A challenge to mainstream America emerged in the mid-1950s, when young people began rejecting middle-class values through new fashions, music, and artistic styles. The counterculture movement gained momentum in the 1960s with anger over the war in Vietnam, increased access to recreational drugs, and sexual liberation.

Termed “Beats” and “hippies,” countercultural writers and artists embraced interconnectedness, similar to the vision of unity, instinct, and cosmic kinship expressed by poet Walt Whitman a century earlier.

Skip to content