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Thursday
Apr192007

Tricentennial Report Ad (Oakland Tribune, 1976)


This ad requesting submissions for the Tricentennial Report begins with, "We have always been a nation more interested in the promise of the future than in the events of the past."

Curiously, the second sentence then plays Debbie Downer with, "Somehow, the events of the past few years have made us doubt ourselves and our future." Watergate? The Vietnam War? I didn't know the U.S. Bicentennial was such a depressing event.

Below is the full text of the ad:

We have always been a nation more interested in the promise of the future than in the events of the past.

Somehow, the events of the past few years have made us doubt ourselves and our future.

Here at Atlantic Richfield, however, we see the future as an exciting time. The best of times. And we know that all of us can achieve a splendid future by planning for it now.

We'd like your help. We need your vision. We want you to tell us about the changes you would like to see take place in America - and in our American way of life.

For example:

What ideas do you have for making life more fun than it is now?
What changes would you like to see in government? (City? State? Federal?)
What do you envision as the best way to solve our energy problems?
What about the future of business? (More regulation by government? Less?)

Or if those topics don't appeal to you, pick one that does.
How should our physical world be altered?
Do you recommend that we live underground? In plastic bubbles?
Will family life change? Will we choose a spouse by computer? Will divorce be illegal?
What should our schools be like? Should machines replace teachers?
What will make us laugh? What will be funny that isn't funny now?
What new major sports would you like to see? Three-dimensional chess? Electronic billiards?

Whatever your idea may be, we want to know about it. Write it. Draw it. Sing it. But send it.

In about six months we plan to gather your responses, analyze them, and make a full report on what we've found out. We believe the report will provide a fascinating and valuable view of America's hopes, dreams, fears, and visions. We'll make sure it reaches the people who are in positions to consider and act on it.

Along the way we will make television commercials and newspaper and magazine ads out of many of the ideas so you can see what other people are thinking.

Please note that all ideas submitted shall become public property without compensation and free of any restriction on use and discourse.

See also:
The Tricentennial Report: Letters from America (1977)
Lisa's Picture of 2076 (1976)

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Reader Comments (2)

For me certainly and for a number of friends, any patriotic fervor for July 4 1976 was pretty muted by exactly the factors you cited.

April 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Muhlberger

Indeed. Without wishing to state the obvious, Watergate cast a huge shadow - Nixon had resigned only three years previously, and the Bicentennial coincided with the first presidential campaign since then. And then the ink was barely dry on the 1975 Paris treaty ending hostilities in Vietnam.

April 24, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Brissenden

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