To a nation on the brink of civil war, their progressive ideas challenged authority—slavery was wrong, disobedience was an antidote to meddlesome governance; the interior life and the quest for peace were important aspects of existence.
The Transcendentalists Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson were—to borrow an advertising word—sexy.
Collectivist bohemians and critics of the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), they became commodities when word leaked that their ideas possessed commercial potential.
Nonetheless, hippies continued to have an influence on the wider culture, seen, for example, in more relaxed attitudes toward sex, in the new concern for the environment, and in a widespread lessening of formality.
(1957), Carlo Marx confides to Sal Paradise (Kerouac) that he is worried about what the future holds for himself and his friends—writers and artists who have positioned themselves outside the 1950’s mainstream. In a sobering example of capitalism at work, Allen Ginsberg— Marx in the novel—blossomed into a wildly popular voice known worldwide and sold millions of books in his lifetime.
They favoured long hair and casual, often unconventional, dress, sometimes in “psychedelic” colours.
Many males grew beards, and both men and women wore sandals and beads.Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!Long flowing granny dresses were popular with women, and rimless granny glasses with both men and women.Hippies commonly took up communal or cooperative living arrangements, and they often adopted vegetarian diets based on unprocessed foods and practiced holistic medicine.But the movement did not magically appear out of nowhere.Emerson published his friend Thoreau’s essay, “Civil Disobedience,” in in 1849 under the title “Resistance to Civil Government.” It was promoted and advertised until it sunk into the consciousness of the era.They commonly sought spiritual guidance from sources outside the Judeo-Christian tradition, particularly Buddhism and other Eastern rock music were an integral part of hippie culture.Singers such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez and groups such as the Beatles, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Rolling Stones were among those most closely identified with the movement.The collective voice of a generation, embodied by Ginsberg, Kerouac, William Burroughs, et al, emerged as a cultural alt-brand by design.Capitalists, who recognized the writers’ talents and potential value, activated a standby method to exploit them.