DRAFT -- NOT FOR QUOTATION -- DRAFT
Please direct all correspondence to Professor Clyde Brown,
of Political Science, 127 Harrison Hall,
Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, email: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
The eastern world it tis explodin’,
violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
you’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
you don’t believe in war, what’s that gun you’re totin’?
--Barry McGuire, “Eve of Destruction,” 1965
We’ve marched long enough. Now we’re going to vote.
--Peter Yarrow, Registration Summer rally, 1971
President Richard Nixon and Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman did not agree on much. But after the Twenty-sixth Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution in the summer of 1971, both the Republican president who came to office promising to end the Vietnam War and the radical antiwar activist, who in 1968 preferred a pig to any of the human presidential candidates, urged newly-enfranchised 18-to-20-year-olds to register and vote.1 Young people throughout the nation responded to the largest expansion of suffrage since American women won the right to vote in 1920.2 Among them were a group of Iowa State University (ISU) students in Ames, Iowa, many of them active opponents of the Vietnam War who saw in the Twenty-sixth Amendment an opportunity to advance the cause of peace and local community reform.Table 1. Electoral Results of November 2, 1971 Ames Municipal Election by Precinct and Totals
During the summer and fall of 1971, ISU students joined with Register for Peace to hold a weekend conference in Ames to encourage political activism among high school and college students. Register for Peace, the creation of former New York Congressman Allard Lowenstein, was one of several national organizations working to get young voters registered in anticipation of the 1972 presidential election.3 The ISU students also endorsed a slate of candidates in the November 1971 Ames municipal election and embarked upon an extensive voter education and get-out-the-vote (GOTV) drive that resulted in victory for the student-favored candidates.4 Student protesters, along with some university faculty and local residents, had been distressed by the heavy-handed tactics of certain Ames officials during antiwar sit-ins at the time of the Cambodian invasion in May 1970.5 They hoped a display of student voting power would result in a city government more sympathetic to students’ concerns and responsive to their needs.
Events in Ames illustrate the strong connection between opposition to the Vietnam War and student political activism in the 1960s and early 1970s. Like almost half of American colleges, Iowa State University experienced organized protests in opposition to the escalating war in Vietnam.6 Initially only a small group of students and sympathetic faculty were involved in actions against ROTC, Dow Chemical, the draft and on-campus military recruiters, but by 1969 and 1970 antiwar rallies sometimes drew crowds of twenty-five hundred to three thousand.7 Protest activities at Iowa State, including civil disobedience, remained nonviolent with rare exceptions even during events that resulted in student arrests. Student leaders, all but a few committed to nonviolence, successfully maintained order during rallies and marches.8
Ames is located in Story County in central Iowa about thirty miles north of the state capital, Des Moines. In 1970 Ames was a city of 39,699 according to the U.S. Census; this figure undercounted university students by about five thousand. Only about one thousand citizens were non-white. Almost ninety percent of Ames adults had a high school education (forty-five percent had a college degree), and more than fifty percent worked in the public sector (ISU, local schools, Iowa Highway Commission, and National Animal Disease Laboratory). The median family income in Ames was ten percent higher than the state figure. During the 1960s, the local population had grown by nearly fifty percent, as had the number of new housing units. However, students still had trouble finding off-campus housing as the vacancy rate for rentals was a low 3.3 percent.9
Iowa State University was established in the 1860s under the Morrill Land Grant Act. The Morrill Act gave federal land to the states to finance colleges of “agriculture and mechanic arts.”10 Iowa State remained true to its practical beginnings one hundred years after its founding. In 1971 it was officially called Iowa State University of Science and Technology and had long been known by the nickname “Moo U.” This moniker, used by some affectionately and by others disdainfully, evidenced the university’s beginning as the Iowa Agricultural College and its international reputation for agriculture research. Students were attracted to Iowa State’s scientific and professional programs more than the humanities and fine arts. During the 1971-72 academic year, almost eleven thousand students were enrolled in ISU’s Colleges of Agriculture, Education, Engineering, Home Economics and Veterinary Medicine. About seven thousand were in the College of Science and Humanities and 3,500 in the Graduate College.11 ISU students were thought by university administrators to be “mildly conservative,” “quiet,” “mature,” “levelheaded” and primarily concerned about acquiring the training needed to land a good job.12
Moo U and the War
Despite their reputation for conservatism, in 1967 ISU students elected Don Smith, a member of the university’s SDS chapter, president of the Government of the Student Body (GSB).13 Smith’s platform promised to “bring ISU, kicking and screaming, into the twentieth century.”14 Iowa State’s SDS chapter was established in fall 1965. Its membership was never large, but the small group of perhaps two dozen launched the first important antiwar activities on campus. These included efforts to stop the bus taking Donald Siano from Ames to the army induction center in Des Moines. Siano, a graduate student in physics and founding member of ISU’s SDS chapter, previously had signed a statement refusing to serve in Vietnam if drafted.15
Opposition to the draft was an important component of the antiwar movement nationally and at Iowa State. “We Won’t Go” groups were formed on many campuses. Young men burned their draft cards, mailed them to Selective Service offices or turned them in to sympathetic ministers, faculty and others. Draft counseling centers helped potential draftees learn about their rights under the Selective Service System. National antiwar leaders hoped the draft resistance movement would deny the military the manpower it needed. That never happened, but in some areas large numbers of draft cases overwhelmed U.S. attorneys and sympathetic judges dismissed many of the cases.16 As happened elsewhere, opposition to the draft at Iowa State was controversial and risky. ISU antiwar activists feared Ames minister Mark Rutledge, who had accepted draft cards from local draft resisters, would share the fate of nationally known figures like Dr. Benjamin Spock. Spock and four others were indicted in January 1968 “for conspiracy to ‘counsel, aid and abet young men to violate the draft laws.’”17 Rutledge was not prosecuted, but one arrest did occur in Ames. In early 1968, FBI agents came to campus and arrested ISU student John Rundle for refusing induction. He received a five-year prison sentence, but remained free during the appeal of his case.18
College students did not hold a monopoly on antiwar sentiment. As the war escalated and American and Vietnamese deaths increased, some politicians began having doubts about the war. First Senator Eugene McCarthy and then Senator Robert Kennedy entered the 1968 Democratic presidential race as peace candidates. McCarthy’s strong showing in the New Hampshire primary caused President Lyndon Johnson to decide not to seek re-election. His vice president, Hubert Humphrey, inherited the administration’s banner. In the Iowa Democratic caucuses, held on March 25 two weeks after New Hampshire, McCarthy and Kennedy supporters turned out in large numbers. Democratic Party regulars sometimes found themselves overwhelmed by the influx of political newcomers. Student opponents of the war dominated the caucuses in Ames as they did in Iowa City and Cedar Falls, home to the state’s other two public universities, the Universities of Iowa and Northern Iowa. McCarthy swept the Ames’s caucuses and his ISU student supporters won seats as delegates to the Democrats’ county and state conventions.19 The assassination of Robert Kennedy the night of his victory in the California primary left McCarthy the peace movement’s sole pre-convention alternative to Humphrey. Scores of high school and college students, many too young to vote, worked on McCarthy’s campaign. The beards, blue jeans and long hair that had become the hallmarks of the younger generation gave way to more conventional attire and hairstyles as youthful campaign workers pledged to be “Neat and Clean for Gene.”20
The idealism of McCarthy’s “children’s crusade” was a counter to the dark forces tearing at American society in 1968. In addition to Kennedy’s death, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., had been assassinated earlier that year. Riots erupted in the inner cities of numerous metropolitan areas after King was killed as African-Americans reacted to the tragic loss of the civil rights leader. The year also witnessed whites’ increasing impatience toward black militants.21 A portion of the antiwar movement was growing more militant as well, preaching revolution and seeking confrontation with authorities. Chicago police were ready to oblige when five thousand antiwar demonstrators came to the city in August for the Democratic National Convention. Shocked television viewers watched violent clashes between police and protesters in what investigators later termed a “police riot.” The small group of Iowa State students who participated in the Chicago demonstrations escaped arrest and injury, but was caught in the police tear gas barrage.22
Hubert Humphrey won the Democratic presidential nomination over Eugene McCarthy, but lost the general election to Republican Richard Nixon.23 Nixon followed a dual strategy toward Vietnam War protest as a candidate and president. On the one hand, he sought to reassure a “silent majority” frightened by what was seen as a breakdown of law and order in American society. He publicly condemned antiwar protesters and allowed federal law enforcement to prosecute and infiltrate peace groups, tactics the Johnson administration had previously used. But Nixon also pursued strategies designed to silence critics of the war. Through Vietnamization American troops, which reached a high of 543,400 in early 1969, slowly were withdrawn as the South Vietnamese military took over more of the fighting.24 He continued peace talks with the North Vietnamese that had started late in Johnson’s term and backed replacement of the draft with a lottery system. Many antiwar leaders viewed Nixon’s policies with skepticism and impatience. Few trusted the man long known as “Tricky Dick” and no one wanted to see more Vietnamese deaths even as the number of American dead declined.25 The protests would continue.
Antiwar leaders, some who had been active in McCarthy’s presidential campaign, organized the Vietnam Moratorium Committee in June 1969. Despite the disastrous Democratic Convention and infighting among antiwar groups, they were buoyed by the support McCarthy had received in the primaries. They looked for a way to tap into the growing disquiet of a general public disillusioned with the war but unsympathetic toward more strident forms of protest. The Moratorium was designed to begin in October 1969 with one day of protest; the next month there would be two days of protest if the war continued, the month after that three days and so on. Rather than organizing a large protest in a single location, Moratorium leaders envisioned hundreds of protests across the United States. To this end local Moratorium committees were formed on campuses throughout the country including Iowa State.26 Nationally, more than two million people took part in marches, rallies, prayer vigils and other activities during the October 15 Moratorium. It was “an outpouring of public dissent unprecedented in American history.”27 At Iowa State twenty-six hundred listened to student speakers and others condemn the war at a convocation in C. Y. Stephens Auditorium, normally the site of concerts and plays. At least half the crowd then marched in the rain to the Selective Service Office in downtown Ames where one thousand cards with pennies attached were delivered to draft board workers in a symbolic “buy back” of young men who had registered for the draft in Story County.28
Moratorium leaders planned to ratchet up activity for every month the war continued beyond October but it was difficult to maintain interest and involvement. In November the Vietnam Moratorium Committee joined with other antiwar groups to hold a massive demonstration that drew half a million people to Washington, D.C., but December events fizzled and Moratorium leaders discarded their original plan to add an extra day of protest each month. The national Moratorium office closed in April 1970.29 The ISU Moratorium Committee did better than most local groups across the nation, but it too faced the problem of coming up with new activities month after month. No event held at Iowa State in November, December or the early months of 1970 matched the level of participation of October 15.30
Then came the Cambodian invasion. President Nixon’s decision to send American troops into Cambodia to destroy the sanctuaries from which North Vietnam attacked the South sparked antiwar demonstrations throughout the nation and student strikes at numerous colleges. Events quickly turned deadly. On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen fired on student demonstrators at Kent State University, killing four and wounding nine. Two Jackson State College students died and twelve were wounded ten days later as a result of gunfire from Mississippi Highway Patrolmen and local police.31 At Iowa State University, antiwar leaders organized marches and rallies to protest both the Cambodian invasion and the Kent State-Jackson State deaths. For the first time large numbers of ISU students participated in acts of civil disobedience; some were arrested for their protest activity. Sit-ins were held at the ISU Armory and the Story County draft board. Students left the Armory voluntarily and no arrests resulted from the takeover, but local police used tear gas to clear protesters blocking the entrance to the draft board and arrested twenty-three students. Another mass arrest occurred five days later when antiwar protesters blocked a bus transporting draftees to Des Moines for their pre-induction physicals.32
The numerous campus protests opposing the Cambodian invasion turned out to be the last major wave of antiwar activity at American colleges and universities. In part this was because Nixon soon returned to his policy of reducing the number of American ground troops. By the end of 1970 about 335,000 troops remained; one year later than number had been cut in half.33 He also continued peace talks, resorting to military action to make the North Vietnamese more pliable.34 In January 1973 the United States and North Vietnam agreed to a cease-fire. The remaining American troops left Vietnam and the North released U.S. prisoners of war. Congress grudgingly continued military aid to the South, but not enough to stave off North Vietnamese victory in the fighting that followed the United States’ last troop withdrawals. On April 30, 1975, North Vietnamese troops and Vietcong guerrillas entered Saigon. In all, fifty-eight thousand Americans died in the Vietnam War, about twenty thousand of those deaths coming on Nixon’s watch as he sought “peace with honor.” Over one and a half million Vietnamese lives were lost.35 Politically, the U.S. suffered divisions not seen since the Civil War. Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights and anti-poverty legacy was scarred. Nixon’s presidency ended in ignominy as the Watergate scandal forced his resignation. Congress, feeling it had been duped into giving Johnson authority to prosecute the war and kept in the dark about military matters, passed the War Powers Act in November 1973. In effect to this day, the War Powers Act was designed to limit a president’s ability to send troops into hostile action.36
The Twenty-sixth Amendment
Another political consequence of the Vietnam War was the revival of efforts to lower the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen. Making twenty-one the minimum age for voting was the practice in colonial America and continued to be the case after the colonies won their independence from Great Britain. In setting the voting age colonial governments had followed the standard established by English common law which considered twenty-one to be the age when men and women reached maturity. An additional reason for the tradition of voting at twenty-one came from England and Western Europe’s medieval past. Twenty-one was the age at which a man became a knight; it was thought that younger men were not strong enough to wear a suit of armor.37
A minimum age was only one of a number of suffrage restrictions in place at the founding of the United States. With one rare and short-lived exception women could not vote and few free black men could. Otherwise qualified men had to meet certain property requirements.38 Suffrage expanded over the next century and a half as property restrictions disappeared, women won the right to vote and impediments to African-American voting thrown up to thwart the Fifteenth Amendment were removed.39 But the right to vote remained limited to those twenty-one or older.
The strongest argument in favor of lowering the voting age had always been the refrain, “old enough to fight, old enough to vote.” Some started speaking in favor of lowering the voting age as early as the American Revolution and such proposals were put forward “during or after every major war” involving the United States.40 The modern push to lower the voting age began during World War II. Between 1941 and 1945 16.4 million men and women served in the American military, including many 18-to-20-year-olds.41 Members of Congress like Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan argued that “if young men are to be drafted at eighteen years of age to fight for their government, they ought to be entitled to vote at eighteen years of age for the kind of government for which they are best satisfied to fight.”42 But he and West Virginia’s Representative Jennings Randolph failed in their efforts to send to the states for ratification an amendment lowering the voting age.43 State legislatures also entertained proposals to lower the voting age during the Second World War. Only one succeeded. In 1943 Georgia voters approved an amendment to the state constitution lowering the voting age to eighteen.44
World War II ended, but efforts to lower the voting age did not. The maintenance of a large military and continuation of the draft, both justified by the Cold War, kept the voting age issue alive as did American involvement in the Korean War. Activity took place in Congress and various state legislatures. Despite the backing of President Dwight Eisenhower, the Senate failed in 1953 to muster the two-thirds vote needed to send a voting age amendment to the states for ratification. Proposals to lower the voting age came before the Iowa legislature every term after 1945, but support for the measure always fell short. Between Georgia’s action in 1943 and 1970, success occurred in Kentucky, where the voting age was lowered to eighteen in 1955, and the new states of Alaska and Hawaii where the voting age was set at nineteen and twenty respectively.45
The Vietnam War provided a new twist on the “old enough to fight, old enough to vote” argument. Usually when the argument was made, the right to vote was presented as a way to acknowledge, perhaps even reward, the sacrifices of military men between the ages of eighteen and twenty who were risking their lives for their country. Eisenhower spoke of allowing citizens under age twenty-one to “participate in the political process that produces t[he] fateful summons” to fight for America.46 Given the growing opposition to the war in Vietnam it was certain that many of the young people clamoring for the vote would use it to elect politicians pledged to end the fighting. As campus unrest spread and antiwar protests sometimes turned violent, lowering the voting age was seen as a way to defuse the alienation and radicalization of the younger generation. It would also do away with one of the justifications for draft resistance since no longer could young men claim they were expected to fight in a war overseen by politicians they had no role in electing.47
Opponents of the eighteen-year-old vote looked at campus unrest and anti-draft activities quite differently. They believed extending the vote would reward the bad behavior of some college students; this argument carried the day in several states in 1969 and 1970 when referenda to lower the voting age failed at the polls.48 Supporters of the eighteen-year-old vote who themselves had little sympathy for campus demonstrators, such as S. I. Hayakawa, president of San Francisco State University, and Richard G. Kleindienst, deputy attorney general in Nixon’s Justice Department, pointed out that only a small minority of students were responsible for disruptive or violent acts and that some protesters were over twenty-one.49
Supporters of lowering the voting age also argued that 18-to-20-year-olds already bore many of the responsibilities of adulthood and that many states conferred certain “adult” rights on that age group. In all or some of the states eighteen-year-olds could drive automobiles, make valid wills and contracts, be employed in “hazardous” occupations, purchase alcohol and marry without parental consent. They paid income taxes if they worked and were treated as adults by the criminal courts.50 Further, supporters noted that the generation born after World War II was better educated than young people of earlier eras and hence better prepared to exercise the right to vote. In 1970 about eighty percent of 18-to-20-year-olds were high school graduates and almost half had some post-secondary schooling. Politicians as diverse as President Nixon and Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy made this argument. While running for president in 1968, Nixon told a St. Louis audience, “the younger generation is better educated, it knows more about politics, more about the world, than many of the older people....they are smart enough to vote.”51
By spring 1970 it was clear that state efforts to lower the voting age were moving slowly and more often than not suffering defeat. In Congress Representative Emmanuel Celler, a staunch foe of the youth vote, blocked efforts to move a constitutional amendment out of the House Judiciary Committee.52 To break the impasse Senators Edward Kennedy, Warren Magnuson and Mike Mansfield proposed adding a measure to enfranchise 18-to-20-year-olds to the 1965 Voting Rights Act which was up for renewal.53 One of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation ever passed by Congress, the Voting Rights Act gave the Attorney General authority to supervise voter registration in areas where statistics suggested minorities were unable to register on an equal basis with whites. In addition federal authorities were to oversee elections in places where African-Americans had been blocked from voting in the past. The Voting Rights Act also banned literacy tests and similar practices designed to hamper minority voter registration. As a result of the 1965 law, the number of African-Americans registered to vote in the South increased from twenty-nine percent in 1960 to almost sixty-seven percent at decade’s end. The Voting Rights Act was set to expire August 6, 1970, if Congress did not take action to renew it.54
Despite concerns that extending the vote to 18-to-20-year-olds by statute rather than by amendment would not pass constitutional muster, such a measure was added to the renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It passed the Senate by a vote of 64 to 17, the House 272 to 132, and was signed into law by President Nixon on June 22, 1970.55 The Voting Rights Act called for an expedited court review of the voting age provision to settle questions about its constitutionality before the law went into effect January 1, 1971. Attorney General John Mitchell took steps to produce a test case. At the same time a number of states, including Iowa, initiated legal action designed to quickly get the Voting Rights Act before the Supreme Court.56
On December 21, 1970, in Oregon v. Mitchell a divided Supreme Court ruled that Congress had the authority to lower the voting age to eighteen in federal elections, but overstepped when it lowered the voting age for state and local elections. That portion of the Voting Rights Act was declared unconstitutional. It was Justice Hugo Black’s opinion that carried the day in the five-to-four “Christmas Decision.” Chief Justice Warren Burger along with Justices Harry A. Blackmun, John M. Harlan and Potter Stewart considered the entire voting age portion of the law unconstitutional. Justices William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall and Byron R. White were prepared to uphold the voting age section in its entirety. Those four joined with Black to rule the voting age change constitutional as it applied to federal elections.57
Nearly all the states now faced the prospect of a cumbersome and expensive dual voting system. Local election officials would have to maintain one voter registration list for persons under twenty-one and another for those twenty-one and older. They would have to devise two sets of ballots or provide special voting machines to ensure that 18-to-20-year-olds did not vote for state and local candidates and referenda.58 Only states like Georgia and Kentucky that allowed voting at eighteen would be spared the new complications.
