A timeline of facts surrounding the events leading up to the 1968 election is presented to provide historical context.
1968 looms large in our national memory. The Vietnam War. Political assassinations. The space race. Women's rights. The Cold War. Race relations. Student street protests. A fractious presidential election. In this lesson, students will hear from authors, professors and journalists as well as view archived video of elected officials to learn about the rise of the political left and right in 1968 and its impact on the presidential election of that year.
As a class, view the following videos and engage in class discussion to provide context for the year 1968.
VIDEO CLIP 1: 1968 Election: Year in Context for Democratic Presidential Candidates (2:23)
VIDEO CLIP 2: 1968 Election: Year in Context for Republican Presidential Candidates (:47)
Students can use the accompanying handout to take notes on the key people and events that are discussed as they view the videos in this lesson.
Note-taking Chart: Politics in 1968 (Google Doc)
Divide students into groups to view the following collection of videos that are grouped according to party affiliation. Students can take notes to record key points as they relate to this historic time and the impact the people and events had on the country and politics.
VIDEO CLIP 3: President Lyndon Johnson's Administration in Early 1968 (2:23)
VIDEO CLIP 4: Democratic Party in 1968: Eugene McCarthy (4:25)
VIDEO CLIP 5: Sen. Robert F. Kennedy Presidential Campaign Announcement (4:03)
VIDEO CLIP 6: 1968 Presidential Race: Eugene McCarthy's Response to Robert Kennedy's Announcement (3:30)
VIDEO CLIP 7: 1968 Presidential Race: Robert Kennedy's Campaign and His Impact on His Supporters (5:39)
VIDEO CLIP 8: 1968 Democratic Convention (2:36)
VIDEO CLIP 9: 1968 Democratic Convention: Hubert Humphrey's Acceptance Speech (1:56)
VIDEO CLIP 10: 1968 Presidential Election Results (1:47)
VIDEO CLIP 11: 1964-1968: State of the Republican Party (8:53)
VIDEO CLIP 12: 1968: Unrest in the U.S. (2:38)
VIDEO CLIP 13: 1968 Democratic National Convention: The Chicago Demonstrations (4:28)
VIDEO CLIP 14: 1968 Election: Republican Candidates (7:06)
VIDEO CLIP 15: Richard Nixon Explains Why He is Running for President of the U.S. (4:20)
VIDEO CLIP 16: 1968 Republican Platform (4:08)
VIDEO CLIP 17: Richard Nixon 1968 Nomination Speech (3:09)
VIDEO CLIP 18: 1968 Presidential Election Results (2:12)
Have students share the information they learned from the videos through class discussion. Some questions to consider are:
Describe the circumstances of each party leading into 1968 as well as the unrest that was occurring throughout the country during this time.
Who were the key people involved with the politics for each party? Explain their significance, role and impact.
Explain the circumstances surrounding the clashes that occurred in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic Convention and the impact on each party.
Explain the messages that are being delivered by Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey as they delivered their acceptance speeches at their respective party's conventions.
As a class, view the videos below to learn about the significance of this time period.
VIDEO CLIP 19: Impact of the 1968 Election on the Democratic Party (4:11)
VIDEO CLIP 20: 1968 Legacy of the Conservative Movement (3:10)
Consider the facts on your note-taking chart and the information obtained during class discussion. Choose a subject you would like to explore and select an activity to express your understanding of this year in politics. Some examples may be:
create an artifact to contribute to a class museum exhibit: a campaign ad for a candidate illustrating details for your support of him; an ad expressing your sentiment for unrest that was occurring in the country; a newspaper article chronicling what you experienced at a rally or campaign event
In a paper, explain the legacy of the events that occurred during 1968 and impact they had on each party.