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Abou Berete

Professor Stephan Williams

Film 1070
Counterculture of 1960s.

For the first time in American history, a large population of people of all ages,
classes, and races came together to challenge the traditional institutions,
traditional values in society, and "the establishment" in general. Youth,
women, ethnic minorities, environmentalists, migrant workers and others
caused the emergence of the counter culture. This cultural movement from
1960 to 1973 was caused by many factors. This era was one that was filled
with many important events that shaped the way that Americans viewed life.
Those who were unhappy with what was going on around them and took part
in this social phenomenon reflected and demonstrated their attitudes,
values, and ideals in many ways. Various things from protests to songs
expressed their views and made their point get across to America. This
cultural movement had a profound impact on society. It had both beneficial
and detrimental effects on the society. As we look back on the sixties, it was
one of the most important decades because it accomplished so many
important things. The goals of all of the groups were the same. They all
wanted some form of change and change was what they got in return for
their actions. Although women are still paid less than men, and there are still
many more whites than blacks in government positions, the sixties was an
era of progress. The counter culture has paved the way for American society

today and created a country that allows and accepts free expression and
doesn't frown down upon those who challenge the long-established society
values and institutions. Between the years of 1960 and 1970 there were
many different movements that changed the beliefs of all types of citizens.
The early sixties brought upon racial segregation and discrimination of
women. In addition, war was breaking out in Vietnam for the American
people. The Counterculture era brought out a new way of life for many young
adults. People began rejecting the normal means of society and breaking
away from the standard way of life. There were many important events and
interesting tactics brought out in the Counterculture Movement that allowed
America to see a new side of its people.
The Counterculture movement was an alternate way of living for many
American citizens. People began leaving big cities to escape issues in the
urban areas. They started to live in large groups with people that were much
like themselves. Those who participated in this movement strongly opposed
the war, the Vietnam War in particular. They felt the ideal way of living was in
peace and harmony. Better known as hippies, participants in the
Counterculture movement started environmental in 1960s with the Vietnam
War era. During the sixties Americans saw the rise of the counterculture. The
counterculture, which was a group of movements focused on achieving
personal and cultural liberation, was embraced by the decades young
Americans. Because many Americans were members of the different
movements in the counterculture, the counterculture influenced American

society. As a result of the achievements the counterculture movements

made, the United States in the 1960s became a more open, more tolerant,
and freer country.

One of the most powerful counterculture movements in the sixties was the
civil rights movement. In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act to end
racial discrimination in employment, institutions like hospitals and schools,
and privately owned public accommodations In 1965, congress returned
suffrage to black southerners, by passing the Voting Rights Act of 1965
(Foner 926). In the case of Loving v. Virginia (1967), the Supreme Court ruled
that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional (Foner 951).
Because of the civil rights movement in the sixties, minorities gained more
rights than they had prior to the 1960s. By mid-1960s, some programs
began to- at least obliquely- hint that all women found ultimate bliss
vacuuming the living room wearing high heels and pearls. A spate of series
debuted about young women chasing their own desires, much to the dismay
of their fathers; these included the Patty Duke show (1963-6), Gidget(19656), and That Girl (1966-71). A few domestic sitcoms even showed adult
women negotiating social expectations of meek feminity with their own
sense of power. Samanta on Bewitched(1964-72). And Jeannie on a Dream of
Jeannie (1965-70), both had magical powers, but they were also housewives
contained within patriarchal marriages, or, in the genie Jeannie,

While the 1960s were a time of advancement for minorities, it was also a
time of advancement for women. In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay
Act, which outlawed discrimination in the workplace based on a persons sex
(Foner 944). To ensure that women would have the same opportunities as
men in jobs, education, and political participation, the National Organization
for women was formed in 1966 (Foner 944). The sixties also marked the
beginning of a public campaign to repeal state laws that banned abortion or
left the decision to terminate a pregnancy to physicians instead of the
woman (Foner 945). The feminism of the 1960s was also tied the other major
social trends of the era, including the civil right movement and opposition to
the Vietnam war. It was primarily women-mothers and wives in many caseswho helped spur the anti-war movement in the first place. Women were
instrumental in many other counterculture and civil right groups as well, but
they still found themselves making coffee and doing the dishes while the
men discussed the politics. Many women began to realize that in many civil
right groups fighting for equality and freedom, the focus was solely on
equality and freedom for men. for example one African American civil right
movement leader of the period infamously quipped that the only position for
women within his civil right collectives was prone a sexist joke that
meaning that women were needed for sex partners for men within
movement. Statement such as that one outraged women working for equal
rights and as the 1960s progressed, many of them decided to break off from

protest focused on racial issues or the war and start their own womens right
The largest and best known of these feminist groups was the NATIONAL
ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN (NOW), which was founded by author Betty
Friedan in1966.

Although the sixties were a decade in which the United States became a
more open, more tolerant, and a freer country, in some ways it became less
of these things. During the sixties, America intervened in other nations and
efforts were made to stop the progress of the civil rights movement. Because
of Americas foreign policy and Americans fight against the civil rights
movement, it is clear that the sixties in America were not purely a decade of
openness, tolerance, and freedom in the United States.

In the sixties, many Americans tried to stop the progress minorities were
making with the civil rights movement. In 1961, a group known as the
Congress of Racial Equality was attacked by mobs, while the group was
testing the compliance of court orders banning segregation on interstate
buses and trains and in terminal facilities (Foner 914). Klansmen attacked
the riders with bats and chains, while police refused to intervene (Foner
914). When Martin Luther King Jr. attempted to lead a march from Selma,
Alabama to the state capital of Montgomery, King and his marchers were
attacked with cattle prods, whips, and tear gas by state police (Foner 926). In

1963, Californians voted to pass Proposition 14, this proposition repealed a

1963 law which banned racial discrimination in the sale of real estate (Foner

When it came to foreign affairs, America in the sixties was highly intolerant
of foreign governments it did not approve of. During the Cold War, Kennedys
foreign policy advisers saw Vietnam as a test as to whether the United States
could stop the internal uprisings in non-communist countries (Foner 938). By
the time Kennedy was assassinated, America had sent 17,000 military
advisers to Vietnam to test the policy of counter-insurgency (Foner 938).
During the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, America intervened in the
Dominican Republic and Vietnam (Foner 938). Out of fear of the Dominican
Republic becoming another Cuba, Johnson sent 22,000 American troops to
the island (Foner 939). By 1968, the number of American troops in Vietnam
was over half a million (Foner 939).

The sixties were a time of social movements and rebellions. This decade saw
the rebirth of feminism, the Civil Rights movement, and the counterculture.
While this decade was responsible for the countrys increase in freedom,
openness, and toleration, the decade also saw great resistance and short
comings to the achievements made in this decade, including resistance to
the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. With the end of the sixties,
the country would enter into the seventies.

Works Cited

"Psychedelic 60s: Illicit Drugs." University of Virginia Library. Rector and

Visitors of the University of Virginia. Web. 14 Mar. 2010. .
Tiber, Elliot. "1969 Woodstock Festival & Concert - How Woodstock
Happened." Hartland Valley View, LLC. The Times Herald-Record. Web.
12 Mar. 2010. .
Roseanne Barr, creator and star of Roseanne (1988-97),a popular television
show about a working family in middle America. American on
The sting (1973) American in film (p.279)
The 1967 Summer of Love." 12 Apr. 2007. Web. 14 Mar.
2010. .