The Hippie Movement: The Most Influential Subculture In History

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America’s history is full of many historic events that made us the nation we are today. There has been movements, some of which have failed and some that succeeded. Many left a mark in our country and in our culture. One out of all those numerous movements was The Hippie Movement. The Hippie movement began in the 1960’s. The hippies expressed their dissatisfaction of the American laws and society. I think that’s why it grew to be a big movement, because many people especially the teens in that era weren’t happy with how America was. Especially because America was entering the Vietnam war. The hippies wanted to spread peace and love. One of their famous saying during the Vietnam war was “make love not war “, they believed violence was not the answer. They didn’t think it was fair for people to be dying for issues they had nothing to do with. But they weren’t always about peace they had a lot of fights, protesting, and they did many harmful drugs. I believe this movement was a failure. This movement made America very different, it changed a lot of things and brought many new issues to America. They did leave a long lasting impact in America, whether it was bad they would always be remembered.

The Hippie movement emerged during the 1960’s in the streets of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco, California. During this time period our thirty fifth president John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Also the United States was entering the Vietnam war. This is when the young people started protesting, they believed that violence was not the answer and that they should spread love and positivity. They enjoyed listening to rock and taking many different drugs like marijuana and most importantly the drug known as “LSD”. Most hippies had long hair, they wore bright casual clothes and most of them lived together in communities. Hippies were passionate about social justice and equality. They had several goals one being to end the Vietnam war and to achieve social independence and civil right. They enjoyed doing art,film, and music festivals to spread what they believed in. All of these helped their messages to be heard and allowed them to express themselves.

Initially many would argue the Hippie movement was a success because of the Woodstock festival. The hippies gathered for this art and music show that was held in Sullivan County, New York In 1969. They celebrated peace and music and it lasted about FOUR DAYS!. Many artists that are still talked about till this day came and performed. For instance, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Jimi was an American rock guitarists, singer, and songwriter and Janis Joplin was a American rock, soul, and blues singer. She was one of the most popular female rock star in that period. After that, Woodstock became a successful brand name “Hollywood movies are still being made to celebrate the event such as taking Woodstock, the story of Elliot Tiber” (“Woodstock 1969 3”). This shows us that Woodstock had a great impact in society. That it left a great mark that its still talked about till this day. Woodstock was so interesting that they even want to do films about it and they also want to do a Woodstock 50th anniversary festival, how RAD would that be ! Indeed, many would believe that the Hippie Movement was very successful because it brought a change in music and brought many people together for this occasion however it was a failure and it also brought many conflicts to the United States.

There are many reasons why the Hippie Movement would be considered a failure. The most compelling reason why was because the hippies were doing all types of drugs. Many would say that the Hippie Movement was nothing but nonsense, That the movement only brought problems to the United States. The summer of 1967 for the hippies was known as the “summer of love”. But it was also the summer that they were pictured negatively by the media. In a article written by The Guardian it said that the hippies “ ‘free love’ was used to excuse rape, thousands suffered from serious drug addiction” (“What Was the Summer of Love” 2). Hippies did all kinds of drugs. Marijuana and Lysergic acid diethylamide also known as “LSD” was one of their popular ones. They believed it opened up their mind and they could see the world differently. The drug was very dangerous. The more they experimented with these drugs the more people got addicted to it. This led to the United States having to pay to get them the help they needed. In The article “The Hippie Movement of the 1960’s” it said that “by the end of the Hippie Movement, San Francisco’s local government was paying over $35,000 a month for drug abuse treatment for the city’s 10,000 hippies” (“The Hippie Movement of the 1960s” 3). This proves that the hippies involving themselves with drugs made the United states waste a large amount of money on things. As a result LSD was made illegal years later. The Hippie Movement brought nothing but a waste of money.

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Furthermore, the Hippie movement was a failure because it brought a lot of violence and killing. Violence was breaking out everywhere, like it says In the Article “How the Vietnam War Empowered the Hippie Movement” by Sarah “the Altamont music festival, leaving five people dead ….the gruesome Manson Murders of 1969 and the National Guard shootings of student at Kent state in 1970” ( “ Pruitt 4”). The Altamont Music festival was supposed to be like another Woodstock but it was unplanned and it had no preparation. It took a bad turn and ended violently. Manson was a cult leader he had many followers and they enjoyed using hallucinogenic drugs occasionally. Charles was sentenced for seven counts of first degree murder. The National Guard shootings of student at Kent state in 1970 occurred during a Cambodian Campaign. Here the national guard shot into a crowd of unarmed college students and killed four students. The hippie movement began to be very dangerous with the amount of violence it had going on. The hippie movement began to crash and fail. People began to look down on Hippies. 

The Movement was also a failure because The Atlantic published the “ The flowering of the Hippies “. This let the public know that the Hippie movement was mostly made up of young Americans middle- class kids. They were kids as The Atlantic said “ settled into a life of sex, drugs, and lethargy “ ( “Gritz 3”). The thing people didn’t like was that it was kids who had a good living environment but they decided to rebel and live a life of rebellion. Those kids had the opportunity to get a well education, end up in well paying jobs but most of them decided to drop out and get involved in the Hippie movement. Hippies had those kids in their power as said in the article “ Death of the Hippies” they told those kids “ ‘ listen, you don’t need to go to school. Everything you need to learn in life is right here on the street’ “ ( Gritz 7 ). Most of those kids ended up using hard drugs more and more. They ended up living in the streets with no money they became homeless, that leads us to our last reason why this movement was a failure. 

Ultimately, the Hippie Movement was a failure because most of the Hippies ended up either homeless, living off of panhandling, or going back to there normal old life before the movement. Panhandling is when you beg in the streets. Many Hippies would beg in the streets, most of them would spend it on of course more drugs. Panhandling was against the law. Hippies sometimes lived in crowded places which made the danger grow of “ rats, hepatitis, pulmonary tuberculosis, and meningitis … “if hippies don’t want to observe city and state law “, said Dr.Sox,“let them at least observe a few natural laws“ ( Harris 16). Hippies were dirty and had no respect towards the community they were in, they would leave it like a dump. So imagine how the place they’d stay at was like, filthy. All the happy spirit the hippies started the movement with was dying. They were growing up they realized that, that wasn’t the life they wanted that they need to think of their future and not just live in the streets. Many went back home, started a family, and left the Hippie movement behind. There was even a march toward the hippies called “Death of the Hippies march “ held by the so called “diggers “. It was In San Francisco they wanted to publicize the wrong of commercialization of the hippie culture “ the march ended at the famed Psychedelic shop an early hippie hangout that was closing. Marchers buried the shops sign “ ( Pruitt 3). They wanted the buried shop sign to represent the death of the hippies. From there the Hippie movement slowly ended. 

In conclusion, the Hippie movement was a failure because it glorified drugs, brought many murders, killing, and homelessness. The movement did have a important impact in Americans History it achieved equal social and civil rights. It showed us new styles in Music and in the way we live. It made the United States more acceptable to many things. The United States wouldn’t be free and adoptive as today if it wasn’t for this movement. It did have MANY flaws. The movement started with big and good ideas. But since the drugs took over they all disappeared. They weren’t bringing out enough important changes. So now what can you do to make American better?

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