1960-1972: Cultural Revolution
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1960-1972

The counterculture of the 1960s was an anti-establishment cultural phenomenon that developed throughout much of the Western world between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s.[3] The aggregate movement gained momentum as the U.S. Civil Rights Movement continued to grow, and, with the expansion of the American Government's extensive military intervention in Vietnam, would later become revolutionary to some.[4][5][6] As the 1960s progressed, widespread social tensions also developed concerning other issues, and tended to flow along generational lines regarding human sexuality, women's rights, traditional modes of authority, experimentation with psychoactive drugs, and differing interpretations of the American Dream. Many key movements related to these issues were born or advanced within the counterculture of the 1960s.[7]

As the era unfolded, what emerged were new cultural forms and a dynamic subculture that celebrated experimentation, modern incarnations of Bohemianism, and the rise of the hippie and other alternative lifestyles. This embrace of creativity is particularly notable in the works of musical acts such as the Beatles and Bob Dylan, as well as of New Hollywood filmmakers, whose works became far less restricted by censorship. Within and across many disciplines, many other creative artists, authors, and thinkers helped define the counterculture movement. Everyday fashion experienced a decline of the suit and especially of the wearing of hats; styles based around jeans, for both men and women, became an important fashion movement that has continued up to the present day.
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The counterculture of the 1960s was an anti-establishment cultural phenomenon that developed throughout much of the Western world between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s.[3] The aggregate movement gained momentum as the U.S. Civil Rights Movement continued to grow, and, with the expansion of the American Government's extensive military intervention in Vietnam, would later become revolutionary to some.[4][5][6] As the 1960s progressed, widespread social tensions also developed concerning other issues, and tended to flow along generational lines regarding human sexuality, women's rights, traditional modes of authority, experimentation with psychoactive drugs, and differing interpretations of the American Dream. Many key movements related to these issues were born or advanced within the counterculture of the 1960s.[7]

As the era unfolded, what emerged were new cultural forms and a dynamic subculture that celebrated experimentation, modern incarnations of Bohemianism, and the rise of the hippie and other alternative lifestyles. This embrace of creativity is particularly notable in the works of musical acts such as the Beatles and Bob Dylan, as well as of New Hollywood filmmakers, whose works became far less restricted by censorship. Within and across many disciplines, many other creative artists, authors, and thinkers helped define the counterculture movement. Everyday fashion experienced a decline of the suit and especially of the wearing of hats; styles based around jeans, for both men and women, became an important fashion movement that has continued up to the present day.
In the 1960s, moderates in the movement worked with the United States Congress to achieve the passage of several significant pieces of federal legislation that overturned discriminatory laws and practices and authorized oversight and enforcement by the federal government. The Civil Rights Act of 1964,[11] which was upheld by the Supreme Court in Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States (1964), explicitly banned all discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in employment practices, ended unequal application of voter registration requirements, and prohibited racial segregation in schools, at the workplace, and in public accommodations. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 restored and protected voting rights for minorities by authorizing federal oversight of registration and elections in areas with historic under-representation of minorities as voters. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 banned discrimination in the sale or rental of housing.
Women’s rights movement, also called women’s liberation movement, diverse social movement, largely based in the United States, that in the 1960s and ’70s sought equal rights and opportunities and greater personal freedom for women. It coincided with and is recognized as part of the “second wave” of feminism. While the first-wave feminism of the 19th and early 20th centuries focused on women’s legal rights, especially the right to vote (see women’s suffrage), the second-wave feminism of the women’s rights movement touched on every area of women’s experience—including politics, work, the family, and sexuality. Organized activism by and on behalf of women continued through the third and fourth waves of feminism from the mid-1990s and the early 2010s, respectively. For more discussion of historical and contemporary feminists and the women’s movements they inspired, see feminism.
From 1961 to 1964, NASA’s budget was increased almost 500 percent, and the lunar landing program eventually involved some 34,000 NASA employees and 375,000 employees of industrial and university contractors. Apollo suffered a setback in January 1967, when three astronauts were killed after their spacecraft caught fire during a launch simulation. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union’s lunar landing program proceeded tentatively, partly due to internal debate over its necessity and to the untimely death (in January 1966) of Sergey Korolyov, chief engineer of the Soviet space program.

December 1968 saw the launch of Apollo 8, the first manned space mission to orbit the moon, from NASA’s massive launch facility on Merritt Island, near Cape Canaveral, Florida. On July 16, 1969, U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins set off on the Apollo 11 space mission, the first lunar landing attempt. After landing successfully on July 20, Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon’s surface; he famously called the moment “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The sexual revolution, also known as a time of sexual liberation, was a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships throughout the United States from the 1960s to the 1980s.[1] Sexual liberation included increased acceptance of sex outside of traditional heterosexual, monogamous relationships (primarily marriage).[2] The normalization of contraception and the pill, public nudity, pornography, premarital sex, homosexuality, masturbation, alternative forms of sexuality, and the legalization of abortion all followed.[3][4]
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