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Marching on WashingtonThe Forging of an American Political Tradition$
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Lucy Barber

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520242159

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520242159.001.0001

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The “Spring Offensive” of 1971

The “Spring Offensive” of 1971

Radicals and Marches on Washington

(p.179) CHAPTER SIX The “Spring Offensive” of 1971
Marching on Washington

Lucy G. Barber

University of California Press

The protests of the spring were the culmination of the entire eighty-year evolution of the march on Washington, from a tactic on the boundaries of American politics to a familiar and traditional part of political life. However, demonstrations during the years since 1963 were not the manifestation of a long-developing tradition, but rather a series of tense, dramatic, and imaginative attempts to test the limits of that tradition. Struggles over the meaning of American citizenship and the legitimacy of criticizing the American state made protest in the capital as debated and as significant as it had been years earlier. Challenges to existing conventions about the uses of Washington's spaces again raised questions about the rights of Americans to use the public spaces of the capital for their political causes. The result of these struggles significantly shaped the subsequent options of organizers, officials, and the media.

Keywords:   legitimacy, Americans, citizenship, politics, convention

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