American Identity
In this time period, the people were much more conscious of their own rights and the rights of others. The protests of this time, and the causes for them, led to a more open, accepting America. These changes were led mostly by the Baby Boomers in college. To be an American in this decade means to welcome the differences, and more importantly, welcome the concept of peace and love and learning to coexist.

American Diversity
In this time period, African Americans were winning over their right to equality. There was still discrimination against them. In the south especially, there were segregated neighborhoods, schools, and food places. While segregation wasn't legal, southern whites did all they could to still make it happen, such as refusing to serve food should a black man appear in a white restaurant and authorities did nothing to stop the inferior treatment to blacks. However, early in the decade changes were taking place. In 1977, less than 3% held elective offices, but there was finally some being allowed in office. The government was careful about what positions they got. The positions they held always had another white person above them. Also, there was for the first time, the busing of black children to white schools, and white children going to black schools. Society was becoming racially mixed. Restaurants were ending their segregation, and soon everyone could eat anywhere. All of this was not immediately embraced by all and led to a lot of racial tension and violence. [1]
external image segregation-SO04-wide-horizontal.jpg
[13] This image is of the early years of racially mixed schools. Note the obvious exlusion of the lone black boy from the white kids.

Blacks at this point in history lived on average 60% the wage of whites and had a lot more going against them in terms of health risks such as diabetes and homicide resulting from the despair of the ghettos. [1]

Blacks were not the only ones facing discrimination though. Below is a Boston Globe account of racism towards Hispanics dating back to November 1977:
A Hispanic family of six fled their apartment in the Savin Hill section of Dorchester yesterday after a week of repeated stonings and window-smashing by a group of white youths, in what appears to have been racially motivated attacks, police said. [1]

Conditions at this time for minorities weren’t good, but were overall improving.


There was a decline of members to mainly the Protestant religion. It was hard for many denominations to accept the new changes in society. During the 1970's the first black bishop was installed into the Episcopal church on January 17th. Many religious people contributed to the protests against the Vietnam War. During the 1970's people where exploring new ideas and ways of living. They were very much into having freedom do to whatever they liked, adding to their dislike of the churches that held them back. [2]

During the 1970's the economy was suffering greatly, they were struggling with war debt and an oil crisis. Times were hard and people struggled to make things work. This was a time for rebuilding after Vietnam. However, this was also a time of personal growth for America. The idea of equality and freedom was still rampant. Women where stepping out even more and attempting to truly set the record straight that they were equals. [3]
Hippies began to die out during the 1970's. Some of their styles and beliefs stayed in everyday culture. Their religious beliefs leaned to more eastern religions such as Buddhism. They strongly rejected main stream beliefs and held many protest against the Vietnam war. Towards the end of the 60's to beginning of the 70's Hippie's styles morphed into Punk and Disco.

Studio 54 opened up in 1977 and didn't close until 1986. It briefly opened again in 1994. The club was eventually run by Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager. It was named for its location in New York, 254 West 54th Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue. Many famous celebrities attended the studio often such as,Brooke Shields, Mick and Bianca Jagger, Liza Minnelli, Donald and Ivana Trump. However, the club was shut down in the late 70's when raided after a comment made by Rubell addressing how much the club had made. Rubell and Schrager had been skimming about 2.5 million dollars and where both arrested for this. A little while after cocaine and money were found in its walls during a search after the club had closed. Rubell and Schrager would both spend 13 months in prison.[17]

Also flying during the 1970's was very expensive so people did not even bother looking around for the best prices. There where no security precautions either. People could simple walk up with only their tickets and get on a plane, no identification required. Smoking was allowed as well as food and drink and the stewardesses where usually very young women in short skirts. This is what brought on the stereotypical idea of a stewardess. Most cars did not have seat belts and many people did not bother, so they literally had to show people how to use them. [5]
1970s.jpgStewardess during the 1970's

There was large immigration of Dominicans, Haitians, and Jamaicans that accumulated to about 900,000.
Ironically there was a large number of Vietnamese immigrants that came to about 500,00 between the 1970's to 1980's

The large number of immigrants coming in brought in more need for jobs which could not be met. This posed as a problem for the Economy. There where also many problems dealing with racism among the many different groups.

After the Vietnam War, Americans suffered from an energy shortage, high inflation and high unemployment. The energy shortage was world wide and Americans suffered because the Middle East wouldn't sell oil to them for a while due to a war, Yom Kippur War. Although sales began again in 1974, the effects lasted till the end of the century.
Inflation was a large problem and was hard to overcome because there was a high demand but little supply of houses, jobs and cars. The reason inflation was so bad was no one wanted to take up the Federal Reserve Chairman position, finally taken up by Paul Volcker in the 1980's. This job was to focus on reducing inflation and preventing it. The situation was greatly underestimated and since there was little support in the banks, investors and creditors wouldn't help.
There was a high increase in unemployment as well. In 1969 it was 80 million workers, by the 1970's it was 96 million. This high increase of almost led to another depression. [7]
The economic situation during the 1970's was really bad and not a lot was done to improve it. This was considered a time of "bad luck" for America. It was a series of things that went wrong causing the economic crisis. This was definitely a time of hurt for the American economy and would not start getting better till the 80's.

