1968 Democratic National Convention

The 1968 Democratic National Convention was held August 26–29 at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois. As President Lyndon B. Johnson had announced he would not seek reelection, the purpose of the convention was to select a new presidential nominee to run as the Democratic Party's candidate for the office.[1] The keynote speaker was Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).[2] Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey and Senator Edmund S. Muskie of Maine were nominated for President and Vice President, respectively.

The convention was held during a year of violence, political turbulence, and civil unrest, particularly riots in more than 100 cities[3] following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4.[4] The convention also followed the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy on June 5.[5] Both Kennedy and Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota had been running for the Democratic nomination at the time.

1968 Democratic National Convention
1968 presidential election
Hubert Humphrey crop
Edmund Muskie (1)
Humphrey and Muskie
Date(s)August 26–29, 1968
CityChicago, Illinois
VenueInternational Amphitheatre
Presidential nomineeHubert Humphrey of Minnesota
Vice Presidential nomineeEdmund Muskie of Maine
Other candidatesEugene McCarthy
George McGovern

Before the convention

Film of the convention shot inside the convention center by the United States Information Agency

The Democratic Party, which controlled the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House, was divided in 1968. Senator Eugene McCarthy entered the campaign in November 1967, challenging incumbent President Johnson for the Democratic nomination. Robert F. Kennedy entered the race in March 1968. Johnson, facing dissent within his party, and having only barely won the New Hampshire primary, dropped out of the race on March 31.[6] Vice President Hubert Humphrey then entered into the race, but did not compete in any primaries; he inherited the delegates previously pledged to Johnson and then collected delegates in caucus states, especially in caucuses controlled by local Democratic party leaders. After Kennedy's assassination on June 5, the Democratic Party's divisions grew.[5] At the moment of Kennedy's death the delegate count stood at Humphrey 561.5, Kennedy 393.5, McCarthy 258.[7] Kennedy's murder left his delegates uncommitted.

Support within the party was divided between Senator McCarthy, who ran a decidedly anti-war campaign and was seen as the peace candidate,[8] Vice President Humphrey, who was seen as the candidate representing the Johnson point of view,[9] and Senator George McGovern, who appealed to some of the Kennedy supporters.


Before the start of the convention on August 26, several states had competing slates of delegates attempting to be seated at the convention. Some of these delegate credential fights went to the floor of the convention on August 26, where votes were held to determine which slates of delegates representing Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina would be seated at the convention. The more racially integrated challenging slate from Texas was defeated.[10]


In the end, the Democratic Party nominated Humphrey. Even though 80 percent of the primary voters had been for anti-war candidates, the delegates had defeated the peace plank by 1,567¾ to 1,041¼.[11] The loss was perceived to be the result of President Johnson and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley influencing behind the scenes.[11] Humphrey, who had not entered any of 13 state primary elections, won the Democratic nomination, and went on to lose the election to the Republican Richard Nixon.[12]

Final ballot

Presidential candidate Presidential tally Vice Presidential candidate Vice Presidential tally
Hubert Humphrey 1759.25 Edmund S. Muskie 1942.5
Eugene McCarthy 601 Not Voting 604.25
George S. McGovern 146.5 Julian Bond[13] 48.5
Channing E. Phillips 67.5 David Hoeh 4
Daniel K. Moore 17.5 Edward M. Kennedy 3.5
Edward M. Kennedy 12.75 Eugene McCarthy 3.0
Paul W. "Bear" Bryant 1.5 Others 16.25
James H. Gray Sr. 0.5
George Wallace 0.5

Source: Keating Holland, "All the Votes... Really," CNN[14]

Dan Rather incident

CBS News correspondent Dan Rather was grabbed by security guards and roughed up while trying to interview a Georgia delegate being escorted out of the building.[15] CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite turned his attention towards the area where Rather was reporting from the convention floor.[15] Rather was grabbed by security guards after he walked towards a delegate who was being hauled out, and asked him "what is your name, sir?" Rather was wearing a microphone headset and was then heard on national television repeatedly saying to the guards "don't push me" and "take your hands off me unless you plan to arrest me".[15]

After the guards let go of Rather, he told Cronkite:

"Walter ... we tried to talk to the man and we got violently pushed out of the way. This is the kind of thing that has been going on outside the hall, this is the first time we've had it happen inside the hall. We ... I'm sorry to be out of breath, but somebody belted me in the stomach during that. What happened is a Georgia delegate, at least he had a Georgia delegate sign on, was being hauled out of the hall. We tried to talk to him to see why, who he was, what the situation was, and at that instant the security people, well as you can see, put me on the deck. I didn't do very well."[15]

An angry Cronkite tersely replied, "I think we've got a bunch of thugs here, Dan."

