Why Was 1968 an Important Year in American History?

1968 was a significant year in American history for several reasons. It was a time of social and political upheaval, marked by protests, demonstrations, and assassinations that changed the course of the nation’s history. Here are some of the key events that made 1968 such an important year.

Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

On April 4th, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. His death sparked riots and protests across the country, bringing issues of racial inequality to the forefront of national attention.

Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy

Just two months later, on June 5th, presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles. Kennedy had been campaigning on a platform of social justice and civil rights reform, making his death a significant blow to those who shared his vision for America’s future.

The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War continued to rage on in 1968, with no clear end in sight. The Tet Offensive launched by North Vietnamese forces in January caught American troops off guard and highlighted the difficulties faced by U.S. soldiers in an unfamiliar terrain.

Protests Against The War

In response to the ongoing conflict overseas, protests against the war erupted across college campuses and cities throughout America. These demonstrations often turned violent as police clashed with protesters who were demanding an end to U. involvement in Vietnam.

Civil Rights Movement

The civil rights movement also continued to gain momentum in 1968 as black Americans fought for equal treatment under the law and an end to discrimination. The Poor People’s Campaign organized by Martin Luther King Jr., aimed at highlighting economic inequality among people of color, continued even after his assassination.

Olympic Protest

In October, the Olympic Games in Mexico City were marked by a protest by black American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos. After winning gold and bronze medals respectively, they raised their fists in a Black Power salute during the national anthem, drawing attention to the ongoing struggle for civil rights in America.


In conclusion, 1968 was a pivotal year in American history that saw significant changes in social and political spheres. The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, continuing protests against the Vietnam War, and the ongoing civil rights movement all contributed to a sense of unrest and uncertainty throughout the nation. These events helped shape America’s future trajectory and continue to influence our society today.