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Additional Class Topics
For Further Interest: Additional Class Topics
The Stalemated Seventies, 1968 - 1980
- Focus on Nixon and Watergate. Consider
whether Watergate was in the end a victory for democracy or whether it created
national cynicism about leaders and weakened Americans faith in democracy
and the presidency.
- Examine the rise of the environmental
movement. Consider the relations of environmental concerns to economic issues
in the 1970s, including oil and other energy sources.
- Consider the origins of the conflicts
over busing and affirmative action. Explain how the broad American consensus
in favor of civil rights, voting rights, integration, and economic opportunity
fell apart on the questions of positive government action to advance African
Americans economic and political standing.
- Discuss the Iranian revolution in relation
to the rise of militant Islam in the Middle East. Consider why Americans (including
government officials) had such difficulty comprehending Islamic fundamentalism.
- Conduct a class debate over the following
topics: e.g., America Needs an Equal Rights Amendment and A Defense of the
Nixon Presidency; primary source readings will come from the following book: Opposing Viewpoints in American History Volume II: From
Reconstruction to the Present, San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.
Another good source of debate topics is Larry Madaras and James M. SoRelle, Taking Sides Clashing Views on Controversial Issues
in American History, Volume II: Reconstruction to the Present, Connecticut:
- Show students the following videos: The
Century Americas Time (ABC Video in association with The History
Channel), Volume V: 1971-1975: Approaching The Apocalypse: The publics
faith in their government shatters with the disclosure of Watergate. Nixon
becomes the first President in U.S. history to resign, as corruption and politics
truly become synonymous. Can Americas trust in its leaders ever be
restored? Volume V: 1976-1980: Starting Over: The upheavals
of the 60s and 70s now leave many confronting the emotional
fallout, including forced interracial busing and women torn between their
roles as housewives and breadwinners. Meanwhile, the sounds and style of
Disco dominate the decade.
- Have the students read selections from
John RawlsA Theory of Justice (1971) and
Robert Nozicks Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974).
Both books are considered classics of American political thought
both arrive at very different conclusions.
- Have the students read Ira Levins The Stepford Wives (1972). Use the novel to explore
issues about the dangers of forced conformity, made into a movie in 1975 and
again in 2004.