Richard J. Daley and the convention

Anti-war demonstrators in Lincoln Park, Chicago attending a Yippie organized event approximately five miles north of the convention center. The band MC5 can be seen playing.

Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley intended to showcase his and the city's achievements to national Democrats and the news media. Instead, the proceedings became notorious for the large number of demonstrators and the use of force by the Chicago police during what was supposed to be, in the words of the Yippie activist organizers, "A Festival of Life."[4] Rioting took place by the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois National Guard against the demonstrators. The disturbances were well publicized by the mass media, with some journalists and reporters being caught up in the violence. Network newsmen Mike Wallace, Dan Rather, and Edwin Newman were assaulted by the Chicago police while inside the halls of the Democratic Convention.[16]

The Democratic Presidential Nominating Convention had been held in Chicago 12 years earlier.[17] Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley had played an integral role in the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960.[17] In 1968, however, it did not seem that Daley had maintained the clout which would allow him to bring out the voters again to produce a Democratic victory as he had in 1960.

On October 7, 1967, Daley and Johnson had a private meeting at a fund raiser for President Johnson's re-election campaign, with an entry fee of one thousand dollars per plate (approximately $7,200 in 2016 dollars). During the meeting, Daley explained to the president that there had been a disappointing showing of Democrats in the 1966 congressional races, and the president might lose the swing state with its 27 electoral votes if the convention were not held in Illinois.[18] Johnson's pro-war policies had already created a great division within the party; he hoped that the selection of Chicago for the convention would eliminate further conflict with opposition.[19]

The Committee head for selecting the location was New Jersey Democrat David Wilentz, who gave the official reason for choosing Chicago as, "It is centrally located geographically which will reduce transportation costs and because it has been the site of national conventions for both Parties in the past and is therefore attuned to holding them." The conversation between Johnson and Daley was leaked to the press and published in the Chicago Tribune and several other papers.[19]

Protests and police response

Film shot by DASPO of the protests and Chicago police and military response to the protests

In 1968, the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam and the Youth International Party (Yippies) had already begun planning a youth festival in Chicago to coincide with the Democratic National Convention. They were not alone, as other groups such as Students for a Democratic Society would also make their presence known.[20] When asked about anti-war demonstrators, Daley repeated to reporters that "no thousands will come to our city and take over our streets, our city, our convention."[21] 10,000 demonstrators gathered in Chicago for the convention, where they were met by 23,000 police and National Guardsmen.[12] Daley also thought that one way to prevent demonstrators from coming to Chicago was to refuse to grant permits which would allow for people to protest legally.[22]

After the violence at the Chicago convention, Daley said his primary reason for calling in so many Guardsmen and police was reports he received indicating the existence of plots to assassinate many of the leaders, including himself.[23]

While several protests had taken place before serious violence occurred, the events headed by the Yippies were not without satire. Surrounded by reporters on August 23, 1968, Yippie leader Jerry Rubin, folk singer Phil Ochs, and other activists held their own presidential nominating convention with their candidate Pigasus, an actual pig. When the Yippies paraded Pigasus at the Civic Center, ten policemen arrested Ochs, Rubin, Pigasus, and six others. This resulted in a great deal of media attention for Pigasus.[24]

The Chicago Police riot

Chicago Police helmet & billy-club
Chicago Police helmet and billy club circa 1968 (photographed 2012)

On August 28, 1968, around 10,000 protesters gathered in Grant Park for the demonstration. At approximately 3:30 p.m., a young man lowered the American flag that was there.[11] The police broke through the crowd and began beating the young man, while the crowd pelted the police with food, rocks, and chunks of concrete.[25] The chants of some of the protesters shifted from "hell no, we won't go" to "pigs are whores".[26]

Tom Hayden, one of the leaders of Students for a Democratic Society, encouraged protesters to move out of the park to ensure that if the police used tear gas on them, it would have to be done throughout the city.[27] The amount of tear gas used to suppress the protesters was so great that it made its way to the Conrad Hilton hotel, where it disturbed Hubert Humphrey while in his shower.[26] The police sprayed demonstrators and bystanders with mace and were taunted by some protesters with chants of "kill, kill, kill".[28] The police assault in front of the Conrad Hilton hotel the evening of August 28 became the most famous image of the Chicago demonstrations of 1968. The entire event took place live under television lights for 17 minutes with the crowd chanting, "The whole world is watching".[26]

