Explain why 1968 was a watershed year for the United States.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1968 was a watershed year for a number of very important reasons.  They include:

  • The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.
  • The Tet Offensive and President Johnson choosing not to run for reelection.
  • The chaos at the Democratic convention in Chicago.
  • The election of Richard Nixon.

These events had a tremendous impact on the United States.  The King assassination and the riots that followed harmed race relations tremendously.  So did the Nixon campaign’s “southern strategy.”  The Democratic convention and Nixon’s election helped to create the deep liberal-conservative splits that we feel today.  The Tet Offensive led to the end of US involvement in the Vietnam War. 

These events changed the American political and social landscape in ways that continue to be felt today.