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Early 1970s

Dubbed the “Me Decade” by author Tom Wolfe, the 1970s was a decade that prided itself in individualism with less of an emphasis on community.

As the 60s became the 70s, the world saw the transition to self-absorption occur as hippie communes faded and a preoccupation with one’s self began to emerge.

The early 1970s ushered in this new way to think and included many notable events that would have a profound effect on the world.

By this time, the war in Vietnam was beginning to wane and people in America saw a light at the end of the tunnel, despite the enormous loss of life.

On a brighter note, however, the beginning of the decade brought a number of new inventions that would change our lives forever.

For example, technology enjoyed a huge boost in the early 1970s, beginning with the invention of the floppy disk during the first year of the decade.

Atari’s Pong video game was released in 1972, an event that would change the gaming world for good. A few years later, a home version would make it to the shelves of stores across the country.

The early 1970s was an especially interesting era for politics. At the same time Richard Nixon was being lauded for getting troops out of Vietnam and improving relations with the Chinese, he was deeply ensconced in the Watergate Scandal and would eventually resign in early 1974 as would Vice President Spiro Agnew several months prior. Gerald Ford would become president and eventually grant Nixon an official pardon.

America was further affected by the formation of OPEC and the embargo placed by the organization on the United States. The result was high gasoline prices and gas lines that went on for blocks.

Through much of the crisis, Americans could only get their gasoline on odd- or even-numbered days, according to the last number of their license plate.

In the world of music, the Beatles called it quits and many mourned their parting. Rock music would change as the decade progressed, with all sorts of new genres emerging, including hard rock and heavy metal.

In sports, Mark Spitz set a record that was only recently broken by earning seven gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

The world watched in 1973 as female tennis player Billie Jean King challenged self-proclaimed male chauvinist Bobby Riggs to a match. She soundly defeated the 55-year-old and scored some points for female athletes.

This was an important era for civil rights as well. The fight for equal rights for all continued and was boosted by the Supreme Court’s decision to approve the use of busing ordered by a federal district court as a means of achieving racial desegregation in America’s schools.