Prior to the war in Vietnam, Americans were enjoying post-war prosperity with the acquisiton of homes and new home conveniences such as dishwashers and televisions. They were comfortable, relatively affluent, and becoming quite complacent while living the American dream.
The youth of the 1960's are responsible for the creation of the counter-culture formation. They rejected the perfect American life they inherited from their parent's generation and many of the fundamental values that their parents tried to instill in them. The children of the post-war generation grew up with many luxuries and advantages their parents had not been privy to.
Leaving home to attend college gave many students the freedom to participate in various movements for causes. The lack of parental supervision, and the ability to mobilize with other like minds created the environment that they could correct the wrongs of American society. The War in Vietnam was a perfect platform for their voices to be heard. In the mid 1960's, a poll showed that more than half the population was opposed to the war. The formation of youth movements were created. The Students for a Democratic Society called on students to help build a society based on "participatory democracy" was the most well known.
The U.S. and the South Vietnamese joint invasion on Cambodia triggered more protests on college campuses as the invasion was in violation of international law. Students, fellow Americans and soldiers were starting to resent fighting a losing battle for the sake of trying to save face. They wanted peace and demanded that their government started to listen. Young men were burning their draft cards and many crossed the border to Canada for exile. Troop morale was at an all time low, due to lack of leadership in Vietnam and lack of support back home.