The Influence of the Student Protest Movement on United States' 1960's Essay

The Influence of the Student Protest Movement on United States' 1960's Essay

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The 1960’s was a decade filled with controversies and the fight for equality. The Student Protest Movement was the fuel to the fire that feed many protests on several important matters. At the beginning the students stood for a positive change in America. It is certain that such beliefs gave theses activist the title of dreamers. They would start small but eventually make their way up against the government, also known as “the man”. The beginning of the movement held different beliefs from what eventually cause its end. I believe that at first the movement had high hopes of achieving success for others, but by the end, the movement accompanied by many opposing viewpoints, began to lose sight of what they had set out to do in the first place. While some goals were eventually met, many were faced with a negative outcome. Their optimism was matched by the want for change in the United States, but it would begin to fall along with the goals of the SDS.
The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was the backbone to the Student Protest Movement. In 1959 the SDS was a coalition of socialist, liberals, and unclassified radicals, who vowed to “raise issues” about social questions as long as the solution did not endanger the “values of maximum freedom for the individual.”(Unger 52) Soon SDS became a new left political organization with a university campus base. Most of the members were in college or recent college graduates. Their outlook on America had been tarnished by the wars, racism, and poverty. They did not like intuitions or bureaucracies and felt America should have a participatory democracy where the people could join in making political decisions that affected their lives (Unger 54). The SDS did not have many members and was i...


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...to the idea that “if the government want stop the war, we will stop the government” (Unger 194). Their outlook was to stick it to “the man”, that was until they needed “the man”. Dreamers is a term often used to describe the students of the movement, but when looking back on their protest I found most only wanted to rebel. With a strong leader and one central focus I believe the SDS could have had a greater impact on the Student Protest Movement. “But perhaps that is the way of revolutions: they are, to quote John Adams on the American Revolution, primarily events in the mind and hearts of the people.”(Unger 208)


Works Cited
Loeb, Paul Rogat. Generation at the crossroads apathy and action on the American campus. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers UP, 1994. Print.
Unger, Irwin. Movement, a history of the American New Left, 1959-1972. New York: Harper & Row, 1974. Print

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