The US Bicentennial of 1976 marked 200 years of history behind the Land of the Free. On July 4, 1976 The Grand Prairie Daily News asked readers to foresee life in the year 2076. What would the Tricentennial be like? Some of the submissions appear below. Other media also go in on the action. There was lot of predicting going about. The Tricentennial Report: Letters from America (Published by the Atlantic Richfield Company in 1977) compiled lots of these letters, the majority of which forecast doom, gloom and armageddon.
Phoebe Burdg of San Martin, California, writes:
“The only live animals are these necessary to provide meat. Any others are expertly mechanized duplicates of the real thing, as depicted in the many museums around the world… They are manufactured on demand. A family may have an animal dependent on their ability to give credits for it.”
This ad above requesting submissions for the Tricentennial Report runs:
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.
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.
And now for your letters in the The Grand Prairie Daily News.
Dear People of the Year 2076,
In the year 2076, the world will be far ahead in space travel and modern technalogy [sic]. 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
Lead image – by Lisa Gilvar of Happy Hollow School in Wayland, Massachusetts. Via: PaleoFuture