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The hippies were a social group that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s during a period of political unrest in the United States. Most were white, middle-class young people who advocated peace, love, and beauty. They withdrew from traditional modern society and "tuned in" to their deeper spiritual feelings. Hippies were most famous for their controversial alternative lifestyle, such as group living (called communes) and for their opposition to the Vietnam War (1957–75). They also claimed to be against the mainstream capitalist (an economic system based on private or corporate ownership and free enterprise), industrial society, advocating a simple way of life that involved owning few possessions and taking as little personal responsibility as possible. They wore tie-dyed clothes, braided beads, and went barefoot. The hippies were followers of a new generation of rock-and-roll artists that included the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Jethro Tull, and Jefferson Airplane, among others. Some hippies were also known for their use of drugs such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and marijuana, both of which were said to lead to profound spiritual insights. East Greenwich Village in New York City and the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco became the centers of the hippie subculture, which soon spread to Canada and Europe.
Although there are self-proclaimed hippies today, the movement itself died out at the end of the Vietnam War. Many people continue to adhere to basic principles and lifestyles advocated by the hippies of the 1960s and have found ways to integrate these attitudes into contemporary life.
Further Information: Brand, Stewart. "We Owe It All to the Hippies." Time Magazine. [Online] Available http://members.aye.net/~hippie/hippie/special_.htm, November 1, 2000; Stone, Skip. Hippies from A to Z: Their Sex, Drugs, Music, and Impact on Society from the Sixties to the Present. Los Angeles: Hip Inc, 1999; The Wild Bohemian Home Page. [Online] Available http://www.halcyon.com/colinp/bohemian.htm, November 1, 2000.
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