tions that havemade an impact more than all of its predecessors. The decade from 1960to 1970 was definitely one of those eras. The people didn’t follow theteachings of its elders, but rejected them for an alternative culturewhich was their very own(Harris 14). Made up of the younger populationof the time this new culture was such a radical society that they weregiven their own name which is still used today. They came to be calledthe Hippies. The Hippie movement started in San Francisco, Californiaand spread across the United States, through Canada, and into parts ofEurope (World Book). But it had its greatest influence in America.
During the 1960’s a radical group called the Hippies shocked Americawith their alternative lifestyle and radical beliefs.
Hippies came from many different places and had many differentbackgrounds. All Hippies were young, from the ages of 15 to 25(Worldbook). They left their families and did it for many differentreasons. Some rejected their parents’ ideas, some just wanted to getaway, and others simply were outcasts, who could only fit in with theHippie population. Under 25 became a magical age, and young people allover the world were united by this bond (Harris 15). This bond was ofNon-conformity and it was the Creed of the Young (Harris 15). MostHippies came from wealthy middle class families. Some people said thatthey were spoiled and wasting their lives away. But to Hippiesthemselves this was a way of life and no one was going to get in theway of their dreams and ambitions.
Hippies flocked to a certain area of San Francisco on the cornerof Haight Street and Ashbury Street, where the world got their firstview of this unique group. This place came to be known as the HaightAshbury District. There were tours of the district and it was said thatthe tour was the only foreign tour within the continental limits ofthe United States (Stern 147). The Hippies were so different that theconservative middle class could not relate to them and saw them asaliens. The Haight Ashbury district lies in the very center of SanFrancisco. In the years of 1965 and 1966 the Hippies took over theHaight Ashbury district(Cavan 49). There they lived and spread theirpsychedelic theme through out the whole area. In the Haight Ashburydistrict there were two parks that that all Hippies knew well. The mostfamous of the two was the Golden Gate Park(Cavan 43). The single mostimportant event that put the Hippies on the map was held at the GoldenGate Park. It was called the Trips Festival. The Trips Festival was aweek long festival designed to celebrate the LSD experience(Stern 148).
Besides this festival dozens of other events took place at Golden GatePark, some of which were free concerts by The Grateful Dead andJefferson Airplane and Anti-War rallies held by Hippie politicalleaders. The other park is called the Buena Vista park and is known forhousing hippies at night and for socializing during the day.
As the 1960’s progressed, the youth in America united. In 1969400,000 young people materialized for three dizzying days to listen torock and blues music, to wear funny clothing or no clothes at all, totalk, sing, dance, clap hands, to drink beer or smoke pot and makelove-but mostly to marvel again and again that they were all theretogether (This Fabulous Century 64). This festival was held in a smalltown in up-state New York and came to be called Woodstock, after thetown it was held in. Also in Greenwich Village, New York Hippies had aplace. The Village on every Sunday was known to have hordes of singerswith banjos and drums celebrating their youth together(Stern 103).
One of the basic foundations of the Hippie movement was theflagrant use of illegal drugs. There were many drugs that the Hippiesused but none was more used then marijuana. From 1960 to 1970 thenumber of Americans who had tried marijuana had increased from a fewhundred thousand to 8,000,000. The majority of these new users werefrom 12 years old to college seniors(This Fabulous Century 84). To someHippies, drugs and music were the most important aspects of theirlives. Another drug that was prevalent in the Hippie population wasLSD. Some Hippies thought that LSD puts you in touch with yoursurroundings (Cavan 114). But that was not what always the case. Onoccasion a hippie would take bad LSD and would experience a bad tripor would freak out (Cavan 115). When someone took bad LSD, freak outis exactly what they would do and sometimes they never came back. BadLSD was so common that even at Woodstock people were having bad tripsand freaking out. Even with this bad LSD everywhere people still usedit, they went as far as to make a religion out of it. A man by the nameof 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 theaim of LSD, is basically to get high; that is to expand yourconsciousness and find ecstasy and revelation within (This FabulousCentury 84). Another preacher of the use of LSD was an author by thename of Ken Keasey. He traveled around the United States in apsychedelic bus giving LSD to anyone and everyone who would take it.
