The 1960S Essay Research Paper The 1960s

The 1960S Essay, Research Paper

The 1960s

It may have been a decade of a myriad of effulgent paintings and intrepid

space excursions, but for most people, resplendent canvases don t come near

the mind when someone mentions the 1960s. So just what do we associate the

decade with? The most intriguing part of our prior erudition: hippies, flower

power, peace, love, drugs, and Woodstock! All of the preceding are the very

essence of the 60s in America; all of them had a distinct impact on the world.

Presumably the most prominent aspect of the 60s was the evolution of

the youthful generation into a powerful strong-minded group of people known as

the hippies. Around the late 60s, there was a copious amount of young men and

women who were just reaching their late teen years, re-evaluating their

sentiment on important issues. But just what was a hippie? Hippies were mostly

young people who were often characterized by long hair and flowing skirts. They

had very confident convictions, particularly in regard to the Vietnam War.

Because this new generation possessed a blatant loathing for the affect of

Vietnam on the country, they rebelled against everything the war was about.

This resulted in a shared conception of love, peace, and happiness. They held

protests and anti-war love-ins promoting their anti-violence views, unity, and,

also, drugs. Previously unmentioned, hippies were also druggies. Dr. Timothy

Leary was a drug guru who was much loved for his preaching. He said things

such as Turn on, tune in, and drop out and used new pronouns like She and

her to promote gender equality. He brought about a new philosophy that

conceived that your state of consciousness is reflected in your environment.

Leary had four exercises to a life of expanded intelligence: 1) Look at yourself in

the mirror, change your manner of dress and your behavior so that you float like

a god, not shuffle like a robot 2) Look around your home and throw out

everything that is not tuned in to your highest vision 3) Make your body a

temple and your home a shrine 4) You are a god, live like one!

As prevalent as hippies were, it astounds many people to hear that there

was a subdivision of the group. Yippies, as they were called, were much like

other hippies, only more extreme. The yippies were New Left radicals with a

no-holds barred approach contesting every custom of society. Most often, they

were hippies irate over the fact that love-ins and peaceful protests weren t

accomplishing anything. Yippies did many eccentric things whilst fighting for their

opinions so that their issues would procure media attention, thus illustrating to

America that there were indisputable quandaries occurring in the country. This

invoked more action towards the issue and, often, unprecedented controversy.

Many of the crazy occurrences once deemed hippie-actions were, unequivocally,

the work of a yippie group. One very active yippee was Jerry Rubin, who

appeared before the House American Activities Committee wearing a Santa Claus

Suit. Yippies were also pro-drug, only they vocalized their drug-related thoughts

loudly enough for the entire world to hear. There were many speeches written

advocating drug use, especially when the issue was marijuana. The authors of

such speeches said things like Marijuana makes each person God and It s

never my dope, it s our dope, everything for everybody. These words helped

illustrate how drugs could unite, which was the primary intent of yippies


One thing hippies and yippies were accountable for was Flower Power.

Flower Power was a peace movement designed to contribute to ending the

Vietnam War. Hippies, mostly young women, handed out flowers to strangers

who walked by. This unfurled the love and respect they retained for other

people. However, flowers were more frequently distributed to police officers and

pro-Vietnam demonstrators. This showed the love and respect they had for the

beliefs of others, even if they differed from their own musings. The principal

purpose of Flower Power was to help the country see that peace and unity were

more important than aggression and dominance. There was a Flower Power

love-in in the spring of 1967 in New York s Central Park. The love-in was a

gathering of 10,000 people adorned in exotic hippie costumes and face and body

paint. These people congregated for a day of music, dancing, drugs, and

celebration. The Flower Power movement was also liable for many popular

slogans, such as War Is Not Healthy For Children And Other Living Things and

the infamous Make Love Not War. In 1964, Barry Goldwater and Lyndon

Johnson were running for President. During the Presidential campaign, a very

affective commercial aired. This commercial was fashioned by part of the Flower

Power group and aired only a single time. It depicted a little girl pulling petals off

of a flower, then a mushroom cloud. The twenty-second clip was talked about

for years to follow, as were many of the Flower Power acts.

As important as hippies and flowers were, the defining event of the 60s

took place in Bethel, New York, from August 15-18, 1969. The three-day event

was held in a field owned by farmer Max Yasgur in the Catskill Mountains, just

fifty-five miles away from the city of Woodstock; the location was changed at the

last minute. There was abroad spectrum of music at the event, yet there was no

pop, such as The Beach Boys or Sonny and Cher. Joan Baez, The Paul Butterfield

Blues Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Canned Heat, Country Joe and the

Fish, The Band, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Joe Cocker, Arlo Guthrie, the Grateful

Dead, Tim Harden, Jimi Hendrix, Richie Havens, Keef Hartly, Janis Joplin, The

Jefferson Airplane, Melanie, Mountain, Quill, John Sebastion, Ravi Shankar, Sly

and the Family Stone, Santana, Sweetwater, and The Who were some of the

bands that played at the festival. Over half of a million people were in the

audience, which was the equivalent of the fourth largest city at the time. The

audience shared food, blankets, drugs, and bodies with each other. Babies were

born during the three days. Although there was skinny-dipping, pot, and acid,

there was not a single act of violence, thievery, or fighting. The stage was built

by 300 hippies in exchange for two meals a day and all of the pot they could

smoke. Hell s Angels were hired as the security, helping to portray the casual air

of freedom at the festival.

The 1960s helped define our country today. If it weren t for the bold

defiance of a violent oppressed nation, we wouldn t be able to exercise many of

the freedoms that we now deem human rights. We ve learned that through

demonstration, the people can induce changes on the national level. We can

always look back on the generation to remind us that the United States of

America is still all about We, the People.


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