Times of Adjustment, 1975-1980
By the mid- 1970s, the war in Vietnam had ended. Embittered war veterans and disillusioned antiwar protesters kept their distance from each other. The War on Poverty had faded away with neither a victory nor a truce. The Nixon presidency had collapsed in the shame of Watergate. The civil rights revolution had lost its steam. The backlash of reaction against the forces of the 1960s had become more subdued, or at least more subtle.
The 1960s may have been over, but many who abhorred the legacies of that decade clung to the modern ideals that had lost dominance in its early years. Accordingly, coming to terms with the cultural changes wrought by the 1960s required a period of adjustment. So did organizing resistance against these changes. The mid- 1970s to the early 1980s proved to be such a period.
Not that domestic tranquillity prevailed as adjustments occurred. Rather, continuities with the recent past included simmering and polarizing controversies. Opposing ideologies led to conflict that laid the groundwork for the cultural standoffs to be considered in Part IV of this book. Happily, amidst the controversies and conflict there was also a special celebration that reminded the American people of their common--and uncommon--heritage and the promise it held. Celebration of the Bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence in 1976 brought moments of accord in a decade of discord.