America's Next Century

Archive Report

Current Interest in Futurism

Sense of Uncertainty About the Nation's Future

When the united states began its centennial year in 1876, the national spirit was high. Americans were justly proud of their past and confident about their future. It was a time to look forward, with hope and anticipation. The Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition later that year was an exciting smorgasbord of the technological marvels that would revolutionize American life in the years to come. “America's independence had survived its first century, the nation's great progress was obvious, and the future seemed assured,” wrote historian William Peirce Randel in describing the 1876 New-Year celebrations. “It was a time to make merry as never before.”1

In contrast, America begins its bicentennial year in 1976 with a nagging sense of ...

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