The Public Interest

The activists: a profile

Seymour Martin Lipset

Fall 1968

ANY effort to account for the rise of student activism in the United States during the 1960’s is faced with the fact that we are obviously dealing with a worldwide phenomenon. This, in turn, suggests that the sources of political activism among students must essentially be found in politics itself—in the changing world-wide climate of political opinion.  Students as a stratum are more responsive to political trends, to changes in mood, to opportunities for action than almost any other group in the population. They also are the most easily mobilizable stratum; ideas which arise as a response to a given issue may move readily among them, and may move them more readily, since they have fewer responsibilities in the form of commitments to families and jobs.

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