USA Bicentennial

1976 - Bicentennial year

In 1976, the year of the USA Bicentennial, the country was ready to look forward to a new era of optimism. The country wanted to put the problems of Watergate behind. The movie Star Wars opened; the movie Rocky was voted an Academy Award for Best Picture. The newly elected President, Jimmy Carter, promised to rid the government of corruption. Carter also started the nation thinking about alternative energy sources such as solar or nuclear power (as oil prices rose). Carter also orchestrated a peace accord between traditional enemies Israel and Egypt.

Iran Crisis

Jimmy Carter

Then, suddenly, the USA seemed powerless to resolve a new crisis in the Middle East as, in 1979, hostages were taken in Iran. Carter was blamed for a pessimistic mood that came over the country. He lost in 1980 to his rival candidate for the Presidency, Ronald Reagan, who promised a stronger military and lower taxes.

Ronald Reagan

Wall Street growth

Many of the 225 million Americans believed that the road to the good life was just ahead. For most of the 1980s Wall Street was booming in spite of high inflation … until “Black Monday,” October 19, 1987. The stock market took a nosedive, sending fear through many corporations, and provoked a closer look at the country’s financial affairs in general. Nevertheless, Ronald Reagan completed two terms – as the 1980s came to a close, his Vice President George Bush was elected President.

George HW Bush

New Technologies

Entering the postindustrial era, the job market was changing - traditional factory jobs were diminishing in number. Working factory jobs had been satisfactory for supporting a family, but not so in the 1990s. Even though many Americans was experiencing prosperity, those who relied on factory jobs were left out. New technologies flourished; computers started appearing in workplaces and in homes. Computers appeared where they hadn’t been seen before – in medicine, in video games, movies, and banking.



Women also came into view in more workplaces while they continued to manage their homes and families; they were known as “supermoms.”

Cold War ends

The 1990s was a decade of great change, domestically and abroad. On the world stage, the Berlin Wall had already fallen and the Soviet Union officially decentralized in 1991 - the Cold War ended. Domestically, drugs, violence and homelessness were key issues. As Americans began looking inward at domestic problems; they elected Bill Clinton to the White House. Americans also looked outward at the environment and the future of the fragile planet Earth.

Bill Clinton

Bicentennial Questions ~

  1. In what city was the Declaration of Independence signed?
  2. What was the main purpose of the Declaration of Independence?
  3. Who did the authors intend their audience to be?
  4. Was issuing the Declaration the first time the colonists relayed their grievances to the British King and Parliament? Explain the reasoning for your answer.