TO THE SEVENTIES:
Seventies had been a time of confusing transition for all Americans.
Expectations of greater economic and cultural freedoms had begun
to clash with new economic and ecological realities. The women's
rights movement gained further strength during the Seventies.
Women wanted to have the same kind of job opportunities as men
did and they wanted equal pay for equal work. At the beginning
of the decade women earned about 57 percent of what men earned
for the same work. American feminists came to believe that a
new law was needed to protect women's rights and to end discrimination.
The struggle for congressional passage and ratification of the
Equal Rights Amendment to ensure that the rights of working
woman were protected failed however to become law. Still, women
made gains in the struggle for legalized abortion during the
Seventies despite strong conservative opposition from many parts
of the country.
was slowly breaking up into three major groups. Conservative
Americans from the rural areas and small towns reacted negatively
to the cultural changes that had occurred in America during
the Sixties and Seventies. These conservative groups had strong
roots from the First Wave era in America when most Americans
lived outside the big urban industrial or Second Wave areas.
As the Seventies progressed these conservative groups would
be joined more and more by religious fundamentalists who were
reacting not only to the emergence of the counter-culture, but
also the blatant materialist and commercial philosophy of America's
commercial philosophy that would start a new era of debt-driven
consumption in America for the rest of the century. A kind of
consumption that would be different from other American historical
periods. During the Seventies, America's multinational corporations
began to also finally go totally global. This new trend would
take away many secure Second Wave jobs from Americans as American
corporations looked for cheaper labor markets in other parts
of the world. America would ultimately become a nation filled
with service jobs. Jobs which often paid less and which were
baby boomers would provide many of the numbers for the emerging
second group in America. This new group was ecologically conscious
and culturally more open to new kinds of thinking both materialist
and non-materialist. This second group clashed not only with
the old and new conservative movements that were rising in America,
but with the old materialist groups that saw all modern progress
as economic and material. This old Second Wave philosophy was
the dominant thinking in many urban and corporate centers of
America where most of the power still was.
Americans who had made political gains during the Sixties would
see many of these gains ultimately lost, even though a minority
of African Americans did join the white middle class during
the Seventies. A middle class that would come under great strains
in the decades ahead. African Americans won political office
in many of America's largest cities, but this new political
success would not immediately translate into economic success
for the majority of African Americans. The legacy of African
American slavery which haunted American culture would continue
to hover in the background, despite a television series called
" Roots " that was shown in America during the Seventies.
A television drama that high-lighted the slave trade between
the old and new worlds and which for many Americans was the
first time they received serious exposure to this hidden legacy
the Seventies serious demographic shifts continued to occur
in America. During the industrial era most of the population
was concentrated in the North-east and mid-west. This was where
most of the Second Wave industrial production was. By the Seventies
huge migrations to the South and West of the country were in
full force. The weather was warmer in these regions and new
service jobs were springing up quickly in this new " America.
". California was the chief magnet for many Americans on
the move. Retired Americans, young Americans, African Americans
and many other groups went to the sun-belt in search of a better
life. Even as new immigration patterns from abroad began to
change the ethnic face of America.
the past, during the early colonial era, most Americans came
from England and the rest came as slaves from Africa. By the
early 19th century, waves of German, Scandinavian, and Irish
immigrants flooded the country looking for work and cheap land.
Then in the early 20th Century Southern and Eastern Europeans
followed in huge numbers. By the Seventies, huge amounts of
Asians and Hispanics were now entering America as the latest
group of immigrants. America was now rapidly becoming a world