Fueled by idealism and the energy of rebellion, the youth of the 1960s turn traditional values inside out. Their radical values shock the world and shape the lives of future generations.
Unit Themes and Topics:
the antiwar movement
the baby boom
values and popular culture
the Vietnam War
youth movements and the counterculture
Connections Across History connection: when: where: program: feminist movement 1917-1996 Iran, Mexico, United States "Half the People" civil rights movement 1945-1994 South Africa, United States "Skin Deep" environmental movement 1959-1990 India, Japan, United States "Endangered Planet" religious fundamentalist movements 1978-1992 Iran, United States "God Fights Back"
(teenager in 1960s, France)
"What we're left with from this time not just in France, but all over the world is the memory of an incredible moment of freedom, when the powers that be meant nothing, when the police meant nothing, when all of a sudden it was the people who counted and who spoke up."
1. In what ways do your values and tastes differ from those of your parents? How important are these differences and why? Is there a "generation gap" between you and your parents?
2. As students watch the program, have them each choose one speaker to follow. Ak them to jot down how the speaker's views or experiences meet or don't meet students' expectations about the 1960s.
1. What values had young people in the program been taught to respect? Why did so many of them question these values?
2. What historical events and trends influenced the counterculture movements of the 1960s? How did those movements influence today's mainstream values and public policies? How do you think young people today will change those values and policies?
Have students research the 1968 Democratic Convention and answer the following questions: Why did activists target the convention? What challenges did demonstrators pose to the authorities? How did the authorities react and why? Why was the confrontation shocking to many Americans? Ask each student to adopt the perspective of a famous or ordinary person involved in the conflict. Have students choose partners and use their research to create a fictional dialogue between the two characters.
Have students explore the legacy of the 1960s by interviewing several adults of different backgrounds who were teenagers or older then. Interview questions might include: How would you describe young people's values and goals in the 1960s? What long-term consequences, if any, did you anticipate from lifestyle, cultural, or political changes of the1960s? Were the actual consequences different? If so, how?
The following lesson focuses on a program segment about the experiences of young people involved in three youth movements: antiwar activism in the United States and Great Britain, the hippie movement in the United States, and the Paris student uprisings. Americans, British, and French people describe their goals for, and involvement in, the movements.
approximately 24 minutes
Rusty Sachs explains why he volunteered to serve in Vietnam.
Romain Goupil says, "It was the people who counted and who spoke up."
1. What individuals or institutions have authority over teenagers? How do individuals or institutions acquire authority over others? How do they maintain or enforce it?
2. As students watch the program segment, have them write down the different ways that young people challenged authority and the consequences of those challenges.
1. How were the different movements in the program segment related? What were the values of young people involved in these movements? What institutions or individuals did they target? How did they hope to achieve social change? What were some of the short-term consequences? What were some of the long-term consequences?
2. British student Penny Hayes says, "It wasn't just America's war, really." Why do you think the Vietnam War became such a powerful symbol for young people rebelling against authority outside of the United States? Why do you think student unrest became so widespread in the 1960s? What evidence would you need to support or disprove your explanation?
3. Do you agree or disagree with Romain Goupil's quotation? Why or why not? How do you think the French worker Roger Lorellière might respond to Goupil's quotation? Why do you think the "moment of freedom" Goupil describes was short-lived? What did it accomplish?
To help students gain historical perspective on the 1960s, have them create a mainstream or alternative youth newspaper for the year 1968. First, discuss why 1968 is often viewed as a landmark year, the ways it represented a turning point for American society, and the goals and effects of different counterculture movements prior to and during 1968. Assign students to the following sections: national, international, and local news; arts and music; editorial page; sports; advice columns; and obituaries. Have each "section" group hold an editorial meeting to decide which articles to write. After each student has contributed an article, have the group appoint editors, graphic designers, and illustrators to write headlines, plan the layout, design the pages, and provide pictures or illustrations.
Ask students to choose a movement that either began in or was re-invigorated during the 1960s, such as the civil rights movement, feminism, anti-nuclear movement, Native American rights movement, Latino rights movement, migrant workers, etc. Have students develop a profile of the movement, then and now. Compare and contrast the ideology, methodology, leaders, accomplishments, and goals of the movement in the 1960s and the 1990s.
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