Congress quickly moved to rectify the situation created by Oregon v. Mitchell. What the Supreme Court would not allow Congress to do by legislation, it could do with a constitutional amendment. Congress took up the measure when it convened in January 1971. A new, practical argument was added to the list of reasons for lowering the voting age to eighteen -- saving the millions of dollars it would cost to establish a dual voting system. On March 10 the Senate unanimously approved what would become the Twenty-sixth Amendment. The House followed suit by a 400 to 19 vote on March 23. The amendment read, “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of age.”59 The next step, ratification by the states, proceeded swiftly. Delaware and Minnesota acted within an hour of the House vote. On April 1, 1971, Iowa became the eleventh state to ratify. Ohio supplied the vote needed to complete ratification on June 30. The Twenty-sixth Amendment officially became part of the Constitution five days later at a White House certification ceremony.60 Over eleven million 18-to-20-year-olds throughout the United States, including 347,000 Iowans, finally had the right to vote in federal, state and local elections.61
Register for Peace at Iowa State University
Shortly after the proposed Twenty-sixth Amendment was sent to the states for ratification, about three dozen organizations across the country embarked on efforts to encourage voting by the soon-to-be enfranchised citizens. Many of the organizations focused on a particular segment of young people -- African-Americans, blue-collar workers, high school students, Democrats, college students, and Vietnam War opponents.62 Among the most visible and effective was an effort led by Americans for Democratic Action’s President Allard Lowenstein. Lowenstein was one of the architects of the “Dump Johnson” movement in 1968 that resulted in the McCarthy and Kennedy candidacies and the decision by President Johnson not to seek reelection.63 In 1971 he envisioned a bipartisan youth movement capitalizing on millions of new voters who according to public opinion polls opposed the Vietnam War and did not trust Richard Nixon. With a “Dump Nixon” movement in mind, Lowenstein hired college age staffers and sent them into the field to organize rallies and conferences that would further the effort of mobilizing young voters.64 Beginning with a Patriot’s Day rally in Providence, Rhode Island, events were held in all regions of the United States, including Iowa, and operated under a number of names, including Register for Peace.65
Jim Smalhout, from Bethesda, Maryland, came to Iowa for the Lowenstein group.66 In late summer he quickly solicited the support of the executive leadership of the ISU Government of the Student Body and began organizing a statewide Register for Peace conference at Iowa State. The plan was to attract to the conference young political activists from Iowa’s colleges, universities and high schools and provide them with the information and inspiration needed to conduct local voter registration efforts. A meeting to organize the conference was held August 12; the two-day conference was set for August 28-29 in Ames, the weekend before fall classes resumed at Iowa State University. ISU student Clyde Brown supplied the day-to-day leadership to organize the conference. Brown was a well-known local antiwar leader. He had been active on campus since 1968, serving as president of the ISU Young Democrats and state coordinator of the Iowa Moratorium Committee. He was one of two prominent student protest leaders at the time of the 1970 Cambodian invasion and was among those arrested at the Story County draft board sit-in.67 Brown had the assistance of a small cadre of Ames High School students, notably Patty Beneke and Betsy Peterson, and some ISU students. He jokingly referred to the outside organizers as “whiz kids” and did not always see eye-to-eye with them as the effort unfolded.68
The largest job confronting the organizers was to contact students via telephone and mail and invite them to attend the conference. Publicizing the conference was another task. This was primarily accomplished by Lowenstein making a two-day swing through the state about ten days before the conference, stopping in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Davenport and Des Moines.69 The logistics of providing housing and transportation for the visitors was another major undertaking as was planning the conference program. Local organizers struggled to keep the conference bipartisan after prominent Republicans turned down invitations to speak. They had to cope with ideological divisions among warring Democratic gubernatorial camps and allay the fears of high school students and their parents who worried the conference was a front for antiwar radicals.70
About three hundred students attended the conference. It featured speeches by Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Tapscott, Republican Lieutenant Governor Arthur Neu, U.S. Congressman John Culver and United Auto Workers’ leader “Soapy” Owens, as well as opening remarks by University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop author Vance Bourjaily and a keynote address by Lowenstein on “What the Youth Vote Means for the Nation.” Peter Yarrow, of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, provided musical entertainment.71 Iowa State student Kevin Kirlin was tapped to be the conference chairperson. Kirlin was active in local antiwar activity; he had been director of the Ames Peace Center and was arrested at the draft board sit-in in May 1970. Kirlin was not as controversial as antiwar leaders like Brown and, therefore, considered a better choice to chair the conference from a public relations standpoint.72 In addition to the plenary sessions, conference participants attended a series of workshops conducted by local political activists on voter registration laws and techniques, the Iowa precinct caucus system, running a political campaign and organizational maintenance.73 The conference received extensive coverage in local and regional media, especially in the fall “welcoming” edition of the Iowa State Daily which was distributed to new and returning ISU students.74
At the same time as Register for Peace and similar groups attempted to mobilize young voters, state and local election officials in Iowa and elsewhere across the country struggled to decide whether college students should be allowed to register and vote in the community where they attended school. As a result of the Twenty-sixth Amendment, student voters now outnumbered permanent residents in some college towns. Incumbents worried that the youngsters would vote them out of office. Residents feared higher taxes if student voters passed expensive bond issues or elected free-spending city councils and school boards, and Republicans worried that Democratically-inclined young people would end their party’s political dominance in certain communities.75
Iowa’s Secretary of State Melvin Synhorst met with local election officials on August 5 to discuss college town voting and other issues related to the eighteen-year-old vote. At the meeting Iowa Attorney General Richard Turner reiterated his October 1970 opinion that college students could vote in the towns where they attended school only if they were “born and raised there” or planned to reside there “for a substantial time” after graduation.76 This was a more stringent standard than Iowa’s “normal” residency requirement for voters. The normal residency rule required that the prospective voter be (1) a resident of the state for at least six months, (2) of the county for at least sixty days, and (3) of the precinct for at least ten days based (4) on the date of the election, not the date of registration.77
Ames City Clerk Louise Whitcome and Story County Auditor Dorothy Elliott decided to ignore Turner’s opinion on college student voting when registering ISU students. Turner’s opinion did not carry the force of law. Election officials in Iowa City and Cedar Falls, the state’s other major university towns, also disregarded Turner and applied the state’s normal residency requirement to prospective student voters.78 Shortly thereafter the Attorney General requested that the Iowa State Legislature decide the issue, but it did not take it up.79
The first opportunity for newly enfranchised Iowa State 18-to-20-year-olds to vote was the Ames municipal election of November 2, 1971.80 ISU Register for Peace organizers did not have local elections in mind when they joined with Lowenstein staffers to put on the conference. They were looking ahead to the January 1972 Iowa Democratic precinct caucuses. They wanted to build support for a peace candidate in the presidential race and for liberal Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Tapscott. However, they supported the principle of registering all students and quickly became leaders of an effort to mobilize student voters to transform the Ames City Council.
