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Decades: Explore Modern America

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Decades: Explore Modern America

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  1. Decades:Explore Modern America January 22, 2010 4th Period

  2. The 1970’s

  3. Music The music of the 1970s bridged the gap between the rebellious anti-war attitude of the 1960s and the cheerful music of the 1980s. The music of the 70s created a trend of relaxing music as well as dance music. One of the most popular genres of music was disco. Disco provided a safe haven for those who were tired of the war and fighting in the previous decade. Other genres included punk rock and progressive rock. Popular artists during this time period include: Aerosmith, The Bee Gees, Blondie, Bob Dylan, Chicago, David Bowie, Elton John, Gloria Gaynor, James Taylor, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Starship, Led Zeppelin, The Police, and the Village People.

  4. Dance The 1970’s began a huge dance craze, thus starting the disco movement. Disco began in the 70s in clubs such as Studio 54 in New York City, and by John Travolta’s moves in the 1977 movie “Saturday Night Fever”. The point of early disco was for deejays to maintain a rhythm between cuts so that the dancing was seamless. Strobe lights emphasized the driving beat. Disco dances were typically composed of successions of several simple steps. Disco dance steps share several common elements. Stepping side to side is a typical filler activity between disco moves. Revolving the hands and raising the arms, always in time to the beat, is a classic. Many disco dance steps have classic Latin dance elements such as hip and pelvic movements. Turns are common, concluded by planting the foot on the floor with the beat. Shoulders can tilt up and down as the dancer steps forward and back. Choreographed combinations take precedence over improvisation. Partner dancing often has the dancers barely touching.

  5. Clothing The clothing style during the 1970s was all about individualism and self-expression. The fashion influence of Sixties hippies was mainstreamed in the Seventies, as men sported shoulder length hair and non-traditional clothing became the rage, including bellbottom pants, hip huggers, colorful patches, hot pants, platform shoes, earth shoes, clogs, T-shirts, and gypsy dresses. One outfit created during the 70s for women was the tomato red linen suit jacket worn with a white silk crepe blouse and soft leather elastic-waist pants with seams in the knees (The People History). The most popular outfit for a man during the 70s was a polyester suit. People also wore punk rock and gothic fashion clothes. This included leather jackets, leopard skin outfits, and unlaced work boots.

  6. Housing During the 1970s, home builders chose modern styles of home décor and wall patterns that were a bit crazy. Paneling was used in the living room as well as the bedrooms. Houses had ceramic tiling in the bathrooms, and each house usually had one and a half bath to two baths. Since mobile homes cost less in the 70s than regular houses, they were more popular to have. Furniture that was made from vinyl materials were the most popular. In 1970, a new house cost $23,400 and by 1979 the cost was $58,500 (The People History). For example, in 1974 a house with a country ranch, 10 acres, 3 bedrooms, a large barn, fruit and oak trees in Vallejo, California would have cost $59,200.

  7. Average Salary and Price of Goods The average salary and price of goods have definitely increased since the 1970s. In 1970 the average income per year was $9,350 and rose to $17,550 by 1979. For example, one hundred dollars in 1970 would be equivalent to almost $518 today. The prices of goods in the 1970s was also a lot lower than today. The average cost of a new car in 1970 was $3,900 and by 1979 was $5,770. In 1970 a gallon of gas was 36 cents and by 1979 was 86 cents. Clothing was also a lot less expensive. Ladies summer dresses began at $8.99, and men’s suits began at $37.95. In 1970, bathroom tissue cost thirteen cents, Crest toothpaste cost 77 cents, and shampoo cost 79 cents.

  8. Transportation In the 1970s, several kinds of cars became popular. Among these are the ‘muscle’ cars and the station wagon. Some of the most popular 70s cars include: 1971 Mach 1 Mustang, 1973 Monte Carlo, 1969 Ford LTD, 1969 Pontiac Firebird, 1973 Camaro Z28, 1970 Second generation Trans Am, 1970 Ford Maverick. A new car was around $4,000 and gas was inexpensive.

  9. Employment Opportunities The economy in the 1970s experienced periods of inflation, recession, and high unemployment. The decade was also marked by a growing importance of women in the workforce, as well as an aging of the workforce. During this period, there were important legislative and legal changes affecting compensation and workplace issues. Both the civilian unemployment rate and the rate of change in consumer prices deteriorated in the second half of the decade. Between 1970-74, the average annual unemployment rate was 5.4 percent, while the average annual change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 6.6 percent. From 1974-79, the figures edged up to 7.9 percent for unemployment and 8.1 percent for the CPI (Schwenk).

  10. Inventions Many inventions occurred during the 1970s. The floppy disk appeared in 1970, and the next year Intel introduced the microprocessor, the “computer on a chip”. Atari produced the first low-priced integrated circuit TV games, and the videocassette recorder (VCR) changed home entertainment forever. Jumbo jets revolutionized commercial flight, doubling passenger capacity and increasing flight range to 6,000 miles.  The neutron bomb, which destroys living beings but leaves buildings intact, was developed. In medicine, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology was developed to help in diagnosis. The discovery of recombinant DNA technology in 1973 led to research in genetic engineering. This was soon halted pending development of safer techniques.  The first test tube baby, Louise Brown, was born, developed from an artificially inseminated egg implanted in the mother's womb.  Other noteworthy developments of the 1970s included these inventions or innovations: email, (1971), first retail barcode scanned, (1974), the laser printer, (1971), and the first space lab (USA Skylab, 1973). Additionally, the electronic book was invented in 1971, eventually resulting in Project Gutenburg, the largest collection of online books.

