The Pentagon Papers Trial: The Vietnam War

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The Pentagon Papers Trial: The Defining Point of The Vietnam War There have been many times in history that have challenged the perception of what is fair and just treatment by the government. One of those times was in the 1970’s during the time that Richard Nixon served as president of the United States. During his term, the Pentagon Papers trial brought to light to the American public the real reason for America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The Pentagon Papers Trial was important because it defined the American government in the 1970’s by challenging, redefining, and strengthening American values such as government corruption, America’s passive view on the Vietnam War, and constitutional laws such as the first amendment. The Pentagon…show more content…
Before the Pentagon Papers were released, America was divided on views of the Vietnam War. Half of the population wanted to get involved in the Vietnam War to help the southern Vietnamese while the other half wished to just stay put at home and watch to see how the war played out. With the information discovered through the publication of the Pentagon Papers, Americans finally saw eye to eye that the Vietnam war was not really to help the southern Vietnamese from the controlling north but rather to stop the spread of the Chinese communist…show more content…
Justice Brennon proceeded to say that the publication of the papers “would not cause an inevitable, direct, and immediate event imperiling the safety of American Forces, prior restraint was unjustified”(Brennon). The ruling stood 6-3 as the justices decided that the first amendment would appeal the injunction. Immediately following the appeal, the two newspapers both proceeded to publish articles relating to the Pentagon Papers. The Pentagon Papers ultimately affected American society by ending the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Published at a time when support for the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was steadily eroding, the Pentagon Papers confirmed many people’s suspicions about the active role the American government had taken in building up the conflict. Many people realized that the government was concealing what they thought should not have been “public and international affairs”(Ellsberg). This being so, they deemed the information

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