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A Nation Divided

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Becca Boulton Period 3 A nation divided As the U.S. continued to support the war in Vietnam an antiwar movement was bound to start up. Many young Americans were proud to leave their home and fight in Vietnam but on the other hand there were those who chose to avoid being drafted and those who were completely against the governments and military actions. This growing opinion was what began the division of the nation with those who were for the war standing together and those who opposed the war.
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  Becca BoultonPeriod 3 A nation divided As the U.S. continued to support the war in Vietnam an anti-war movement was bound to start up. Many young Americans wereproud to leave their home and fight in Vietnam but on the otherhand there were those who chose to avoid being drafted and thosewho were completely against the governments and military actions. This growing opinion was what began the division of the nation withthose who were for the war standing together and those whoopposed the war. Young American men from the age of 18 to 26 were allcapable of being drafted into the war in Vietnam. For those whowanted to avoid the draft there were ways found such as having afalse doctors note of a sickness or some left the country andchanged residencies. Some boys joined the national guard or coastguard which would secure them from the draft as well but the mostpopular way of avoiding the draft was to enroll in college. Anystudent was able to postpone their draft into the army.Movements of opposition of the war began with the SDS,Students for a Democratic Society. SDS was founded in 1960 by Tom Hayden and Al Haber. They believed that corporations andlarge government institutions had taken over America and theirobjective was to restore a participatory democracy.  Next was FSM, the Free Speech Movement that came from agroup of students that clashed with teachers over free speech rightsat UC Berkeley. They opposed the American ‘machine’ which theysaid was the nations powerful business and government institutions. These movements began to spread across the country, specificallycollege campus’ where students expressed their discontent withtheir human rights limitations.As the movements continued to grow school administrationschanged deferment policies for students requiring students to be ina good academic standing in order to be granted deferment. Thiscaused uproar amongst the students who opposed the system andthe SDS called for civil disobedience at Selective Service Centersand openly counseled students to flee the country to Canada orSweden to avoid being drafted. The students who opposed the war mostly did so becausethey believed the conflict in Vietnam was a civil war that the U.S.should not be militarily involved in and that they thought the SouthVietnamese were no better than the communist side it was fighting.Lastly, most students simply believed the war was morally unjust. The opposing war movements soon spread further than studentsand onto past war veterans and some folk singers who used theirmusic for propaganda against the war.Draft resistance continued from 1967 until President Nixonended the draft in the 1970’s. During this time 4,000 draft resisters  were imprisoned and 10,000 American’s fled to Canada after200,000 men were accused of draft offenses. All of which continuedto add up to the division of the nation.By 1967, those who strongly opposed the war andbelieved the U.S. should withdraw were known as ‘doves’. Thosewho strongly felt that America should unleash much of its greatermilitary force to win the war were known as the ‘hawks’. In thisstage the majority of Americans still remained for the war and thosewho did not have such a strong opinion were still against the antiwar citizens who spoke so critically of their own people dying andfighting for their country. A poll was taken and it was shown that 70percent of Americans believed that anti war protests were seen asacts of disloyalty. In the middle of all of this chaos was President Johnson, who remained firm was attacked by the doves for notwithdrawing from Vietnam and attacked by the hawks for notrapidly increasing military power. At this point it was safe to saythere was a clear division amongst the nation and it was bound toonly get worse.
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