Young woman protesting the Vietnam War detained by Ohio State Troopers on the Oval at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Franklin County, April, 1970.
"Baby boomers" is a nickname for people born between 1946 and 1964.
Following World War II, soldiers returned home and sought to resume their lives as civilians. Having been away from home, in many cases for years, these men sought to restart their lives. Women, many of whom had served in the military or worked outside of the home during the war, also sought new lives. In many cases, this meant starting a family. Because of this, the birthrate skyrocketed following World War II, causing people to refer to this period as the "baby boom." Contributing to the birthrate, a strong post-war economy also led couples to begin families. The number of births increased following World War II, reaching a peak in late 1957.
Baby boomers became known for their rebelliousness. Coming of age in the 1950s and 1960s, during the heart of the Cold War, many of these people rejected the more conservative and fear-driven lives of their parents. They sought to live life to the fullest, commonly challenging societal standards, including but not limited to sex, drugs, and music. The consumer culture skyrocketed during this era, as youth tried to improve their lives with material goods. Taking the advice of President John F. Kennedy, many baby boomers also sought to help their country. They actively protested the Vietnam War and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. They called for equal rights for women with men and for various racial minorities with whites. They also became leaders in the environmental movement, seeking to preserve the world and its resources for future generations. As the baby boomers aged, many of them became much more conservative in their views. In many cases, these former radicals became outspoken opponents of premarital sex and drug use and became staunch supporters of a strong and active military.
The baby boom dramatically influenced life in Ohio. During the 1950s, Ohio's population swelled by more than 1.7 million people. Ohio's industries prospered, as companies produced items for the surging population in both the state and in the wider nation. As the Vietnam War escalated, some Ohio students played an active role in protesting the conflict. Perhaps the most famous anti-war protest in the United States took place at Kent State University. Ohio National Guardsmen killed four protestors. Ohio became the birthplace of Rock and Roll, to the chagrin of many parents. Now, as Ohio advances through the twenty-first century, many of the baby boomers have forsaken their more radical ways, illustrating the increasing dominance of the Republican Party in state politics.