But in 1976, it seems Americans were determined to hold their heads up high and celebrate 200 years of a country that was experiencing some major growing pains. If there's one thing Americans know how to do well, it's throw a party. And the U.S. Bicentennial was supposed to be one hell of a party.
On July 4, 1976 newspapers all across America dedicated special sections to the history and future of the country. The Grand Prairie Daily News in Grand Pairie, Texas invited readers to write letters to the people of 2076, who would presumably be celebrating the United States Tricentennial. Today we have some of those letters from high school students of the year 1976. What's pretty clear in reading the letters is that even most high school kids weren't very optimistic about what the next hundred years had in store for them.
[I've redacted the number that appears under Mike Sharp's letter because it looks like a Social Security number. I'm not sure why Mike would include his Social Security number, but I'd rather not create any unnecessary problems for ol' Mike, because most of these people are probably alive today.]
Dear People of the Year 2076,
In the year 2076, the world will be far ahead in space travel and modern technalogy. There will be space flights to other planets.
Machines will take over, modern man will become a living blobb.
California will not be on the map and the weather will change through out the world.
Hungar will strike Asia and Europe. The civilization of 2076 will depend upon the polluted sea waters for food.
Nuclear enery will supply our needs.
Population control will be put into affect. The world will be over populous.
Schools wll be television programs. This may all seem funny to you but I remember a time when space travel was all just a dream.
To the people of the year 2076,
In a hundred years I think the world will be overpopulated and people will have to live in apartments to accomodate for this. Everything will be able to be recycled and what little that can't will be shot out into space.
Many things will change some good some bad. But most of all I hope that the people of the year 2076 still love and protect the United States and what it stands for. This world is tough, but I am glad to be born in a place such as America were I can say what I please.
A South Grand Prairie High Warrior
I believe 100 years from now, ("1976") the year I graduate, crime will be wiped out completely. There will be some kind of magnetic force field to stop anyone from doing something illeagle.
Someday in the future I hope the world will not need army's, but I doubt that day will come. There will be new weapons being built all the time. I feel that the wars will be push button wars not on the battefield with hand-to-hand combat.
We probably have traveled to new planets and had started new colonies. Concerts and music is something important in my life, but I doubt it will be in the future.
I hope the world is at peace, and I wish all of you Americans the best of luck.
I'm suppose to write what I think the world will be like in 100 years. Well, honestly, I doubt if the world will even exist. The earth will probably destroy itself by then with a nuclear war.
The people of today just can't get along together, or even seem to be trying. But if by some miracle, and it would be a miracle, man still exists 100 years from now, I'm hoping the world will be a peaceful place. Maybe man will have learned to live in harmony with nature. Instead of polluting the air and sea. Maybe all the countries of the world will destroy their weapons and love their fellow man. This would be a great accomplisment and I'm wishing you all the luck in the world.
There is one thing specifically I would not like to see in the year 2076 and that is war and hostility of any kind. Peace is an all important thing the people of Earth must learn in order to progress and survive.
I truly wish humanity knows what to do with itself.
Spirit of 76 Bi Centennial
The Paleofuture Blog was started by Matt Novak in January of 2007. Matt has since become an accidental expert on past visions of the future, and has amassed an enormous library of media related to the study of retro-futurism. Matt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter.