Mind-Boggling Ways The United States Was Incredibly Different Just 50 Years Ago

If you think the 2020s have been wild, check out the 1970s: a deadly war divided the nation, civil rights were fresh in everyone's minds, and disco was taking the country by storm. In all seriousness, though, the USA was very different then from the way it is today — in both good and bad ways. Many ideas and inventions came to fruition in that era, and some changed the world... but that didn't always make life easier.

The World Wide Web

Western lifestyles are structured around internet communication, but fifty years ago, people connected in different ways. They'd arrange in advance to meet up at libraries or movie theaters. Folks in the '70s didn't have the pressure of always having an encyclopedia in their pocket... if you didn't know the answer to a question, you just didn't know.


Along with portable music, music festivals took off in the 70s. Prior to Woodstock, festivals were a tamer affair, but ideals of freedom, love, and peace were spreading like wildfire through the hippie movement, which championed the art and expression of music. It all culminated in the technically-illegal Woodstock, which brought together the greatest artists of the time and changed the festival landscape forever.

Party age

At the time, lawmakers were okay with 18-year-olds dying in combat, but not having the right to vote. With all that stress at such a young age, these young soldiers surely needed a drink, but depending on their state, drinking was illegal too. There was no consensus on the age limit for alcohol, which ranged from 18 in some states to 21 in most.

Money withdrawals

In 1969, quick cash withdrawals were more involved than pressing a few buttons, as the first ATM was only just released that year. Unless you happened to go to one of the few innovative banks with these machines, you'd have to line up to speak to a teller to withdraw your money. Additionally, you might not even have had access to a bank, depending on who you were.