minute I expected somebody to punch me in the nose the leading candidate was Hubert Humphrey as Lyndon Johnson's vice president the nomination should have been his for the taking but when he arrived in Chicago many questioned whether he could hold his party together long enough to win the election well hey good to see you great Humphrey wanted to be president worse than anything in the world he had dreamed of it all his life and throughout his career you see this enormous drive to become president and and to get to the top of the political heap as vice president and his candidate Humphrey could not free himself from the grip of the president one place and one person dominated my life that election year Humphrey wrote the place yet now the person Lyndon Johnson everyone knew Humphrey as the president's man a captive candidate when he first went to the ranch after it became Johnson's running mate the first thing Johnson did was put him on a horse for the big Stetson and showed that he was Johnson's property basically who was dominated in every way by Johnson for vice-president in what ways do you disagree with President Johnson's positions with reference to Vietnam would you mind if I just stayed in my position on Vietnam because the President of the United States is not a candidate and I did not come here to repudiate the President of the United States I want that quite clear publicly Humphrey was supporting Johnson's war policies he could not forget the president's reactions months earlier when he had tried to carve out his own position on Vietnam I recall waiting for him to come back Kelley the evening to see what happened and he came back and washed his hands obsessively in the washroom and and I didn't want to tell me well finally he told me that President Johnson had berated him said he would cause the death of his son-in-law and other American boys in Vietnam if he broke with the Johnson policy Johnson would have to publicly attack him as expedient and trying to hurt his own efforts toward peace Humphrey backed down it was the price he would have to pay for the nomination in 1968 a president still controlled the nominating process so if Humphrey had wanted to denounce the war policy or nine ounce his opposition to 2/7 Johnson could have retaliated by denying them him the nomination and I'm have no doubt that he would have but Humphrey chose to play by the rules he became the representative of Johnson's war but he failed to calculate was the force of opposition building within his own party challenging Humphrey where delegates led by anti-war candidate senator Eugene McCarthy McCarthy had based his entire candidacy on his opposition to the war on the convention floor his forces would lead a battle an insurrection against party regulars for the soul of the Democratic Party in the streets of Chicago another rebellion was taking place young people from all over the country have been arriving in the city they had come to demand an end to the war coordinating the demonstrations was a coalition of peace groups led by veteran pacifist David Dellinger supposed inside for the police is that they yeah David Dellinger was the soul and the heart of the movement a real pacifist who believed that at some point the goodness of the American people would come forth and would force the government to stop an unjust and world war by 1968 the anti-war movement had been waging its campaign for four years but the war kept escalating Dellinger believed the time had come to raise the ante we felt that we had to go from protest to resistance on a national scale because the war was getting expanding or arenda sley there were 200 GIS coming home in body bags every week and somehow we had to stop it the demonstrators feared that the convention would be a rubber staff of the Johnson war policies and they wanted a massive and highly visible show of opposition you'd have to ask why the Democrats not the Republicans um apparently because we were the children of the Democratic Party we were the children of the Democratic idea we expected nothing from Republicans we expected everything from Democrats to organize the protest Dellinger had recruited Rennie Davis a longtime activist and one of the most influential leaders of the anti-war movement Tom Hayden though considered a militant by many Hayden had agreed to keep the Chicago protests peaceful political pigs your days are numbered we are the second American Revolution we are winning yippy puzzle in Chicago were the yuppies a fringe group led by Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin they're outlandish miss appealed to young people already in revolt against what they called white bread America mr. Hoppen why are the yuppies he happy happy why are the hippies here well that's uh since we're not a carefully structured organization you'd have to ask each person Hoffman and Rubin had splashed onto the scene in the fall of 1967 announcing that they planned to levitate the Pentagon the Pentagon is going to rise into the air and when it gets about 300 feet in the air it's gonna start to vibrate slowly it's burst and then a little quicker and all the evil spirits are gonna pour out the Pentagon's are very Abbie Hoffman was a kind of world class character a true believer that if you said it loud enough funny enough and wild enough you'd get people to listen and maybe PT Barnum like there was a sucker born every minute he was gonna rope him in for good causes in his mind but he was a character together Hoffman and Rubin became darlings of the media months before the convention Hoffman and Rubin had turned their public relations savvy to Chicago and for that they invented the hippies hippy was born in a kind of dope dream as they sat around getting high they started playing around with words and came up somehow with hippy hippy youth international party yippy yippy io calle and