The Campaign for Responsive City Government
Seasoned antiwar activists joined with Government of the Student Body officers and others to register Iowa State University students for the November 2 election. Iowa election law allowed voters to be registered by mobile registrars appointed by the Democratic and Republican county parties and deputized by the city clerk or county auditor. New registrants, as well as registered voters reporting a change of address, had to complete an application in the presence of the mobile registrar who witnessed the form and returned it to local election officials. At the start of the student registration drive, Brown and Kirlin were the only student mobile registrars.81 Later, the city clerk would authorize twenty additional student mobile registrars. Among those helping with the registration effort was ISU graduate student John Hugg. Hugg had been involved in ISU antiwar protests and was arrested in May 1970 with other students when they attempted to block a bus with draftees on board.82 Brown and Hugg worked nearly full time on the effort. Besides manning a voter registration booth on campus, they and others went door-to-door in married student housing and registered students at rallies and other events. Determined not to miss any opportunity to reach prospective student voters, Brown set up a table outside the state liquor store on Friday and Saturday nights and Hugg was on hand to register students when the campustown bars closed at 2:00 A.M.83
In addition to the independent effort of Brown and Hugg, GSB launched a voter registration drive in September 1971. It appointed students Mack Teachout and Shellie Sinks co-directors of voter registration. Teachout was the GSB Senator for the Inter-Fraternity Council. GSB President Steve Zumbach and Vice-President Don Nickerson supported the campaign and hoped to register five thousand of the ten thousand to twelve thousand eligible students.84 The campaign got off to a rocky start. Senator Edmund Muskie cancelled an appearance that was to have been the kick-off event for the student government’s voter registration drive. GSB pushed forward, sending mobile registrars into every residence hall, fraternity and sorority. It assumed responsibility for the registration booth in the Memorial Union. GSB also sponsored several successful free dances at Hilton Coliseum, site of ISU basketball games and other sporting events, including one two days before the voter registration deadline.85 The registration drive resulted in at least 3,125 new voters in Ames, a figure that fell short of the GSB goal but satisfied antiwar activists.86
While the efforts to register students proceeded, politically active students turned their attention to candidates and issues involved in the November 2 election. Joining them in their efforts was Don Christensen, student program coordinator of the YMCA. Christensen had been talking informally for some time with James Rhoads, executive director of the YMCA, Dennis Kelso, another YMCA employee and a former program adviser in the Dean of Students Office, and local businessman William Pelz about getting “strong, independent, progressive candidates” to run for Ames City Council. They recruited several individuals to run for city council because they were concerned about the direction of city government and especially worried about the powerful influence City Attorney James Bishop exerted in the current administration.87 Bishop had angered antiwar protesters by what they considered his aggressive handling of the May 1970 sit-in at the Story County draft board and subsequent events. Leaders of the sit-in had negotiated an agreement with the owner of the building to allow a small contingent of protesters to remain for part of the day if the others left. Bishop overruled the arrangement and ordered the immediate arrest of the protesters. Police then used tear gas to clear the building and took twenty-three students to jail. Many believed Bishop displayed a disregard for student rights when the arrests were made. In an “Open Letter to Scott County,” then GSB Vice-president Jerry Parkin quoted Bishop as telling a female student, “You don’t need to know anymore about your rights than a hog does Sunday.”88 Bishop’s retention as city attorney would become important issue in the election campaign.
At stake in the election were the mayor’s office, four of the six city council seats and the city park commissioner’s post. The mayor, two of the city councilor positions and the park commissioner were elected citywide. Because of a recent resignation both At-Large seats were on the ballot. The other four city council districts were based on a ward system with two of those seats up for election in 1971. The Third Ward took in the south half of the city and included both “town and gown” neighborhoods. The north half of the city was partitioned into the First Ward (east side, Ames residential), Fourth Ward (west side, mostly on- and off-campus student housing), and Second Ward (sandwiched in the middle, Ames residential). Geographically “campustown” was separated from “downtown” by the mile-wide Squaw Creek flood plain.89
Christensen and others saw the Ames city elections as a “low voter turnout situation.”90 City elections in America are typically nonpartisan affairs that do not generate a lot of public attention. As a consequence voter turnout is very low, typically less than half of what it is for national elections for Congress and the presidency. They reasoned that the large student population in Ames relative to the traditional city vote provided an opportunity for the student vote to determine the outcome of local races. With more than three thousand new registrants on the voter rolls, the view was “students can make an impact if one-half of that number turns out” for the upcoming election.91
An informal study group of about fifteen individuals, organized by Kevin Kirlin, invited announced and potential candidates to meet with them. The group wanted to learn about the candidates and communicate to the candidates their concerns about city government.92 The composition of the study group was wide-ranging, including antiwar activists Brown and Kirlin, a student leader of Senator George McGovern’s presidential campaign, GSB officers Zumbach and Nickerson and three other present or former student government leaders, as well as Christensen, Kelso, Rhoads, Rhoads’s counterpart at the YWCA, and Willis K. Bright, Jr., who worked in the Dean of Students Office. While insisting on candidates who shared their positions on the issues, they also wanted candidates who would be acceptable to voters beyond the activist community and who would be effective on city council if elected.93 Individually and collectively, they evaluated the candidates.
On October 21 a letter to the editor from Kirlin and seventeen others appeared in the Iowa State Daily endorsing three candidates for city council and a candidate for park commissioner.94 The study group had reached overwhelming consensus, unanimous in three instances and with a lone dissenter in the other, to endorse a slate of candidates.95 The group expressed its support for Barbara Koerber for one At-Large seat, Charles Calhoun for the other At-Large post and Russell Pounds over Bill Pelz for the Fourth Ward position. A longtime member of the League of Women Voters and president of a group that “help[ed] low-income families with housing problems,” Koerber had run unsuccessfully for State Senate the previous year.96 Pounds worked at Iowa State University as an extension economist. He had served as director of the Des Moines Model Cities program and was active in civil rights issues. When he was elected, Pounds became the first African-American to serve on the Ames City Council.97 Calhoun, owner of a turf grass business that constructed golf courses, was the only endorsed candidate running against an incumbent. Calhoun faced John Thurston who was seeking a second four-year term.98 The group did not endorse a candidate for mayor because it did not have a preference for either of the two candidates. It did not endorse a candidate in the Second Ward because few students lived there. It did endorse Kenneth Lane, one of three candidates for park commissioner. Lane was an assistant professor of landscape architecture at Iowa State.99
At the same time the endorsements were made public, Christensen announced a meeting for October 24 to organize and train election workers on behalf of the candidates.100 It featured two former Ames residents, husband and wife Tommy and Pat Timm, who showed a film on campaign organizing. The Timms were friends of Christensen from their undergraduate days at ISU and when they all lived in Chicago. Tommy Timm had been trained as a community organizer at the Northwest Community Organization (NCO).101 Renowned radical community organizer Saul Alinsky was the founder of several community organizations in Chicago and the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), and the inspiration behind the NCO and many other similar groups. He advocated a model of community organizing that stressed the importance of indigenous political leadership. Alinsky’s IAF in 1971 organized voter registration training workshops from its Chicago base and sent organizers out across the country.102 The Timms, especially Pat, had worked to elect independent Democratic aldermen who opposed the political machine of Mayor Richard M. Daley; Christensen also had been involved in these efforts. The Timms instructed the ISU group on how to plan and implement a labor-intensive door-to-door local election campaign. About forty students attended the meeting and named their group the Coalition for Responsive City Government (CRCG). Kevin Kirlin emerged as leader of the election organization.103
The Coalition focused its efforts on three precincts with large student populations. Precinct 4-1 (Fourth Ward, Precinct 1) was located west of campus and was composed of high density rental housing; precinct 4-3, encompassing the ISU campus, included four major dorm complexes and university housing for married students; and precinct 3-2, south of campus, contained student apartments, fourteen sororities, thirty-six fraternities and a major dorm complex. CRCG appointed six election coordinators; each was responsible for specific geographic areas and constituencies.104
The group embarked on a classic voter education, voter identification and get-out-the-vote campaign.105 CRCG produced and distributed literature that prominently displayed its candidate endorsements. Individual members of the Coalition (GSB leaders, dorm residents, fraternity members, off-campus students, graduate students, and antiwar activists) were well known by most of the student body, but none had high credibility with all students. Instead, each was well regarded and trusted within specific student circles. The plan was to “organize your own” so that when members of the Coalition went door-to-door to encourage students to vote for the endorsed slate of candidates, the message would be more readily received because of the messenger’s standing in the eyes of the student being canvassed.
