The history of nonconformist groups in North America started long before independence. The Pilgrim colonists had originally separated themselves from the Church of England and migrated to Holland. They would be followed to Massachusetts by like-minded reformers that had sought to purify the Church from within. In New England, both the Pilgrims and Puritans felt threatened by the teachings of Anne Hutchinson, Roger Williams and Quakers, all of whom they persecuted accordingly. In turn, the Quakers with their rejection of violence and slavery would pioneer new forms of civil disobedience from draft resistance to the Underground Railroad. From abolitionism and temperance to feminism and civil rights, many movements would begin as nonconforming, countercultural ideas that would ultimately gain mainstream acceptance.
This new encyclopedia explores the role of countercultures in shaping the American experience. The nearly 600 entries present individuals, groups, organizations, publications and movements that have challenged cultural norms in all walks of life. Biographies include Henry Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, Eugene Debs, Margaret Sanger, Henry Miller, Buckminster Fuller, Benjamin Spock, Lenny Bruce, Gertrude Stein, César Chávez, Ralph Nader, Miles Davis and Frank Zappa. Shakers, Mormons, Christian fundamentalists, Hare Krishna, Moonies, Branch Davidians and other religious nonconformists figure prominently in this rich history of social resistance. So too do social protest and political movements, from anarchists and free love to environmentalism and PETA. Modern drug culture gets particular attention, but many lifestyles including carnival culture, drag queens, hackers, skateboarders and survivalists are examined. Avant-garde movements in art, literature, music, theater and film also are explored. The tour includes utopian settlements, cooperatives, experimental schools, self-help groups and other alternative communities. Each entry describes the general background, history and influence of specific groups, individuals, movements or events. Frequent cross references, brief bibliographies and a cumulative index in each volume support further research. A selection of 25 primary documents allows students to trace changing intellectual attitudes from colonial times through the Stonewall riots. In sum, this guide will prove an entertaining and enlightening tool for historical research in high school, public and academic libraries.