What are the major sources of opposition to the Vietnam war? Who are the hawks? What does the “silent majority” really think?
Among political commentators, public officials, and even antiwar leaders, there has been a general—and unexamined—agreement that working-class citizens are not critical of the war. From scattered displays of working-class patriotism, many observers have drawn the sweeping and erroneous conclusion that blue-collar Americans favor a more aggressive policy in Vietnam. But the evidence does not support this conclusion.
On the contrary. Several studies of public attitudes have demonstrated that persons with meager incomes or limited education are more likely than those of higher status to oppose the escalation of the war and to support a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam. A national survey in 1964, 1 for example, found that 53 percent of college graduates favored to bring more American soldiers to Vietnam, even if that would mea...
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