Hippies were notorious for there out of the ordinary music. ManyHippies were actually musicians themselves. Hippies used music as a wayto get their thoughts and ideas out. One of the most influentialmusicians of the time was Bob Dylan. The lyrics of the song LikeRolling Stone express the thoughts of many Hippies. They say:How does it feel; How does it feelTo be without a homeLike a complete unknownLike a rolling stone?(Harris 69)These lyrics expressed Dylan’s personal thoughts to what was happeningto him. He did feel like a rolling stone and so did his peers. Hissimple but meaningful lyrics are what made him so popular andsuccessful. Many Hippies considered Dylan as a spokesman for theirbeliefs. Drugs were also themes in many bands songs. Jimmy Hendrix’sPurple Haze is about marijuana. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, is aBeatles song about LSD. The Grateful Dead also took part in the fadwith their song Casey Jones, with lyrics such as High on Cocaineand You better watch your Speed.
Besides their music and drugs Hippies did some out of theordinary things that were as shocking as their day-glo clothing. It wascommon for hippies in the Haight Ashbury District to put a nickel in aparking meter, then set up blankets and lie down in the space for ahalf hour(Stern 161). This was unusual behavior so it is not strangethat the public did not take them seriously. People thought Hippieswere the next funniest thing to the Three Stooges(Stern 161).
Television shows like the successful Laugh In made fun of this counterculture. Movies made fun of them as well. One called the PresidentsAnalyst was extremely successful. The movie was dedicated to the life,liberty, and pursuit of happenings, and was based on the Hippies wackyantics. People all over the America were outraged at how strange thesepeople were and at the same time were in tears at how funny they were.
Even though from afar the Hippies were entertaining, in realitythey were devastating the American family and were tearing the countryin two. While the adults of the time were conservative, hard working,and caring mainly about money, the Hippies didn’t care about any ofthat. They were party animals. Many didn’t work unless it wascompletely necessary, they never went to church nor did they care forsaving their virginity until after they were married. They wereanything but conservative and their families rejected them for it.
Hippies easy going attitudes and fun and games lifestyles wereput away when the topic of politics came up. Indubitably the instigatorfor their existence, politics played a huge role in their lives. Havingstrongest feelings for the Vietnam War and for the Civil RightsMovement, the Hippies made their beliefs known to the world. They didthis in many ways including musical shows, pacifist folk songs, andthrough peaceful sit-ins(This Fabulous Century 206). But none of theiractions were more seen and heard of then their protests and rallies.
The Hippies were aware that the war was being lost and that thousandsof American soldiers were dying. They took it upon themselves the maketheir beliefs heard. They put together a protest larger then the everbefore. 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 theUnited States. 250,000 protesters gathered for one common goal. Theywanted their troops to come back home and for United States involvementin the war to be ended. Through the years of the Vietnam War hundreds aanti-war rallies were held. By the decades end protests seemed to havedone some good. Sixty five percent of all Americans had similar viewsas the hippies(This Fabulous Century 206). They wanted their troopsback and that’s what they got in the 1969 when the President gave theword to bring them back home.
Hippies had other feelings about racism and persecution. Theytook part in the civil rights movement, just as they did in the for theVietnam troops. When President Kennedy tried to pass his Civil Rightspolicies and they never went through, the Hippies were more aggravated(Harris 8) Eventually some Hippies tried to make their colonies wherethere was no racism and persecution. There were Hippie communes allover the United States. Some communes believed that they were fightingagainst the white man’s perverted society of pollution ,war, and greed(Stern 166). These communes didn’t get very popular and failed after afew years. Hippies still fought for racial equality. Finally when the1960’s were over new laws were put into action helping racial equalitywhich would not have happened without the Hippies.
During the 1960’s a radical group called the hippies shockedAmerica with their alternative lifestyle and radical beliefs. They wereyoung people who enjoyed life to its fullest. They used illegal drugsand listened to rock and roll music. With their alternative beliefs andpractices they stunned America’s conservative middle class. Concernedchiefly protesting the Vietnam War and with civil rights they made ahuge impact on the America and the world. Even today the effects of theHippie movement is still felt. They made huge advantages and setexamples for the youth of today and years to come.
Works SitedCavan, Sherry. Hippies Of The Haight. St.Louis: New Critics Press, Inc., 1972.
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., 1990.
This Fabulous Century. New York: Time-Life Books, 1970.
Outline Thesis: During the 1960’s a radical group called the Hippies shocked America with their alternative lifestyles and radical beliefs.