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The 1970sA New Global History from Civil Rights to Economic Inequality$
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Thomas Borstelmann

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691141565

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691141565.001.0001

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Crosscurrents of Crisis in 1970s America

Crosscurrents of Crisis in 1970s America

(p.19) Chapter 1 Crosscurrents of Crisis in 1970s America
The 1970s

Thomas Borstelmann

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines American anxieties about the longstanding foundations of American society and thought. By the 1970s, American society would be buffeted by powerful crosscurrents which reshaped both the nation and the world beyond it. Military, political, economic, and environmental crises unfolded rapidly on top of each other, leaving many citizens uncertain of which to address first and how to do so. In the backwash of defeat in Vietnam and humiliation from the Watergate scandal, and in the midst of inflation and an oil crisis, distrust of government pervaded American society, the loss of confidence in public authority laid the foundation for deregulation and a turn toward the free market, a path that led to growing disparities between rich and poor. At the same time, the more tolerant and individualistic mainstream American culture increasingly rejected old forms of group discrimination and inequality.

Keywords:   1960s, economic insecurity, Vietnam, Watergate scandal, inflation, oil crisis, public authority, deregulation, mainstream American culture

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