The American Dream in the 1960s
“You have to forget about what other people say, when you’re supposed to die, or when you’re supposed to be loving. You have to forget about all these things. You have to go on and be crazy. Craziness is like heaven,” said Jimi Hendrix (Haugen 55) . Jimi Hendrix along with many other Americans wanted to live a life full of peace, freedom, and happiness. One thing was certain, America changed in the 1960s and along with it, so did the American Dream. The American Dream in the 1960s was viewed differently among each and every individual, but generally was perceived as how people set out to find their own personal state of happiness, peace, and freedom. Culture in the 1960s represented how freedom, peace, and happiness all started to expand. Various songs were written and played that showed the image of being happy and free. “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” written by George Huff portrays how simple life should be and that you should express the joy and happiness you come by in life. “Let it Be,” by the Beatles shows how to just let stuff go in life. In the 1960s, the American people did not let the little things get to them and interrupt their path to happiness and success. They just “Let it Be.” The song “We Shall Overcome” by Charles Tindsley gives an example of how African American and people of different races and minorities wanted to be treated. The lyrics “We shall all be free someday” (Tindsley) proved that freedom wanted to be obtained. They did not want to be treated unfairly anymore. Equality is all that was desired. “We'll walk hand in hand some day,” shows how once African Americans obtained freedom, they achieved happiness. They ultimately did this through the Civil Rights Movement. The clothing of the general man or women changed and led them to express themselves a little more. Men started wearing penny loafers without socks, had crew cuts and very rarely had long hair (Kostley). “My friends dressed more preppy and were all about impressing the ladies” (Kostely). The men set themselves out to try to get a girl to notice them, resulting in happiness. The clothing of women also changed a lot in the 1960s. They wore a lot of saddle shoes, plaid skirts, and dressed like the typical Oxford women (Kostley). Just like the men, women set themselves out to look different. “I remember driving around town in my dad’s new Chevy with my friends trying to impress all the ladies. I felt happy and free knowing that nothing held me back” (Kostley). Hippies were truly unique in the way they set out to look different while trying to rebel against the normal and show that they have freedom. Some form of tie-dye was part of their everyday attire (Eclo.) Tie-dye was not worn nearly as much until the hippies started wearing it. The way hippies lived also rebelled against the culture of the 1960s. Men grew long hair and beards, while women wore peasant dresses and love beads (Eclo). Women used birth-control pills, which allowed them to experiment sexually for the first time in an era before AIDS (Eclo). The lifestyle that hippies lived were certainly different, but while living that lifestyle, they attained all parts of the American Dream in the sixties: peace, freedom, and happiness. Political events in the 1960s demonstrated the fight for freedom. John F. Kennedy wanted to hold truth to his words, and fight for what he believed in. Kennedy promised rights for blacks in Presidential campaign that would lead to happiness and freedom. “A time for greatness” (Craats 45) was Kennedy’s campaign slogan. He used that slogan because he felt like he could make the sixties a memorable decade full of [peace, freedom, and happiness. Kennedy’s main focus was on standing up for blacks rights (Craats 45). He held his promise of his campaign by working on the civil rights bill. The bill led to social equality and ultimately freedom among the black and white races (Craats 45). Homosexuals also fought to be treated...
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