The Hippie Counterculture Essays

The Hippie Counterculture Essays

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The Hippie Counterculture

The Hippie Movement changed the politics and the culture in America in the 1960s. When the nineteen fifties turned into the nineteen sixties, not much had changed, people were still extremely patriotic, the society of America seemed to work together, and the youth of America did not have much to worry about, except for how fast their car went or what kind of outfit they should wear to the Prom. After 1963, things started to slowly change in how America viewed its politics, culture, and social beliefs, and the group that was in charge of this change seemed to be the youth of America. The Civil Rights Movement, President Kennedy’s death, new music, the birth control pill, the growing illegal drug market, and the Vietnam War seemed to blend together to form a new counterculture in America, the hippie.

Unlike the society before this movement, the hippie did not try to change America through violence, the hippie tried to change things through peace and love. The Hippie Movement was a moment during the mid 1960s through the early 1070s where sex, drugs and Rock-n-Roll, was at the forefront of mainstream society. No one really knows the true definition of a Hippie, but a formal definition describes the hippie as one who does not conform to social standards, advocating a liberal attitude and lifestyle. Phoebe Thompson wrote, “Being a hippie is a choice of philosophy. Hippies are generally antithetical to structured hierarchies, such as church, government, and social castes. The ultimate goal of the hippie movement is peace, attainable only through love and toleration of the earth and each other. Finally, a hippie needs freedom, both physical freedom to experience life and mental freeness to remain open-minded” (Thompson12-13). Many questions are asked when trying to figure out how this movement reached so many of America’s youth, and what qualities defined a hippie as a hippie?

The nineteen fifties was a decade of prosperous times in America, but the average lifestyle of an American seemed extremely dull. The average American conformed to social norms, most Americans in the nineteen fifties dressed alike, talked the same way, and seemed to have the same types of personality. Music is what started to change the conformist lifestyle in America. Teenagers started to rebellion against their families by listening to Rock-n-Roll...

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...them. The hippie counterculture was a fun time for everyone who experienced it, but they now had families to support and had to survive in the business world. The hippies tried to create a foundation of love and peace around the world, but essentially failed. They did contribute to black civil rights, the end of the Vietnam War, women’s and homosexual rights in America. Even though the Hippie Movement is over, it is still remembered through its music and stories that were passed down from parents to their children. A little peace of the Hippie Era still survives inside the spirit of America today, and will continue to live as long as the music is still played and people have a hope for peace and love throughout the world.


1. Buchholz, Ted, ed. The National Experience: A History of the United States. New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers: 1993

2. Manning, Robert. The Vietnam Experience: A Nation Divided. Boston, Boston Publishing Company: 1984.

3. Thompson, Phoebe. The Flower Childern. New York, Prentice Hall: 1989

4. .Michaels, Lisa. Making a fashion statement. Glamour Magazine (May 1998).Last visited 2-28-05

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