Celebrating America’s 1976 Bicentennial

America’s 1976 Bicentennial occurred during hard economic times, in the wake of Vietnam War controversy, and amid a mass of political scandals including Watergate and President Nixon’s resignation.

 

americas bicentennial
Jim and Norene Draves, dressed as “Honest Abe” Lincoln and his controversial, ambitious wife, Mary, pose in proper somber fashion at their Wackerly Road, Sanford, home before leaving for the 1976 U.S. Bicentennial celebration at the Sanford Centennial Museum. The Sanford museum was established in 1970, when Sanford celebrated its centennial and set up a popular historical exhibit in a 1910 school house.

Distinctive-appearing, plain-talking, common-sensed Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), a lawyer and 16th U.S. president (1861-1865) who loved to share anecdotes, remains one of America’s most celebrated leaders. Born just 33 years after the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln presided during America’s Civil War. He is admired for his rise from humble beginnings to the national presidency, for his morality and eloquence, and for his role in ending slavery. Lincoln also is coined the “savior of the nation” for his part in averting European intervention on behalf of the Confederacy and for keeping the nation united, which allowed America to emerge as a world power in its own right.

America’s 1976 Bicentennial occurred during hard economic times, in the wake of Vietnam War controversy, and amid a mass of political scandals including Watergate and President Nixon’s resignation. Plans for the Bicentennial celebration evolved to include patriotic celebrations in hometowns across the nation. Prolific commercialized merchandise, commemorative souvenirs, and media productions flooded the country. On July 3-4, 1976, steady Bicentennial-related network televison programming connected Americans as a nation. The Bicentennial celebration also awakened an interest in local history, genealogy, and folk culture. Alex Haley’s Roots was published, then televised in 1977. And, a widespread revival of the craft of quilting began. Photo courtesy of Daniel Draves and Deirdre Draves Holsinger.

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