they were off and running the ups are Chicago as their ultimate stage for political theater in a typical irreverent gesture the youth international party would run a pig for the presidency and they announced that they were planning to bring half a million people to Chicago for a festival of life the festival of life sounded like anything and everything cutting loose from nude swimming in Lake Michigan to cavorting at all hours in the parks to sharing dope all night all day long they wanted a permit to put on their anarchist ball the ippi request outraged Chicago's mayor Richard J Daly the mayor was one of the most powerful Democrats in the country and President Johnson was counting on daily a law-and-order man to keep control of the convention Mayor Daley was really the last of the great old big-city Titans um he was unlike anybody else in the country at the time he was in charge Daly had a National Convention to run but now his city was facing the prospect of thousands of hostile demonstrators and the Yuppie tactics were only fueling his anxiety the types of threats that are made are absolutely preposterous but just as absolutely believed by the populace and by the mayor they talked about dumping LSD in the water filtration plant they were gonna get the whole city high we're gonna run away with the daughters of convention delegates sometimes they said they'd have huge Newton's at Lake Michigan they were going to break windows and turn over automobiles and use them all the tough cocktails they didn't really digest each and every one of these threats but I think a siege mentality set in by mid-july the protesters have repeatedly sought permits for their demonstrations but the city was stalling they they wanted to be able to do anything that they wanted to do they wanted to march in the street they wanted to block traffic they wanted use of the parks all night when the law was that the parks have to be clear at 11 o'clock at night they they just didn't want any law to apply against them they wanted to cause trouble it was as obvious as the nose on your face daily was gambling that without permits there would be no demonstrations but the protest leaders had come too far to turn back we are pressing to be able to talk with the mayor and to hope that he will come to his shall I say good senses and to grant the permits for the kind of activity that it is absolutely necessary take place during a convention in wartime with just a month to go and still no permits a desperate Rennie Davis reached out to Roger Wilkins at the Justice Department and I sit down across from his fellow who looks just like all those kids who went to University of Michigan with me in the 50s so you wonder or there to put on my purpose was to really persuade him that we really wanted a large mobilization which meant for us that it had to be peaceful I talked him for a long time trying very hard to listen deep under his words I just got a sense of a person who was telling me the truth who was truly concerned um who had actually made real efforts to engage the city Wilkins agreed to approach the mayor we want to see Daley and I began to tell him about the conversation that I had with Renny and about five minutes into the conversation red started coming up from Daly's color all these shells which seemed larger and larger and larger to me he launched into a monologue which I believe lasted about 25 minutes and when I tried to interrupt and say but mr. mayor he would just raise his voice when I walked away from Daly's office I thought we're gonna have Islands he's gonna unleash his Police Department Richard J Daly was the embodiment of power so tightly wrapped up its own righteousness that a kid hear any words but those words that are echoed back so he made it almost a morality play for those determined to protest the war in Vietnam Chicago had become a magnet I remember just before the convention my mother called me up and said and she lived in New York and she said be careful as careful of what I said you know this America I'm going out to Chicago I'm going to express minority point of view I'm going to lose and I'm going to go home and I just didn't see what what the big deal was when the plane landed there were ranks of soldiers all over the place and we felt like we flew into the middle of a military camp I was looking around sending myself ever seen anything like this in my life there was a phone strike on so those phones weren't working it was a taxicab strike on so you couldn't take a taxicab that a bus strikes you couldn't take a bus and it became very clear that the city and particularly the places where the delegates were we were on the siege at Lincoln Park the protest leadership organized self-defense sessions for the benefit of the cameras the press had arrived in droves and the demonstrators were eager to get their attention the first time that the media came up to film a snake dance I think Rennie Davis for toffee and said no we aren't really ready for this because yeah we got a train a little bit more and you know could be a kin a couple days it's a very grueling thing to do bouncing from one leg to the other holding arms with somebody here's a picture of me somewhere in it bouncing up and down and looking rather silly I think but it did look impressive for the 30 seconds he done any knows but Sunday the day before the convention two thousand demonstrators gathered in Lincoln Park some 10 miles away from the convention amphitheater Lincoln Park that first day it was quite festive hmm it was both festive and tense depending I think on who you were if you were gathered around Allen Ginsberg going home it felt very mellow but for many of us there was a lot of tension in the air and a real sense of foreboding because the police weren't all around it was small would have been one of our smaller demonstrations we were getting much