In a telephone call to President Johnson on Saturday 7th September 1968 Chicago Mayor Richard Daley described some of the activity undertaken by the elements of the protesters, which he described as "Professional Trouble Makers", these activities included the burning of the American Flag, raising of the Viet Cong Flag and throwing both manure and urine at the police. [29]

In its report Rights in Conflict (better known as the Walker Report), the Chicago Study Team that investigated the violent clashes between police and protesters at the convention stated that the police response was characterized by:

unrestrained and indiscriminate police violence on many occasions, particularly at night. That violence was made all the more shocking by the fact that it was often inflicted upon persons who had broken no law, disobeyed no order, made no threat. These included peaceful demonstrators, onlookers, and large numbers of residents who were simply passing through, or happened to live in, the areas where confrontations were occurring.[30][31]

The Walker Report, "headed by an independent observer from Los Angeles police – concluded that: “Individual policemen, and lots of them, committed violent acts far in excess of the requisite force for crowd dispersal or arrest. To read dispassionately the hundreds of statements describing at firsthand the events of Sunday and Monday nights is to become convinced of the presence of what can only be called a police riot.”"[32]

Illinois delegates at the Democratic National Convention of 1968, react to Senator Ribicoff's nominating speech in which he criticized the tactics of the Chicago police against anti-Vietnam war protesters
Illinois delegates (including then Mayor Richard J. Daley and his son future mayor Richard M. Daley) react to Senator Abraham Ribicoff's criticism of the Chicago Police. Reports differ as to whether he shouted "You faker!" or "Fuck you, you Jew son of a bitch."[33][34]

Connecticut Senator Abraham Ribicoff used his nominating speech for George McGovern to report the violence going on outside the convention hall and said that "With George McGovern as President of the United States, we wouldn't have to have Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago!"[35] Mayor Daley responded to his remark with something unintelligible through the television sound, although lip-readers throughout America claimed to have observed him shouting, "Fuck you, you Jew son of a bitch." Defenders of the mayor would later claim that he was calling Ribicoff a faker,[33][34] a charge denied by Daley and refuted by Mike Royko's reporting.[36] Ribicoff replied: "How hard it is to accept the truth!" That night, NBC News had been switching back and forth between images of the violence to the festivities over Humphrey's victory in the convention hall, highlighting the division in the Democratic Party.[37]

According to The Guardian, "[a]fter four days and nights of violence, 668 people had been arrested, 425 demonstrators were treated at temporary medical facilities, 200 were treated on the spot, 400 given first aid for tear gas exposure and 110 went to hospital. A total of 192 police officers were injured."[38]

After the Chicago protests, some demonstrators believed the majority of Americans would side with them over what had happened in Chicago, especially because of police behavior.[38] The controversy over the war in Vietnam overshadowed their cause.[16] Daley shared he had received 135,000 letters supporting his actions and only 5,000 condemning them. Public opinion polls demonstrated that the majority of Americans supported the Mayor's tactics.[39] It was often commented through the popular media that on that evening, America decided to vote for Richard Nixon.[40]

The Chicago Eight

After Chicago, the Justice Department meted out charges of conspiracy and incitement to riot in connection with the violence at Chicago. This created the Chicago Eight, consisting of protesters Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden, David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Jerry Rubin, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale.[41] Demonstrations were held daily during the trial, organized by the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, the Young Lords led by Jose Cha Cha Jimenez, and the local Black Panther Party led by Chairman Fred Hampton. In February 1970, five of the remaining seven Chicago Conspiracy defendants (Seale's charges had been separated from the rest) were convicted on the charge of intent to incite a riot while crossing state lines, but none were found guilty of conspiracy.

Judge Julius Hoffman sentenced the defendants and their attorneys to jail terms ranging from two-and-a-half months to four years for contempt of court.[42] In 1972, the convictions were reversed on appeal, and the government declined to bring the case to trial again.[41][43]

The McGovern–Fraser Commission

In response to the party disunity and electoral failure that came out of the convention, the party established the 'Commission on Party Structure and Delegate Selection' (informally known as the 'McGovern–Fraser Commission'),[44] to examine current rules on the ways candidates were nominated and make recommendations designed to broaden participation and enable better representation for minorities and others who were underrepresented. The Commission established more open procedures and affirmative action guidelines for selecting delegates. In addition the commission required all delegate selection procedures to be open; party leaders could no longer handpick the convention delegates in secret.[45] An unforeseen result of these rules was a large shift toward state presidential primaries. Prior to the reforms, Democrats in two-thirds of the states used state conventions to choose convention delegates. In the post-reform era, over three-quarters of the states use primary elections to choose delegates, and over 80% of convention delegates are selected in these primaries.[46]