Coalition members attended the eight candidate forums held in the weeks leading up to the election. Before the CRCG made its endorsement, the group used the forums as another vehicle to evaluate the candidates.106 Later the forums served to publicize issues that mattered to the Coalition and helped identify like-minded voters. The first forum was held October 7; it was sponsored by the YMCA and was only for mayoral candidates.107 A candidate forum on October 20 was devoted to environmental issues and sponsored by the Ames Conservation Council. An ad hoc Nonpartisan Citizens Group was responsible for five candidate forums held throughout the city between October 17 and October 25. The League of Women Voters (LWV) and Ames Chamber of Commerce hosted the final candidate forum on October 27.108 The LWV registered voters at all the candidate forums that took place before the voter registration deadline of October 22.
Among the issues that came up at a number of the forums were the need for low income housing in the city, enforcing the health and safety standards in the housing code, providing special pathways for bicycles, continuing taxpayer support for the bus system and including ISU students on city committees. These were all issues of interest to the CRCG and Iowa State students in general and were ones they could support. The future of City Attorney Bishop also was discussed. Koerber, Pounds and Pelz pledged not to rehire Bishop. Calhoun was equivocal; he promised Bishop a hearing, but remarked, “I think we could do better.”109 The strong antiwar sentiment of some students was evident in questions to park commissioner candidates about allowing ROTC drills in the parks. CRCG-endorsed Lane expressed his opposition to “military maneuvers” in the parks; the other park commissioner candidate at the forum was unsure if the commission had the authority to ban the activity.110
Mayoral candidate Richard Richards, who was challenging incumbent Stuart Smith, accused the present city council of holding secret meetings in violation of the open meetings law. Smith and incumbent Councilman Thurston denied the charges, but the discussion served to highlight the Coalition’s desire for a more open city government. All the city council candidates endorsed by CRCG addressed the issue. When he announced his candidacy, Pounds stated “The people’s right to know is paramount in [my] philosophy of government.” Koerber used language similar to Pounds when she made “the right to know” the first point in her proposed “bill of rights for city government to observe.” Calhoun called for citizens to be “regularly and properly informed.”111 The CRCG itself became an issue at three of the candidate forums. Burt Gleason, a Fourth Ward candidate, denounced the candidates supported by the Coalition for running as a “slate” and relying on “assistance from outside,” meaning the Timms. Pounds defended the student group, saying, “Students have been asked to seek change by working within the system. This is what they are trying to do....[T]hey ought to be commended....”112
On the night before the election, Coalition members distributed slate cards in the dorms and “Greek” houses and placed doorknob hangers listing the endorsed candidates on off-campus homes and apartments.113 The next day CRCG poll watchers in the targeted precincts kept track of which newly registered students voted. As a voter voted an election judge was required by state law to announce the voter’s name. CRCG poll watchers would cross the name off a master list of voters. Late in the afternoon, runners came to each precinct to obtain the lists from the poll watchers. The runners returned to a precinct headquarters where volunteers were given the addresses of students who had not yet voted. The GOTV doorknockers sought out those individuals and urged them to vote before the polls closed. The process was repeated several times with runners retrieving updated lists from the precincts and doorknockers going out to contact potential voters to exhort them to vote, sometimes visiting the same person more than once.
The Coalition’s work paid off as its endorsed slate swept into office.114 In two instances the student vote provided the margin of victory. The electoral results of all races in the Ames municipal election are reported in Table 1. Barbara Koerber was unopposed for the Washington Township At-Large seat. Nevertheless the CRCG wanted a strong showing for Koerber as a way to give her greater influence on the new city council.115 Russell Pounds won a three-person race with 59.4 percent of the vote. He needed a majority of all votes cast to win the seat and avoid a run-off election. A remarkable 75.4 percent of the vote in precinct 4-3 clinched the race for him. Student voting power was most evident in the Franklin Township At-Large race where Charles Calhoun won by 267 votes out of 6,969 votes cast. He lost all six precincts in the First and Second Wards where few students lived by a combined margin of 753 votes. In contrast, he carried the Third and Fourth Wards by 1,020 votes with 878 of that margin coming from the three targeted student precincts. Kenneth Lane won the park commissioner race easily with 62 percent of the vote; in the student GOTV precincts he racked up 78 percent of the vote.
***Table 1 About Here***
The impact of the student vote was not lost on the winners. Calhoun said “I couldn’t have done it without the student help. It’s awfully tough to beat an incumbent. But the student group got the votes for me. I wouldn’t have gotten them otherwise.” Pounds felt “students had a significant effect on my election. The endorsement helped, they got out the vote.”116 In an editorial the Ames Daily Tribune acknowledged “the concerted effort on the part of some young people to get their colleagues out to vote....[The CRCG] know[s] how the system works and used that knowledge to bring about the election of the candidates they selected.”117
The official canvass of the vote showed 7,506 votes cast by the 20,109 registered voters for a voter turnout of 37.33 percent.118 Kirlin estimated that at least two thousand students voted.119 Brown estimated student votes were 60 percent of the votes cast in precinct 4-1, 60 percent in precinct 3-2 and 100 percent in precinct 4-3. On the basis of poll watcher lists, he concluded that 55 percent of the newly registered students contacted by CRCG’s get-out-the-vote effort voted and that citywide between 40 and 45 percent of all students voted.120
Barbara Koerber, filling the unexpired term of a city council member who resigned in September, was sworn in the day after the election. The other winners had to wait until early January 1972 to take office. One of the first matters the council dealt with was the reappointment of the city manager, city clerk, city health officer, the administrator of the city hospital and City Attorney Bishop. The council reappointed the first four to the usual one-year term, but postponed action on Bishop. At a separate meeting they hired Bishop only through September 1 by a vote of five to one. Russell Pounds voted “no” because he favored a shorter contract period for Bishop.121 The nine-month appointment put Bishop on notice that he did not have the confidence of the new city council. He would have to find another job. In June Bishop announced that he had accepted the position of city attorney in Kalamazoo, Michigan.122 The CRCG had achieved one of its main objectives.
In December, Kirlin announced the CRGC was moving into “Phase II” which involved getting city government to pay attention to six issues the Coalition believed warranted “priority attention.” The top issue was dealing with drug problems in Ames, a topic that had not received Coalition publicity during the election. Other “Phase II” issues had been part of the election campaign, for example, public transportation and fair housing. The Coalition called for “city council approval of city officials,” a reference to the controversy surrounding Bishop. Improving police-community relations was another issue of concern to the CRCG as was the need to make sure the city received its fair share of state liquor sales profits.123 Coalition members attended early meetings of the new City Council serving as a visible reminder of their priorities to those they helped elect.
Electing sympathetic officials is especially important for student-based movements because of the transitory nature of student life and the ongoing cycles of campaign politics. Within months the most active members of the Coalition turned their attention to the 1972 Iowa Democratic precinct caucuses and the campaigns of George McGovern for President, John Tapscott for Governor, and Tom Harkin for Congress. But the people they elected remained in office. Koerber served on city council for six years. Pounds would run for Mayor of Ames in 1973, narrowly losing by 118 votes to his 1971 opponent Bill Pelz who had adopted positions in tune with the Coalition’s goals. Calhoun would finish his four-year term on City Council. Calhoun and Pounds split the vote in a three-way race for mayor in 1975; Pounds lost to the third candidate in a run-off election.124
Events at Iowa State University during the summer and fall of 1971 demonstrated the continuing impact of the Vietnam War on the politics of college-age students. Ending American involvement in the war remained a top priority for a set of activists who had been involved in protest politics but who in 1971 engaged in electoral politics. In terms of national politics they were willing participants in the nascent “Dump Nixon” movement. They hoped the Twenty-sixth Amendment would provide millions of new votes in 1972 to elect a president who would reflect their politics. That hope was shattered with Nixon’s landslide election over George McGovern. In their community, they hoped the new voters would elect a city council responsive to them. In Ames, that hope was realized with the resounding victory of a slate of student-endorsed city councilors. Many student activists (and some townspeople) had long memories of their treatment during the Cambodia protests of May 1970 and they used the electoral system to redress their strongly felt grievances against the city attorney.
Events at Iowa State also show the impact of national forces on local politics. Allard Lowenstein’s Register for Peace was part of a larger effort by many groups to redirect America’s priorities by enlisting the participation and support of millions of newly enfranchised young people. That effort reached all the way to Iowa. The ISU Register for Peace Conference set the stage for Iowa State students to have a significant impact on local politics. CRCG members used the organizing methods of Saul Alinsky and the political tactics of anti-Daley reformers in Chicago as models in building a broad coalition to conduct a well-run local campaign. That effort at political mobilization turned out more than two thousand votes, transforming the Ames City Council.
