In the course of the past ten years, the young people of this country have been tested as never before in our history. Their moral courage has been tested by the great political issues of our times -- the war in Vietnam and racial discrimination at home.
Their physical courage has been tested in many places -- in the South all through the 1960s, at the Pentagon in 1967, at Orangeburg, South Carolina, in 1968, at the Chicago convention in the same year, at Kent State University and Jackson State College in 1970, at Southern University in 1972, at countless demonstrations for peace and for civil rights throughout the decade.
They have faced clubs, police dogs, tear gas, mace, and bullets. They have not been found wanting in courage.
Their intellectual commitment, too, has been tested in their efforts to reform the political process, in their analysis of overconsumption and in their opposition to it, and in their support of conservation and environmental programs.
My first political experience with great numbers of young people was in the campaign of New Hampshire in the early months of 1968. They came like the early spring, with a sense of purpose and with promise of change. The older people in that state were glad to see them. Some remarked that they had not talked to their own children in years as they had talked to the young workers of that campaign.
There had been youth and student involvement in other campaigns, in those of Adlai Stevenson and John Kennedy. There were two significant differences, however, between the earlier participation and that of 1968.
The first difference was quantitative. It was estimated that as many as two thousand students campaigned in New Hampshire fulltime during the ten days before the election, and that as many as