The Democratic Convention held in 1968 served as a significant event in the cultural and political history of the United States. The Vietnam War had caused the contentious politics at the convention (McGowen and Tom 6). In fact, the violence between those who were against the Vietnam War and the Police destroyed the image of the Chicago and created a bad name, which has not been recovered up to date.
The main cause of the demonstrations and the riots at the 1968 Chicago Convention was the opposition towards the War in Vietnam. Anti-War activists had met in Illinois where they planned the protests, marched to the convention, and clashed with the police where consequently the riots arose (McGowen and Tom 8). In fact, the announcement made by President Johnson that he would not be seeking re-election created uncertainty among the anti-war group. Most the activists who were against the war in Vietnam were now involved in the presidential campaigns of those who opposed the war, including Senators Kennedy Robert, George McGoven, and McCathy.
In early April, there was pressure to have Hubert Humphrey the Vice President to run for the presidency. Humphrey joined the race on 27 April and since he had a close association with President Johnson, the plans for demonstrations in Chicago continued. Another major event that preceded the 1968 Democratic Convention was the assassination of Martin Luther King who was the rights activists’ leader. Riots broke throughout the United States, including Chicago, where the then Mayor, Daley gave the police a shoot to kill order. Several people were killed, including an artistic icon Andy Warhol (Kush and Frank 28). Moreover, on 5 June, Kennedy Robert who was a presidential candidate was shot after winning the California primaries. Although died the next day, his death intensified the protests.
It is worth noting that various protests were launched against the war in Vietnam, which led to the closure of some universities, death of activists, as well as police brutality. In essence, the police were mobilized to make sure that no one accessed the amphitheater where the convention was being held without accreditation.
Kusch, Frank. Battleground Chicago: The Police and the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008. Print
McGowen, Tom. The 1968 Democratic Convention. New York: Children’s Press, 2003. Print.