Several factors contributed to the electoral success of the Coalition. First, the organizers were motivated to undertake the effort. Undoubtedly, motivations varied by individuals, but removing the city attorney and electing sympathetic local officeholders topped the list. Second, these people were willing to lead and work hard. A diverse group of individuals came together to do the unglamorous and time-consuming tasks necessary to make a campaign work. Third, organizers were politically astute, knowledgeable and pragmatic. They recognized the opportunity provided by the city election, had the political skills to organize a campaign, and showed good judgment in the composition of the coalition they formed and in the candidates they recruited and endorsed. Fourth, the Twenty-sixth Amendment created thousands of potential voters in Ames -- this was the new factor that could change the equation of local political power. Finally, local election officials did not obstruct students from registering, nor were the Coalition’s organizing efforts matched by opposing candidates and interests.
Students of political behavior have noted the failure of 18-to-20-year-olds as a group to fully utilize the franchise. Beginning with McGovern’s defeat in 1972 the youth vote has not had a significant impact on national elections. The statistics are undeniable. Young voters vote less often than any other age group in America. For national elections, the downward slide began almost immediately with the 1974 congressional elections and shows no sign of letting up. Voter turnout for people who attend college is two to three times higher than 18-to-20-year-olds as a group.125
However, national politics is not where student voters can have a substantial impact, but rather local politics is where their concentrated numbers give them an advantage. Reliable figures by demographic characteristics, such as age cohort, for local elections in the United States do not exist. However, it is a sure bet given the low levels of participation by all age groups in such elections that young people vote even less in city elections than they do in national elections. But Iowa State University in 1971 demonstrated that this does not have to be the case. The voter registration drive and get-out-the-vote campaign at ISU was a textbook example of successful student political mobilization. For anyone who believes in the potential of student voting as a determinative force in local politics, Moo U in 1971 showed how to do it.
Precinct 1-1 1-2 1-3 2-1 2-2 2-3 3-1 3-2 3-3 4-1 4-2 4-3 Totals
Richardson 131 197 193 183 159 236 200 487 134 259 168 457 2804
Smith 196 302 489 231 390 553 202 738 156 454 370 449 4532
Calhoun* 138 175 212 196 186 260 231 760 170 391 248 651 3618
Thurston 167 308 448 185 331 481 146 436 115 267 246 221 3351
Koerber* 134 385 482 263 376 531 329 1089 242 570 407 808 5616
Dixon 107 96 185 388
Huston 192 335 402 929
Sale 112 113 197 422
Gleason 255 160 176 591
Pelz 87 169 55 311
Pounds* 392 218 709 1319
Alfred 88 86 91 89 110 77 77 80 40 92 40 46 916
Blattert 118 177 261 103 179 270 100 202 63 131 120 73 1817
Lane* 108 229 296 205 231 409 214 958 181 482 362 775 4452
Endorsed candidate noted by asterisk; student targeted precincts in
1. “Statement by the President on the Ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, June 30, 1971,” Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 7, no. 27 (7 July 1971): 1012; Des Moines Tribune, 4 October 1971, 9, and William O’Neill, Coming Apart: An Informal History of America in the 1960’s (New York: Times Books, 1971), 384.
2. Congressional Quarterly Service, Congress and the Nation: A Review of Government and Politics, vol. 3, 1969-1972 (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Service, 1973), 1003.
3. Ames Daily Tribune, 30 August 1971, 1; Richard Cummings, The Pied Piper: Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream (New York: Grove Press, 1985), 428-35; New York Times, 26 July 1971, 8, and “Man to Watch,” Newsweek, 23 August 1971, 21.
4. Ames Daily Tribune, 25 October 1971, 1; Iowa State Daily, 26 October 1971, 2, and Ames Daily Tribune, 3 November 1971, 1.
5. Clyde Brown and Gayle K. Pluta Brown, “Moo U and the Cambodian Invasion: Nonviolent Anti-Vietnam War Protest at Iowa State University” in The Vietnam War on Campus: Other Voices, More Distant Drums, ed. Marc Jason Gilbert (Westport, CN: Praeger, 2001), 130.
6. For a history of the antiwar movement at ISU see Donald B. Siano, “Vietnam Anti-War Activities of Donald B. Siano: Some Notes on Early Anti-War Activity at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa” (June 1995), http://www.eclipse.net/~dimona/vietnam.html; Brown and Brown, “Moo U and the Cambodian Invasion,” and Clyde Brown and Erik L. Lewis, “Protesting the Invasion of Cambodia: A Case Study of Crowd Behavior and Demonstration Leadership,” Polity 30 (Summer 1998): 645-65. Clyde Brown was a major participant in the events described in this paper and in Brown and Brown, “Moo U and the Cambodian Invasion,” and Brown and Lewis, “Protesting the Invasion of Cambodia.” As a result, these pieces have a dimension of “participant-observer” about them, but Brown and his coauthors have strived to apply the accepted standards of political science and historical research to their work.
7. Siano, “Vietnam Anti-War Activities”; Iowa State Daily, 16 October 1969, 8, and Iowa State Daily, 7 May 1970, 1.
8. Brown and Brown, “Moo U and the Cambodian Invasion,” 119-41, and Brown and Lewis, “Protesting the Invasion of Cambodia,” 653-58.
9. Bureau of the Census, County and City Data Book, 1972: A Statistical Abstract Supplement (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973), 690-701.
10. National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, The Land–Grant Tradition (Washington, D.C.: National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, 1995), 3-4, 10, 12-13, and Coy F. Cross II, Justin Smith Morrill: Father of the Land-Grant Colleges (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1999), 84-85.
11. Iowa State University, Iowa State University General Catalog, 1971-1973 (Ames: Iowa State University), 91-92, and Iowa State University, Iowa State University General Catalog, 1973-1975 (Ames: Iowa State University), 303.
12. Brown and Brown, “Moo U and the Cambodian Invasion,” 122.
13. SDS, Students for a Democratic Society, was established in 1960 with a broad leftist agenda. It played a prominent role in the antiwar movement, organizing several of the early national demonstrations. Internal divisions destroyed SDS in 1969. More radical elements from the organization then formed the Weathermen who were responsible for violent confrontations with Chicago police later that year and bombings in New York and Washington, D.C., in the early 1970s. Paul S. Boyer, Promises to Keep: The United States Since World War II, 2nd ed. (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1999), 265-66, 317-18, and Tom Wells, The War Within: America’s Battle over Vietnam (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), 303-5, 366-70, 452-53, 477-78. For a history of SDS see Kirkpatrick Sale, SDS: Ten Years Toward a Revolution (New York: Random House, 1973).
14. “Shaking Up Moo U.,” Newsweek 69 (6 March 1967), 97; William Cotter Murray, “The Bearded, Sockless Radical of Moo U.,” New York Times Magazine, 9 April 1967, 25, 128-34, and Siano, “Vietnam Anti-War Activities.”
15. Siano, “Vietnam Anti-War Activities,” and Ames Daily Tribune, 24 May 1967, 1.
16. Wells, War Within, 268-70.
17. Iowa State Daily, 5 December 1967, 1; 12 January 1968, 1, and 16 January 1968, 1, and Wells, War Within, 230.
18. Iowa State Daily, January 12, 1968, 1; Siano, “Vietnam Anti-War Activities”; John Rundle, email to Clyde Brown, 2 May 1995; John Rundle, email to Clyde Brown, 10 May 1995, and Donald Siano, email to Clyde Brown, 6 July 1995.
19. Siano, “Vietnam Anti-War Activities,” and Hugh Winebrenner, The Iowa Precinct Caucuses: The Making of a Media Event (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1987), 43-47.
20. Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, Peace Now!: American Society and the Ending of the Vietnam War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), 79.
21. O’Neill, Coming Apart, 180-81.
22. Wells, War Within, 276-80; O’Neill, Coming Apart, 382-84; Siano, “Vietnam Anti-War Activities,” and Iowa State Daily, 9 September 1968 to 12 September 1968.
23. In addition to Republican Nixon and Democrat Humphrey, the 1968 presidential election included third-party candidate George Wallace. As governor of Alabama, Wallace had made a national name for himself defending segregation in the early 1960s. In the 1968 race he appealed in particular to working-class whites weary of disorder in the cities and on campus. He received 13.5 percent of the popular vote and forty-six electoral votes, all from Southern states. See Boyer, Promises to Keep, 308-9, 311-12.
24. Mary Beth Norton et al., A People and a Nation: A History of the United States, vol. 2, Since 1865, 4th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994), 966.
25. Boyer, Promises to Keep, 304, 313-14, 316, and Wells, War Within, 292, 326-28, 345, 396.
26. Wells, War Within, 328-31, 365-66. For detailed coverage of the Moratorium see Paul Hoffman, Moratorium: An American Protest (New York: Tower, 1970).