Politics and Citizenship

The Watergate Scandal
: This is known as Nixon’s downfall. Nixon paid a group of men to break into the Democratic National Headquarters at The Watergate Hotel to bug the offices and get out as much information as they could, because he wanted to go for re-election. He wanted to see what his rivals would be thinking and get a head start. Unfortunately for him, security caught the men and they were all found to be on C.R.E.E.P., which starts for Committee to Re-elect the President (even though the second “E” doesn’t stand for anything, it just made a whole real word and made it easier to say). Needless to say, this didn’t look so great for Nixon and he resigned in 1974. This was yet again another controversy with the people. Some wanted to support Nixon; others were outraged. [9]

Vietnam: The Americans pulled out of Vietnam in 1973, which had without a doubt a positive impact on society because it has been such a controversial issue. When it was going on, there were hippies protesting, and militants were going so far as to set off explosives on college campuses to get attention. In one incident a Wisconsin student was killed. In one college, the students rebelled by setting a building on fire when there was word of an American “incursion” in South Vietnam—which means that they invaded. People were very serious about this issue. After the war ended, the energy used for both the war protests and the civil rights movement didn’t just stop. They used this momentum to gain rights for women, Native Americans, gays and lesbians, environmental awareness, etc. [10]
external image 288200834634_Vietnam%20War2.jpg

The war itself was devastating, with the Americans using Arclight, which is intense aerial bombing, and causing between 30,000-50,000 casualties with that alone. [11]

American casualties were about 350,000 with 58,000 deaths. [11]

This is a video of methods of the Vietnamese in capturing Americans

This video shows how the Vietnamese went about hiding and sneaking up on the Americans in war: (warning: while not bloody, there is death in here)

War Powers Act: This was made in 1973 in the wake of Vietnam and stated that the president must get Congressional approval in order to send troops overseas. [11]

Cold war: At this point in the Cold War, the U.S.S.R. is making a lot of money from oil. [12]


Satellites greatly attributed to the broadcasting of television, which spread the news a lot farther and faster. [15]

The following is a list of all the new major inventions of the 70s.

  • Word processors
  • Dot matrix printers which evolved into laser printers which then evolved into ink-jet printers
  • Cray's supercomputer
  • LCDs (liquid crystal displays)
  • VCRs, or videocassettes
  • The floppy disk
  • Cell phones
  • Videogames
  • Walkman [16]
While some of these didn't directly affect globalization at the time, these inventions like the walkman and the LCDs, which later were used and still are used for television sets, were built up and improved upon and have greatly helped the American markets. Because of the walkman, we have built up to the Apple iPod. Because of VCRs, we have built up to DVDs. This helps our marketing around the world. Printers and word processors helped communicate more effectively, though at the time, very few used them. It wasn't until the mid-to-late 90s when the internet became what it really is today and computers were put into use. Cell phones did help communicate ideas, but they were so large and so expensive at the time, so few had them. It didn't, at the time, have an effect on the world as a whole. Today now, we can easily communicate to people from across the country, to even across the world. Needless to say, it's also a good market.

Mulitple Choice
1. What was the main reason for economic downfall in the 1970's?
a. The Yom Kippur War
b. Inflation
c. Unemployment
d. All of the above

2. Why did immigrants have trouble finding jobs?
a. They couldn't read.
b. Racism
c. High demand, low supply of jobs.
d. B&C

3. Why is the 1970's considered one of the worst economic times since the depression, at that time?
a. Nobody was buying anything--people were much more careful with their money in a depression.
b. Oil was scarce and expensive.
c. Taxes were too high for people to get themselves out of debt, yet the debt from the Vietnam War was too great to ignore.
d. Extremely high unemployment.

4. Americans utilized the highly effective method of Arclight in Vietnam, which was...
a. A technique of blinding enemy aircrafts with specially angled mirrors reflecting the sun.
b. Intense aerial bombing.
c. A stun bomb, which was very effective in Vietnam. It blinded the enemy, introduced by U.S.
d. A system of timed catapults that would launch fiery debris.

5. The life of African Americans in the 1970s was
a. Equal to that of whites. Everyone was on equal grounds at this period of time.
b. Filled with exclusion and tension in the earlier years, especially in the south. Their standard of living was far below the white man's.
c. Peaceful, having defeated the KKK.
d. Superior to whites. They were being made up to for the opression and slavery in the past and given special priviledges.

Essential Question
How did the ideals of the 1970s change the role of the United States and how it was viewed on an international level?


1. Zinn, Howard. "A People's History of the United States." New York: Harper Collins, 2003.
2. http://www.enotes.com/1970-religion-american-decades
3. http://www.lib.washington.edu/Ougl/fun/25th/new/culture.html
4. http://www.history.com/states.do?action=deatail&state=Hippies&contentType=State_Generic&contentld=56743&parentld=1968
5. http://mysite.verizon.net/vze6153f/whatflyingwaslikeinthe1960s/
6. http://www.smfc.k12.ca.us/stage/lalosh/
7. http://elcoushistory.tripod.com/economics1970.html
8. http://www.essortment.com/all/watergatescand_reji.html
9. http://www.wwnorton.com/college/history/archive/resources/documents/ch35_01.htm

10. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/cambodia1.htm
11. http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/modules/vietnam/index.cfm
12. http://faroutliers.wordpress.com/2007/02/18/hidden-turning-points-in-the-cold-war-1970s/
13. http://ndn3.newsweek.com/media/55/segregation-SO04-wide-horizontal.jpg
14. http://traveltovietnam.cc/Upload/tour/288200834634_Vietnam%20War2.jpg
15. http://books.google.com/books?id=J_wjsOy3t44C&pg=PA82&lpg=PA82&dq=globalization+1970s+satellites&source=bl&ots=zBYfSfXHq9&sig=_T44YvuMBu7-QdZZ9oBw_7JVCGY&hl=en&ei=tcP3SfrhLZO-MuKU1bgP&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4#PPA82,M1
16. http://inventors.about.com/od/timelines/a/modern_3.htm