See also


  1. ^ "Past Convention Coverage". The New York Times. Retrieved April 20, 2010.
  2. ^ "Keynoter Knows Sting of Bias, Poverty". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press. August 27, 1968.
  3. ^ "1968: Martin Luther King shot dead". On this Day. BBC. Retrieved August 27, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Blake, Bailey (1992). The 60s. New York: Mallard Press.
  5. ^ a b Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr. (1968). Robert Kennedy and His Times. New York: Ballantine Books. p. xi.
  6. ^ LBJ Address to Nation, LBJ Presidential Library
  7. ^ The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy, Dan E. Moldea
  8. ^ Farber 1988: 100.
  9. ^ Farber 1988: 93.
  10. ^ Max Frankel (August 28, 1968). "Connally Slate Wins Floor Fight; Humphrey Forces Gain Over Rivals by Seating of the Texas Regulars; Connally's Slate Wins Fight for Convention Seats as Humphrey Gains Over Rivals". The New York Times.
  11. ^ a b c Gitlin 1987: 331.
  12. ^ a b Jennings & Brewster 1998: 413.
  13. ^ Julian Bond was only 28 at the time and thus constitutionally ineligible to the office of Vice President. At the convention, he addressed the delegates to point this out and withdrew his name from consideration.
  14. ^ "AllPolitics – 1996 GOP NRC – All The Votes...Really". CNN.
  15. ^ a b c d "Dan Rather: A Reporter Remembers". CBS News.
  16. ^ a b Gitlin 1987: 335.
  17. ^ a b Farber 1988: 115.
  18. ^ Farber 1988: 116.
  19. ^ a b Farber 1988: 117.
  20. ^ Farber 1988: 5.
  21. ^ Gill, Donna. "LBJ-Humphrey Slate Seen by Party Leader". Chicago Tribune, January 9, 1968, p.2.
  22. ^ Gitlin 1987: 319.
  23. ^ CBS News, Convention Outtakes, Daley/Cronkite Interview August 29, 1968.
  24. ^ Farber 1988: 167.
  25. ^ Farber 1988: 195.
  26. ^ a b c Gitlin 1987: 332.
  27. ^ Farber 1988: 196.
  28. ^ Gitlin 1987: 333.
  29. ^ https://discoverlbj.org/item/tel-13409
  30. ^ Federal Judiciary Center, http://www.fjc.gov/history/home.nsf/page/tu_chicago7_doc_13.html
  31. ^ Joyce, Peter; Wayne, Neil (2014). Palgrave Dictionary of Public Order Policing, Protest and Political Violence. p. 75.
  32. ^ Taylor, D. & Morris, S. (August 19, 2018). The whole world is watching: How the 1968 Chicago 'police riot' shocked America and divided the nation. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2018/aug/19/the-whole-world-is-watching-chicago-police-riot-vietnam-war-regan
  33. ^ a b Marc, Schogol. "Views differ on impact of religious bias in race", Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, August 9, 2000. Accessed May 21, 2007. "Chicago Mayor Richard Daley cursed Ribicoff with an anti-Semitic slur at the raucous 1968 Democratic National Convention."
  34. ^ a b Singh, Robert. "American Government and Politics: A Concise Introduction", Sage Publications (2003), p. 106. "Chicago police assaulted anti-war protesters, while inside turmoil engulfed proceedings and Chicago boss Richard Daley hurled anti-Semitic abuse at Senator Abraham Ribicoff (Democratic, Connecticut)."
  35. ^ Farber 1988: 201.
  36. ^ Royko, p. 189.
  37. ^ NBC Morning News, August 29, 1968.
  38. ^ a b Taylor, D. & Morris, S. (August 19, 2018). The whole world is watching: How the 1968 Chicago 'police riot' shocked America and divided the nation. The Guardian.
  39. ^ Bogart, Leo (1985). Polls and the Awareness of Public Opinion (initially published under the title "Silent Politics"). Transaction Publishers. p. 235. ISBN 9781412831505.
  40. ^ Farber 1988: 206.
  41. ^ a b Gitlin 1987: 342.
  42. ^ Davis, R. (September 15, 2008). The Chicago Seven trial and the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The Chicago Tribune.
  43. ^ Schmich, M. (August 17, 2018). The Chicago Seven put their fate in her hands. One juror's rarely seen trial journals reveal how that changed her forever. The Chicago Tribune.
  44. ^ "McGovern-Fraser Commission created by Democratic Party". JusticeLearning. Retrieved September 25, 2007.
  45. ^ Satterthwaite, Shad. "How did party conventions come about and what purpose do they serve?". ThisNation.com. Retrieved September 25, 2007.
  46. ^ Kaufmann, Karen M.; James G. Gimpel; Adam H. Hoffman (2003). "A Promise Fulfilled? Open Primaries and Representation". The Journal of Politics. 65 (2): 457–476. JSTOR 3449815.