27. Wells, War Within, 371.
28. Iowa State Daily, 16 October 1969, 8, 15.
29. Wells, War Within, 392-93, 399-400, 409.
30. Brown and Brown, “Moo U and the Cambodian Invasion,” 123-25.
31. Wells, War Within, 420-26.
32. Brown and Brown, “Moo U and the Cambodian Invasion,” 125-31.
33. Norton et al., A People and a Nation, 966.
34. In addition to the spring 1970 invasion of Cambodia and continued bombing of that country’s border with South Vietnam, Nixon ordered military action in Laos, the mining of North Vietnam’s Haiphong harbor and increased bombing of the North, including the massive Christmas bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong in December 1972. See Wells, War Within, 415-16, 476-77, 541, 558-59, and Boyer, Promises to Keep, 319.
35. Wells, War Within, 564, 572-78; Boyer, Promises to Keep, 319, 370-72, and Norton et al., A People and a Nation, 971-72.
36. Boyer, Promises to Keep, 320, 351-61. There were several connections between the Watergate scandal and Vietnam. In the summer of 1971 former Defense Department analyst Daniel Ellsberg provided the New York Times with documents that amounted to a secret history of the Vietnam War. The Supreme Court rebuffed Nixon administration efforts to halt publication of what became known as the Pentagon Papers, ruling in the newspaper’s favor in New York Times Co. v. United States. The Nixon administration, desperate to discredit Ellsberg and stop future press leaks, set up the “Plumbers.” This group of White House operatives engaged in various illegal activities that were part of the House Judiciary Committee’s indictment of Nixon in the impeachment proceedings. In addition to the Watergate break-in, they burglarized the office of a psychiatrist who had treated Ellsberg, looking for damaging material on Ellsberg. See Wells, War Within, 516-20.
37. Richard J. Cretan, “Twenty-Sixth Amendment,” in Constituional Amendments: 1789 to the Present, ed. Kris E. Palmer (Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 2000), 567; Wendell E. Cultice, Youth’s Battle for the Ballot: A History of Voting Age in America, Contributions in Political Science, ed. Bernard K. Johnpoll, no. 291 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 2, and Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments of the Committee on the Judiciary, Lowering the Voting Age to 18: Hearings Relating to Proposed Constitutional Amendments Lowering the Voting Age to 18, 91st Cong., 2nd sess., 1970, 157.
38. Alexander Keyssar, The Right to Vote: the Contested History of Democracy in the United States (New York: Basic Books, 2000), 5-6, 19-20. Women who met the property requirement could vote in New Jersey between 1776 and 1807. In 1807 the franchise was limited to “free, white male citizen[s].” See Keyssar, Right to Vote, 54, and Mary Beth Norton, Liberty’s Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750-1800 (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1980), 191-93.
39. African-Americans’ struggle to win full civil rights, including the right to vote on an equal basis with whites, still was going on in the 1960s even as the Vietnam War escalated, the antiwar movement expanded and efforts were made to lower the voting age to eighteen.
40. Keyssar, Right to Vote, 277, and Cultice, Youth’s Battle, 4-18.
41. Norton et al., A People and a Nation, 818.
42. Quoted in Cretan, “Twenty-Sixth Amendment,” 571.
43. Randolph, later Senator from West Virginia, introduced a number of measures to lower the voting age during his long career in Congress. He served in the House of Representatives from 1933 to 1947 and in the Senate from 1958 to 1985. Randolph is known as the “Father of the Twenty-sixth Amendment.” He first spoke in favor of the amendment during World War II and was on hand to see the amendment become part of the Constitution in 1971. Cultice, Youth’s Battle, 22-23, 82-83, 181-84; Close Up Foundation, The 26th Amendment: Pathway to Participation (Alexandria, VA: Close Up Foundation, 2001), 1, and Washington Post, 9 May 1998, B6.
44. Cultice, Youth’s Battle, 19-25.
45. Ibid., 30-37, 52, 55-60; Keyssar, Right to Vote, 278, and John R. Vile, Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1789-1995 (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1996), 325. In the November 1970 election, voters in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Montana acted to lower the voting age to nineteen; in Maine and Nebraska the voting age was dropped from twenty-one to twenty and in Alaska it went from nineteen to eighteen. But also in 1970 voters defeated proposals to lower the voting age in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii (from age twenty to eighteen), Michigan, New Jersey, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming. See Cultice, Youth’s Battle, 144-58, 196
46. Quoted in Cultice, Youth’s Battle, 51. By mid-twentieth century there were serious limitations to the “old enough to fight, old enough to vote” argument. No one proposed excluding from voting either men who were not serving in the military or women if the voting age was lowered to eighteen.
47. Close Up Foundation, 26th Amendment, 3; Keyssar, Right to Vote, 279, and Senate Subcommittee, Lowering the Voting Age, 33.
48. Cultice, Youth’s Battle, 114-15, 131-32, 144-59, and Senate Subcommittee, Lowering the Voting Age, 56.
49. Senate Subcommittee, Lowering the Voting Age, 36-43, 79.
50. Ibid., 5-8, 273-74, 485-87; Vile, Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, 325, and Close Up Foundation, 26th Amendment, 3.
51. Close Up Foundation, 26th Amendment, 3; Senate Subcommittee, Lowering the Voting Age, 156-57, and Cultice, Youth’s Battle, 111.
52. Cellar was not persuaded by the “old enough to fight, old enough to vote” argument. To him “the draft age and the voting age are as different as chalk is from cheese.” Cultice, Youth’s Battle, 45-46.
53. Keyssar, Right to Vote, 280; Cultice, Youth’s Battle, 116-19; Close Up Foundation, 26th Amendment, 4, and Cretan, “Twenty-sixth Amendment,” 575.
54. Norton et al., A People and a Nation, 995; Boyer, Promises to Keep, 242; Keyssar, Right to Vote, 263-64, and Congressional Quarterly Service, Congress and the Nation, 1003.
55. Cultice, Youth’s Battle, 125, 137-38; Keyssar, Right to Vote, 280, and Cretan, “Twenty-sixth Amendment,” 575. In addition to enfranchising 18-to-20-year olds, the 1970 Voting Rights Act prohibited the use of literacy tests for voting, altered the formula that triggered federal oversight of voter registration to cover areas not subject to the 1965 act and set the residency requirement for voting in presidential elections at thirty days. See Congress and the Nation, 1004-5.
56. Cultice, Youth’s Battle, 138, 162-64.
57. Ibid., 170-74; Cretan, “Twenty-sixth Amendment,” 575-76, and Congressional Quarterly Service, Congress and the Nation, 1005. Also in Oregon v. Mitchell, the Supreme Court upheld those portions of the 1970 Voting Rights Act that outlawed literacy tests and set the residency requirement in presidential elections at thirty days. See New York Times, 22 December 1970, 1.
58. Keyssar, Right to Vote, 281; Cultice, Youth’s Battle, 177-81, and New York Times, 22 December 1970, 1.
59. Cultice, Youth’s Battle, 181-91; Congressional Quarterly Service, Congress and the Nation, 1005; Cretan, “Twenty-sixth Amendment,” 576; Vile, Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, 325, and U.S. Constitution, amend. 26, sec. 1.
60. Cultice, Youth’s Battle, 192-94, 196-97, 200-15; Close Up Foundation, 26th Amendment, 5-6; Congressional Quarterly Service, Congress and the Nation, 1005; Vile, Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, 325; Cretan, “Twenty-sixth Amendment,” 576; New York Times, 1 July 1971, 1, and Washington Post, 6 July 1971, A1.
61. Of the eleven million 18-to-20-year olds, four million were college students, nine hundred thousand were in high school, 4.1 million were full-time workers, one million were homemakers and eight hundred thousand were in the military. See Bureau of the Census, “Characteristics of New Voters,” Tables 1, 8, and 11, in Current Population Reports, Series P-20, No. 230, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1972).
62. Jonathan Cottin, “Democrats Actively Court Youth Vote; Republicans Shun Registration Campaign,” National Journal (18 September 1971), 1919.
63. Cummings, The Pied Piper, 336-43, 347-54, and William H. Chafe, Never Stop Running: Allard Lowenstein and the Struggle to Save American Liberalism (New York: Basic Books, 1993), 262-90.
64. Cummings, The Pied Piper, 428-35; Chafe, Never Stop Running, 360-63; “Man to Watch,” 21, and Washington Post, 25 March 1971, A20.
65. Cummings, The Pied Piper, 431, and New York Times, 26 July 1971, 8; 9 August 1971, 17, and 26 September 1971, 7.
66. Des Moines Register, 9 August 1971, 1, and Ames Daily Tribune, 11 August 1971, 1.
67. Brown and Brown, “Moo U and the Cambodian Invasion,” 123, 125-33; Iowa State Daily, 31 October 1969, 8-9, and News of Iowa State, July-August 1970, 4.
68. Patricia Beneke, telephone conversation with Clyde Brown, 23 January 2002.
69. Des Moines Tribune, 19 August 1971, 19; Iowa State Daily, 19 August 1971, 2, and Des Moines Register, 20 August 1971, 24.
