United States and American History: Early 1974

About the history of the United States in 1973, oil embargo and gas lines, Patricia Hearst is kidnapped, Nixon owes money on taxes, Hank Aaron breaks the home run record.


Jan. The price of sugar began to climb. It was to go up 400% in the next 12 months.

Jan. The Federal Energy Administration printed 4.8 billion gas-rationing coupons at a cost of $11 million. They went unused and cost $11,000 a month to store.

Jan. 11 A tour of the U.S. figured heavily in the plans of Sue and Colin Rosenkowitz, of Cape Town, South Africa, after Mrs. Rosenkowitz gave birth to the 1st sextuplets to survive in modern times. The proud parents were promised $750,000 in advertising tie-ups for spending a year in the U.S. displaying their 3 girls and 3 boys. Little more than a year later, on January 13, 1975, the 40-year-old father would tell the press: "I'm very, very disappointed and am struggling to support my family. We've had nothing but promises. Had the trip to America taken place, it would have changed the whole picture."

Feb. Motorists waited hours to buy gasoline as the oil embargo and the big oil corporations' policies limited the supply. Truck drivers, protesting the rise in gasoline and diesel fuel prices and purchasing limits, staged stoppages on major interstate highways.

Feb. Paul Castellano and 3 business associates discovered a telephone bug and a television camera secretly installed in their office. When FBI agents, angered at having been cut off, learned that the bug had been removed and the camera destroyed, they arrested the 4 men on charges of conspiracy and theft of government property.

Feb. 5 Patricia Hearst, of the Hearst newspaper family, was "kidnapped" by the Symbionese Liberation Army in Berkeley, Calif. The SLA was led by Donald "Field Marshal Cinque" De Freeze, an escaped convict and onetime informer for the Los Angeles police. When the ransom, a multimillion-dollar food program for the poor, was not expedited speedily by publisher Randolph Hearst, Patty declared that she had changed her name to Tania and joined the SLA. In July, the bulk of the SLA membership-6 people-were killed by the police. The climactic shoot-out was televised live statewide in California. Patty/Tania was not among the SLA dead.

Mar. 7 Commenting on the SLA's ransom demand of free food for the poor, California's Gov. Ronald Regan said, "It's just too bad we can't have an epidemic of botulism."

Apr. 3 The Internal Revenue Service stated that Nixon owed $432,787 in back taxes, and interest penalties totaling $33,000.

Apr. 8 Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth's 47-year-old record.

Apr. 30 President Nixon released an edited version of the transcripts of White House converstions concerning Watergate. It became an instant best seller.

May 2 The Maryland Court of Appeals disbarred Spiro Agnew and called him "morally obtuse."

May 9 The House Judiciary Committee began formal hearings on the impeachment of Richard Nixon.

June 30 The mother of Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot to death while she played the organ in church.

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