BBC Discusses Summer Love in American History
In a recent article about the influence of the 1960s counter culture on American political and social structures, the BBC discussed the summer known as the “Summer of Love” in the nation’s history. The Summer of Love is a reference to the period of time where American hippies gathered primarily in the San Francisco suburb of Haight-Ashbury to celebrate the counter cultural activities of free sex, LSD, and rock and roll. The celebration lasted for several weekends during the summer of 1967 and also promoted common hippie ideas such as communal living, anti consumerist activities, and anti Vietnam War sentiments.
The Summer of Love was seen, historically, as one of the largest culminations of hippie ideas before the hippie movement began to die out in the 1970s. Although San Francisco was the largest gathering place for hippies in the United States during the Summer of Love, hippies also gathered in New York City, Los Angeles, and large cities in Europe and Canada. Ideas about communal living were especially prominent during the Summer of Love and led to many young Americans becoming informed about this alternative lifestyle. At this point in history, it could be said that hippies believed that their revolutionary lifestyle would catch on in mainstream society because it was already growing at an alarming rate. Much like the expansion of alternative lifestyles for non heterosexual individuals, however, the movement was eventually ended by the end of the Vietnam War, the aging of the hippies who began the movement in their early 20s, and the negative repercussions of LSD use, unprotected sex, and communal living.
The events that took place within the Charles Manson communal family, along with the establishment of several extreme hippie groups put a final end to the nation’s obsession with the counter culture of the 60s. Still, the Summer of Love and the counter cultural revolution evoked by the hippies lives on in American history and has left a lasting imprint on society.