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The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, also called The Seventies. In Western cities primarily, the focus shifted from the social activism of the sixties to social activities for one's own pleasure: drug use, all-night dancing at discotheques and swinging parties. The seventies were considered by Tom Wolfe as the "Me Decade." A notable exception was the tremendous growth in environmentalism. It should be noted that many of America's smaller towns had a decidedly tamer experience in the 1970s.

The perception of the established institutions of nuclear family, religion and trust in one's government continued to lose ground during this time. Major developments of the sexual revolution included the awareness of the impact of contraceptive pills on social-interactional relationships, and an increase in divorce rates, single parent households, and pre-marital sex.

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By the end of the decade, the feminist movement had helped change women's working conditions. The Gay Rights movement became prominent, and the hippie culture, which started in the 1960s, peaked in the early 1970s and carried on through the end of the decade. The United States' withdrawal from its extensive military involvement in Vietnam and the resignation of Richard Nixon helped bring about a sense of malaise and mistrust in political authority.

The United States experienced an economic recession, but the economy of Japan prospered. The economies of many third world countries continued to make steady progress in the early 1970s, because of the green revolution. They might have thrived and become stable in the way that Europe recovered after the war through the Marshall Plan; however, their economic growth was slowed by the oil crisis.

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