How the 1970’s 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 Gee’s and KC
and the Sunshine Band. Clothing was completely free and bell bottoms, bikini’s
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 women’s 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 1970’s. 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
it’s pinnacle in the 1970’s. 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 women’s revolution there was a sexual revolution in the

1970’s. 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
it’s 200th birthday in 1976 and a yearlong festival was