• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'How far did the changes of the 1960s in Britain create a 'permissive society'?'

Extracts from this document...


'How far did the changes of the 1960s in Britain create a 'permissive society'?' Whilst there are slight variations amongst those who wish to define a permissive society, they all appear to agree it is a society of sexual liberation. From looking closely at the changes, for example new liberalising laws that were introduced such as the Abortion and Divorce Reform Act, it can be shown that 'sexual intercourse began in nineteen sixty-three' (Philip Larkin). The Abortion Act of 1967 legalised abortion in the United Kingdom up to 28 weeks gestation, however the question is what change this brought. When examining society prior to 1967 100,000-200,000 illegal abortion took place per year. Source C suggests that there wasn't a permissive society by claiming that although people had more freedom, they didn't use it, 'they did not necessarily exercise that freedom', however after legalisation the number of abortions increased from 35,000 a year in 1968 to 141,000 a year in 1975. ...read more.


However, in 1959 the Obscene Publications Act was passed and stated that in adult literature those which can be classed as 'in the interests of science, literature, art or learning' should be exempt from censorship. Therefore this allowed what had once been deemed shocking to become more acceptable, for example, the previously banned novel Lady Chatterley's Lover (which contained sexually explicit content) was allowed to be re-published. After the re-publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover censorship increasing worse away, for example pornographic novels such as Fanny Hill were published. Although source B suggests that the Obscene Publications Act was unpopular, 'unmitigated disaster', those against the Act were few in number and rising acceptance of the reduction of censorship in literature shows that society was becoming increasingly permissive. Due to the British Board of film censors, censorship lasted longer on screen and films were subject to strict categorisation. ...read more.


Before the 1960s women were encouraged to give up their job and personal independence when married or on the arrival of their first child and it was seen as their duty to be a good wife and mother. However, the introduction of the oral contraceptive pill and the Divorce Reform Act society became permissive. Women were able take away the inevitability of pregnancy and plan their lives, including careers. The Divorce Reform Act proved to show that marriage was becoming less important. Referring back to source C's claim that these changes did not create a permissive society due to people not using their freedom, 'they did not necessarily exercise that freedom', it can be shown that a permissive society was created due to these changes as the number of illegitimate births rose from 5.8 per cent to 8.2 per cent and as mentioned earlier, the number of marriages ending in divorce rose. As can be seen, due to an accumulation of reduced censorship and liberalising laws, there was a permissive society in Britain. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

The author has a clear knowledge of the key legal changes that allowed for a permissive society but the central debate is missed; do these legal reforms reflect or create British society in the 1960s? Only one side of the debate is really addressed. 3 out of 5 stars.

Marked by teacher Natalya Luck 16/07/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    History of british race relations

    3 star(s)

    By the early nineteenth century the first sprinklings' of a multi-racial populace begun to lay there foundations. It was not usual to see seamen of 'colour' in the ports of Britain, the expansion of the shipping industry meant companies like the East India Company readily employed black and Asian seamen.

  2. To what extent was Disraeli personally committed to social reform

    is the elevation of the condition of the people.' However despite the obvious turning point noted by historians to be around 1872 one can clearly assess the view that the speeches were a mere presentational stunt, highlighting as Brasher dubs the "showman Disraeli"6.

  1. How far do you agree that economic considerations were the key factor explaining both ...

    By 1895, the affairs of East Africa were shifted from the British East Africa Company to the British government. The formal control of areas largely of economic redundancy in East Africa highlighted that the expansion of empire there is due to the growing threats of other European powers rather than for economic reasons.

  2. How far did Gladstone achieve his stated aim of pacifying Ireland

    to pay the tenant for whatever improvements the tenant might have made on the farm (e.g. by adding buildings, drainage, roads). This did not apply if the tenant was evicted for non-payment of rent the "Bright Clauses" attempted to help tenants to buy land, so that they would no longer be tenants.

  1. Was Charles I Trying to Establish Royal Absolutism during his Personal Rule?

    Charles realised that England's obsession with an archaic system of rule was no longer appropriate and the system needed to be overhauled for the country's own good. Uniformity was the only way to do this. The problem was that people did not know what this would result in.

  2. Discuss Shakespeare's presentation of women in Richard III. Are they convincing characters?

    At this point, Lady Anne absolutely loathes Richard. It is ironic that she agrees to marry him knowing at some point she'll be killed. It also suggests that her curse is somewhat false. The purpose of this scene is for Lady Anne to get married, as part of the historical

  1. How far did the Liberal government mishandle the Irish question?

    "Ne Temere" Decree which stated that if a Catholic and Protestant were to marry and have Children, the child would be brought up to be a Catholic. This lead to the question of what will happen to Ireland if they obtained Self Rule, and whether the Protestants would be oppressed

  2. How far do you agree that the Anti-Corn law League was the most important ...

    Secondly, it could be argued that the opportunity to restore confidence in the political system was the main reason for the repeal of the Corn Laws. Peel believed that the Corn Laws were weakening and not strengthening the aristocracy. The weary public was also questioning their position undermining the national interest.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work