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Keywords:

  • generations;
  • protest;
  • socialization;
  • participation;
  • civil rights;
  • partisanship

The American student protest movement provides exceptional opportunities to observe how formative political experiences can affect intragenerational cleavages over the adult life span and how they may reflect on intergenerational continuities. Long-term national panel data from the high school class of 1965 and data from their parents and offspring are used here to exploit these opportunities. The results show that a sharp rift in political participation and attitudes emerged between protesters and non-protesters during the protest era, a rift that persists into mid-life and one that testifies to the conceptual utility of generation units. Continuities across the three lineage generations are demonstrated by the moderate similarities in the ideological and participative orientations that are associated with the protest status of the student generation.