Further reading

  • David Farber. Chicago '68. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.
  • Todd Gitlin. The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage. Toronto: Bantam Books, 1987.
  • Peter Jennings and Todd Brewster. The Century. New York: Doubleday, 1998
  • Frank Kusch. Battleground Chicago: The Police and the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
  • Norman Mailer. Miami and the Siege of Chicago. New York: New American Library, 1968.
  • Rick Perlstein. Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America. New York: Scribner, 1968.
  • John Schultz. No One Was Killed: The Democratic National Convention, August 1968. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.

External links

Preceded by
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by
Miami Beach, Florida
1968 Democratic National Convention protest activity

Protest activity against the Vietnam War took place prior to and during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

In 1967, counterculture and anti-Vietnam War protest groups had been promising to come to Chicago and disrupt the convention, and the city promised to maintain law and order. For eight days the protesters were met by the Chicago Police Department in the streets and parks of Chicago while the U.S. Democratic Party met at the convention in the International Amphitheater, with the protests climaxing in what a major report later said was a "police riot" on the night of August 28, 1968.

1968 Democratic Party presidential primaries

The 1968 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1968 U.S. presidential election. Incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey was selected as the nominee in the 1968 Democratic National Convention held from August 26 to August 29, 1968, in Chicago, Illinois.

1968 Democratic Party vice presidential candidate selection

This article lists those who were potential candidates for the Democratic nomination for Vice President of the United States in the 1968 election. After winning the Democratic presidential nomination at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey asked the convention to nominate Maine Senator Edmund Muskie as his running mate. The convention overwhelmingly voted to ratify the choice of Muskie, though Julian Bond picked up a scattering of votes. Muskie was surprised by the selection, as he was from a Northeastern state with few electoral votes. Humphrey almost chose Oklahoma Senator Fred R. Harris, but Humphrey decided that Muskie's age, governmental experience, and quiet temperament made him the better candidate. The Humphrey-Muskie ticket ultimately lost to the Nixon-Agnew ticket in the 1968 election. Muskie's place on the national ticket helped make him an early front-runner for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination, though Muskie ultimately dropped out of the contest.

1968 United States elections

The 1968 United States elections was held on November 5, and elected members of the 91st United States Congress. The election took place during the Vietnam War, in the same year as the Tet Offensive, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the protests of 1968. The Republican Party won control of the presidency and picked up seats in the House and Senate, although the Democratic Party retained control of Congress.In the presidential election, Republican former Vice President Richard Nixon defeated Democratic incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Nixon won the popular vote by less than one point, but took most states outside the Northeast and comfortably won the electoral vote. Former Alabama Governor George Wallace of the American Independent Party took 13.5% of the popular vote and won the electoral votes of the Deep South. After incumbent Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson declined to seek re-election, Humphrey won the Democratic nomination over Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy and South Dakota Senator George McGovern at the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention. Nixon won the Republican nomination over New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and California Governor Ronald Reagan. As of 2016, Wallace is the most recent third party candidate to win a state's entire share of electoral votes. Nixon became the only former (non-sitting) vice president to win a presidential election.

The Republican Party won a net gain of five seats in both the House and the Senate. However, the Democratic Party retained strong majorities in both houses of Congress.

In the gubernatorial elections, the Republican Party picked up a net gain of five governorships.

American Revolution 2

American Revolution 2 is a 1969 documentary on the 1968 Democratic National Convention and its aftermath. Part of the film focuses on the creation of an alliance between the Young Patriots Organization and local Black Panthers. On its release Roger Ebert gave the film four stars, while New York Times reviewer Roger Greenspun was more critical. The film was released on DVD in 2007 (along with its follow-up The Murder of Fred Hampton) and received generally positive reviews.The film was directed by Howard Alk and produced by Mike Gray. Ebert writes that the film was created as a collective effort by the Film Group, a local company that generally made commercials, and released without any individual credits. It has no narrator.

