American Diversity

in the 70's

Melting Pot

By the 1970's, America was a "melting pot" of cultures, races, and traditions. Not only did this country differ from other nations, but it also varied by generation in music, culture, values, economy, technology, race, trends, and other factors.

Cultural Diversity

In 1970, the Beatles broke up, which symbolized the death of rock and roll, and the birth of many different genres of music, such as pop rock, country rock, modern rock, and classic rock. These genres were introduced and popularized by a series of bands and artists, including Bob Marley, Elvis, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, Aerosmith, Rush, The Steve Miller Band, and the Ramones. In addition, disco had reached it's peak in the 70's. This change in culture separated 70's kids from older generations. TV was also very popular at this time, and shows and movies such as Charlie's Angels and Saturday Night Fever highly influenced fashion at this time.

Trends and Fashion

Fashion in the 70's was vastly different from modern day trends; it was known as the hippie decade. Bell-bottom pants were in style, as well as platform shoes. Tie-dyed clothing was worn, and people accessorized with beads, fringes, flowers, and peace signs. Bare feet or leather sandals were common. Women often wore skirts, which were bright, bold, and patterned. For men, long mustaches and sideburns were the way to go. Disco clothing included tight, stretchy clothes made of spandex, and were sequined. These clothes were designed to stand out and show off. Men wore open-necked shirts and trousers, while women selected hotpants and bodysuits. Below are several examples:
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American values at this time were greatly expressed through rallies and movements. The well being of the environment was a major concern of the 70's. For example, April 22, 1970 was the first Earth Day, and people flooded the streets and had teach-ins to protest the deterioration of Earth and to celebrate it. People of this generation were unhappy with the views and values of America before this decade, and strived to change them. Peace, love, and freedom were the preferred alternative to war. Also, many experimented with drugs and different religions. Women wanted to express their freedom and equality at this time, and chose to do this with their dress. They wore what was typically mens' clothing, from baggy trousers to oversized shirts.

Technology and Science

The 70's was full of innovations and inventions. Here are a few:

  • Intel 4004, the world's first microprocessor, was developed, which was a major leap for computer technology. Personal computers were developed.
  • Japanese and German companies introduced fuel efficient, light, small, environment-friendly cars, some of which did not use petroleum for fuel, an action that preserved resources and reduced air pollution.
  • One of the 1st video games was created, called "Tennis for Two".
  • On May 14th, 1973, the first U.S. space station was set up, called "Skylab".
  • The first digital camera was made in 1975 by Steven Sasson.
  • The first test-tube baby was born on July 25th, 1978 by the name of Louise Brown. This scientific success helped pave the way for genetic science.


The Vietnam War's end brought with it money-loss for the U.S. A recession was in place. Due to the 1973 oil crisis, gas prices shot up. These difficulties made life more difficult for the middle class, and unemployment was higher at this time.
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Racial and ethnic diversity was high at this time, as America had become a melting pot. People from all around the world migrated to America for opportunities, and spread their cultures, which in turn contributed to shaping America's culture. Although racism and prejudice still existed at the time, anti-racism movements were heavy in this decade, and the 70's was the first decade that expressed equality between blacks and whites.

Works Cited

"African American World." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 27 May 2013.

"American Experience: TV's Most-watched History Series." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 27 May 2013.

"Fashion in the 1970s." Social and Cultural Features of the 1970s, Australia's Social and Cultural History in the Post-war Period, History Year 9, NSW. Red Apple Education Ltd, 2013. Web. 27 May 2013.

Guernsey, Lisa. "Chapter One, Part One." A Movement in the Mirror: American Studies in the 1970s. N.p., Aug. 1995. Web. 27 May 2013.

Nakate, Shashank. "Technology in 1970s.", 27 Mar. 2012. Web. 27 May 2013.