Law and Politics

Start Free Trial

How did Mayor Daley’s administration handle the situation at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago 1968, before, during, and after?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As the city of Chicago prepared to host the 1968 Democratic Presidential Convention, Mayor Richard Daley saw it as an opportunity to put his city in the national spotlight. When Daley hosted the 1956 convention in his city, it helped propel him to prominence within the party. He hoped that the 1968 convention would be just as noteworthy. In fact, Daley had personally convinced President Johnson to hold the convention in Chicago, arguing that the move would be necessary to secure a Democratic victory there.

Daley's hopes were frustrated when demonstrations occurred outside the convention. Anti-war protesters used the convention as a way to publicize their position. Daley refused to issue the protesters permits to legally demonstrate and mobilized 12,000 members of the city's police force to counter them if they tried. Walter Cronkite compared the atmosphere before the convention to that of a police state.

After protesters clashed with police, Daley was quick to condemn the protesters and support his police force. The police had used tear gas and had beat a number of protesters to the point of hospitalization. Despite conflicting reports, Daley maintained that it was the anti-war protesters who started the violence. It seems that the majority of Americans supported Daley's tough response. Daley remained a successful politician and was elected to two more terms as Chicago's mayor. However, the violence at the convention became a stain on the Democratic party and may have cost them the presidential election.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial