The hippie movement began in the mid 1960s at Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco and later spread to the local cities and eventually to the whole country and world. The term hippie originated from the word ‘hipster’, which described beatniks or ‘people who are aware’ of the latest trends within the society (Cox, 1). The members of the movement foresaw the benefit of shunning war, making love and living freely in the society. In order to fulfill their quest, they raised their voices to oppose participation of United States in the famous Vietnam War that took place between the years 1955 to 1975. This opposition was fueled by the anger of college students in collaboration with other people over the exercise of deploying young men from United States for duty in a war that had no basic significance them. Prior to the movement’s protest over U.S.A involvement in Vietnam War, the movement also campaigned for recognition of civil rights by the government and freedom from the dominant culture in the society. For this reason, the movement invented exceptional clothing trend that involved dressing on floral cloths, beads, flowers and growing long beards and hair (Cox, 1). Their lifestyles also changed by shunning the old music and embracing new music known as jazz at the moment and smoking marijuana. More so, this movement introduced their own set of values that involved sexual freedom, honesty and love.
This change of trends towards modernity is of great significance to American history because it helped in bringing forth a new era fashion, literature and film. This was the case because once the new trends were incepted; they spread out of San Francisco to the other parts of America and abroad (McFarlane, 17). In a span of a couple of years, this new era of fashion, literature and film became the norm in the daily lives of many.
Nevertheless, the movement did not last long and its power began fading in mid 1970s. The reason for the movements collapse has different versions from different historians and analysts. Majority of the scholars agree that the movement’s popularity lacked the intended impact because United States moved out of Vietnam; thus, the advocacy for the end of war ended. Others argue that United States eventually recognized the importance of civil rights; thus, the movement had nothing else to advocate for because the young professionals who wanted to make careers for themselves gradually attained national attention (Cox, 2). This meant that the hippie movement’s needs were met; hence, had no other major roles to execute. However, other Historical analysts claim that the most prominent member of the movement named Charles Manson tarnished the image of the movement after his criminal activities were revealed. Media claimed that Charles Manson, a renowned criminal inspired his followers to commit murder, a fact that was supported by media coverage of his trials and convictions. This negative publicity sent a negative image of the movement to the public and many Americans lost trust and interest in the movement; hence, pushing it to its demise.
Irrespective of the basic cause that led to the end of the movement, the hippie movement’s existence transformed the dominant American culture. More so, the hippie movement led to the realization of civil rights and other social settings in America.
Cox, Savannah. A Brief History of the Hippies: More of a Brief History of Hippies. All That Is Interesting. Com. 2013. Web.
McFarlane, Scott. The Hippie Narrative: A Literary Perspective on the Counterculture. McFarland. 2007. Print.