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Counterculture of the 1960s
The counterculture of the 1960s was a response to what many young people perceived to be the American norms of socio-political corruption and materialism. Many sought an alternative lifestyle which included elements of eastern tradition, peace, harmony, love, music, and psychedelic drugs in order to expand their consciousness and ultimately make the world a better place. Social tolerance, and the will to challenge authority remain hallmarks of the era.
It should be noted that while Ginsberg supported the Counterculture and The Beats's association with hippies, Kerouac resented the connection and wanted the movements to remain distinct.
Photo courtesy of http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/book/jan14.html