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Political And Social Effects That Shaped The 60s Generation

.. main looters. The actions by Richard J. Daley, were a sign of respect of King. Ironically, a year before, Daley was against having King speak in the city of Chicago. Kings following had fallen off in the years leading up to his death.

His moment had passed. Since the triumph of his Slema campaign, which climaxed in the 1965 Voting Rights Act, he had turned to the urban poor, but his strategy of nonviolence, national publicity, and coalition-building seemed unavailing. Just a week before his death, his hopes for a non violence march in Memphis, in support of striking garbage workers, had been dashed by the window-smashing of a few dozen black teenagers. King had become a hero without a strategy, but a hero he undeniably was at a moment when the larger movement craved heroes and disowned them with equal passion. For liberals, even for many black militants and radicals, he was the last black hope.

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When he was murdered, it seemed that nonviolence went to the grave with him, and the movement was free at last from restraint. There are times when an entire culture takes the shape of a single event, like rows of iron fillings lined up by the force of a magnet. What is assassination, after all, if not the ultimate reminder of the citizens helplessness – or even repressed murderousness? Instantly the killing creates an abrupt contest between Good and Evil, albeit with a wrong ending. With the enlightened establishments great men gunned down, a self-proclaimed black revolutionary gunned down, there was an eerie feeling among the common people, a democracy of sudden death. The southern civil rights movement had been deeply bloodied, of course.

Dozens of blacks were killed in the urban riots of the North from 1964 on, and, as we have already seen, the riots of the North inspired the white radicals to start a movement of their own. These radicals would take the form of the Hippy. In 1954 Vietnam had been divided into the Communist North, under Ho Chi Minh, and capitalist South, under Ngo Dinh Diem, after the Communists had forced the French to abandon Vietnam. Since 1954 a guerrilla force, the National Liberation Front (know as the Vietcong), backed by the North, had been gradually gaining strength. The United States had been sending arms to Diem since 1954, and in 1960 President Kennedy decided to send American military advisors to South Vietnam to train Diems army. Just as the black movement was fighting for equality and civil rights, the hippie movement took on the fight against the drafting of young men to Vietnam. Many protests were staged throughout the 60s to end the war, especially the March to End the War in Vietnam held at the Independence memorial in Washington, 1965.

During 1965, the Vietnam War intensified. The USA put more and more effort into it, and the South Vietnamese governments lack of control became apparent. In August it was estimated that the Vietcong controlled a quarter of the country, the government about half and the rest was not controlled by anyone. In the Vietcong area, the Communists had taken land from the few rich landowners and given it to the many poor peasants. This obviously made them more popular with the peasants. The south Vietnamese army was now too weak to fight the Communists, and the US decided it would take over the fighting leaving the Vietnamese to defend the land they controlled.

The war in Vietnam increased trouble in America. Blacks pointed out that black soldiers in Vietnam suffered unfairly: 10% of the population of the United States was Black, 12.5% of the American army was black, 14.6% of the battle dead was black. On 23 April 1967, Muhammad Ali called the war a race war. Black men are being cut up by white men. On 28 April 1967, Muhammad refused the call-up to the US army. The World Boxing Association stripped him of his world title, and on 21 June 1967, he was found guilty of avoiding the draft.

Muhammad Ali was given a five year jail sentence, and appealed. By the first of August 1967, so many black uprisings had taken place during the Long Hot Summer that a map had to be produced to show where they had taken place. 1967 had been the year of the hippies, peace and love. 1968 was a year dominated by violence and ideas of revolution and change. It was the year of New Left – socialists who rejected both capitalism and communism – whose ideas inspired students revolt throughout the world. The New Left argued that violence was caused by capitalism, and the continuing, escalating war in Vietnam, where the most powerful capitalist force was waging war on a small Asian country.

As the Students moved to the Left, and the youth movement grew, so did the idea of fighting back against the State. The idea of a single world revolution, grew. On April 30, 1970, President Nixon ordered the incursion of Cambodia, with this announcement the students went into action. By May 4, 1970, a hundred student strikes were in progress across the country. At Kent State University in Ohio, students burned down the ROTC building.

