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The History of the Hippie Cultural Movement Essay

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Updated: May 12th, 2022


History has many a reason to remember the younger generation of the 1960’s. It is the evolution of the Hippie culture followed by the formation of the Hippie Subculture.

Hippie culture may be defined as a way of life where people wanted to create an alternative culture which was of their own and never wanted to follow the teachings of their forefathers.

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The new culture also aspired to have a novel own name since it was a radical society. Therefore the hippie culture was born and all who followed the culture were known as Hippies. The Hippie Movement originated in San Francisco and spread all over the United States and the Hippies were young and belonged to the age group between fifteen and twenty five years. Hippie culture is also known for its care free life style. With the onset of the culture hippies left home for some reason though they belonged to wealthy middle class families (Preview: The Hippie Culture).

Hippie culture envisaged a liberal attitude and culture who wished to escape from the realities of the society. For this reason they were considered as a subculture that disrupted the society (The Hippie Culture). Hippie subculture promulgated a great change in America with the development of technology, war against communism and racial discrimination. All the young adults who followed the culture were restless with activities of the world around them. The agitation and opposition to contemporary activities is the one of the main reasons that led to the formation of a subculture called Hippies. As time passed this subculture became a society of its own. The new culture recognized themselves with the Native Americans and their indisputable tyranny, sacramental drugs, and true ties to America. The Hippie style stood testimony to their lifestyle. Hippies had their own music, clothes and law. Hippie subculture envisioned several ideas in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Hippie population is prevalent in contemporary American society (Hippie Culture).

Hippie culture created waves in the American society but the society failed to understand the demands, aim and philosophy of the new culture in its true spirit. Politicians also did not pay attention to the Hippie subculture. Therefore the real spirit and essence of this subculture was misinterpreted. The subculture requires a Hippie to transcend contemporary political, moral and social rule associated with any establishment. The objective of the Hippie subculture is to eradicate societal hierarchy. The ideology of Hippie subculture requires that people are not to be judged by their religion, gender, social class or race. Hippies envisaged the establishment of love, freedom and peace through alternative methods.

Hippies believe that peace can be substantiated only through love and tolerance. According to them one has to be open minded to bring virtue and humanity in the society that promotes personal growth. The Eastern culture strongly influenced the hippies as a society since they lived in a purely capitalistic and materialistic (The Hippie Culture).

The slogan of Hippie Movement is Turn on, tune in and drop out. The most problematic culture of the hippies is their use of hallucination drugs like LSD and marijuana. Hippies however justify that they use the drug to escape their responsibility in the society and arouse their individual consciousness.

Hippies practiced their ideology by opposing the Vietnam War which is the most significant aspect of their anti war movement in the late nineteen sixties. Hippies used art, street theatre and music to express their protests against war and other contemporary activities of the society which was against their ideology. Hippie culture gained popularity with their unique concert at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco which was named as Summer of Love. The event introduced the music and aesthetic of the hippies to a wider audience and inspired thousands of young people around the country. There was also a darker side of Hippie Culture. A 1967 Time magazine report suggest that San Franciso’s monthly public health expenditure to treat drug addicts exceeded thirty five thousand US dollars and the number of hippie drug abusers stood at ten thousand.

As the Vietnam War ended, and with the advent of punk and disco music the earnest hippies were often seen as ludicrous. The Hippie ideology of love, peace and harmony had an enduring effect. The presence of neo-hippies in college campus and communities around the world stands testimony to this (Hippies and the Revolution of a Culture).

The term hippie is derived from the word hip or hipster which was used during the late nineteen fifties and sixties to describe someone who was a part of the Beat scene. Michael Fallon wrote an article on the San Francisco counter cultures in September Nineteen Sixty five and thus the term hippie was used for the first time (Erowid). The Hipster community arose in America from the Beat Generation in the Nineteen Fifties in the Haight- Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco in the Nineteen Sixties. The Haight Ashbury event created a cultural revolution that still booms world wide. During the Nineteen Sixties the whole of Middle America was shocked with the popular new anthem of Sex, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll. Meanwhile the politically-charged message of peace, love and brotherhood also spoke directly to the newly-formed Civil Rights Movement, as well as the war raging in Vietnam. Film, music and television also had a direct impact of the Hippie movement from a Global perspective.

It also had an emerging interest in the eastern philosophies and meditation. The culture influences politics, fashion, hairstyles, arts , and religion as well. A small group of aging hippies still follow the same life style. In the internet age neo-hippies have emerged in online web communities About Me: Cynthia Trowbridge Trowbridge ).

The reality about the hippie movement is that it was not drug based but youngsters of that time wanted to make a difference in the society. The hippie movement wanted change and were sure they could achieve it and they could not seek to wait. 7. The hippie culture is not a sub culture. It is a counter culture. The hippie subculture wants the whole of humanity to live a better life. Hippie ideas are misinterpreted. They were not selfish. They were for all man. They lived for life (Kennedy & Ryan).

A Hippie is a young person of the Nineteen Sixties who abandons established social customs and advocates impulsiveness, free expression of love and the development of awareness, often with long hair and eccentric clothes, and used psychedelic drugs. During the1980’s the Hippie lifestyle seemed outmoded. But it revived itself dynamically in the Nineteen Nineties. The media tends to label young hippies, Rainbows and environmentalists as remnants of the Nineteen Sixties. Hippiedom is just a perennial sub-culture. This culture is as old as the first humans that ever walked upright and as new as the thirty thousand plus members on the Hip-Planet site (The Hippies).


The hippies have emerged as a new subculture in the United States. The culture preaches unselfishness and spirituality, frankness, pleasure and nonviolence. They were called ‘the Freudian proletariat by a known sociologist. California’s Bishop James Pike says that Hippies remind him of early Christians. He says there is gentleness, quietness and these people have an interest in something good. But to their deeply worried parents these youngsters are deluded drop outs. Today, Hippie enclaves are in its heights where they have a fifty member cult in every US city and other countries around the world (Brandley). In fashion the hippie trends of the sixties are even popular in the twenty first century even though its fifty years old (Graham) The hippie culture of the sixties followed a philosophy that stressed the need for pacifism, inspiration, pleasure and community. The hippie culture avowed peace, love, sensuousness, green politics, and a simple less materialistic life instead of violence, obscene commercialism and noticeable expenditure,. The ideal community is dreamt as one where everyone is happy and floating free. In short, Hippies lead a righteous life when compared to other contemporary individuals in the society since they lead a life that is free from the obsession to possess materials and they give importance to peace and honesty (Brandley)

Works cited

  1. Brandley.J. Get in touch with hippie culture.
  2. Erowid. 2003. . Web.
  3. Graham.D. 1995. The Psychedelic Fantasies of the Sixties.
  4. . Web.
  5. Hippies and the Revolution of a Culture 2008.
  6. Kennedy.G & Ryan.K. Hippie Roots & The Perennial Subculture.
  7. Preview.. Web.
  8. The Hippie culture.
  9. Trowbridge.C. The hippie subculture.
  10. The Hippies. 1967.
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