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Explain how the events of 1968 led to a massive loss of hope among people of the left.

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sarahgeorge | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 14, 2013 at 3:52 AM via web

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Explain how the events of 1968 led to a massive loss of hope among people of the left.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 14, 2013 at 4:49 AM (Answer #1)

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There were at least three main events in 1968 that led to this loss of hope.  These included two assassinations and an election.

For people on the left, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were heartbreaking.  The assassination of King helped to emphasize the idea that the vision of racial equality and progress that King had put forward was dead.  After the Voting Rights Act of 1965, racial progress had stalled.  This led to increasing frustration.  King’s death was the climax of this frustration and emphasized the hopelessness of the situation.  Kennedy’s assassination robbed the political left of hope for a new, charismatic leader.  They had hoped that Kennedy could recreate his older brother’s charisma and could lead a new liberal coalition.  His death left the liberal movement without a real leader.

Added to this was the electoral victory of Richard Nixon.  Nixon’s win was a win for the right.  It was a win for the “Silent Majority” and for what the liberals saw as the Republican Party’s divisive “Southern Strategy.”  This helped cause liberals to lose hope and to feel that the liberal tide of the ‘60s was indeed receding. 

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sarahgeorge | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 14, 2013 at 4:50 PM (Answer #2)

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There were at least three main events in 1968 that led to this loss of hope.  These included two assassinations and an election.

For people on the left, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were heartbreaking.  The assassination of King helped to emphasize the idea that the vision of racial equality and progress that King had put forward was dead.  After the Voting Rights Act of 1965, racial progress had stalled.  This led to increasing frustration.  King’s death was the climax of this frustration and emphasized the hopelessness of the situation.  Kennedy’s assassination robbed the political left of hope for a new, charismatic leader.  They had hoped that Kennedy could recreate his older brother’s charisma and could lead a new liberal coalition.  His death left the liberal movement without a real leader.

Added to this was the electoral victory of Richard Nixon.  Nixon’s win was a win for the right.  It was a win for the “Silent Majority” and for what the liberals saw as the Republican Party’s divisive “Southern Strategy.”  This helped cause liberals to lose hope and to feel that the liberal tide of the ‘60s was indeed receding. 

Thank you 

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