The 1960s was a time of great social and political change in the United States. It was a decade marked by civil rights protests, anti-war demonstrations, and a growing interest in environmentalism. But, amidst all this upheaval, there was one trend that may have gone unnoticed by many: the agreement that came in threes.
In speech and writing, it became common to use three adjectives or phrases to describe something. For example, “peace, love, and understanding” or “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” This pattern of three had a certain rhythm and balance that made it appealing to the ear and the mind.
This preference for the number three was not limited to the counterculture. It was also evident in mainstream advertising and politics. The famous political slogan “peace, prosperity, and progress” was used by both the Democratic and Republican parties in various campaigns.
This trend can be traced back to ancient times when the rule of three was considered a rhetorical device. The idea was to use three related points to make a persuasive argument. This technique was often used in speeches and writing to make the message more memorable and impactful.
In the 1960s, the rule of three took on a new significance. It became a symbol of the rebellion against the status quo and the search for a new way of life. The three-part agreement was a way of expressing a sense of unity and common purpose among those who were fighting for change.
While the trend may have faded over time, the power of the three-part agreement is still evident today. In advertising, politicians, and everyday communication, the rule of three is often used to make messages more memorable and persuasive.
So, the next time you hear someone say “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” or “stop, look, and listen,” remember that this pattern has a long history and a powerful impact. It is a reminder that the simplest things can often be the most effective.