Nineteen sixty-eight was a presidential election year in the United States. It was also one of the saddest and most difficult years in modern American history. The nation was divided by disputes about civil rights and the war in Vietnam. President Lyndon Johnson had helped win major civil rights legislation. Yet he had also greatly expanded American involvement in the war in Vietnam. By early nineteen sixty-eight, it was almost impossible for him to leave the White House without facing anti-war protesters. Johnson wanted to run for another four-year term. But his popularity kept dropping as the war continued. He understood that he no longer had the support of a majority of the people. In March, he announced that he would not be a candidate. One reason Johnson decided not to run was a senator from Minnesota, Eugene McCarthy. McCarthy competed against Johnson in several primary elections. The primaries are held months before a political party holds its presidential nominating convention.
Delegates to the convention often are required to vote for the candidate their party members chose in the primary. Thousands of college students helped the McCarthy campaign before the primary election in New Hampshire. They told voters all over the state that their candidate would try to end the war. McCarthy received almost forty-two percent of the votes in New Hampshire. Johnson received less than fifty percent. For a president in office, the vote was an insult. After McCarthy's success, Senator Robert Kennedy of New York decided to enter the campaign, too. He was a brother of president John Kennedy, who had been murdered in nineteen sixty-three. Robert Kennedy had served as Attorney General, the nation's highest legal officer, in his brother's administration. Many people were pleased when Robert Kennedy announced his decision. They liked his message. He said I run to seek new policies to end the bloodshed in Vietnam and in our cities. I seek to lessen the differences between black and white, between rich and poor, between young and old, in this country and around the world.
On April fourth, nineteen sixty-eight, the nation's top civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, was shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee. Robert Kennedy spoke about king's death to a crowd of black citizens. ROBERT KENNEDY What we need in the United States is not division. What we need in the United States is not hatred. What we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom. And compassion toward one another. And a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black. No words, however, could calm the anger of America's black community. Martin Luther King had led the civil rights movement with peaceful methods. Yet his death led to violence in almost one hundred-thirty cities in America. Soldiers were called to crush the riots. Hundreds of people were killed or injured.
After the riots, another man decided to campaign for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. The new candidate was Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Traditional Democrats supported him. The primary elections continued. Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy tried to show how different they were. Many voters, however, saw little difference between their positions on major issues. Both men opposed the war in Vietnam. Both sought social reforms. Both sought improvement in civil rights in America. Kennedy defeated McCarthy in primaries in Indiana and Nebraska. McCarthy defeated Kennedy in Oregon. The next big primary was in California. Kennedy said that if he did not win this important contest, he would withdraw. He won. Perhaps Robert Kennedy might have won his party's nomination for president. Perhaps he might have defeated the Republican Party candidate in the national election. The nation would never know. Kennedy made his California victory speech at a hotel in Los Angeles. As he was leaving the hotel, he was shot.
He died a few hours later. The man who shot him was Sirhan Bishara Sirhan. He was a Palestinian refugee. He said he blamed Robert Kennedy for the problems of the Palestinians. The nation's two major political parties held their nominating conventions in the summer of nineteen sixty-eight. The Republicans met first. It was soon clear that Richard Nixon would control the convention. Nixon had run for president in nineteen-sixty. He lost to John Kennedy. Eight years later, he won several primary elections. He was a strong candidate to win the Republican nomination again. The other candidates were Ronald Reagan, governor of California, and Nelson Rockefeller, governor of New York. On the first ballot, Nixon got more than two times as many votes as Rockefeller. Reagan was far behind.
Most of the delegates then gave their support to Nixon, and he accepted the nomination. The delegates chose the governor of Maryland, Spiro Agnew, to be their vice presidential candidate. The convention of the Democratic Party was very different from the convention of the Republicans. The Democrats were the party in power. Protests against the war in Vietnam were aimed at them. Thousands of anti-war protesters gathered in the city of Chicago during the political convention. The city's mayor, Richard Daley, had ordered the police to deal severely with all protesters. Many of the young people were beaten. Much later, the federal government ordered an investigation. The report said that the riots in Chicago were a result of the actions of the police themselves. Inside the convention building, the delegates voted for their presidential candidate. They did not choose the man who had done so well in the early primary elections, Eugene McCarthy.
