The 1960s were a decade fraught with social movements for every cause imaginable. Many seemed unrelated to one another and possessed wildly different strategies and levels of seriousness about achieving their goals. Some were vocal in the mainstream and extremely focused on changing society immediately, while others were contented to sit back and take a more philosophical approach to their aims. There was indeed a common thread, which ran through all of these wildly different movements. That one uniting principle was dissatisfaction with the current society and the strong desire to change it. .
This common bond was especially strong between the civil rights, student, and antiwar movements and the counterculture. Like the student, civil rights and antiwar movements, the counterculture's primary concern was the modification, and in some cases eradication, of the prohibitions and inhibitions that society placed on individuals. Counterculture was concerned with materialism, sexual repression and what they considered unreasonable expectations placed on them by society. This was not completely different from the overall aims of many of the more political parts of the movement. While their aims and goals tended to be more specific and their energies more focused, their primary goal was always to end some kind of oppression from what they saw as a unreasonable higher authority figure. In the case of the antiwar movement, this authority came in the form of the US government, and the oppression it was attempting to preempt was literal oppression against the Vietnamese in the form of the war, and against American citizens in the form of the draft. In the case of the student movement, the authority was that of the universities and the oppression was the ability of school authorities to place limits upon the students" freedoms of speech and assembly. The similarities were even more pronounced in the case of the civil rights movement were participants were struggling against the racist white establishment and its very direct and literal oppression of African Americans.