‘The Whole World is Watching!’ The 1968 Chicago Riots

Tyler Dawson


In 1968, the Democratic Party of the United States held its convention in Chicago. Thousands of anti-war protestors arrived to picket the democratic process and voice their concerns over the Vietnam War for the upcoming presidential election. With prior knowledge of the coming protests, the Chicago Police Department and city administration expected violence and prepared themselves accordingly. As a result, the convention was plagued all week by violence in the streets as protestors clashed with the police. At the end, the violence was declared be the result of excessive police brutality. Scholarly works on the pre-existing conditions of Chicago that lead to violence have not been fully considered. In looking at the complexity of violent protest, this essay intends to examine the leaders and their intentions – on both sides of the conflict – and determine the causes and impact of one of the most iconic political clashes in twentieth century America.

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