The Hippie Movement Essay

1971 words - 8 pages

When people hear the term hippie, they think of men and woman in loose clothing with flowers weaved in their hair. Although these men and women did in fact wear these things, they left a significant impact on society. Hippies were a part of the Counterculture movement, which basic ideals were to reject the ideas of mainstream society. The movement itself began with the protesting of the Vietnam War. Eventually, the movement was more than just protesting the war. Hippies promoted the use of recreational drugs, religious tolerance; they also changed society’s views and attitudes about lifestyle and social behavior. The Counterculture movement was the most influential era in the 20th century because the people of this time changed society’s outlook, and broached the topics of drugs, fashion, and sexual freedom.
The Counterculture movement began in 1964, when North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked two U.S. destroyers. President Johnson ordered the retaliatory bombing of military targets in North Vietnam (Vietnam War Protests). A few months later, people began to question the rationale of fighting the war. People questioned joining the war in Vietnam due to our position in the Cold War. Both America and the Soviets had nuclear weapons, but neither country could afford an all out war. By starting another war with Vietnam that would mean placing more stress on the military forces. With two wars going on, that would require more man power. This problem introduced the draft. Many people of the counterculture movement opposed this, because they didn’t believe in fighting in a war that they didn’t support. Young men tore up their draft cards, or signed up as conscientious objectors. A conscientious objector is someone who doesn’t believe in the war, but will tend to the wounded and do jobs that are not active combat. The Counterculture movement formed to “represent a rebellion against the dominant culture in the United States” (Era of a Social Change). The core values included peace, and to become closer to nature--ideally, to have a utopian society.
A major part of the movement included the use of recreational drugs. The main reasons for the usage can be accounted to the belief that they expanded the mind, and allowed users to become more open. A huge supporter of recreational drugs was Timothy Leary. “Leary was persuaded to try psilocybin mushrooms” (Giles). Timothy Leary was a professor at Harvard University, and had a PhD in psychology. In the 1960’s Leary worked with Richard Alpert to study the effects of recreational drugs. The main focus was to see how LSD could open the minds. Their most famous project was the Concord experiment. Those who had committed crimes were given a regime of psilocybin and a regime of psychoanalysis. The results appeared to show that the treatment reduced the probability of inmates committing more crimes upon release from prison. (Giles). People of this era truly believed that there were some...

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