The 1960's were a turbulent time in American history. With the already controversial Vietnam War raging overseas, domestic life was occupied with intense social movements. A central hub of protest was on the campus of the University of California, Berkley. Two important movements the students created became known as the "Berkeley Free Speech Movement " and the "Stop the Draft" protests". The Free Speech Movement was more effective than the Stop the Draft protests because the Stop the Draft approach was too violent and isolated the protesters.
The Berkeley Free Speech Movement arose when students are Berkeley University started to concern themselves with the issues of civil rights, nuclear disarmament and the Vietnam War. The key event that led to the escalation of the protests was the university's decision in the fall of 1964 to ban information tables, which rose awareness about politics. Angered at the university's choice to try and disrupt the flow of politics, the students simply moved the tables to another location. In the next days, there were protests when authorities started to arrest students at demonstrations. One student, Jack Weinberg, was taken to a police car under arrest however, when he arrived there, it was already surrounded by students and could not move. Students took turns making speeches politely and in an organized manner on top of the police car. Eventually, the university made an agreement to free Weinberg and the students celebrated a victory. The incident instantly gained the attention of a faculty, student, and administrative committee at the university. They announced a compromise to the students' demands for full freedom of political activity. Student leader Mario Savio denounced the compromise and they continued to put up tables even though the administration opposed them. Even throughout Savio's suspension, there was another protest in December, where graduate students went on strike.