Exploring American History Unit X – Modern America. Chapter 30– Searching for Order Section 2 – America in the 1970’s. FACTS about this decade.
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Population: 204,879,000 Unemployed in 1970: 4,088,000 National Debt: $382 billion Average salary: $7,564 Food prices: milk, 33 cents a qt.; bread, 24 cents a loaf; round steak, $1.30 a pound Life Expectancy: Male, 67.1; Female, 74.8
Watergate forced a president to resign or be impeached.
SALT I, the first series of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, extended from November 1969 to May 1972. During that period the United States and the Soviet Union negotiated the first agreements to place limits and restraints on some of their central and most important armaments.
Mood rings, lava lamps, Rubik's cube, Sea Monkeys, smiley face stickers, and pet rocks all captured the imagination of Americans during this decade. The wildest fad surely was streaking nude through very public places! Families vacationed in station wagons and everyone wanted an RV.
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. Knits and denims were the fabrics of choice.
Leisure suits for men became commonplace, and women were fashionable in everything from ankle-length grandmother dresses to hot pants and micro-miniskirts.
The movie Annie Hall (1977) even inspired a fashion trend with women sporting traditional men's clothing such as derby hats, tweed jackets, and neckties worn with baggy pants or skirts.
The Seventies was the decade of the big comeback for the movies. After years of box office erosion caused by the popularity of television, a combination of blockbuster movies and new technologies such as Panavision and Dolby sound brought the masses back to the movies. The sci-fi adventure and spectacular special effects of George Lucas's Star Wars made it one of the highest grossing films ever.
Other memorable movies were the disaster movies, Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Poseidon Adventure, and Airport. Sylvester Stallone's Rocky reaffirmed the American dream and gave people a hero with a "little guy comes out on top" plot. The Godfather spawned multiple sequels. There also was the terror of Steven Spielberg's Jaws, the chilling Exorcist, and the moving Kramer vs. Kramer. There was a definite public yearning for simpler, more innocent times as evidenced by the popularity of the movies, American Graffiti and Grease, which both presented a romanticized view of the Fifties. Saturday Night Fever with John Travolta fueled the "disco fever" already sweeping the music and dance club scenes; and the nation's experience in the Vietnam War and its aftermath influenced the themes of several movies, including Coming Home, The Deer Hunter, and Apocalypse Now.
Television came of age in the Seventies as topics once considered taboo were broached on the airwaves for the first time. Leading the way was the humorous social satire of All in the Family which had plots on many controversial issues such as abortion, race, and homosexuality. Saturday Night Live also satirized topics and people once thought of as off limits for such treatment, such as sex and religion. Nothing was considered sacred.
Television satellite news broadcasts from the frontlines of the conflict in Vietnam continued to bring the horrors of war into the homes of millions of Americans and intensified anti-war sentiment in the country. The immensely popular TV miniseries Roots fostered an interest in genealogy, a greater appreciation of whites for the plight of blacks, and an increased interest in African American history. Happy Days, which followed the lives of a group of fifties-era teenagers, was TV's primary nod to nostalgia, while The Brady Bunch comically presented the contemporary family. The relatively new publicly funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting gained viewers and stature with such fare as Sesame Street for children, and live broadcasts of the Senate Watergate hearings.
The floppy disc appeared in 1970, and the next year Intel introduced the microprocessor, the "computer on a chip."
Apollo 17, the last manned craft to the moon, brought back 250 samples of rock and soil. Unmanned space probes explored the moon, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Uranus, and Venus.
The U.S. Apollo 18 and the USSR's Soyuz 19 linked up in space to conduct joint experiments.
Atari produced the first low-priced integrated circuit TV games, and the videocassette recorder (VCR) changed home entertainment forever. J
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, ultrasound diagnostic techniques were developed. The sites of DNA production on genes were discovered, and the fledging research in genetic engineering was halted pending development of safer techniques. The first test tube baby was born, developed from an artificially inseminated egg implanted in the mother's womb.
This decade saw the breakup of the Beatles and the death of Elvis Presley, robbing rock of two major influences.
Pop music splintered into a multitude of styles: soft-rock, hard rock, country rock, folk rock, punk rock, shock rock - and
The dance craze of the decade, disco!
Among the top names in popular music were Aerosmith, the Bee Gees, David Bowie, Jackson Browne, Alice Cooper, Eagles, Electric Light Orchestra, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, John Lennon, Pink Floyd, Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart,Three Dog Night, and The Who.
"Easy listening" regained popularity with groups such as the Carpenters, and Bob Marley gained a huge core of fans in the U.S. performing Jamaican reggae music.
October 17, 1973, when Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), in the midst of the Yom Kippur War, announced that they would no longer ship petroleum to nations that had supported Israel in its conflict with Egypt—that is, to the United States and its allies in Western Europe.
At around the same time, OPEC-member states agreed to use their leverage over the world price-setting mechanism for oil to quadruple world oil prices
What is Love Canal? Simply put, it is an incomplete canal, or just a trench, built in western New York state in the 1890s. From the 1930s through the 1950s, it was used as a chemical waste dump. The surrounding land was then sold and used for residential purposes, and soon people began complaining about strange odors and possible health problems. Since the late 1970s, many studies have been done to ascertain whether any health problems can be traced to the waste dumped into Love Canal.
Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant is just outside Harrisburg, Penn.
A failed valve, and a miss reading by a worker caused the reactor to be exposed and radiation to escape. No deaths or illnesses. 1/2 hour away from a meltdown.
SLA was an American paramilitary group and was a proponent of radical ideology. Members of the group were accused and convicted of committing murders, bank robberies, and acts of violence between 1973 and 1975. Even though they never had more than 13 members, they became the top ongoing media story during their underground fugitive period. More than anything else, this was generated by their spectacular kidnapping of wealthy media heiress Patty Hearst, making them household names. On Feb. 4, 1974, the SLA carried out its most notorious crime — the kidnapping of 19-year-old newspaper heiress Patricia Campbell Hearst, the granddaughter of publisher William Randolph Hearst and an art history major at Berkeley, it was a national media event.
A SLA communiqué to a local newspaper said the group had "served an arrest warrant" on Hearst, daughter of the "corporate enemy of the people.”
SLA's first demand: that every poor person in California be given $70 in free food.The estimated cost of such a food distribution would be $400 million. Instead a food donation program was set that provided $2 million in food.
The SLA robbed a Hibernia Bank branch in San Francisco. Two surveillance cameras captured Hearst carrying a carbine and shouting orders at terrified bank customers. Two bystanders were shot during the robbery, which netted the SLA $10,692.Urban Guerilla or Brainwashed? It seemed to all that she had become more and more sympathetic with the aims of the SLA and eventually joined the group, taking part in their illegal activities, including bank robberies.
When she went on trial for bank robbery, she claimed the SLA had brainwashed her into believing the FBI would kill her if she tried to return to her parents. A jury rejected Hearst's claim and she spent two years in prison before President Carter commuted her sentence.
The charismatic leader of Jonestown, was Jim Jones, a preacher who set up the Peoples Temple in San Francisco and ultimately moved his followers to a more clandestine site in Guyana.
While Jones was preaching in San Francisco, he helped out many local and even national campaigns and was seen as a healer which much power in the community.
However, once he had all of his members in Jonestown, his personality changed. Away from the constraints of American soil, Jonestown and its members became very cultish.
In 1978, 913 followers of Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple committed a mass suicide in northern Guyana at a site called, Jonestown. After making all 276 children at Jonestown drink the punch, all the adults proceeded. In the end, after Jones apparently killed himself with a gunshot to the head.