From the complacent culture of the United States in the 1950ís with its images of the man in the grey flannel suit, suburban living, Cold War politics, and Eisenhower conservatism, arose a new feeling under the idealistic leadership of John F. Kennedy. Suddenly, there was a new feeling of commitment to human concerns. This was reflected in the founding of the Peace Corps, the opening of the civil rights movement, and the commitment of the nation to the defence of freedom in the world.
After the shock of the assassination of President Kennedy and the escalation of the war in Vietnam, there was a more violent and militant support of the new ways of thinking. By the summer of 1967 the hippies fled to gathering places like San Francisco and the East Village. The climax of these gatherings took place in Woodstock, New York, in 1969. For the first time in U.S. history, the work ethic, competitive capitalism, and the values of materialism were ignored. An entire generation had thought that they had successfully turned against the establishment.