1960’s Youth Movement – Peace and Love
In 1960, the charismatic John F. Kennedy broke the religious barrier and became the first Catholic-American elected President. It was not until this decade that the youth movement, in the sense familiar today, reached full growth in the United States Youth wanted their voices heard, they wanted their freedom they wanted their rights. The civil rights movement helped perpetuate this movement. It began at predominately black universities Non-black youth, sympathetic of the civil rights movement, also stood up for civil rights.
During the 1960’s many other factors influenced young Americans; one in particular was the Vietnam War. To show their dissatisfaction towards the Vietnam War, anti-war marches and other protests and were organized by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) . Young women celebrated the passage of the 1963 Equal Pay Act. Some became restless due to slower than anticipated progress and what started out as non-violent sits and marches sometimes turned into more militant style protests. Some young radicals took on a more hippie approach; they broke away from politics and moved to escape the everyday turbulence of the 1960’s.
I found the following on the History Channel site and could not help but share it. “The era’s legacy remains mixed – it brought us empowerment and polarization, resentment and liberation – but it has certainly become a permanent part of our political and cultural lives.”
Modern Day Youth - Political
In 2008, the charismatic Barack H. Obama broke the race barrier and became the first Black-American elected President. We witnessed our young voters getting more involved in politics. Obama’s 2008 landslide against Republican John McCain was due to a changing electorate. Along with young voters, women and minorities came out in full force. In 2008, CNN exit polls tell us that the 18 to 29 year old group made up 18% of the voting block – in 2012, they made up 19%. An NBC News article states that modern day youth are naturally inclined to be unified. Michael D. Hais explains, “They were reared to believe that everyone has a role to play, everybody is the same and everybody should look for group-oriented solutions.”
Present day youth are more likely to think the government should do more to solve problems. They favor health care reform and want it expanded. When it comes to social issues, they take on a more liberal approach. They are more in favor of keeping Roe v. Wade, they largely support same sex marriage. In terms of immigration, 68% of voters between the ages of 18 to 29 believe there should be a path to citizenship. Some research, including BIPAC’s National Post-Election survey and AP, shows that younger voters are more inclined to describe themselves as fiscally conservative; however, a Pew poll shows that 61% of 18 to 29 year olds think the government favors the wealthy.
Though 1960’s youth and present day youth are not alike on every issue – there are still similarities. While the 1960’s saw a more peace and love youth movement, brought on by civil rights and an unpopular war, we are currently witnessing a politically charged movement. This movement was brought on by a more civically unified youth during a time of economic and social uncertainty and strife. Both generations voiced their concerns through group activities. Whether that was college campus activities, protests, sit-ins, marches, meetings, voter drives and much more, they came together. There was immense unity on social media outlets. In BIPAC’s National Post-Election survey, 40% of younger Americans received their election news from the internet. A Pew Internet report shows that 92% of 18 to 29 year olds use social networking sites and Twitter; they also reported that younger users were more inclined to use social media for political activities. Both “movements”, while different in scope, will continue to shape our youth, politically and in their everyday lives.