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Roadside AmericansThe Rise and Fall of Hitchhiking in a Changing Nation$
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Jack Reid

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469655000

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469655000.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Riders on the Storm

Riders on the Storm

Countercultural Hitchhiking and Conservative Resistance, 1968–1975

(p.133) Chapter 5 Riders on the Storm
Roadside Americans

Jack Reid

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores how hitchhiking—with its promise of free, untethered, and spontaneous mobility—allowed youths of the late sixties and early seventies the ability to maintain a largely nomadic existence while living out the values of the hippie (or freak, as many self-identified) lifestyle. Within the national culture soliciting rides became closely connected to an increasingly politicized counterculture—one that sought to upend the Protestant work ethic and conventional sexual and gender norms. Notably, this radicalized youth culture and its dismissal of traditional values generated resentment among many, creating a deep cultural divide between young people and older, so-called straight Americans. Because of its association with the freak movement, the act of hitchhiking became a key point of confrontation. An increasingly mature regulatory state began cracking down on the practice, in part to reign in the counterculture and women’s liberation movement, but also to promote safer and more uniform traffic behavior. Still, these efforts did little to slow the growing popularity of the practice in the early 1970s.

Keywords:   Politicized counterculture, Hippie, Freak, Women’s liberation, Protestant work ethic, Traditional values, Regulatory state

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