What the Anti-Vietnam War Movement did for America

How protests can bring change to America.


Protesting in the streets of America

Grace Norris, Contributor

In March 1965, the U.S. officially entered the Vietnam War. Many Americans opposed the war for varied reasons. The biggest reasons were that they disagreed with the devastation it was causing, or that it was a foreign civil war that they felt America had no business interfering with. The other big reason was that they felt the war lacked clear objectives and that it seemed the U.S had no chance of winning the war. According to CBS polling, as the war  dragged on the public approval of the war dropped drastically. It seemed about everyone opposed U.S. involvement in the war, including U.S. Army Chief of Staff Matthew B. Ridgway.

The movement consisted of men, women, students, mothers, musicians, other artists, and people of all races. Some of the most well-known protests were the teach-ins started at the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan started the teach-in movement of the anti-Vietnam war era. Teach-ins were when teachers and students would educate each other, and others, on campus about the horrors going on around the world. On March 24th, 1965 the first teach-in happened for 12 hours at the University of Michigan. While the protest took place, all regular classes were canceled.  200 faculty members participated in anti-war seminars and rallies. Two days later another teach-in happened at New York’s Columbia University.


The Vietnam War protests led to many longstanding changes in the U.S., like lowering the voting age to 18. The protesters got the voting age lowered because 18 year-old soldiers were dying in a foreign country while they couldn’t vote for someone to represent them in congress.  Some of the other biggest things the protests accomplished were getting the U.S. to to end the draft early, remove the rest of the troops from Vietnam, and sign the peace treaty in 1973. It took nine years to finally get the government  to do anything to get the troops out of Vietnam.  The protesters played an instrumental role in bringing this about.