bigger crowds a hundred thousand in Washington it would have been a pimple a footnote a blemish on history but they made a mistake protest leaders argued that the demonstrators had nowhere to sleep but the park daily is enough of a politician to know that those are tactics on the part of the other side that if he allows them to stay all night in the park then they'll answer to something else that they think is unreachable it's it's a game their objective is not to be able to sleep in the park their objective is to have a fight with policemen in about 11 o'clock the police lined up and long almost shoulder-to-shoulder must have been must be a couple thousand ow and we were aware that at eleven o'clock that stagecoach was going to turn into a pumpkin or something that's going to happen the police appeared with helmets and gas masks and there's these tear gas canisters fired into the park kind of as an announcement that they're coming the tear gas is pretty awful stuff and there's panicking and running and everybody's running out of the park and falling over each other and then please come after them with billy clubs the police just went went while you had large men with long clubs whacking anybody they could get their hands on and if they caught somebody they had them on the ground we're kicking them until they seem to be submissive and then they would move on and grab the next one their willingness to use violence was so far beyond anything any of us anticipated I just don't understand to this day how people can think that if a police officer collars somebody at the corner of Balboa in Michigan they're under arrest they don't have a right to struggle with policemen they don't have a right to try to run from policemen see all little kids on side streets all of America know all this stuff a group of intellectuals from the suburbs of the 1950s and 60s didn't understand that they were spoiled brats who thought that they do better than everybody in an awful lot of the kids were just involved in a trigger thrill but they were being encouraged to do things they shouldn't do by these sophisticated guys whose idea was to really shame the United States government we dare to defy their authority and now as a fundamental provocation and no more was needed we weren't ready to store the best deal rather in this case the Bastille decided to store us and when they made that decision to kick us out of the park that night to not let us just hang out and sleep over the joy was cast Monday August 26 the Democrats convened at the international amphitheater to nominate their presidential candidate as convention host Richard Daley felt he had the distance the Democratic Party from the anti-war protest we have no flag burner in this Democratic National Convention and I don't think anything would belong here 89 million Americans would be watching the convention on television more than any other political event of its time and the mayor was concerned that the party appear United that optimistic no matter what went on in the streets by 1968 television was the medium for the convention of to conventions existed for television and people look to television for what was happening but the network's ability to broadcast anything outside of the amphitheater was severely constrained daily blamed it on a strike by electrical workers the network's could still cover the demonstrations but they had no way to broadcast these scenes live I have always believed the Daley and the Democratic machine of Chicago which was also very friendly to the President Lyndon Johnson were trying to prevent the coverage of anything that happened outside the convention hall and the way they did that was to deny us connections it was all an attempt to let us cover what they wanted to see covered and not let us cover what we wanted to cover it is becoming clear that the story was in the streets with the protesters Humphry had come to Chicago expecting triumph he was met with scorn a man wearing a McCarthy button shouted you used to be our hero he was under enormous pressure from the left from the right from the center but a big surprise that he feared most was that Johnson would change his mind and come to Chicago and present himself as the candidate even from his ranch in Texas Johnson would control Humphrey and the convention at the platform hearings Humphrey told his staff to negotiate a Vietnam position that made concessions to the peace forces he believed it held the only hope of uniting the Democrats three then called the president with the compromise Johnson struck it down Humphry would have nothing to offer the anti-war delegates the peace delegates were determined their views on Vietnam be heard they brought their own Vietnam plank to the floor they were not there as Democrats they had no interest particularly in democratic politics they were fundamentally interested in getting that peace plank through by and large we were Outsiders and we were imposing on them and they made it very clear to us we didn't belong there they wanted us to go away to keep a tight rein on the proceedings a high level of security was ordered inside the hall the ushers came from a company called Andy frame and if they would see that you were wearing them a governor or a McCarthy pin they would stop you and you would take your badge which was on a string around your neck and you would hold it up and no matter which side you would hold up the the Andy frame would grab your arm by the elbow and twist it this way and say I have to see the other side and they would pick your arm up so you really your shoulder hurt they didn't want anybody to speak up act up or get in their way as Monday blurred into Tuesday tensions in the hall escalated and the fighting between the demonstrators and police intensified the police officers saw order as their job the protesters saw disorder as their goal