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Many social changes that were addresses in the 1960s are still the issues
being confronted today. The 60s was a decade of social and political
upheaval. Inspite of all the turmoil, there were some positive results: the
civil rights revolution, John F. Kennedys bold vision of a new frontier, and
the breathtaking advances in space, helped bring about progress and prosperity.
However, there was alot of negative effects: student and anti-war protest
movements, political assassinations, and ghetto riots excited American people
and resulted in lack of respect for authority and the law. The decade began
under the shadow of the cold war with the Soviet Union, which was aggravated by
the U-2 incident, the Berlin Wall, and the Cuban missile crisis. along with the
space race with the USSR. The decade ended under the shadow of the Vietnam war,
which deeply divided Americans and their allies and damaged the countrys
self-confidence and sense of purpose. Even if you werent alive in the 60s,
you know what they meant when they said, tune in, turn on, drop out. you
know why the nation celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. birthday. All of the
social issues are reflected in todays society: the civil rights movement, the
student movement, the sexual revolution, the environment, and more controversial
of all, Hippies. The sixties is also known for its rapid birth rate. Nearly 76
million children were born to this generation, and for that they are called the
Baby Boomers. Suprisingly, even though so many children were being born,
not many parents knew how to raise them. The parents of the 50s and 60s were so
concerned with the world around them that going to work was the only image
children had of their fathers. Kids didnt understand why they worked so much
just to gain more material possessions. Children of this generation grew up
learning just about how to be free and happy. Most of the time, when thinking
back to the sixties, people remember hearing about things such as sex, drugs,
and racism. However, what the often tend to overlook is the large emphasis
freedoms had on the era. This does not just refer to the freedoms already
possessed by every American of the time. This focuses on the youths fight to
gain freedom or break away from the values and ideas left behind by the older
generation. These fights were used to help push for freedoms from areas such as
societys rules and values, competition, living for others first, and the
older generations beliefs as a whole. Including the freedom to use drugs. The
younger generation just wanted a chance to express their own views rather than
having to constantly succumb to the views of the older generation. In order to
find these unique and different qualities in each other and themselves, the
younger generation turned to drugs. This was another freedom which they were
required to fight for since the older generation did not support drug use as a
source of pleasure and creativity. This could basically be considered an out
right rejection of the older societys values. Drugs were also seen as a
freedom from reality. Then enable the youths to escape to a different kind of
world. Because of the youths great desire to achieve a universal sense of
peace and harmony, drugs were sometimes a very important part of ones life.
Sometimes, they would plan a day or evening around the use of a major drug so
they could enjoy it to the fullest extent. This could almost be considered
ironic in the sense that while trying to gain one freedom, the ability to use
drugs, the youths appeared to have lost another freedom, the ability to live
their own lives. It seems more as if their lives were controlled by the drugs
and the drugs effects than by the people themselves. The combination of the
defiance, revolution, and drugs created a major hippie era. Thousands of hippies
would flock to the party capitals of the world for the high of a life time.
Haight Ashberry, San Francisco, was once considered hippie central for the
world. Here people would just line the streets with drug use, sex, and wild
music. In 1967, came the Summer of Love. This period was not unlike the
previous acts of hippies, just more intense. And to top off the hippie era, one
of the largest concerts in the world took place in Woodstock, New York. During
several days of music, sex, and drugs were abused heavily, almost to the point