The Youth Movement, Counterculture, and Anti-War Protests

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Why were the 1970s dubbed the "ME Decade?"

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During the 1960s, the United States was still recovering from World War II.  The ideas of this war were still fresh in people's minds, and with the Cold War in full swing, people were interested in improving their country and society as a whole.  Sometimes this is referred to as "communitarianism"--the idea that the community is more important than the individual.  In 1961, President Kennedy famously said, "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country".  This quote underscores the ideals of the 1960s.  

However, during the 1970s as things began to wind...

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The term "Me Decade" was coined by Tom Wolfe to describe the decade of the 1970s. 

The 1970s were a time when people were tired of political and social issues. The decade was marked by the emergence of the lower-middle class and by economic prosperity. People were becoming increasingly individualistic (rather than communitarian). The people had already witnessed the civil rights movements and Vietnam war in the preceding decade, and were becoming disinterested in governmental policies and debates. This was a time of self-discovery and newly manifested individualism, including drugs, spiritual gurus and music. This was also a time when some of the current technology titans started their ventures, instead of working for someone else, another trait of "Me decade". Such entrepreneurs includes Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. 

Thus, a time of self-realization and self-improvement was aptly termed as the "me decade."

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