Unit 5: 1970's

1970's Intro.mp4

The 1970's

Unit Objective

  • You will research how pop culture begins to affect society.

  • You will explain why the increased influence of pop culture changes the the social dynamics of a creators politics

  • You will identify which segment of pop culture best represents this shift in the 1970’s

The 1970s was an interesting time for the United States as many factors that began in the 1960's and 1950's started to collide. Civil rights work of the decades prior began to show it's progress in areas such as sports with stars like Hank Aaron setting records in professional baseball and Arthur Ashe dominated the professional tennis circuit. For the first time, the African American community was being represented in positive and progressive ways. At the same time the hippie culture of the 1960's continued to raise awareness for the green movement and by April 22nd, 1972 Earth Day was officially adopted and a national effort to protect natural resources had begun. This movement created laws, policies and initiatives to reduce American waste and our carbon footprint.

Americans were also paying attention to the military conflicts the U.S. was taking part in. Americans opposed the Vietnam War because many believed it was a war without a cause and a conflict that only puts American lives in danger. This battle between the ideological beliefs embraced by the Hippie movement ultimately ended in tense and often violent conflicts between the National Guard/police and protesters, as was the case at Kent State. What eventually ended the Vietnam war for the United States was the work of investigative journalists who discovered papers by Nixon and his administration that stated the administration would publicly denounce the war and work to end it, but privately the administration would work to advance the war effort.

However, what had a greater impact on American politics and America's trust in government was the way in which former President Richard Nixon and his administration willfully ignored the rule of law for political expediency. During this time in office Nixon brought in a media heavyweight to be his vice-president as news reports were critical of Nixon and his work. Nixon brought Spiro Agnew, the governor of Maryland, on and during his time in office, Spiro accepted bribes and committed fraud. As the Department of Justice closed in on Spiro he claimed in the media that the case was a fraud, a witch hunt, and a political hit job. Ultimately he resigned and pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges. However, this was but a blip in the political circus Nixon created in the early 1970's.

Nixon was found to have sent a team of people to the Democratic National Committee's headquarters in the Watergate Hotel to steal information on his political opponent, but the operatives ended up getting caught and implicating President Nixon. Nixon refused to release audio tapes he had recorded in the Oval Office for fear the information might incriminate him, but the Supreme Court ruled the president must turn over all requested files to congress in an impeachment inquiry. Ultimately, Nixon resigned from office before he could be impeached and Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon for his crimes when he became president as Nixon stepped down. Nixon did have a positive influence on international relations during his time in office as the United States continued to battle communism around the world; Nixon normalized relations with China and opened up trade with the nation. Nixon even visited China, beginning a new era of the Cold War and changing the way America combated communism.

While America was moving forward by the end of the 1970s and a vision for the future of America was becoming clearer the nation settled into its new normal and began to look for ways to leverage this new technology and continue to move America forward.