Defining Documents in American History series, produced by Salem Press, consists of a collection of essays on important historical documents by a diverse range of writers on a broad range of subjects in American history. This established series currently offers eighteen titles ranging from Colonial America to the present volume, The 1970s.
This volume, Defining Documents in American History: The 1970s (1970-1979), offers in-depth analysis of a broad range of historical documents and historic events that shaped this turbulent decade from the end of the conflict in Vietnam to the resignation and pardon of Richard M. Nixon to the Camp David Accords. The 70s saw a continuation of the Cold War along with growing alarm over escalations in the nuclear arms race. Talks and treaties such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty marked renewed efforts by the United States and Russia (USSR) to ease tensions and reduce the proliferation of offensive and defensive nuclear weapons. On the domestic front, Roe v. Wade worked its way through the courts, and Harvey Milk delivered a clarion call with his speech against California’s infamous Proposition 6. Bill Gates launched a discussion about the pirating of software that continues to the present day with implications for software developers and artists alike. Through the close study of 49 primary source documents, this text delivers a thorough examination of important international, political, domestic, environmental, and technology concerns in the U.S. from 1970 to 1979. The material is organized under six broad categories:
• The Vietnam War
• Nixon and Watergate
• The Cold War and the Middle East
• Domestic Affairs
• Environmental Developments
• Science and Technology
Historical documents provide a compelling view of important aspects of American history. Designed for high school and college students, the aim of the series is to advance historical document studies as an important activity in learning about history.
The 1970s contains 49 primary source documents— some in their entirety. Each document is supported by a critical essay, written by historians and teachers, that includes a Summary Overview, Defining Moment, Author Biography, Document Analysis, and Essential Themes. Readers will appreciate the diversity of the collected texts, including speeches, constitutional amendments, senate testimony, political speeches, laws, government reports, international treaties, letters, and court opinions, among other genres. An important feature of each essay is a close reading of the primary source that develops evidence of broader themes, such as the author’s rhetorical purpose, social or class position, point of view, and other relevant issues. In addition, essays are organized by section themes, listed above, highlighting major issues of the period, many of which extend across eras and continue to shape life as we know it around the world. Each section begins with a brief introduction that defines questions and problems underlying the subjects addressed in the historical documents. Each essay also includes a Bibliography and Additional Reading section for further research.
• Chronological List arranges all documents by year.
• Web Resources is an annotated list of websites that offer valuable supplemental resources.
• Bibliography lists helpful articles and books for further study.
Salem Press would like to extend its appreciation to all involved in the development and production of this work. The essays have been written and signed by scholars of history, humanities, and other disciplines related to the essays’ topics. Without these expert contributions, a project of this nature would not be possible. A full list of contributors’ names and affiliations appears in the front matter of this volume.