both sides work themselves up to get angrier and angrier the Chicago policemen who were in the streets of Chicago were from blue-collar families they didn't have any opportunities to go to college and I think those Chicago police officers didn't understand why these kids the sons and daughters of the affluent were out in the streets trying to wreck the system I felt that they were just he young students that a very little life behind them and a lot of life in front of them and they were easily swayed and that they were I guess venting their anxieties out of society and we were there to stop him but when we had a obey a lawful commands from our superiors to clear the streets we did it usually fast and efficiently and effectively we were provocative there's no question we were provocative but again our provocation was with a purpose we thought that we were being provocative in order to expose the true nature of the convention and of the police and of the army we didn't want that true nature to go unnoticed fighting was becoming a nightly ritual and the park was turning into a war zone the first thing that would occur would be these great cannons that would billow tear gas into the park you get this kind of eerie ghost-like radiance coming through the mists and then out of this fog would come these men and helmets and slapping their their nightsticks against their hand and these eerie mass to protect himself from the gas you just felt like you were in a science fiction movie the toll it takes on your body is unreal you've got to build yourself up to where you think you've got enough guts to go into the rites and then after it's through a lot of times I went home and I had a stiff drink and Paige's cigarettes just to come down and then you go to bed after a couple of hours trying to get some sleep he generally couldn't sleep and wake up the next morning or the next afternoon like a truck hit you and it was time to go right back in you're so nervous you wondering when you're gonna get hurt you don't know if somebody's gonna throw a brick at you or Molotov cocktail or human excrement which they threw in us you just don't know one particular hippie that got knocked down started hollering medic medic and it seemed like in the middle of a riot the whole riot stopped two hippies would armed beings put crosses on the runs for ambience came out ran through this guy picked him up we all stood their watch took him off to the side and then the right continued Tuesday night the peace delegates had been promised a televised debate on Vietnam in primetime but now the convention managers were delay pushing the debate past midnight when the audience would be far smaller the fact that we were going to talk about what was going on in Vietnam while all of the country watched was not something that the administration wanted instead what the nation saw were scuffles breaking out between peace delegates and security hey take your hands off my maybe not yours were shocked to see a television reporter drawn into the fray walter eucken played by 1:00 in the morning enraged peace delegates demanded the convention adjourn and the debate be rescheduled when we weren't recognized being our polite adult cells then we started to yell and we yelled let's go home let us out of here we can't take this anymore with the convention disintegrating into chaos daily gave the convention managers the signal to clear the hall question is on the motion so many is in favor vote aye those opposed no the eyes have it accordingly the house stands adjourned until 12 o'clock minutes later daily sent the National Guard into the streets to back up the weary acog o police the demonstrators had massed across the street from the Hilton Hotel which housed the Humphrey and McCarthy headquarters as well as hundreds of delegates the crowd was bigger and more vocal than on previous nights and the police overall were easily triggered [Applause] late into the night Tom Hayden rallied the crowd is the day that this operation has been 24 for some time we are going to gather here we are going to make our way to the atmosphere by any means necessary [Applause] Wednesday August 28 all the passions that it streamed into Chicago would be exhausted by day's end the politics of law and order would win out over the politics of protest Wednesday is the day that it's all about this is what 1968 has come to this is the day that the war is to be ratified and Humphrey is to be nominated it would have been best for us if that whole day had never existed had been bottled out from the calendar the whole day's debate was a negative for us there was nothing good which could have come out at noon the debate over Vietnam began there's a minority among us represented over in Grant Park who would substitute beards for brain license for liberty [Applause] and they would substitute riots for reason [Applause] the anti-war forces now had their chance to argue their case before a national audience this is the moment of truth for the Democratic Party the struggle on the floor of this convention will determine whether we have the courage to say that we were wrong and even greater courage to chart a course towards peace in Vietnam I am supporting a plank that gives the American voters some hope for an end to this miserable war we are not outside the mainstream of the Democratic Party we agree with the voters in every Democratic primary stop the war [Applause] at the same time at the bandshell in Grant Park 15,000 people are gathered for a rally that the city had grudgingly authorized but the legality of the gathering did nothing to reassure the police there was a group of policemen and they were in a fight mood by then I noticed their gloves and they there's a type of glove that they felt was shot birdshot and it makes them you know makes a punch be a very damaging thing and I yelled at him and I talked