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Social Issues Of The Seventies Essay

941 words - 4 pages

The 1970s can be best understood as a transitional period in America. Starting in the 1950s, the power of the youth was on the rise, through civil rights activism and anti-war protests. This decade’s ideal citizen seemed to be the person helping others. Then the 1980s are more financially centered and individualistic. This decade’s ideal citizen is the one who measured success by how much money they made. The 1970s proved to be a time of bitterness, cynicism, and increased interest in one’s self for most of the people in America. Some of the events that contributed to this were the Kent State Massacre, Roe v. Wade, and the economic stagflation that happened in the latter part of the decade.
President Richard Nixon announced on April 30, 1970 that the United States was going to invade Cambodia as part of the ongoing war in Vietnam. This announcement triggered huge protests, especially on the college campuses around the nation. At Kent State University in Ohio on the next day a protest started that consisted of around 500 students. This was a relatively peaceful protest. A few acts of vandalism and rioting happened that night and some students went into town the next day to help with the cleanup efforts. The vandals then set the ROTC building ablaze the next day, which prompted the Governor of Ohio to send in the National Guard to restore peace. Over the next few days the protest grew to 1500 demonstrators and about 1500 bystanders and tear gas was often used to disband the crowds. All these events culminated on May 4 when the National Guard troops began to fire into the demonstration on the common grounds of the university. A group of 28 members of the National Guard fired over 60 shots into the students, killing 4 and wounding 9 others. Some of the Guard members said their lives were threatened by the crowd and others said they were just returning fire. None of these claims were ever substantiated. None of the students who were shot were within 100 yards of the Guard troops. Two of the students who were killed were just innocent bystanders; they were just walking to class at the time of the shooting (Gordon). The events at Kent State were a catalyst that helped strengthened the American Citizens’ hatred of the Vietnam War and distrust in the Government that promised to end the war.
The case of Roe vs. Wade was an example of an individual’s rights and privacy against long held doctrines based on religious beliefs. In 1973, a woman by the name of Norma L. McCorvey, using an alias of Jane Roe, was single and living in Texas. She got pregnant and wanted an abortion, but it was illegal. The case eventually made its way to the United States Supreme Court. ...

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