FREEDOM AND TOTAL LOSS: TENSIONS, IDENTITY FORMATION AND THE BACK-TO-THE-LAND MOVEMENT IN 1970s VERMONT
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This thesis examines a period of interaction between natives and newcomers during Vermont?s "hippie influx." Specifically, it considers the adjacent towns of Brattleboro, Putney and Guilford between 1968 and 1975. These towns saw the state?s earliest hippie communes and counterculture institutions. Simultaneously, there was a rise in student populations at local colleges and anti-war demonstrations. Many locals were ambivalent towards the newcomers and at times, reacted violently. This thesis argues against a history of smooth transitions between the ?old Vermont? of conservative farmers and the ?new Vermont? of middle-to-upper class progressives. Although centered in the 1970s, this thesis provides historical context to better understand modern right-wing resurgences in the state, such as the "Take Back Vermont" movement, and the state?s current, sharp socio-economic divide. Finally, it explains how state identity was formed and altered over the twentieth century, and to what extent the hippies had an impact on this.