Grade Range: 8-12
Resource Type(s): Reviewed Websites, Primary Sources, Lessons & Activities
Duration: 90 minutes
Date Posted: 10/12/2016

This historical investigation is aligned with the C3 Framework and is from

This inquiry is focused on the compelling question “Is protest patriotic?” The question challenges the notion that protest against authority is unpatriotic and asks students to consider whether America’s democratic institutions are strengthened through occasional opposition to American leadership. This inquiry deals with the Vietnam War era (1964–1973), focusing primarily on the national and international challenges America faced during the presidential administrations of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Students have an opportunity to learn about the reasons for and against the antiwar protests of the Vietnam War era, the methods used to protest the Vietnam War, and the ways in which America’s towns, schools, and families were divided over war policy. In investigating the compelling question, students grapple with issues related to message versus method: Could one agree with the message of antiwar protesters while disdaining the methods of protest? Could one support Nixon’s goal to stem the spread of communism while protesting the bombing of Vietnamese and Cambodian villages? This inquiry challenges students to examine their own views on patriotism and evaluate whether a soldier with a rifle and a protester with a bullhorn can be equally patriotic.

National Standards

United States History Standards (Grades 5-12)

Historical Thinking Standards (Grades 5-12)

Common Core State Standards (Grades K-12)

Common Core State Standards (Grades 6-8)

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards (Grades 6-8)