Kent State University Protests

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Mischke 1

One of the most violent protests of the Vietnam War took place in May of 1970 at Kent State University in Ohio. Protests were common across America during the war but this was by far the most violent. On May 4, l970 members of the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd of Kent State University protesters, killing four and wounding nine of the Kent State students. The event triggered a nationwide student strike that caused many colleges and universities to shut down . This deeply divided the country politically and made ordinary citizens take notice of the protests that were taking place across the nation’s college campuses.

Bringing the Ohio National Guard onto the Kent State University campus was related to america being involved in the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon was elected president of the United States in 1968 based in part on his promise to bring an end to the war. In late April of 1970 the United States invaded Cambodia and expanded the Vietnam War.

Protests occurred the next day, Friday, May 1, across United States college campuses where anti-war viewpoints ran high. At Kent State University, many speeches against the war and the Nixon administration were given. Satrom, the Mayor was fearful that local forces would be insufficient to meet the amount of protesters, and he called the Governor's office to make an official request for assistance from the Ohio National Guard for the protest on Monday. At noon on Monday May 4th, General Canterbury of the National Guard made the decision to order the protesters to clear out. A Kent State police officer standing by the Guard made an announcement using a bullhorn. When the protesters did not clear out, they drove across the Commons and started to tell eve...

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...vent changed the way protests were handled and many of the same laws apply to demonstrations today. There have been other protest that have gotten out of hand but none that compare to what happened at Kent State. New laws that require permits and specific places that protests can be held came into law after this event. Society today still holds protests over many things, the war in Iraq, the recession, and many other political ideas. This event showed me that their are many events in history that can change someones mind about the world. This event made me understand more of why people take sides in different ways. The senseless killing of these students reminds everyone that no matter what political view you have , you should have the right to protest peacefully as stated in the constitution. Everyone has the same rights and responsibilities as US citizens.
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