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Launched in the late 1960s, the modern environmental movement was picking up steam and making headlines.

1970: The nation celebrated its first Earth Day, which was known as the First National Environmental Teach-In. All across the country, various events and activities brought attention to the nation's environmental issues.

1973: Congress passed the endangered species act, which bans trade in endangered wildlife and protects animal species determined to be at risk.

1971: The environmental action group known as Greenpeace was formed in Canada as the Don't Make A Wave Committee. Their name was changed to Greenpeace in 1975.

Earth Day History


1974: Newspaper heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, a radical group based in California. She spent 18 months with the group and participated in several illegal activies, including a highly-publicized bank robbery. After being apprehended, she was convicted of robbery and sentenced to prison, but her sentence was commuted by President Carter and she received a pardon from President Clinton. Her case focused on the controversial issues of brainwashing and the Stockholm Syndrome, in which a captive develops an affinity for their captor.

The Patty Hearst Kidnapping


the women's movement
The modern women's liberation movement was launched in the late 1960s. In the early 1970s, equality for women seemed closer than ever.

*The birth-control pill provided greater reproductive freedom for women.
*Roe vs. Wade: in 1973, the Supreme Court legalized abortion.
*Women burned their bras as an act of defiance.
*More women began working in previously all-male occupations.

The equal rights amendment prohibits legal discrimination based on gender. It was drafted and first submitted to Congress in 1923, and was introduced unsuccesfully in every Congressional session until 1970. In 1972, it finally passed both houses of Congress and was sent to the states for ratification. 38 states were required to ratify the amendment before its expiration date in 1979. With only three states to go, the deadline was extended to 1982, but the amendment failed to pass.

Roe vs. Wade
The Women's Liberation Movement
NOW (National Organization For Women)


1972-1974: the Watergate scandal
In 1972, Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein exposed corruption in the nation's capital when they investigated the Watergate Hotel break-in. This scandal eventually caused the resignation of President Nixon.

Original Washington Post Article
Watergate Revisited
Deep Throat --the Post's unidentified source
President Nixon's Resignation Speech


1976: At the American Legion Conference in Philadelphia, 221 attendees became sick and 34 died from a mysterious illness that was first known as "legion fever." Legionnaire's Disease was caused by bacteria growing in the water supply of the hotel's air-cooling system.

Legionnaire's Disease


1979: The Susan B. Anthony dollar began circulation in 1979, but proved unpopular and was discontinued in 1981.

The Susan B. Anthony Dollar


1976: The death penalty was reinstated.
1977: Gary Gilmore was the first person to be executed in the U.S. in ten years.

The Gary Gilmore Case

Son of Sam
In 1976 and 1977, David Berkowitz killed six young people and wounded seven others. He was first known as the .44 Caliber Killer. After he began sending signed letters to the police, he received his most famous nickname: Son of Sam.

The Son Of Sam Case


1970: Four students were killed by National Guard troops during an anti-war rally at Kent State University. This event had far-reaching consequences, and illustrated the great divide that was forming between the government, law enforcement, and the citizens who distrusted them.

The Search For Historical Accuracy
May 4, 1970


The Vietnam War
As the 1970s began, the Vietnam War was still raging. Violent protests weren't as common as they were in the 1960s, but the public was still opposed to the war and was becoming increasingly weary and distrustful of the government.

In 1972, actress Jane Fonda made a trip to North Vietnam, where she spouted pro-communist slogans, had her photo taken behind enemy lines and recorded propaganda messages for the Viet Cong. This earned her the nickname Hanoi Jane. Even today, the hatred that was felt for her has yet to be dispelled.

Things were looking up, however....President Nixon was pulling troops out of Vietnam and leaders from both sides were discussing treaties. By 1972, only 16,000 advisors remained. In 1973, a treaty was signed, the draft came to an end and the first POWs were released.

Despite the treaty, fighting continued for two more years. The war officially ended when the Viet Cong invaded Saigon in 1975. The last remaining Americans and any South Vietnamese citizens who could board the helicopters were evacuated out of the city. Communism had won.

Hanoi Jane
The Fall Of Saigon


the energy crisis
The fuel shortages that were caused by the oil embargo plunged our nation into a state of emergency.

at the gas station....
*Cars lined up for blocks.
*People made appointments to get gas.
*Some gas stations ran out of gas completely.
*In order to stretch their monthly allotment of gas, most gas stations closed on Sundays.

at home....
*To cut down on their fuel bills, one particular family closed off their downstairs rooms and set up living quarters in the attic.
*In new homes, the presence of electric baseboard heating systems and fireplaces increased dramatically as the cost of gas and oil continued to rise.

The Mideast Oil Crisis (1973-1974)
Arab Oil Embargo Chronology

on the road....
*The national speed limit was reduced to 55 MPH.
*Automakers introduced smaller cars with better gas mileage.
*Commuters rode to work in carpools.
*Placing a ban on all Sunday driving was briefly considered. The clergy objected to this, and the idea was never really taken seriously.
*Fuel shortages and the high cost of gasoline resulted in an increase in the crime of gas siphoning. In response, automakers introduced gas caps with locks.

other policies....
*The government formed the U.S. Department of Energy.
*Many schools extended their Christmas breaks to conserve heating energy.
*The American side of Niagara Falls was no longer lit at night.
*Year-round daylight savings time went into effect in December 1973. The plan was intended to last for two years, but it was halted after a few months because people objected to the extended morning darkness.
*Businesses lowered their thermostats and bought smaller, more efficient company cars.


More Top Stories

*Apollo 13: Houston, We've Got A Problem

* Voting Age Lowered From 21 To 18

* President Nixon Visits Red China
* Munich Olympic Hostage Tragedy
*The 1972 Presidential Election

* Wreck Of The S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald

*The American Bicentennial
*Viking I Lands On Mars
* The 1976 Presidential Election

* Blackout In New York City
* The Alaska Pipeline Is Completed
* The King Tut Exhibit Tours America

* Jonestown Cult Tragedy In Guyana
*John Wayne Gacy Murder Case Begins

* Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident
* Skylab Falls From Orbit
* U.S. Citizens Taken Hostage In Iran

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