The Hippie Movement That Arose from Vast Political Changes

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The Hippie Movement That Arose From Vast Political Changes

Massive black rebellions, constant strikes, gigantic anti-war demonstrations, draft resistance, Cuba, Vietnam, Algeria, a cultural revolution of seven hundred million Chinese, occupations, red power, the rising of women, disobedience and sabotage, communes & marijuana: amongst this chaos, there was a generation of youths looking to set their own standard - to fight against the establishment, which was oppressing them, and leave their mark on history. These kids were known as the hippies. There were many stereotypes concerning hippies; they were thought of as being pot smoking, freeloading vagabonds, who were trying to save the world. As this small pocket of teenage rebellion rose out of the suburbs, inner cities, and countryside's, there was a general feeling that the hippies were a product of drugs, and rock music; this generalization could have never been more wrong. The hippie counterculture was more than just a product of drugs and music, but a result of the change that was sweeping the entire western world. These changes were brought about by various events in both the fifties and the sixties, such as: the end of the "Golden Years" of the fifties, the changing economical state from the fifties to the sixties, the Black Panther Party, women moving into the work force, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy Jr., the war in Vietnam, the Kent State protest, and finally the Woodstock festival.

The electric subcurrent of the fifties was, above all, rock'n'roll, the live wire that linked bedazzled teenagers around the nation, and quickly around the world, into the common enterprise of being young. Rock was rough, raw, insistent, especially by comparison with the music it replaced; it whooped and groaned, shook, rattled, and rolled. Rock was clamor, the noise of youth submerged by order and prosperity, now frantically clawing their way out.

The winds of change began to sweep across America in the late fifties. The political unrest came with fear of thermo-nuclear war and the shadow that had been cast by Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. The civil rights leaders were unhappy with President Eisenhower's reluctance to use his powers for their cause, in spite of the fact that the nation was becoming more receptive to civil rights reforms. With black organizations becoming more militant, Eisenhower needed to acknowledge the growing movement, and govern accordingly.

World politics were still dominated by the conflict between the capitalist nations, led by the USA, and the Communist countries, led by the USSR. The bonds that were keeping people loyal to their leaders were breaking down. In 1960 there was a major split between Russia and China. The Chinese decided that the Russians were betraying Communism and set off on what they hoped would be the world revolution against capitalism.

During the fifties, the economic situation was in a constant state of growth. The United States were prospering and the government was clinging to the "golden years." The rise of the giant corporations had a profound effect on American life. A few hundred corporations controlled much of the nation's industrial and commercial assets and enjoyed a near monopoly in some areas. The mega corporations dominated the seats of economic and political power. They employed millions of workers, a large percentage of whom populated the suburbs that were growing across the country.

The changing American economy also experienced dramatic shifts in the composition of the work force. Fewer workers went into traditional fields such as manufacturing, agriculture, and mining, and more went into clerical, managerial, professional, and service fields. In 1956, for the first time in the nation's history, white collar workers outnumbered blue collar ones, "and by the end of the decade blue collar workers constituted only 45 percent of the work force." The sexual composition of the...
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