to their commander and told him to make these guys drop these things and they did they put them all on the ground when I told him to but it was that same group that about an hour later when sailing into the crowd as the rally got underway a teenage boy climbed the flagpole there's a band show had lowered the American flag the police see is a terrible thing that's happening to the American flag and they decided to come in and make an arrest and as a rest they you know they blow the crowd away that's around the flagpole move in great force and pull this person out the arrest riled the crowd what you throw on the rocks come on the protest organizers felt they were losing control I told people sit down sit down don't throw anything that's exactly what they want they want to start a riot to prevent a confrontation Rennie Davis rushed over to set up a line of marshals between the police and the restless' demonstrators and then I turn with a bullhorn to face the police and acknowledge that we have a permit for this and we're asking the police to withdraw to relieve the tension well that just really set everything off as they approached me many many policemen shouting we're gonna kill Davis and had a that word kill had a certain ring to it that was not just a slogan the police targeted Davis and beat him unconscious and then all hell broke loose the police started marching into the crowd but they were marching in phalanx and simply beating up or beating back anybody that was in their way this assault in broad daylight was a turning point for days of running battle that fractured the protest leadership David Dellinger believed in the symbolic power of a peaceful march to the amphitheater he never wavered in his commitment to non-violence but Tom Hayden was abandoning that position and now words guerrilla tactics in the streets the people are gonna line up to try to march out and at that point they're gonna be tight enough on this side for us to come in and start just tell him in small numbers like move to the little I was trying to keep my head while I was going out of my mind I was reacting to the fact that Rennie was down bleeding somewhere that I thought Dave was leading us in his good-natured way into a deadly trap where we would all be arrested as Dillinger tried to calm the crowd Haden confronted you he came up and said we are taking over the platform and the microphone now because the police have done these terrible things and you kept calling for non-violence and that's not realistic finally I look him in the eye and said that's not true I'm not giving up the microphone Tom Hayden Rabb's the microphone away from Dave Dellinger in a kind of passionate anger he tells the audience listen if blood is gonna flow let it flow this whole stinking city he disrupted and violated he lets it all loose in that speech in any organized way you should float out in small groups don't get trapped in some kind of large organized Mart's which can be surrounded I'll see you in the streets Davis getting hurt changed Tom Haines perspective on what was happening in Chicago he started to really believe I think his most wild rhetoric the police were like the Gestapo in Germany something was really wrong you could be killed here for no reason it's gonna be worse on Europe yeah but the point of devil development yeah I changed into a wacky disguise I think I had on a beer to the football helmet my goal is very primal to get back to the Conrad Hilton so that if they were going to beat us up or gas us that it would happen in full view of the convention delegates and the American people the two demonstrators followed Hayden to the Hilton but many 6,000 at all chose peaceful protests and lined up behind David Dellinger waiting for them was a line of policemen Dellinger tried to negotiate with the police he had done this in other cities where officials ultimately had relented they know marks will be no much there's no permit to March Chicago's police had been told that the demonstrators fully intended to disrupt the convention what they had heard at the ban shall only inflame their fears though will they know March today all right I felt that I had led this group of people into a trap people who had been committed to non-violence we're now saying it doesn't work they killed Martin Luther King and we've got to take on new methods I just felt like a total failure the police began to break up the line thousands of demonstrators headed for the bridges leading out of the park there they were stopped by armed units of the National Guard the Guard was under orders to keep the protesters away from the amphitheater of the delegate hotels as the demonstrators were being kept at bay the delegates were finally building on the peace plane and the direction of the war on the minority report the yeas are 1041 and the peace forces were handed a crushing defeat the minority report is not a Greek the convention had voted to support the war Humphreys nomination was a foregone conclusion [Applause] the rebels broke into there and to drown them out party managers directed the band to strike up another two Democrats could no longer listen to each other [Applause] we were desolate all of the work that we had done all of the effort we had made had it seemed to us come to naught and although we knew better I suppose in our minds our hearts were broken I don't remember who was day or night I remember who was there I just remember all of a sudden the floor was empty I mean I only remember the people leaving and there was a group of people marching in a circle in front of the podium and they had flags and I got up and I started to march with them and I eventually held one of the flags we marched around and Marie was sweating his like was in a football game or some kindest emotional outlet I don't think anyone said anything we just just did it by evening Mayor