I compiled a short list of important events and movements, but hopefully we can talk more about the defining factors of the 1970s in class.
Fighting for Women’s Rights
During the 1970s, there were more feminist organizations such as consciousness-raising groups, rape crisis centers, and abortion clinics. In 1971, the Supreme Court case Reed v. Reed declared sex discrimination a violation of the 14th amendment. In 1973, Roe vs Wade legalized Abortion in the U.S. with a 7-2 decision.
The Antiwar Movement
When the United States invaded Cambodia in 1970, however, hundreds of thousands of protestors clogged city streets and shut down college campuses. On May 4, National Guardsmen shot four student demonstrators at an antiwar rally at Kent State University in Ohio. Ten days later, police officers killed two black student protestors at Mississippi’s Jackson State University.
The Watergate Scandal
In June 1972, police found five burglars from Nixon’s own Committee to Re-Elect the President in the office of the Democratic National Committee, located in the Watergate office building. Soon, they found that Nixon himself was involved in the crime: He had demanded that the Federal Bureau of Investigation stop investigating the break-in and told his aides to cover up the scandal.
In April 1974, a Congressional committee approved three articles of impeachment: obstruction of justice, misuse of federal agencies and defying the authority of Congress. Before Congress could impeach him, however, President Nixon announced that he would resign.
Counterculture youth rejected the cultural standards of their parents, especially with respect to racial segregation and widespread support for the Vietnam War. Young people turned instead to pop culture; they listened to Donna Summer and Marvin Gaye; and smoked even more pot than they had in the 1960s.In general, by the end of the decade, many young people simply did as they pleased: to wear what they wanted, to grow their hair long, to have sex, to do drugs.