On the same day, National Guardsman at Kent State responded to taunts and a few rocks by firing their M-1 rifles into a crowd of students, killing four, wounding nine others. Kent State was a heartland school, far from elite, the very type of campus where Nixons silent majority was supposed to be training. After these and many other violent incidents at protests, the intensity of the movement began to dwindle. The great changes that they were fighting for were not coming about. The protests were not getting any sympathy or support, and greater numbers of hippies left the protests and adopted a peace and love side of things.

The climax of the hippie movement was in Woodstock, 1969. It was where all of the violence and aggression of protesting was laid aside and the true ambiance of the 60s was expressed. Woodstock, in June, had been the long-deferred Festival of Life. So said not only Time and Newsweek but world-weary friends who had navigated the traffic-blocked thruway and felt the new society emerging, half a million strong, stoned and happy on that muddy farm north of New York City. Both critics and fans concede that Woodstock has become part of the mythology of the 1960s, even if the actual event did not necessarily represent the musical or political taste of most young Americans at the time.

Some say it symbolized the freedom and idealism of the 1960s. Critics argue that Woodstock represented much of what was wrong with the 60s: a glorification of drugs, a loosening of sexual morality and a socially corrosive disrespect for authority. Whether one is a supporter or a critic, it is undeniable that Woodstock was one of the major climaxes of the hippie movement: a culmination of all of the peace and love ideals in one place. After Woodstock, the movement was on the downswing. One could argue that Woodstock was the grand finale, with the seventies arriving soon after it and there was a general been there, done that(interview) mentality which created the seventies, a decade of disco, and doom, never quite living up to the intensity of the sixties. The 1960s, then, did more than just swing.

Many of the values and conventions of the immediate post- war world were called into question, and although many of the questions had not been satisfactorily answered by the end of the decade, society would never be the same again. In conclusion, the hippy culture arose as a result of vast political changes occurring in North America and beyond and not as a result of drugs and music. The drugs and music were a by-product of the hippy culture, but by no means a reason for its occurrence. The previous pages cite the more relevant political and social milestones, which, I believe were directly responsible for the evolution of the hippy culture. These milestones affected everyone, one way or another, either directly or indirectly. They changed the way people thought.

You would be hard pressed to find someone over the age of about forty-five who, to this day, cannot remember what they were doing the day Kennedy was shot, and how they were affected by it. The sixties simply evolved; a microcosm of numerous political and social change that swept the then current generation. The hippies were simply reacting to changes in society and, in reacting to these changes, left an indelible mark on the history books of our time. Bibliography Bibliography Archer, Jales. The Incredible Sixties.

Orlando: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987. Benson, Kathleen, and Haskins, James. The Sixties Reader. New York: Viking Kestrel, 1988. Collier, Peter, Horowitz, David.

Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the60s. New York: Summit, 1989. Dickstein, Morris. Gates of Eden: American Culture in the Sixties. New York: Basic Books, 1977.

Gitlin, Todd. The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage. New York: Bantam, 1987. Ingham, John. SexNDrugsNRockNRoll. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press, 1988. Kostash, Myrna.

Long Way From Home:The Story of the Sixties Generation in Canada. Toronto: James Lorimer & Company, 1980. Martin, Elizabeth. 57 Edgemore Dr., Etobicoke, Ontario. Interview, 12 February 1997. Oakley, Ronald.

Gods Country: America in the Fifties. New York: Red Dembner, 1986. Rosen, Obst. The Sixties: The Decade Remembered Now, by the People Who Lived Them. Toronto: Random House Publisher, 1977.

Roy, Andy. Great Assassinations. New York: Independent Publishing, 1994. Stern, Jane, and Micheal. Sixties People. New York: Knopf, 1990.

Tucker, Ken, and Stokes, Geoffrey, and Ward, Ed. Rock of Ages: The Rolling Stone History of Rock and Roll. New York: Rolling Stone Press, 1986. Weiss, Bill. King And His Struggles. New York: Penny Publishing, 1987. Yinger, Milton.

Countercultures: The Promise and Peril of a world Turned Upside Down. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1982. Political Science.


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