Countercultural Movement: Peace & Protests

The Countercultural Movement: Peace and Protests

Anna Lee and Zack Savage

The counterculture movement evolved in the United States during the 1960s. The post-war “baby boomers”, who were now opinionated young adults, began this widespread movement. One of the most important factors contributing to the countercultural movement was the Vietnam War. Many Americans were opposed to the war and protests requiring military interventions sprung up throughout the United States. The baby boomers made up most of the anti-war supporters. These youth protesters demanded peace not war and believed that the US should stay out of Vietnam. During this time period, the hippie culture also arose. Hippies introduced the new ideology that life was all about being happy and not about what others thought of you. They broke the previous strict social standard and began incorporating drugs, such as LSD and marijuana, and embraced sexual liberation and free love. The countercultural movement was a time of extreme social and cultural change in the United States. A new youth culture promoting self-expression and liberation was born and swept across the nation.


  Because of the counterculture of the 1960’s, America started to transition from a homogeneous society to one that embraced expression and individuality. The counterculture movement brought a change in music, film, art, and teen culture. Before the Counter-Culture Movement, American citizens were proud to serve their military during a time of war, but now, many opposed and avoided the draft for the military. Many people who received draft cards burned them as an act of defiance against the government. Many college students became radical on matters of war and race. University students organized protests and trashed buildings. One protest at the University of California at Berkeley required government intervention. President Reagan authorized the National guard to drop tear gas the crowd of students. The people chose the freedom of speech and the right to peaceful assembly over the right to bear arms to make a difference in their country.


            Members of the counterculture movement fought for a change in ideology regarding many social issues, some of which the youth of our generation are fighting to change as well. Many abnormalities have become accepted as some normalities have been disregarded. For example, the people of our generation view gay rights or our military involvement in the Middle-East differently from that of those of previous generations. People have also held protests in the same, peaceful manner in past couple of years as the protestors did in the 1960’s. Occupy Wall Street represents one of the peaceful protests that would’ve been common in the 1960’s.