Chisholm '72

PBS Premiere: Feb. 7, 2005Check the broadcast schedule »

In Context: A Brief Guide to 1972

The 1968 Democratic Convention

A scene from inside the 1968 Democratic conventionThe 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami was carefully organized to distinguish it from the 1968 convention in Chicago, which was characterized by vociferous dissent within the party and violence in the streets outside. Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley used 20,000 police, National Guard soldiers, and Secret Service agents to try to control antiwar demonstrators. Inside the convention hall, supporters of antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy felt marginalized by the party's elites, who used convention rules to place Hubert Humphrey on the ticket, despite the fact that Humphrey had won zero primaries or caucuses.

To ensure that 1972 would be different, the party chose George McGovern to head a convention reform commission. Among the reforms implemented were rules that convention delegates should "fairly reflect" the preferences of state voters, rules calling for proportional inclusion of women and minority groups, and open-procedure rules intended to decrease the authority of state party officials in choosing delegates.

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