In this essay, I will explain how society had such diverse opinions about the 1960’s. The two main groups of people that I will be focusing on are Traditionalists and Liberals and I will be reasoning their different thoughts and opinions about the changes that took place in the sixties. The following are significant factors that affected the beliefs of these two different groups: Traditional ideas, Attack on the Establishment, Break down of society, New Liberal ideas and Nostalgia. This essay will contain an explanation and description of the above factors.
To begin with, there was the traditional group. The traditionalists were people who adhere to tradition, especially in cultural and regional practises. They saw the changes that took place throughout the sixties as a threat to traditionalism as people were more illegible and free to do what they wanted as they were more independent, therefore they didn’t want society to go out of control. In 1961, the pill was on sale. It not only provided a safe form of contraception, but also reduced painful menstruation and even acne.
Traditionalists thought that this was a disgrace as they believed in natural intercourse and also it was available to unmarried women as well as married women therefore the pill was blamed for an increase in sexual immorality. How ever, this is not proven. It is true that there were more pregnancies in the 1960’s than the 1950’s but that was true for every decade in the twentieth century. On the other hand liberals thought this was a great invention because for women the pill seemed to be a simple solution to a difficult problem.
Traditionalists also believed that people with lower class should be segregated from people with higher class. Prime Minister Harold Wilson that was elected in 1964 was from a working class, he wanted society to become more meritocratic so people would do well because of their ability not because of their social status and how much money they had. People began to dress differently and wear clothes that were for everyone instead of clothes that showed class difference. More over, posh accents became unpopular and middleclass people began to adopt cockney accents.
Traditionalists thought that this was an outrage as class was very important in Britain in the 1950’s and it was expected that lower-class would be respectful to upper-class. Alternatively, liberals thought that this was great as people were now recognised for talent and hard work, not money! During the 1960’s more young people than ever before in Britain started to carry on their education after school. The number of student’s doubled and 16 new universities were opened to cater for all these new students.
At university, young people had more time to question and think about the world they lived in. any came to a conclusion that there were many important things wrong with the world around them. They no longer accepted the authority and people of the establishment so they began to protest. It became fashionable to protest about issues such as the American involvement with Vietnam War. In 1968 80,000 demonstrators protested against America’s involvement with the Vietnam War, although the banners that they carried showed that Vietnam was not the only cause that they supported. People felt that something went wrong with the world if they were using science to build dangerous weapons.
Partially due to the protesting taking place, America’s political leaders pulled their troops out of Vietnam. Traditionalists thought that it was unacceptable for society to involve and rebel with their government because in the 1950’s people accepted what the government did and they didn’t question but now that people had more understanding and education about what was happening in the world it gave them power to speak their minds and liberals thought this was great as they thought that people should have the rights to say what they want as its their country they are living in.
In addition to this, media such as television and magazines began to talk and make fun of the monarchy, church and establishment. The programme “That was a week that was” discussed events that had been in the news that week. Many people found it hysterical, how ever some described it as a very bad taste as it was anti-authority, anti-religious and anti-patriotism. More over, a magazine called “OZ” was prosecuted for an outrageous rude cartoon of Rupert the bear.
Traditionalists thought that this was shameful as they thought that people should not be allowed to question monarchy and church let alone make fun of them. On the other hand, liberals thought that it was hysterical and it was just a bit of fun for entertainment. The 1960’s could be described as the break down of society as it was a period of time where the public became more rebellious. An example of this would be the youth culture as explained in essays one and two.
Many argued that although women had more power and that they were allowed to work, divorce and have equal wrights with men, some concluded that they didn’t take control of the children as they were never home to look after them as they were at work. One may say that this lead children to become a hassle as they were always out on the streets getting up to no good and that this was the reason of why they started to take drugs and create such groups like the Mods and Rockers because they weren’t given the guidance of their parents.
What is more, death penalty’s had been abolished therefore crime rates were risen. More over, some people(such as traditionalists) believed that as the laws of the government were more relaxed and less strict and as people gained more independent power, they started to do what they wanted and not care about the consequences of their actions and rebel and protest about their rights and what they wanted. It was like society was taking control over laws and rights and instead of the society obeying to government; it was more like government abiding by society.
How ever, on the other hand some people (such as liberals) thought that they had every right to speak their minds and protest what they thought should be changed about the laws and government especially now that the society was changing. Some of the subjects that were protested about did in fact take place such as: A number of all male colleges at Oxford and Cambridge were opened to women, therefore women gained their equality with men and became illegible to have an education, this lead women to work as the Prime Minister “Harold Wilson” tried to include more women in his cabinet.
This can be argued that after the Second World War, the society became short in labor therefore more people were needed in the work environment. One may say that one of the reasons that women were allowed to work and gain equality with men was because the government was short in labor and needed women to join men in the working society. How ever, this is not statistically proven. Another famous protest that took place in America in the sixties was the protest of martin Luther king protesting for black rights.
This was also successful as Britain got its first black police man in 1964, so not only did women gain equal rights, so did black people. As much hassle and conflict that took place in the sixties such as: Drugs, Mods and Rockers, Hippies e. c. t. , the sixties has mostly been looked back on as the decade where great fashions, music and bands had erupted. Some described it as the big bang of the civilization and they would tend to forget about the drugs and bad stuff that may have happened as they wouldn’t really go into much detail, they would mainly just forget about the negatives and focus on the positives.
Most of the changes that did take place were for the better like: Music and how black people and women gained equal rights because if it wasn’t for these new bands, music in this present day would not be the same. We wouldn’t have these beautiful rhythms that have evolved from sixties music. More over, we wouldn’t even have such incredible vocal artists such as Leona Lewis and Beyonce as they wouldn’t have been allowed to sing or have the opportunity to become such successful singers because of their colour of their skin.
In addition, women gaining equal rights and being illegible to divorce is also a great change as women and girls wouldn’t have been allowed to gain an education and if divorce wasn’t aloud, many families and children would be unhappy and mentally depressed. In conclusion we can say that traditionalists were the base of our society, which could be described as the frame of moral, which gave more control over individuals.
As people began to rebel against the traditional ideas the base of the old frame had cracked (which some people described as the break down of society) and the moral started to change (law and establishment). Through diversity and technology people became more knowledgeable and independent which can be argued from both groups’ view (traditionalists and liberals) however the consequences of the changes that took place in the 1960s gave freedom, space and independence to people. On the other hand, it also caused conflict, violence and broken families.
Overall, this can highlight that some people preferred to stay glued to the traditional ways of living (traditionalists) as they were frightened of consequences of change such as violence and broken families, however it can be argued that there was always conflict, violence and broken families through all decades but the independency and women’s right wasn’t. Thus others were ready for change and to break away from a fixed routine as they were fond of the idea of independence, freedom and becoming individual(liberals).