1960's Hippies.mp4

Hippie Culture

The Hippie movement of the 1960's and 1970's was about a growing counterculture in America that was frustrated with the way things were and they were seeking change. Half of the country was under the age of 18 and they had not experienced the hardships of the 1930's and 1940's like their parents did. These children had only lived in a world with vast consumerism, rapidly changing ideas of the future of our country, a government that refused to listen and a desire to have a voice in this new America.

Ideas of free expression, experimentation and creating a welcoming environment for all people became the rally call of the Hippie movement. The Hippie movement is known for a number of things including an Anti-War message centered around a mission-less Vietnam war, Anti-Consumerism ideologies based on protecting earths resources, free love and experimentation with drugs and new ways of living.

The hippie movement was controversial, but it's impact on American culture (and really world culture) can not be discounted.


Task 1: Watch the Introductory Video to this Unit (5 minutes)

Task 3: Review the provided images and attached links for the the Hippie Movement during the 1960's (40 minutes)

Task 4: Dig Deeper on Hippie Culture (35 minutes)

Hippie culture represented a lot of things in the 1960's and 1970's, but most importantly it represented a resistance to the way things were going. Some of the things they are often associated with are:

  • Anti-war

  • Anti-consumerism

  • Peace and Love

  • Experimentation

You will select TWO (2) of the categories outlined above and one additional way hippie culture is often remembered to complete this assignment. For each of the categories you have selected create a Google Side that includes the following (Template on Google Classroom):

  • At LEAST TWO (2) images that represent each selected category

    • A description of each image and what it representing

  • At LEAST ONE (1) video that represents each selected category

    • A description about the video

  • Explain what each category you selected means/represents to Hippie Culture

    • Include why/if mainstream culture opposed the Hippie movement because of this

Task 5: Share your Research (15 minutes)

  • In groups of 4 - 6 students, each take a turn sharing your findings in 3 minute rotations

Task 6: Submit your final Google Slide presentation on GOOGLE CLASSROOM


Though the anti-war movement had begun on college campuses at the dawn of the 1960s, more and more people joined in opposition to the war in the latter half of the decade, as television brought images of its atrocities into American homes in a new level of excruciating detail.

The hippie counterculture, which emerged in the late 1960s and grew to include hundreds of thousands of young Americans across the country, reached its height during this period of escalation of American involvement in the Vietnam War, and subsided as that conflict drew to a close. (https://www.history.com/news/vietnam-war-hippies-counter-culture )

Resisting the Vietnam War

it’s no accident that the path of the hippie movement that emerged in the late 1960s traced very closely the trajectory of American involvement in Vietnam. Hippies saw mainstream authority as the origin of all society’s ills, which included the war. According to Rorabaugh, hippies joined with political radicals in their support for the civil rights movement and their opposition to the Vietnam War. “Hippies would agree with that, but they would not protest,” he points out. “That was the difference—hippies were not protesters.”

The most identifiable political hippie group was the Diggers, an anarchist organization formed in 1966 in San Francisco. They were known for passing out free food to the hippies panhandling in Golden Gate Park, and operating a free store (stocked with stolen goods) that would provide clothing for draft dodgers and AWOL soldiers seeking to go incognito. Like the Diggers, the Yippies, or the Youth International Party (YIP) founded in early 1968, also tried to attract hippies to politics, with little success. (https://www.history.com/news/vietnam-war-hippies-counter-culture )


The vast majority of the hippie movement included middle class teenagers and young adults who rejected the values and suburban conformity that their parents had worked to establish for them (Flower Power). By removing themselves from mainstream society, members of the counterculture established communities of their own that shunned materialism and introduced a new lifestyle. These communes were typically in urban areas; notable “hippie villages” include Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, Greenwich Village in New York City, and Old Town in Chicago (Richards). Apart from communal living, hippies were known for their distinct fashion—jeans, tie-dye, having long hair, and going barefoot—experimenting with recreational drugs such as marijuana and various hallucinogens, being sexually promiscuous, as well as their coveted rock music. (https://lvannoysite.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/1960s-counterculture/ )

"Hippie Villages"

The country was filled with college graduates lacking any job prospects, young women who refused to lead their mothers’ lives, and the myth of an “equal” society that couldn’t seem to shake its nasty history of segregation and inequality.

The product of this dissatisfaction was hippie culture, and from hippie culture sprang hippie communes–group living spaces, communities, or villages where like minded individuals could live simply like their agrarian ancestors (usually with the help of some mind altering substances). And, most notably, hippies placed communal needs and values above individual rights.

Each hippie commune was different: some were deeply religious communities while others were completely secular. Drug use was rampant on some hippie communes and forbidden on others. Some were strictly self-sufficient agrarian societies, but other hippie communes participated in capitalism--owning businesses and selling rock albums. There was no "one-size fits all" model, and each hippie commune developed its own culture, rules, and personality over time. (https://allthatsinteresting.com/hippie-communes )

Earth Day

Earth Day was founded decades ago in the heat of Vietnam protest rage and the hippie flower power days of 1970. While the Vietnam war was being fought with honor, the people back home in the US were extremely vocal with protests and some of the most radical uprisings against the government we have ever seen. These actions were led by student groups on college campuses across the country and created a stir that was felt worldwide. These times demonstrated to the U.S. people that they COULD, in fact, make an impact and have their voices heard. The first amendment that promised free speech was alive and well and with this came a sense of power.