Instead, they chose the more traditional candidate, Hubert Humphrey. For their vice presidential candidate, they chose Edmund Muskie, a senator from Maine. The two men running for president, Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey, supported American involvement in Vietnam. Yet during the campaign, both spoke about finding ways to end the conflict. Both also spoke about finding ways to end social unrest in the United States. Many voters saw little difference between the two candidates. About six weeks before election day, public opinion studies showed that the contest was even. Nixon's major problem was his past. He had made enemies during his early political life. These people now tried to renew public fears about his record as a man who made fierce, unjust attacks on others. Vice President Humphrey's major problem was that he was vice president. He had to defend the administration's policies, even the unpopular ones. If he said anything that was different, another member of the administration intervened.
Once, for example, Humphrey said the United States would stop dropping bombs on north Vietnam. But President Johnson did not act for a month. He gave the order to stop only four days before the election. Later, Humphrey said the delay harmed his campaign so badly that he could not recover from the damage. On Election Day, Richard Nixon won -- but not by much. He received a little more than forty-three percent of the votes. Hubert Humphrey received just a half a percent less. Nixon was about to become president. It was the position he had wanted for a long time. It was to be a presidency that would change American government for years to come.
1.presidential candidate 总统候选人
He said she never supported any particular presidential candidate.
2.primary election 初选；预选
Palmer wins the Super Tuesday Primary election, sweeping California and all eleven other states.
3.civil rights 民事权利，公民权利
The civil rights bill carried by a large majority.
The senator declaimed against the opposition.
5.legal officer 律政官员
David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer and one of the three people convicted, said he was "outraged" by the court's decision.
1968年是美国总统选举年，也是美国现代史上最悲伤、最艰难的岁月之一。民权运动引起的暴力分歧和旷日持久的越南战争，让整个国家陷入分歧 。林登·约翰逊总统在促成民权立法方面起了重要的作用，然而，也大大扩大了美国对越南战争的参与 。1968年初，几乎每次离开白宫，约翰逊都会遇到抗议示威的反战者 。约翰逊想竞选连任 。随着战事的扩大，约翰逊的民众支持率也不断下滑 。他清楚地看到，自己已经失去了大多数人的支持 。今年3月，他宣布自己不会参选连任 。约翰逊决定不参加竞选和来自明尼苏达州的参议员尤金·麦卡锡有关 。麦卡锡在几次初选中与约翰逊对决 。初选在政党举行总统提名大会前几个月举行 。与会代表们经常被要求投票给党会议员在初选中选定的候选人 。数千名大学生在新罕布什尔州为麦卡锡助选 。他们告诉选民们，麦卡锡将努力结束战争 。麦卡锡在新罕布什尔州获得了近42%的选票 。约翰逊得到的票数不到50%，这对于总统来说是一种耻辱 。麦卡锡竞选成功之后，纽约参议员罗伯特•肯尼迪也决定参加竞选 。他是1963年被暗杀的乔治.肯尼迪总统的弟弟 。罗伯特.肯尼迪曾在肯尼迪政府中担任司法部长 。
改善民权。肯尼迪在印第安纳州和内布拉斯加州的初选中击败了麦卡锡，麦卡锡在俄勒冈州击败肯尼迪 。初选的下一个重要战场是加利福尼亚州 。肯尼迪说，如果他没有赢得这场重要的竞选，他将退出选举，结果他赢了 。也许罗伯特·肯尼迪有可能赢得共和党总统候选人提名，击败了共和党候选人 。但是没有人会知道 。肯尼迪在洛杉矶的一家旅馆发表了他在加州的胜利演说 。当他正要离开旅馆时中弹了，几个小时后去世了 。开枪打死他的是西尔汉·比沙拉·西尔汉，是一名巴勒斯坦难民 。他说，他把巴勒斯坦问题归咎于罗伯特·肯尼迪 。1968年夏天，美国的两个主要政党举行了提名大会 。共和党人首先会面 。显然理查德·尼克松形势大好 。1960年，尼克松竞选总统，结果输给了约翰·肯尼迪 。时隔八年，尼克松赢得了几次初选 。再次成为有望获得提名的人选 。其他两位候选人分别是加州州长罗纳德·里根和纽约州州长纳尔逊·洛克菲勒 。第一轮投票中，尼克松获得的选票是洛克菲勒的两倍多 。里根远远落后 。随后，大多数代表支持尼克松，尼克松也接受了提名 。代表们选择马里兰州州长斯皮罗·阿格纽作为副总统候选人 。民主党的代表大会和共和党的代表大会大不相同 。