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Th 1960

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Th 1960′S Essay, Research Paper

Through out history the world has seen some generations that have made an

impact more than all of its predecessors. The decade from 1960 to 1970 was

definitely one of those eras. The people didn’t follow the teachings of its

elders, but rejected them for an alternative culture which was their very

own(Harris 14). Made up of the younger population of the time this new

culture was such a radical society that they were given their own name which

is still used today. They came to be called the Hippies. The Hippie

movement started in San Francisco, California and spread across the United

States, through Canada, and into parts of Europe (World Book). But it had its

greatest influence in America. During the 1960’s a radical group called the

Hippies shocked America with their alternative lifestyle and radical


Hippies came from many different places and had many different backgrounds.

All Hippies were young, from the ages of 15 to 25(Worldbook). They left

their families and did it for many different reasons. Some rejected their

parents’ ideas, some just wanted to get away, and others simply were

outcasts, who could only fit in with the Hippie population. “Under 25 became

a magical age, and young people all over the world were united by this bond”

(Harris 15). This bond was of Non-conformity and it was the “Creed of the

Young” (Harris 15). Most Hippies came from wealthy middle class families.

Some people said that they were spoiled and wasting their lives away. But to

Hippies themselves this was a way of life and no one was going to get in the

way of their dreams and ambitions.

Hippies flocked to a certain area of San Francisco on the corner of Haight

Street and Ashbury Street, where the world got their first view of this

unique group. This place came to be known as the Haight Ashbury District.

There were tours of the district and it was said that the tour “was the only

foreign tour within the continental limits of the United States” (Stern 147).

The Hippies were so different that the conservative middle class could not

relate to them and saw them as aliens. The Haight Ashbury district lies in

the very center of San Francisco. In the years of 1965 and 1966 the Hippies

took over the Haight Ashbury district(Cavan 49). There they lived and spread

their psychedelic theme through out the whole area. In the Haight Ashbury

district there were two parks that that all Hippies knew well. The most

famous of the two was the Golden Gate Park(Cavan 43). The single most

important event that put the Hippies on the map was held at the Golden Gate

Park. It was called the Trips Festival. The Trips Festival was a week long

festival designed to celebrate the LSD experience(Stern 148). Besides this

festival dozens of other events took place at Golden Gate Park, some of which

were free concerts by The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane and Anti-War

rallies held by Hippie political leaders. The other park is called the Buena

Vista park and is known for housing hippies at night and for socializing

during the day.

As the 1960’s progressed, the youth in America united. “In 1969 400,000

young people materialized for three dizzying days to listen to rock and blues

music, to wear funny clothing or no clothes at all, to talk, sing, dance,

clap hands, to drink beer or smoke pot and make love-but mostly to marvel

again and again that they were all there together” (This Fabulous Century

64). This festival was held in a small town in up-state New York and came to

be called Woodstock, after the town it was held in. Also in Greenwich

Village, New York Hippies had a place. The Village on every Sunday was known

to have hordes of singers with banjos and drums celebrating their youth

together(Stern 103).

One of the basic foundations of the Hippie movement was the flagrant use of

illegal drugs. There were many drugs that the Hippies used but none was more

used then marijuana. From 1960 to 1970 the number of Americans who had tried

marijuana had increased from a few hundred thousand to 8,000,000. The

majority of these new users were from 12 years old to college seniors(This

Fabulous Century 84). To some Hippies, drugs and music were the most

important aspects of their lives. Another drug that was prevalent in the

Hippie population was LSD. Some Hippies thought that “LSD puts you in touch

with your surroundings” (Cavan 114). But that was not what always the case.

On occasion a hippie would take bad LSD and would experience a “bad trip” or

would “freak out” (Cavan 115). When someone took bad LSD, freak out is

exactly what they would do and sometimes they never came back. Bad LSD was

so common that even at Woodstock people were having bad trips and freaking

out. Even with this bad LSD everywhere people still used it, they went as

far as to make a religion out of it. A man by the name of Dr. Timothy Leary

was a Harvard professor who had ideas about LSD. He said “LSD is western

yoga. The aim of all Eastern religion, like the aim of LSD, is basically to

get high; that is to expand your consciousness and find ecstasy and

revelation within” (This Fabulous Century 84). Another preacher of the use of

LSD was an author by the name of Ken Keasey. He traveled around the United

States in a psychedelic bus giving LSD to anyone and everyone who would take


Hippies were notorious for there out of the ordinary music. Many Hippies

were actually musicians themselves. Hippies used music as a way to get their

thoughts and ideas out. One of the most influential musicians of the time

was Bob Dylan. The lyrics of the song “Like Rolling Stone” express the

thoughts of many Hippies. They say:

How does it feel How does it feel

To be without a home

Like a complete unknown

Like a rolling stone?(Harris 69)

These lyrics expressed Dylan’s personal thoughts to what was happening to

him. He did feel “like a rolling stone” and so did his peers. His simple

but meaningful lyrics are what made him so popular and successful. Many

Hippies considered Dylan as a spokesman for their beliefs. Drugs were also

themes in many bands songs. Jimmy Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” is about

marijuana. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” is a Beatles song about LSD.

