Department of History
America in the 1970s
US 470
New Course
I. Catalog Description and Credit Hours of the Course: Survey of American political,
military, social, intellectual, and cultural life from 1968 to 1980. (3 credit hours)
II. Prerequisite(s): none
III. Objectives:
A. To examine American political, economic, social, intellectual, military,
and cultural life from roughly 1968 to 1980.
B. To provide students with historical perspective and context to what is
often considered “the Missing Decade” of Cold War-era US history.
C. To introduce students to the 1970s as both a background to contemporary
events and as a major force in the development of American history and
cultural identity.
IV. Expectations of Students:
Regular class attendance
Participation in class discussions
Timely completion of all reading and written assignments
Timely completion of an assigned research project based on primary and
secondary sources
D. Demonstration of mastery of course content on examinations
E. Demonstration of the ability to locate and gather information
independently in both research project and regular class assignments
V. Course Content (45 hours)
A. Week 1: The Missing Decade (3 hours)
B. Week 2: Nixon is More Than Watergate (3 hours)
C. Week 3: Nixon’s War: Vietnam and the Grand Design (3 hours)
D. Week 4: Watergate (3 hours)
E. Week 5: Stagflation and Economic Malaise (3 hours)
F. Weeks 6 & 7: Adrift in a Sea of Uncertainty: Manifestations of Malaise
in the Cultural Industries (6 hours)
G. Weeks 8, 9, 10: The “Me Decade”: a Culture of Narcissism and the Quest
for Self (9 hours)
H. Weeks 11 & 12: ‘Roots’ and the Quest for Community (6 hours)
I. Week 13: A Ford, Not a Lincoln (3 hours)
J. Week 14: The “Failed” Presidency of Jimmy Carter (3 hours)
K. Week 15: The Coming of Reagan: The 1980 Election (3 hours)
VI. Course Texts
A. Beth Bailey and David Farber, America in the Seventies (Lawrence,
KS: University Press of Kansas, 2004)
B. Melvin Small, The Presidency of Richard Nixon (Lawrence, KS:
University Press of Kansas, 2003)
C. Sean Wilentz, The Age of Reagan: a History 1974-2008 (New York:
Harper, 2008)
VII. Basis for Student Evaluation
A. Paper #1 - 10%
B. Paper #2 - 10%
C. Paper #3 - 10%
D. Mid-term Exam – 25%
E. Final Exam – 25%
F. Annotated Bibliography – 20%
VIII. Academic Honesty: The Undergraduate Bulletin defines academic dishonesty as
“…those acts which would deceive, cheat, or defraud so as to promote one’s scholastic
record…”, and states that “[v]iolations of academic honesty represent a serious breach
of discipline and may be considered grounds for disciplinary action, including dismissal
from the university.” More information is available at the website for the Office of
Student Conduct:
IX. Civility and Harassment: As members of an intellectual community, we must work to
treat each other respect, allowing all students, faculty and staff to operate in a climate of
mutual respect. More information is available at the website for the Office of Student
X. Disabilities: Diversity in all its forms merits the respect of the faculty, as well as
reasonable accommodations to enhance the learning of students with disabilities. It is
the responsibility of the student to inform the faculty, as well as to work through the
office of Learning Assistance and Disability Support Services. There is more
information on their website: