Tet Offensive- Late January, Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops launched well-organized uprisings in cities throughout South Vietnam, surprising American military leaders. Intensity of the fighting, brought into America's homes on television, shattered public confidence in the Johnson administration, which proclaimed victory to be "just around the corner."
Eugene McCarthy's Challenge- McCarthy was an antiwar senator from Minnesota who announced he would seek the Democratic nomination. In March, aided by a small army of student volunteers, McCarthy received more than 40% of the vote in the New Hampshire primary. Johnson stunned the nation by announcing that he had decided not to seek re-election.
February 29: Kerner commission on urban violence issues report on U.S. race riots- In response to urban riots in the summer of 1967, President Johnson appointed a commission to learn why they occurred and how to prevent them. Headed by New York City Mayor John Lindsay and Otto Kerner, Governor of Illinois, the report famously observed that the U.S. is "moving toward two societies, one black, one white- separate and unequal."
April 4: Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination- Organizing a Poor People's March and having traveled to Memphis to support a strike of the city's grossly underpaid black garbage collectors, King was killed by a white assassin.
April 23: Students at Columbia University in New York protest the school's ties with the Vietnam War and plans for construction in Harlem- Some 150 students take Columbia's acting dean hostage and occupy campus buildings for a week. When police broke up the protest, students announced a strike and the university was closed for the rest of the semester.
June 5: Robert F. Kennedy's assassination- Democratic presidential hopeful, Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York and Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota both ran for the Democratic nomination at the time. On June 5, a young Palestinian nationalist assassinated Kennedy at a Los Angeles hotel.
August 7: Nixon nominates Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew for Vice President- Nixon expected Agnew would help him win voters in Southern and border states. Agnew was considered a moderate on racial issues when he was elected governor in 1966, but he took an aggressive stance against urban rioters that Nixon felt would play well to white voters, especially in the South.
August 26-29: 1968 National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party- The Convention was held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois. After Johnson announced he would not seek re-election, the purpose of the convention was to select a new presidential nominee to run as the Democratic Party's candidate for the office.
October 16 and 31: On the 16th, LBJ calls candidates to tell them about accelerating peace talks with the North Vietnamese. Nixon uses back-channels to scuttle talks. On the 31st, LBJ orders a halt to all American air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam.
November 5: Republican nominee, former Vice President Richard Nixon, won the election over the Democratic nominee, incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Nixon ran on a campaign that promised to restore law and order to the nation's cities and provide new leadership in the Vietnam War. Nixon popularized the term "silent majority," referring to those he viewed as being his target voters. Nixon won the popularity vote by a narrow margin of 0.7 percentage points but won easily in the Electoral College.