Chicago Seven

The Chicago Seven (originally Chicago Eight, also Conspiracy Eight/Conspiracy Seven) were seven defendants—Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner—charged by the federal government with conspiracy, inciting to riot, and other charges related to anti-Vietnam War and countercultural protests that took place in Chicago, Illinois, on the occasion of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Bobby Seale, the eighth man charged, had his trial severed during the proceedings, lowering the number of defendants from eight to seven.

Seale was eventually sentenced to four years in prison for contempt of court, although this ruling was later reversed.

After a federal trial resulting in both acquittals and convictions, followed by appeals, and reversals, some of the seven defendants were finally convicted, although all of the convictions were ultimately overturned.

Deliberate Prose

Deliberate Prose - Essays 1952 to 1995

is a collection of essays penned by Allen Ginsberg in the years 1952 to 1995. The writer and poet was consistently outspoken and passionate about his beliefs. The essays are arranged by subject and include commentary on such themes as China, Vietnam, and the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

International Amphitheatre

The International Amphitheatre was an indoor arena located in Chicago, Illinois, between 1934 and 1999. It was located on the west side of Halsted Street, at 42nd Street, on the city's south side, adjacent to the Union Stock Yards.

The arena was built for $1.5 million, by the Stock Yard company, principally to host the International Livestock Exhibition. The arena replaced Dexter Park, a horse-racing track that had stood on the site for over 50 years prior to its destruction by fire in May 1934. The completion of the Amphitheatre ushered in an era where Chicago reigned as a convention capital. In an era before air conditioning and space for the press and broadcast media were commonplace, the International Amphitheatre was among the first arenas to be equipped with these innovations.

The arena, which seated 9,000, was the first home of the Chicago Packers of the NBA during 1961–62, before changing their name to the Chicago Zephyrs and moving to the Chicago Coliseum for their second season. It was also the home of the Chicago Bulls during their inaugural season of 1966–67; they also played only one game in the Chicago Coliseum, a playoff game in their first season, as no other arena was available for a game versus the St. Louis Hawks. Afterwards, the Bulls then moved permanently to Chicago Stadium.

The Amphitheatre was also the primary home of the Chicago Cougars of the WHA from 1972–1975. It was originally intended to be only a temporary home for the Cougars, but the permanent solution, the Rosemont Horizon, was not completed until 1980, five years after the team folded and a year after the WHA ceased operation. The International Amphitheatre was the home for Chicago's wrestling scene for years as well as the Chicago Auto Show for approximately 20 years beginning in the 1940s.The Amphitheatre hosted several national American political conventions:

1952 Republican National Convention (nominated Dwight D. Eisenhower for President and Richard M. Nixon for Vice President; ticket won)

1952 Democratic National Convention (nominated Adlai E. Stevenson for President and John J. Sparkman for Vice President; ticket lost)

1956 Democratic National Convention (nominated Adlai E. Stevenson for President and Estes Kefauver for Vice President; ticket lost)

1960 Republican National Convention (nominated Richard M. Nixon for President and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. for Vice President; ticket lost)

1968 Democratic National Convention (nominated Hubert H. Humphrey for President and Edmund S. Muskie for Vice President; ticket lost)The 1952 Republican National Convention had the distinction of being the first political convention broadcast live by television coast to coast, with special studio facilities provided for all the major networks.The 1968 Democratic National Convention was one of the most tumultuous political conventions in American history, noted by anti-war protests.

Prior to that, the Amphitheatre was noted for being the site of one of Elvis Presley's most notable concerts, in 1957, with the singer wearing his now legendary gold lame suit for the first time.On September 5, 1964 and August 12, 1966, The Beatles performed at the Amphitheatre. The 1966 show was the first show of what proved to be their last tour.Indoor wintertime Drag Racing was held at The Amphitheatre twice. On December 30, 1962, and January 5, 1964. It was great fun, but dangerous, because of the slick cement floors. Drag Racers need asphalt to get tire grip, launch, and control. The Amphitheatre cement "floor" had very little of these.

On March 13–14, 1976, the Midwest Regional of the North American Soccer League's 1976 Indoor tournament was hosted by the Chicago Sting at the Amphitheater. The Rochester Lancers won the Region to advance to the Final Four played in Florida.In October 1978, English rock group UFO recorded Strangers in the Night at the International Amphitheatre.

The Stock Yards closed in 1971, but the Amphitheatre remained open, hosting rock concerts, college basketball and IHSA playoff games, circuses, religious gatherings, and other events. The shift of many conventions and trade shows to the more modern and more conveniently-located lakefront McCormick Place convention center during the 1960s and 1970s began the International Amphitheatre's decline; as other convention and concert venues opened in the suburbs, its bookings dropped more.

