Protests That Changed History

The nation and indeed the world is in flux….it is in the midst of protests… about a short history lesson?

Stop fretting!

It is never too late to learn.

What were the protests that actually change the course of history?

Political protests have a rich past, with varied degrees of success in accomplishing what they originally set out to do.

The following historically significant political protests include a decisive event in the Civil Rights movement, two history-changing moments that occurred within one year and the medieval defiance of one man. We added to the list some recent protests that could change history, including the George Floyd protests against police brutality and systemic racism, and the Women’s March on Washington.

But here in the US there is more than 1968 to use for a comparison….

When protests kicked off throughout the nation a week and a half ago, commentators turned to history to make sense of events. One year dominated the conversation: 1968. Racial tensions, clashes between police and protesters, a general sense of chaos — 1968 and 2020 seemed to have a lot in common. Observers wrote about how Trump’s use of “law and order” rhetoric echoed Richard Nixon and George Wallace in 1968. The comparison makes broader sense, too: 1968 was a destabilizing year in American politics, marked by Civil Rights protests, uprisings born out of racist oppression, assassinations, violence at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago (classified later as a “police riot”) and protests against the Vietnam War. Racial tensions and inequality were at the center of the instability that year, with the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. sparking uprisings in cities across the country.

But 1968 isn’t the only chapter in American history that’s relevant to the current crisis. America has a long history of racial injustice, which makes it difficult to isolate any one precedent for the current environment. History has a way of building on itself; the injustices of one generation are passed on to the next, even as incremental progress is made. This is why I want to share with you three other episodes that also help contextualize the moment we’re in now. They, like 1968 and the broader Civil Rights movement, highlight the depths of violence and injustice that black Americans have faced, and explain why everyday political processes have failed to bring about lasting systemic change.

1968 Isn’t The Only Parallel For This Political Moment

Anything you would like to add?

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6 thoughts on “Protests That Changed History

  1. I am unsure whether of not the protests in Beijing changed that much in China, let alone history. But most of the other examples are good ones. As for Britain, The Suffragettes certainly changed history, with votes for women. (Eventually)
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. The Boston Massacre was a street fight that occurred on March 5, 1770, between a “patriot” mob, throwing snowballs, stones, and sticks, and a squad of British soldiers. My great-great-grandfather kept a copy of a reprint of the Boston newspaper that reported the massacre and passed it down the family to me. I first lived in Hatfield, Massachusetts one of the hot point for the Shay’s Rebellion – grin – in the blood – the events of the rebellion served as a catalyst for the Constitutional Convention and the creation of the new government –

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