People took the streets in droves to support the first Earth Day in 1970. In fact, 20 million Americans across the country participated in this first Earth Day! So many people had been focusing on issues they had deemed separate (land conservation, wildlife preservation, pollution, landfills, toxic waste, etc.) but now found a common umbrella under which they could combine their efforts for a louder voice of shared concerns and efforts. This was the start of the environmental movement. (https://www.earthsfriends.com/earth-day/ )

Peace and Love

It was hippie culture that spawned the pro-environment movement, including the establishment of Earth Day in 1970. Though they were mocked by many as tree huggers, hippies' culture led to the philosophy of taking care of the Earth through recycling, organic food, vegetarianism and forest preservation. They had a positive philosophy of loving your neighbor. A sense of optimism and hope prevailed. They embraced ethnic and cultural diversity and tolerance. They spoke out against greedy capitalism, racism and government imperialism. There was a healthy questioning and distrust of the government and corporations. (https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-2007-06-21-0706210034-story.html )


Woodstock was the pop culture music event of the decade and arguably to this day the single most profound event in the history of music. Acts from all around the world met at Max Yasgur‘s Farm in Bethel, NY on August 15-18, 1969 for a celebration of peace and music. What began as a paid event drew so many viewers from across the world that the fences were torn down and it became a free concert open to the public. 500,000 youthful individuals gathered peacefully at Woodstock 1969 creating the largest gathering of human beings in one place in history. Woodstock 1969 defined an entire generation and its effects on music and American culture can still be felt today. (http://www.woodstockstory.com/woodstock1969.html )


Hippies felt alienated from middle-class society, which they saw as dominated by materialism and repression, and they developed their own distinctive lifestyle. They favored long hair and casual, often unconventional, dress, sometimes in “psychedelic” colors. Many males grew beards, and both men and women wore sandals and beads. Long flowing granny dresses were popular with women, and rimless granny glasses with both men and women. Hippies commonly took up communal or cooperative living arrangements, and they often adopted vegetarian diets based on unprocessed foods and practiced holistic medicine. For many The Whole Earth Catalog, which first appeared in 1968, became a source for the necessities of life. Hippies tended to be dropouts from society, forgoing regular jobs and careers, although some developed small businesses that catered to other hippies. (https://www.britannica.com/topic/hippie )


To many observers (and quite a few critics), hippies were synonymous with free love . In one incident during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, a Chicago police officer attacked a young woman who was protesting, saying: “You hippies are all alike. All you want is free love. Free love? I can give you some free love.” Indeed, in author Micah Lee Issit’s guide to the counterculture, “free love” is described “as the hippie sexual ideal.”

While hippies were more sexually adventurous than mainstream Americans (one aspect of the counterculture that has had a lasting impact), they mostly stuck to heterosexual monogamy. As one aging hippie recounted decades later, that was more legend than fact . “We had parties where people would smoke too much or drink too much and sleep with their friends, but there were emotional repercussions the next day. Free love is like a free lunch — there’s no such thing. . . . Even nudity was rare.”

(https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/five-myths/five-myths-about-hippies )


Driven by the appeal of the Sixties "psychedelic guru," Harvard professor Timothy Leary, who advocated use of these drugs as a form of mind expansion, many hippies participated in recreational drug use, particularly marijuana (see cannabis, cannabis (drug), and hashish) and hallucinogens such as LSD (see both psychedelic and psychedelic drug) and psilocybin (see Psychedelic mushroom). Some hippies prize marijuana for its iconoclastic, illicit nature, as well as for its psycho-pharmaceutical effects. Although some hippies did not use drugs, drug use is a trait often ascribed to hippies. Some hippies used drugs to express their disaffection with societal norms. In addition to Leary, Ken Kesey was also an important figure in spreading the psychedelic philosophy. By holding what he called "Acid Tests," and touring the country with his band of Merry Pranksters, Kesey became not only a "drug guru" but a magnet who drew media attention to the fledgling movement.

(https://medium.com/california-countercultures/progression-stubbornness-and-prevalence-of-psychedelic-culture-in-the-hippie-sixties-2f0fa3f6519 )

The Road Hog, Fourth of July Parade, El Rito, New Mexico 1968  ©Lisa Law/ Image Works


Hippies advocated nonviolence and love, a popular phrase being “Make love, not war,” for which they were sometimes called “flower children.” They promoted openness and tolerance as alternatives to the restrictions and regimentation they saw in middle-class society. Hippies often practiced open sexual relationships and lived in various types of family groups. They commonly sought spiritual guidance from sources outside the Judeo-Christian tradition, particularly Buddhism and other Eastern religions, and sometimes in various combinations. Astrology was popular, and the period was often referred to as the Age of Aquarius. Hippies promoted the recreational use of hallucinogenic drugs, particularly marijuana and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), in so-called head trips, justifying the practice as a way of expanding consciousness. (https://www.britannica.com/topic/hippie )


Music has always been a fundamental part of hippie culture, from its 1960s origins to now. Traditional folk music was widespread and popular by the mid-‘60s, thanks to events like the Newport Folk Festival and artists such as Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and Joan Baez. Psychedelic music was still in its infancy at that time, fast gaining popularity thanks to acts like The Beatles, Donovan, and The Yardbirds. These bands were incorporating Eastern instrumentation into their music, and expanding the minds and musical interests of young people around the world. (https://www.abc.net.au/doublej/music-reads/features/what-is-hippie-music-a-crash-course-with-robert-forster )

Bob Dylan

Jimi Hendrix

Rolling Stones