In December 1981, Joe Frazier had his final boxing match at the Amphitheatre against Floyd Cummings, which resulted in a draw.

Sold in 1983 for a mere $250,000, the sprawling Amphitheatre became difficult to maintain, and proved unable to attract enough large events to pay for its own upkeep. It was eventually sold to promoters Cardenas & Fernandez and then the City of Chicago, which had no more success at attracting events than its previous owner. In August 1999, demolition of the International Amphitheatre began. An Aramark Uniform Services plant is located on the site once occupied by the Amphitheatre.

Lee Weiner

Lee Weiner (born September 7, 1939), a member of the Chicago Seven, was charged with "conspiring to use interstate commerce with intent to incite a riot" and "teaching demonstrators how to construct incendiary devices that would be used in civil disturbances" at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Weiner and his co-defendant John Froines were acquitted of the charges by the jury.When the trial of the Chicago Eight began in the early fall of 1969, Weiner was a doctoral candidate and teaching assistant at Northwestern University, and had previously graduated from the University of Illinois, studied political philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and earned a master's degree in social work from Loyola University's School of Social Work in Chicago. At Northwestern University, Weiner worked for Professor Howard S. Becker as a research assistant.The Chicago Eight defendants each contributed an essay to the book Conspiracy, published in November 1969. In Weiner's essay, "The Political Trial of a People's Insurrection," he writes:

Using the artificial, state-controlled rules of the court, the U.S. government's prosecutors and judge will attempt to interpret the people's insurrection in Chicago as the private and deliberate manipulation of eight evil men. The government will be desperate to play down the independent action of thousands of people who openly resisted illegitimate political and police power. The trial, therefore, must blur and soften the contours of what actually happened, and instead focus upon and magnify the roles of these eight men in particular. The alternative image - one of a popular insurrection rooted in the experience and desires of people that was put down by the deliberate exercise of state-controlled violence - too clearly focuses public attention on what America is all about. The government effort is intended to punish and frighten a growing, insurgent mass movement of both the young and concerned adults, and to protect the official myths of political reality in America.

J. Anthony Lukas described Weiner as "a strangely remote figure who shunned most of the defendants' extracurricular activities." According to Professor Douglas Linder at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, "Weiner rarely attended defense strategy sessions, perhaps out of a belief that their cause was hopeless. He spent most of his trial hours reading science fiction paperbacks or books on eastern philosophy. Weiner reacted to few courtroom developments, viewing the proceedings with a mixture of scorn and amusement."According to Weiner, towards the end of the trial, "there was no question we would be put in jail. I ended up going, mostly for correcting my name. People always pronounced it Wee-ner. It's Wye-ner. When the judge would say Wee-ner, I would shout out, "It's Wye-ner," and he got pissed off and charged me with contempt, which was a perfect summary of my political stance. I was sentenced to two and a half months." Weiner was ultimately convicted on seven charges of criminal contempt that were later reversed and remanded following an appeal; after retrial, Weiner was acquitted of all contempt charges.After he accepted an offer to teach in the sociology department of Rutgers University, Weiner left Chicago and moved to Brooklyn, NY with his girlfriend at the time, Sharon Avery. People magazine reports that "[a]t a birthday party for Black Panther leader Bobby Seale in 1972, Weiner was overheard joking that he was "starting a new Communist party in New Jersey." The remark turned up in print, and he was told that his teaching contract at Rutgers would not be renewed."In the years following the trial, Weiner has continued to work and protest for causes. He has worked for the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith in New York and participated in protests for Russian Jews and more funding for AIDS research, and he has worked as a vice president for direct response at the AmeriCares Foundation in Stamford, CT.

McGovern–Fraser Commission

The McGovern–Fraser Commission, formally known as Commission on Party Structure and Delegate Selection, was a commission created by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in response to the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention. It was composed of 28 members, selected by DNC chairman Senator Fred R. Harris in 1969 to rewrite the Democratic Party's rules regarding the selection of national convention delegates. Senator George McGovern and later Representative Donald M. Fraser led the commission, which is how it received its name. McGovern, who resigned from the commission in 1971 in order to run for president, won the first nomination decided under the new rules in 1972, but lost the general election to Richard Nixon.

Medium Cool

Medium Cool is a 1969 American drama film written and directed by Haskell Wexler and starring Robert Forster, Verna Bloom, Peter Bonerz, Marianna Hill and Harold Blankenship. It takes place in Chicago in the summer of 1968. It was notable for Wexler's use of cinéma vérité-style documentary filmmaking techniques, as well as for combining fictional and non-fictional content.

