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Causes of the Kent State Crisis

Uploaded by rayjones on Jan 19, 2005

The Kent State Crisis and Its Causes

The Vietnam War marked an era of heartbreak and tragedies. On of the most significant of these is the crisis at Kent State University in Ohio. This was a direct result to President Richard Nixon’s decision to send troops into Cambodia without interacting with congress. Protests were held before the crisis at hand and rallies followed. The Mayor of the city of Kent, Leroy Stratom, called in the National Guard, who, on May 4th, killed four students. The question that remains unanswered is why the National Guard fired on a crowd of young people and who was really responsible.
Friday, May 1st, 1970 marked a significant day at Kent State University in Ohio. President Nixon’s announcement that troops would be sent into Cambodia trigger a slew of protests on campus at Kent State. As of noon, over five hundred students rallied and watched as a graduate student buried a copy of the constitution. This symbolized the murder of the constitution by president Nixon because congress had not declared war. The same evening, the Kent State University President, deciding that the situation is under control, leaves Ohio on a planned trip to Iowa. However, the situation gets slightly out of control. As dusk falls, a crowd a students and citizens gathers near the Kent bar area and block off the street, vandalize and ignite bonfires. Although there had been no previous effort made by the Kent Police Department to control the situation, Kent City Mayor Stratom calls a state of emergency, closes down the bars, and finally sends in police personnel. The closing of the bars enrages the people inside them, which lead to an even larger group of people to control and disperse. Because the Kent Police forces were so reluctant to control the crowd, it becomes very difficult to disperse the crowd. Rioters finally decided to call it a night when someone accidentally ended up hanging from a traffic light.
On the evening of May 2nd, after various rumours and threats abound, Mayor Stratom orders city and campus curfews. Mayor Stratom then decides, without informing Kent State Officials, to call in the National Guard of Ohio. In protest, a group of 600 students gather with the intention of setting the ROTC building on fire. When the Kent City Fire Department is informed of the fire they rush to rescue only to have themselves...

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Uploaded by:   rayjones

Date:   01/19/2005

Category:   American

Length:   6 pages (1,326 words)

Views:   8038

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