Daley's deepest fear was coming true 7000 demonstrators had made their way to the intersection in front of the hill ugliness it was designed to provoke it was designed to arouse it was designed to show hatred cursing anger fury you can't ask us to protest politely so you can dismiss us we're going to protest with every fiber of our being and that kind of sense allows you to go back and put yourself in the way of a billy club I really don't know what started the intersection to go up for grabs but the whole place just went up for grabs a half an hour into the standoff the police began to retake the intersection you ordered to sweep the street and clear the street and that's what we did they went anyway I could pull it away someone easy some didn't go so easy and when they don't then you take them any way that they want to come with sometimes license plate further than the way many but who were we we were their sons and daughters we weren't some invading army from the outside it was their worst nightmare we were an invading army from the inside and I think it's part of what freaked them out it was a wild scene I really thought that the police had lost their cool and they were totally out of control for a while I thought the protesters were a bunch of fools and I I felt terrible and I thought it was an awful thing to see the crowd chanted the whole world is watching convinced at the sight of young people being beaten by police would stir a public outcry far above the fighting on the 25th floor of the Hilton Humphrey waited for the nominating process to begin he had survived the minefields of a difficult political season now he was in reach of victory he's very tense everyone knows what's going on downstairs he goes over to the window a couple times and one of those windows in the suite was open and some of that tear gas is wafting up those 20 floors and you see him go over there and kind of shake his head and then walks away into his own secret health at eight o'clock the delegates gathered to name their presidential candidate I came here from San Francisco to talk to you about Gilbert Horatio Humphrey as the nation focused its attention on the convention floor the fighting in front of the Hilton subsided but images of the bloodshed were only now trickling into the broadcast centers during the nomination process the monitors for events around the town started to light up and I was ignoring it because it was over my shoulder and I had enough to do just trying to control what we were showing of events on the floor until Chad Knaus Hilda was in charge of me outside activities screamed at me look at these you son of a bitch and I turned around and there was seeing the police beating up kids in a way that I had not seen before news executives faced an unprecedented dilemma should they cut away from the selection of a presidential candidate to cover an event that it happened earlier that evening do I use this or don't I use this is it news or is a propaganda you know and I don't have time for a seminar and finally I decided this was news and that's what we were there for and we had to show it oh hell I told Huntley and Brinkley just enough for them to say what was going on this is on tape since again we're not able to cover it live the tape you're about to see was made about 30 to 40 minutes ago and we rolled the tape [Applause] he would help Freesat helpless and the American people watched his nomination through a prism of violence and turmoil I'm sure he must have felt sick at heart that the image being portrayed to the rest of the country was that one of disunity and violence obviously he knew that and knew it would hurt him which concern mr. chairman most delegates to this convention do not know that thousands of young people are being beaten in the streets of Chicago and for that reason I request the suspension of the rule to relocate the convention in another city Wisconsin in ominous noise with that purpose the reality for the viewing American people was what they saw via their television screen and the screen was showing them at a critical moment the convention violence conflict disorder and with George McGovern is President of the United States we wouldn't have to have Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago [Applause] but there was a sense that we were some kind of 1932 Nazi regime enforcing our well the convention hall with police clubs inside and outside the hall it was dreadful and added to the public perception that we Democrats could not run a convention much less a country finally at 11:22 balloting began because of the atrocities in downtown Chicago Georgia loyal national Democrats cast their votes only with reluctance that my hand this is fun you know dejected they would do predictive for that the Pennsylvania half two and one-half vote for Senator McGovern all his life he had waited for this moment and 103 is big country acted the part of the happy nominee that he was now the leader of a perfect party [Applause] there was nothing to celebrate but wreckage the night vice president he was nominated was one of the most dismal that either he or any of us around him have experienced it was like a wake normally you would expect that having won the nomination of your party culmination of life's ambition for Humphrey there would be a joyousness any Latian a desire to get on with the battle in the general election instead everyone was subdued depressed speaking in hushed voices just gritting our teeth warning the convention to end following Humphries nomination anti-war delegates left the hall for a candlelight march through the streets one political observer noted the Democrats are finished for the demonstrators the whole world was watching but opinion polls later showed that a majority of Americans had turned against them declaring he represented the lawn shouders The Forgotten Americans