70. Ames Daily Tribune, 24 August 1971, 8, and 26 August 1971, 10; Des Moines Tribune, 27 August, 1971, 3, and Iowa State Daily, 5 August 1971, 2, and 19 August 1971, 2.
71. “Register for Peace Agenda, August 28-29, 1971,” Government of the Student Body (GSB) Papers, Box 20, Iowa State University Archives, Iowa State Library; Des Moines Register, 30 August 1971, 1, and Ames Daily Tribune, 30 August 1971, 1.
72. Iowa State Daily, 8 May 1970, 1, and Kevin Kirlin, email to Clyde Brown, 12 December 2001 and 13 December 2001.
73. “Register for Peace Agenda,” GSB Papers.
74. Iowa State Daily, 7 September 1971, 2A, 5A.
75. “College-Town Worry: Will 18-to-21 Voters Take Over?,” U.S. News and World Report 71 (6 September 1971), 38-41; “Youth Vote: Gown vs. Town,” Newsweek 78 (30 August 1971), 27, 29, and New York Times, 12 July 1971, 1.
76. Des Moines Register, 6 August 1971, 13, and Ames Daily Tribune, 7 August 1971, 1.
77. “What Iowa Law Says on Registration and Voting,” in “Register for Peace Agenda,” GSB Papers. Iowa law did not require voter registration in all cities and counties; only counties with a population of 50,000 or more and cities with a population of 10,000 or more needed a voter registration system.
78. Ames Daily Tribune, 11 August 1971, 1, and Des Moines Register, 7 August 1971, 3, and 11 August 1971, 10. Other college towns were not as open to student voting as Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City. See the New York Times, 11 November 1971, 1, for instances across the country where local election officials impeded the registration of student voters in college towns.
79. Des Moines Register, 28 August 1971, 4.
80. There was an election in Ames on September 13, 1971. On the ballot were a race for school board and a referendum to approve the annexation of about twenty-four square miles to the city. Persons wanting to vote in the election had to register by September 3. ISU students would not have met the voter registration residency requirement unless they had spent the summer in Ames. See Ames Daily Tribune, 24 August 1971, 1; 1 September 1971, 1, and 14 September 1971, 1.
81. Iowa State Daily, 16 September 1971, 1. Individuals could also register at the Ames city hall or the courthouse in Nevada, county seat of Story County, ten miles east of Ames.
82. Iowa State Daily, 13 May 1970, 1.
83. John W. Hugg, conversation with authors, 19 December 2001.
84. “Senate Bill #40: Establishment of a Director of Voter Registration, September 7, 1971,” Government of the Student Body (GSB) Papers, Box 21, Iowa State University Archives, Iowa State Library, and Iowa State Daily, 14 September 1971, 1, and 16 September 1971, 9.
85. Steve Zumbach, Don Nickerson, Shellie Sinks and Mack Teachout, letter to Mobil Registers [sic], 20 September 1971, GSB Papers, Box 20; “Voter Registration Drive Falls Short of Goal,” Bomb: Yearbook of Iowa State 79 (1972): 94-95, and Iowa State Daily, 17 September 1971, 3; 29 September 1971, 1; 15 October 1971, 1, and 20 October 1971, 1.
86. The Ames city clerk reported 3,957 new voter registrations since the September 13, 1971, election with student mobile registrars signing up 3,125 people. Ames Daily Tribune, 1 November 1971, 1; Iowa State Daily, 30 October 1971, 3, and “Voter Registration Drive Falls Short,” 94.
87. Don Christensen, email to Clyde Brown, 28 December 2001, and Dennis Kelson, telephone conversation with Clyde Brown, 1 March 2002.
88. Brown and Brown, “Moo U and the Cambodian Invasion,” 128-29, and Jerry Parkin, “An Open Letter to Scott County,” May 14, 1970, Government of the Student Body (GSB) Papers, Box 19, Iowa State University Archives, Iowa State Library. In the letter Parkin reassured residents of Scott County in eastern Iowa that May 1970 antiwar protests at ISU had been peaceful and presented student opponents of the war in a positive light, in part by contrasting the students and Bishop.
89. Des Moines Register, 14 August 1971, 1; Ames Daily Tribune, 26 August 1971, 1; 15 September 1971, 1, and 6 October 1971, 1, and Iowa State Daily, 2 November 1971, 1.
90. Kevin Kirlin, conversation with authors, 19 December 2001.
91. Iowa State Daily, 30 October 1971, 3.
92. Kirlin, conversation with authors, and Christensen, email to Brown.
93. Kelso, telephone conversation, 1 March 2002.
94. Iowa State Daily, 21 October 1971, 4. The same letter appeared in the Ames Daily Tribune, 26 October 1971, 4. See also Des Moines Register, 31 October 1971, 8-B.
95. Iowa State Daily, 29 October 1971, 1.
96. Ames Daily Tribune, 27 September 1971, 1, and Iowa State Daily, 28 September 1971, 1.
97. Ames Daily Tribune, 1 October 1971, 1; Iowa State Daily, 1 October 1971, 12, and Des Moines Register, 3 November 1971, 1.
98. Iowa State Daily, 6 October 1971, 1, and Ames Daily Tribune, 16 September 1971, 1, and 5 October 1971, 1.
99. Iowa State Daily, 22 October 1971, 2.
100. Iowa State Daily, 20 October 1971, 2.
101. Christensen, email to Brown.
102. Cottin, “Political Report,” 1924, and Robert Bailey, Jr., Radicals in Urban Politics: The Alinsky Approach (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974), 48-51. Saul Alinsky, author of Reveille for Radicals (1946) and Rules for Radicals (1971), spent over forty years working to organize residents of poor and working class neighborhoods. His methods continue to be used by community organizers throughout the United States. For more information on Alinsky see Stanford D. Horwitt, Let Them Call Me Rebel: Saul Alinsky – His Life and Legacy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989). For his organizational legacy see Mark R. Warren, Dry Bones Rattling: Community Building to Rivitalize American Democracy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), and Jim Rooney, Organizing the South Bronx (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1995).
103. Ames Daily Tribune, 25 October 1971, 8, and, Iowa State Daily, 26 October 1971, 2, and 29 October 1971, 1.
104. Iowa State Daily, 26 October 1971, 2.
105. Ibid., 29 October 1971, 1.
107. Ames Daily Tribune, 8 October 1971, 1.
108. Ames Daily Tribune, 14 October 1971, 12, and Iowa State Daily, 16 October 1971, 1.
109. Ames Daily Tribune, 18 October 1971, 1.
111. Ames Daily Tribune, 5 October 1971, 1; 22 October 1971, 1, and 28 October 1971, 1, and Iowa State Daily, 1 October 1971, 12.
112. Ames Daily Tribune, 25 October 1971, 1, and 26 October 1971, 1, and Iowa State Daily 28 October 1971, 2.
113. Kirlin, conversation with authors.
114. In other college towns in Iowa and across the United States the student vote met with varying success in the November 1971 election. See Des Moines Register, 3 November 1971, 1, and New York Times, 4 November 1971, 35.
115. Iowa State Daily, 21 October 1971, 4, and Ames Daily Tribune, 25 October 1971, 8.
116. Des Moines Tribune, 3 November 1971, 22.
117. Ames Daily Tribune, 3 November 1971, 4.
118. Des Moines Tribune, 3 November 1971, 2, and Ames Daily Tribune, 17 November 1971, 12.
119. Des Moines Tribune, 3 November 1971, 2
120. Iowa State Daily, 4 November 1971, 1.
121. Ames Daily Tribune, 4 January 1972, 1, and 5 January 1972, 1, and Iowa State Daily, 5 January 1972, 1.
122. Ames Daily Tribune, 7 June 1972, 1, and Kalamazoo Gazette, 6 June 1972, B-1. Bishop served as Kalamazoo’s city attorney until 1977. See Kalamazoo Gazette, 21 June 1977, A-3.
123. Ames Daily Tribune, 13 December 1971, 1.
124. Ibid., 13 November 1973, 1; 5 November 1975, 1, and 19 November 1975, 1.
125. Self-reported voter turnout based on eligible voting age population for 18-to-20-year-olds in presidential elections is: 1972 (48.3%), 1976 (38.0%), 1980 (35.7%), 1984 (36.7%), 1988 (33.2%), 1992 (38.5%), 1996 (31.2%) and 2000 (28.4%) for an average of 36.3 percent. The data for congressional elections is: 1974 (20.8%), 1978 (20.1%), 1982 (19.8%), 1986 (18.6%), 1990 (18.4%), 1994 (16.5%), and 1998 (13.5%) for an average of 18.2 percent. Bureau of the Census, “Voting-Age Population, Percent Reporting Registered and Voted,” Statistical Abstract of the United States (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, various years). Additional analysis indicates these figures overstate voting in America. See Bureau of the Census, “Studies in the Measurement of Voter Turnout,” in Current Population Reports, Series P-23, No. 168 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1990).