A Manifesto at 50
The Port Huron Statement launched America’s New Left in 1962. Today it seems naive and in some ways misguided—yet it raised questions that still agitate Americans today.
“We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.”
So begins the audacious manifesto known as the Port Huron Statement, the product of 60 idealistic young Americans who traveled in June 1962 to a retreat at the base of Lake Huron to hash out their beliefs about social change. The conferees were serious sorts, conventionally dressed middle-class overachievers from good colleges, mostly, meeting at the height of the optimism prevailing during the Kennedy years.
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Daniel Akst, a Wilson Quarterly contributing editor and former Wilson Center public policy scholar, is a member of the editorial board at Newsday. He is the author most recently of We Have Met the Enemy: Self-Control in an Age of Excess (2011).more from this author >>