America became a more open, freer, and more tolerant nation during the 1960s. This is evident upon examination of four aspects of the society: the counterculture movement, feminism, the sexual revolution, and gay rights.
First, the counterculture promoted—even worshiped—freedom. Tie-dyed shirts and sandals were in fashion. Drug use and rock music became very popular. Hippies were inspired by Timothy Leary. Back-to-nature and collective-living arrangements were in vogue. The counterculture movement culminated with the famous Woodstock concert in 1969.
Second, women asserted their rights. The Feminine Mystique (1963), written by Betty Friedan, reminded women that they were much more than mere homemakers. In 1966, the National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded.
Third, the introduction of the birth-control pill in 1960 helped lead to a sexual revolution. The increased promiscuity also led to a rise in the number of sexually transmitted diseases.
On June 28, 1969, the New York police raided Stonewall Inn, a gay bar. The bar's patrons fought back and a riot ensued. The incident inspired gays to stand up for their rights.
As the new decade began in 1970, the US had become a very different place.