How the 1970s Shaped American History The Nineteen Seventies was a pop culture decade. From Hippies to Disco and Saturday Night Fever to The Brady Bunch, the Seventies were full of cultural changes that shaped society for years to come. Although pop culture was important, many political outcomes also occurred. The Watergate scandal, the official end of the Vietnam conflict, and the United States Bicentennial all happened during this decade. Oil and nuclear problems arose, and Abortion was legalized for the first time.
The Nineteen Seventies are often tarnished by remembrances of them, but in actuality many advances did occur in this ten-year span. When looking back at entertainment, fashion, and music history of the nineteen seventies these were probably the greatest and most influential events of this decade. Many movie stars such as Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, and John Travolta arose in this decade. Movies like Jaws, Saturday Night Fever, Rocky and Star Wars were on the movie screens and were a new type of uninhibited film that had never before been socially allowed before the seventies.
Musically, with the exception of Disco of course, the seventies will be highly revered. Lynrd Skynrd, Bob Marley, Simon and Garfunkel, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles and countless other groups arose on the rock scene. We must however also acknowledge Disco and groups such as the Bee Gees and KC and the Sunshine Band. Clothing was completely free and bell bottoms, bikinis and love beads were commonplace. There were no longer strict dress codes and the new free spirit of the seventies definitely demonstrated that. T. V. s went to color, V. C. R. s were invented, DNA was just beginning to be unfolded, technology was beginning to blossom.
Atari was invented, computers enhanced, and home appliances were rejuvenated. The early seventies entailed such things as the Kent State University Massacre in 1970, which resulted in the deaths of four innocent students by National Guardsmen, and The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973 that helped to spawn the womens movement that engrossed the entire decade. The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970 and launched a new environmental movement, and anti war protest were all around until the official U. S. pullout from the Vietnam conflict in 1973.
Charles Manson planned the murders of dozens of people, and it was apparent that society was drastically changing. The Richard Nixon Watergate scandal involving Democratic headquarter information that implicated the president in illegal cover-ups and activities with funds was probably the one thing that most people remember most about the 1970s. Those interviewed, and researchers have both said that it was the most significant event of the decade. It caused an intense distrust of the Federal Government, and the Democratic party, which has stemmed into politics today.
This event, which led to the impeachment proceedings and ultimate resignation of president Richard Nixon on August 9, 1974 made a lasting impression on politics, government, public opinion, and the way democracy is cared for. Nuclear testing, resulting in health and environmental problems was also a hot topic in this time period. The Nuclear waste spill and radioactive leak at The Three Mile Island Nuclear plant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1979. The new environmental feeling that was being brought about in this decade helped to bring about the idea of safe nuclear projects and disposal of nuclear waste.
Foreign relations, on the whole were not good with Iran, or Russia. We had a hostage crisis with Iran, a Grain embargo with Russia, and an oil embargo leading to a gas crisis in the United States. The feminist movement was at its pinnacle in the 1970s. Because of activists such as Gloria Steinem and Bella Apzug, women were getting more recognition. Women sports stars such as Billy Jean King were also becoming famous. Workplace discrimination was addressed, rallies held, and “bra burning” commenced. This free time enabled women to fight for what they believed in without worrying about what it would look like to others.
The Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court gave women more freedom of choice, as well as the readily available birth control pill. Along with this womens revolution there was a sexual revolution in the 1970s. Contraception was accessible and the sexually transmitted diseases of today were unheard of. This lead to more promiscuity and curiosity involving sexual relations. Drugs were also found everywhere. People were not as afraid of them as they can be now, and punishment was not nearly as severe. With the new free culture came a revived interest in illegal substances.
America celebrated its 200th birthday in 1976 and a yearlong festival was held in this honor. A new quarter was also minted for this bicentennial. The nineteen seventies, though not full of wonderful political outcomes, were beneficial. Many technological and social advances arose, and people were introduced into an entirely new culture that helped to shape the way that we live today. With the free spirit, learning from curiosity and new education of the seventies, we have grown as a culture, and with the pop culture and entertainment advances, we have evolved on the whole.