  11. Popular Culture Mood rings, lava lamps, Rubik’s Cube, Sea Monkeys, smiley face stickers, string art, and pet rocks all captured the imagination of Americans during this decade. Families vacationed in station wagons and everyone wanted an RV. Streaking also became very popular during this time period. Popular TV shows included: The Waltons, Lassie, Starsky and Hutch, Charlie’s Angels, Dukes of Hazzard, All in the Family, and the Brady Bunch.

  12. Leisure Activities Leisure Activities during the 1970’s included roller skating, Pong and Atari and hand held video games, hopscotch, and watching TV. Because technology advanced, wheels and skates became slicker and faster so roller skating during the 70’s became funnier. By the mid-1970s, thousands of roller rinks had opened up across the United States. Most roller rinks combined skating with disco, so many roller rinks had a disco ball to skate under. Cable TV subscriptions tripled from 4.5 million in 1970 to 14.1 million in 1979. Some popular dramas in the 70s were Starsky & Hutch and Charlie's Angels. Some popular sitcoms were All in the Family and Three’s Company.

  13. Presidents and Important Political Figures Richard Nixon became president in 1969. In 1969, Nixon appointed Henry Kissinger as his adviser on the National Security Affairs. He was very important in foreign affairs in the 70’s. Nixon won his second term in 1972 against George McGovern. But on August 9th, 1974, Nixon resigned because of the Watergate Scandal. His then vice-president, Gerald Ford, became president. Ford rook office the same year. During his presidency, he wanted to cure inflation, revive the economy, solve energy shortages, and ensure world peace. President Ford won the Republican nomination for President in 1976, but lost the election to Jimmy Carter. He was president during the late 1970’s and was defeated in 1980 by Ronald Reagan.

  14. Important Legislation By the start of the 1970’s, the environmental movement had gained significant momentum in the United States. Debate over environmental protection grew markedly during the 1970s, and much of the struggle occurred in the courts. Congress passed several statutes that gave courts a central role in environmental enforcement. The Clean Air Act amendments of 1970 required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set health-based standards for local air quality. Areas whose air quality did not meet those standards had to develop plans for meeting them. The Water Pollution Control Act amendments of 1972 imposed similar requirements for water pollution. Also, in 1971 the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, allowing 18-year olds to vote, is ratified. A year later the U.S. Supreme Court effectively bans capital punishment as cruel and unusual.

  15. U.S. Economy After the end of the Vietnam War in the 1970s, the U.S. economy was hurting. Because of high unemployment, high inflation, and the energy shortage, the United States entered a recession. The energy shortage happened because of a worldwide oil shortage. Nations around the world started to conserve their non-renewable oil supplies. The inflation during the 70s because their was a high demand for houses, jobs, cars and a low supply of them. The high unemployment was caused by the women work force and soldiers returning home from the war.

  16. World Events and U.S. Involvement During the early 1970s, the U.S. was involved in the Vietnam War. In 1971, U.S. planes bombed Vietcong Supply routes in Cambodia, which spreaded the war beyond Vietnam. From 1968 to 1973 efforts were made to end the conflict through diplomacy. In January 1973, an agreement reached and U.S. forces were withdrawn from Vietnam and U.S. prisoners of war were released.  In April 1975, South Vietnam surrendered to the North and Vietnam was reunited. The Vietnam War cost the United States 58,000 lives and 350,000 casualties. It also resulted in between one and two million Vietnamese deaths. It was the longest war in American history and the most unpopular American war of the twentieth century.

  17. Explanation The theme of our project is “right on” and “dyno-mite”. The theme demonstrates the mood of the 70s because the decade was filled with dancing and happiness. The font we used reminds us of the 70s, because it looks hippie-ish. We used colorful backgrounds and colorful pictures because the decade appeared to be a happy time.

  18. Works Cited • "Fads of the 1970s." Fads of the 1970s. Web. 7 Feb. 2010. <>. • "Gerald R. Ford." Gerald R. Ford. The White House. Web. 7 Feb. 2010. <>. • "The People History." 1970's Fashions including prices. Web. 7 Feb. 2010. <>. • "The People History." Music Played in the 1970's Popular Music From the 70s. Web. 7 Feb. 2010. <>. • Schwenk, Albert E. "Compensation in the 1970s." Bureau of Labor Statistics. United States Department of Labor. Web. 7 Feb. 2010. <>.

  19. Rubric 400 points total for the research, PowerPoint, and presentation. Eighty percent of the grade will be completing the minimal requirements listed throughout this PowerPoint. Twenty percent of the grade will be awarded for creativity and thematic interpretation with possible extra points available.

  20. Feedback If you have time, please include feedback about the project. What did you learn? What did you like and/or dislike? How can the project be improved? Other comments and analysis would be appreciated. I learned a lot about the 1970’s, other than music. I learned how the economy was during one of the biggest wars in U.S history. I liked how we could design the PowerPoint to go with the theme and make it very flashy. I disliked all the slides that we had to do, maybe a little less slides would have been better.