The movie was met with widespread acclaim from numerous critics, including Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel of Siskel & Ebert, both calling the movie a "well-crafted masterpiece." The movie was also named one of the greatest movies of 1969, as well as one of the most influential movies in the New Hollywood movement. Robert Forster was also met with universal acclaim for his performance.

In 2003, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Miami and the Siege of Chicago

Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968 is a non-fiction novel written by Norman Mailer which covers the Republican and Democratic national party political conventions of 1968 and the anti-Vietnam War protests surrounding them. It was published in 1968 by the World Publishing Company and has since been republished by New York Review Books in 2008.

My Life (Phil Ochs song)

"My Life" is a 1969 song by Phil Ochs, a U.S. singer-songwriter best known for the protest songs he wrote in the 1960s.

"My Life" is the fifth song on Rehearsals for Retirement, an album Ochs recorded in the aftermath of the protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. In the song, Ochs says that his life, which had once been a joy, had become like death to him.In "My Life", Ochs sings "Take everything I own/Take your tap from my phone/And leave my life alone." Years after his death, it was revealed that the FBI had a file of nearly 500 pages on Ochs.

Police riot

A police riot is a riot carried out by the police; a riot that the police are responsible for instigating, escalating or sustaining as a violent confrontation; an event characterized by widespread police brutality; a mass police action that is violently undertaken against civilians for the purpose of political repression. The term "police riot" was popularized after its use in the Walker Report, which investigated the events surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago to describe the "unrestrained and indiscriminate" violence that the police "inflicted upon persons who had broken no law, disobeyed no order, made no threat." In this sense a police riot refers to rioting carried out by the police (or those acting in a police capacity) rather than a riot carried out by people who may be motivated to a greater or lesser degree by grievances with the police (see the 1981 Toxteth riots or the 1992 Los Angeles Riots for examples of riots over policing rather than police riots).

Prologue (1970 film)

Prologue is a 1970 National Film Board of Canada feature from Robin Spry, shot and set in Montreal and Chicago, blending drama with documentary sequences from the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests.

Richard J. Daley

Richard Joseph Daley (May 15, 1902 – December 20, 1976) was an American politician who served as the Mayor of Chicago from 1955 to his death and the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party Central Committee from 1953 to his death. Daley was Chicago's third consecutive mayor from the working-class, heavily Irish American South Side neighborhood of Bridgeport, where he lived his entire life. He was the patriarch of the Daley family, whose members include Richard M. Daley, another former mayor of Chicago; William M. Daley, a former United States Secretary of Commerce; John P. Daley, a member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners; and Patrick Daley Thompson, an alderman of the Chicago City Council.

Daley is remembered for doing much to save Chicago from the declines that such other rust belt cities as Cleveland, Buffalo, and Detroit experienced during the same period. He had a strong base of support in Chicago's Irish Catholic community and was treated by national politicians such as Lyndon B. Johnson as a pre-eminent Irish American, with special connections to the Kennedy family. Daley played a major role in the history of the United States Democratic Party, especially with his support of John F. Kennedy in 1960 and of Hubert Humphrey in 1968. He would be the longest-serving mayor in Chicago history until his record was broken by his son Richard M. Daley in 2011.

On the other hand, his legacy is complicated by criticisms of his response to riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and his handling of the notorious 1968 Democratic National Convention that happened in his city. He also had enemies within the Democratic Party. In addition, many members of Daley's administration were charged with corruption and convicted, although Daley himself was never charged with corruption.

The whole world is watching

"The whole world is watching" was a phrase chanted by anti-Vietnam War demonstrators as they were beaten and arrested by police outside the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

The event was broadcast from taped footage on the night of Wednesday, August 28, the third day of the convention. Demonstrators took up the chant as police were beating and pulling many of them into police vans, "each with a superfluous whack of a nightstick," after the demonstrators, being barricaded in the park by the police, began to come into Michigan Avenue in front of the hotel.

The prescient and apparently spontaneous chant quickly became famous. The following year, it served as the title of a television movie about student activism.

Woodstock Nation (book)

Woodstock Nation: A Talk-Rock Album is a book written by Abbie Hoffman in 1969 that describes his experiences at that year's Woodstock Music and Arts Festival. The book was written as Hoffman was awaiting trial as one of the Chicago Eight for conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Mostly written in a stream of consciousness style made popular by such works as Ulysses by James Joyce and On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Woodstock Nation focuses on youth culture, including Hoffman's views of rock music and politics. One target of Hoffman's criticism is Pete Townshend of The Who, with whom Hoffman tussled onstage at the Festival.

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