US Postage Stamps in the 1970’s


International Women's Year Postage StampTo some Americans, the comparative shallowness of the 1970’s – it was the disco era – was a welcome relief to the earnest intensity of the 1960’s. To others, it was a decade of “selling out.” And to many, the glossy, beat-driven veneer of the Seventies hid a turbulence that was always threatening to rise to the surface. Novelist Tom Wolfe called the Seventies the “Me Decade,” and there was certainly some truth in that appellation.

Liberalism in the 1960s sparked a conservative backlash from people calling themselves the “New Right”. The New Right did not care for environmental regulations, or highway speed limits, or national park policies, particularly in the West.

But most Americans were worried about the environment, especially when ecological disasters (Love Canal, near Niagara, New York) and near-disasters (a meltdown at the nuclear plant on Three Mile Island) were reported on. And no one on either side of the political spectrum had anything good to say about the oil crisis that led to long lines at gas pumps and skyrocketing fuel prices.

Through it all, folks distracted themselves by listening to 8-track (and later, cassette) tapes of Jackson Browne, Olivia Newton-John, and the Grateful Dead. For even lighter fare, there was music from Abba, the Bee Gees, and Donna Summer.

Postage stamp themes tended toward staying conservative, especially given the opportunity to celebrate the United States Bicentennial in 1976. There were lots of stamps that were bicentennial-related.