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William Sloane Coffin Jr.A Holy Impatience$
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Warren Goldstein

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780300102215

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300102215.001.0001

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Moments of Truth: Civil Disobedience and the Draft

Moments of Truth: Civil Disobedience and the Draft

(p.183) Nine Moments of Truth: Civil Disobedience and the Draft
William Sloane Coffin Jr.

Warren Goldstein

Yale University Press

This chapter describes how William Sloane Coffin's personal confrontation with the Vietnam War pushed him to the forefront of the antiwar movement and to the pinnacle of his fame and influence. In one of the most celebrated political trials of the decade, the U.S. government tried, without success, to imprison Coffin, Dr. Benjamin Spock, and three others in a show trial meant to intimidate those resisting the draft. Coffin and his office became one of the key centers of antidraft and antiwar activity in the country, attracting an enormous amount of attention—positive as well as negative—from politicians, the media, college students, Yale alumni, and clergy and laity nationwide. When draft calls escalated along with the war, the selective service system became a major target of antiwar organizing. More potential draftees applied for conscientious objector status; some refused induction and went to jail; some left the country rather than be drafted.

Keywords:   antiwar movement, Vietnam War, celebrated political trials, Dr. Benjamin Spock, draft calls

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