1968 saw some of the most turbulent times in American history. Incumbent president Lyndon B. Johnson ended the bombing in Northern Vietnam and withdrew his bid for re-election after he was fiercely challenged by one of the Democratic candidates, Eugene J. McCarthy. Bitter candidacy battles were overshadowed by the assassination of Martin Luther King – resulting in mass riots and violence – and the shooting of Democrat Robert F. Kennedy. The presidential race became a battle between Democrat Hubert H. Humphrey, Republican Richard Nixon and George Wallace of the new American Independent Party. It was a time of unrest and uncertainty, with the key focus on the Soviets and communism, crime, civil rights, Vietnam and nuclear warfare. Following a smooth start for Nixon, who also benefitted from successful television appearances, Wallace overcame jeering crowds to emerge as a true contender. Nixon won with 301 electoral votes and a fractional lead in the popular vote. His presidency began, however, with a Democratic majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
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