The Grateful Dead also took part in the fad with their song “Casey Jones,”

with lyrics such as “High on Cocaine” and “You better watch your Speed.”

Besides their music and drugs Hippies did some out of the ordinary things

that were as shocking as their day-glo clothing. It was common for hippies

in the Haight Ashbury District to put a nickel in a parking meter, then set

up blankets and lie down in the space for a half hour(Stern 161). This was

unusual behavior so it is not strange that the public did not take them

seriously. “People thought Hippies were the next funniest thing to the Three

Stooges”(Stern 161). Television shows like the successful Laugh In made fun

of this counter culture. Movies made fun of them as well. One called the

Presidents Analyst was extremely successful. The movie was dedicated “to the

life, liberty, and pursuit of happenings,” and was based on the Hippies wacky

antics. People all over the America were outraged at how strange these

people were and at the same time were in tears at how funny they were.

Even though from afar the Hippies were entertaining, in reality they were

devastating the American family and were tearing the country in two. While

the adults of the time were conservative, hard working, and caring mainly

about money, the Hippies didn’t care about any of that. They were party

animals. Many didn’t work unless it was completely necessary, they never

went to church nor did they care for saving their virginity until after they

were married. They were anything but conservative and their families

rejected them for it.

Hippies easy going attitudes and fun and games lifestyles were put away when

the topic of politics came up. Indubitably the instigator for their

existence, politics played a huge role in their lives. Having strongest

feelings for the Vietnam War and for the Civil Rights Movement, the Hippies

made their beliefs known to the world. They did this in many ways including

musical shows, pacifist folk songs, and through peaceful sit-ins(This

Fabulous Century 206). But none of their actions were more seen and heard of

then their protests and rallies. The Hippies were aware that the war was

being lost and that thousands of American soldiers were dying. They took it

upon themselves the make their beliefs heard. They put together a protest

larger then the ever before. Once organized not just Hippies came, but

students, intellectuals, radicals, and citizens of all classes took part in

it(Harris 36). This protest was held in Washington DC in the heart of the

United States. 250,000 protesters gathered for one common goal. They wanted

their troops to come back home and for United States involvement in the war

to be ended. Through the years of the Vietnam War hundreds a anti-war

rallies were held. By the decades end protests seemed to have done some

good. Sixty five percent of all Americans had similar views as the

hippies(This Fabulous Century 206). They wanted their troops back and that’s

what they got in the 1969 when the President gave the word to bring them back


Hippies had other feelings about racism and persecution. They took part in

the civil rights movement, just as they did in the for the Vietnam troops.

When President Kennedy tried to pass his Civil Rights policies and they

never went through, the Hippies were more aggravated(Harris 8) Eventually

some Hippies tried to make their colonies where there was no racism and

persecution. There were Hippie communes all over the United States. Some

communes believed that they were “fighting against the white man’s perverted

society of pollution ,war, and greed(Stern 166). These communes didn’t get

very popular and failed after a few years. Hippies still fought for racial

equality. Finally when the 1960’s were over new laws were put into action

helping racial equality which would not have happened without the Hippies.

During the 1960’s a radical group called the hippies shocked America with

their alternative lifestyle and radical beliefs. They were young people who

enjoyed life to its fullest. They used illegal drugs and listened to rock

and roll music. With their alternative beliefs and practices they stunned

America’s conservative middle class. Concerned chiefly protesting the

Vietnam War

and with civil rights they made a huge impact on the America and the world.

Even today the effects of the Hippie movement is still felt. They made huge

advantages and set examples for the youth of today and years to come.

Works Sited

Cavan, Sherry. Hippies Of The Haight. St.Louis: New Critics Press, Inc.,


Harris, Nathaniel. The Sixties. London: Macdonald Education Ltd., 1975.

“Hippies” WorldBook Multimedia Encyclopedia. CD-ROM.

Stern, Jane and Michael. Sixties People. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.,


This Fabulous Century. New York: Time-Life Books, 1970.


Thesis: During the 1960’s a radical group called the Hippies shocked America

with their alternative lifestyles and radical beliefs.

I. Who were the Hippies?

A.Their backgrounds

B. They gathered in the Haight Ashbury District

II. Their alternative lifestyles

A. Drugs and their influences

B. Music. and its influences

C. Their out of the ordinary antics

D. Effects on the family

III. Radical Beliefs

A. Protesting Vietnam

B. Protecting Civil Rights

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