1973 An Introduction

Has there ever been a more apt acronym than CREEP--the Committee to Re-Elect the President? Coined by the perennially wry chair of the Republican party, Bob Dole, "CREEP" and its sundry indiscretions in the 1972 campaign would own the headlines of the following year. On May Day, 1973, Nixon would accept the "onus for Watergate," as reported in a New York Times headline, while denying that he'd known about any specific plots. The same day, Nixon henchmen H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and John Dean stepped down from their posts at the White House. Two weeks later, United States District Court Judge William Matthew Byrne Jr. dismissed charges against Dr. Daniel Ellsberg for releasing secret documents on the American bombing of Cambodia. By the end of August, a judge would order Nixon to release recordings made by Nixon in the Oval Office; Nixon refused. A year later, the president would resign.

In January, Secretary of State William P. Rogers, Nguyen Day Trinh for Hanoi, Nguyen Thi Binh for the Vietcong , and Tran Van Lam for Saigon signed a text officially titled "Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam"--a document that put an end to America's official 12-year engagement in Southeast Asia. The terms of the cease-fire were ambiguous and not unlike those the United States had refused to accept four years prior. Earlier that week, Nixon had called former President Johnson to inform him of the upcoming truce; Johnson died about a week before the official announcement.

1973 marks the first year the American League allowed the designated-hitter rule. O.J. Simpson ran for 2,003 yards. Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in the Astrodome for $100,000 and the bragging rights of her gender. Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford touched hearts (and turned stomachs) in the hit film The Way We Were. Elvis and Priscilla Presley officially ended their marriage.

Late in the year, OPEC imposed an oil embargo on the United States, the first episode in what would subsequently become known as the energy crisis. Fifty million Americans participated in boycotts against food inflation, particularly meat, establishing consumer groups such as Operation Pocketbook. Despite overall inflation of 7.6 percent, the GNP grew by a remarkable 12 percent.

The self-help titles I'm O.K., You're O.K. and The Joy of Sex were best-sellers--as were the Weight Watchers Program Cookbook and Sybil, a pulpy tale of multiple personality disorder. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association ceased classifying homosexuality as a disease.

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