Abbie Hoffman

by Sam from Herrin

He described himself as "an orphan of America and a child of Woodstock Nation"-Abbie Hoffman
Abbie Hoffman giving a speech (
Abbie Hoffman giving a speech (

What is a hero? Some think a hero is someone who saves lives or always knows exactly what to do. I think a hero is someone who says what they think and is willing to go through anything just to be heard. Abbie Hoffman is my Hero. He led several amazing protests and riots. He gave many people the courage to say what they wanted to say. He showed people how to get the message through to the rest of America when it was too blind to see the picture being drawn out.

Abbie Hoffman was a social and political activist in the 60’s and 70’s. He was the co-founder of the Yippees or Youth International Party. Hoffman came to be known in the 60's, but his practice of activism became more prominent in the 70’s. He was a symbol of rebellion in those days for many of his youthful followers. Abbie was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. He attended Worcester academy and graduated in 1955. As a graduate of Brandeis University he studied under Herbert Marcuse and earned a Masters degree at Berkeley.

During one of his speeches, Hoffman talked about what they did to stop the cops from hitting them during one the their protests of the war. The protesters had seven gallons of blood in small plastic bags. When the cops went to hit them with their sticks the protesters started busting the bags of blood over their heads. They set off smoke bombs, played tape recorders with sounds of machine guns on them, blood was everywhere. In all this mess and chaos the cops could only stand there shocked. In that demonstration, war was being displayed for everyone to see what they were forcing people to go through just by supporting the war.

Another one of Abbie Hoffman’s ironic protests was aimed toward capitalism. He led his followers into the gallery of the New York Stock Exchange on August 24, 1967. The traders were below them when the protesters began to drop handfuls of fake dollar bills down to them. Thinking they were real, the traders ran around grabbing the money like maniacs. Hoffman claimed that he and the protesters were only doing what the traders were already doing.

Abbie Hoffman confronting the police (
Abbie Hoffman confronting the police (

Abbie was later charged with conspiracy and influencing people to riot. His role in the protests led to brutal fights with the police during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. He was part of the groups referred to as the Chicago Seven. The defendants included his fellow yippies Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale, and several other activists. Hoffman’s courtroom antics often showed up in the paper. One day, during trial, defendants Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin showed up dressed in judicial robes. While being sworn in as a witness, Hoffman was giving the finger. Not many people have the courage to do that especially while in court but he did exactly what he wanted to. After all he was only in that courtroom for exercising his right to free speech.

Close-up of Abbie Hoffman (<br>abbie7.gif)
Close-up of Abbie Hoffman (

Abbie Hoffman is my hero because he was an amazing protester. He wasn’t afraid to say exactly what he wanted to. He would endure or face any consequences just to get his point across. He had a really ironic way of getting his messages to people; I think it’s really interesting how he thought of these things. I think a hero should be like that: really determined to let people know what’s really going on. A hero should stand up and be heard, and in his own way, Abbie Hoffman opened the minds of many Americans.

Page created on 5/12/2006 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 5/12/2006 12:00:00 AM

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Related Links - Abbie Hoffman information - Abbie Hoffman information, and information on the trial of the Chicago 7.