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The Hippies: A 1960s History

The Hippies

The 1960s proved to be one of the most pivotal, change decades in the 20th century. Indeed, there was a United States before the 1960s, especially before 1968 (the watershed year of that decade) and a US after the 1960s. One of the reasons why the 1960s was such a crucial decade was the fact that never before had so many younger Americans appeared to have galvanized into such mass protest and resistance not only to the socio-cultural status quo of their time, but  against the government led by the Democratic party and its liberal policies.

Even before the Vietnam War became the raisond’etre of the 1960s youth rebellion, other affinity groups found plenty wrong with 1960s American culture and society and decided to try to establish their own alternative community within the macro-capitalist bourgeois consume culture.

They called themselves the hippies and through a variety of celebrations, drugs, sex, love, and music, believed they represented the possibility of a “new consciousness” for the United States that would soon embrace everyone and change the United States for the better.


What was it about 1960s white middle class suburban America–its lifestyle, mores, norms, etc. that so alienated many white youth?

As the hippies cohered into a movement or subculture, what was their “philosophy” and how did they hope to propagate their new message to the rest of the world?

Despite the many flaws in the hip creed, there were moments of genuine joy, celebration, community, peace, and love, where it seemed that for an instance the hippies had found their way back to the Garden. What were some of the movement’s highlights?

Conversely, what were some of the movement’s “lows,” which in the end were greater than the “highs,” ultimately resulting in the hippies’ demise.

Last Updated on January 23, 2018

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