The 1960s were a decade of social upheaval and conflict, but also of hope and reform. The decade that followed, however, saw many examples of failure. The military failed. Presidents failed. Businesses failed. Technologies failed. The national spirit waned.

The catastrophes the nation passed through in the 1970s chastened Americans. We learned that despite our tremendous natural and human resources, success is not inevitable. Past victories do not necessarily guarantee the same in the future. Sometimes hope and good intentions are not enough. Sometimes the best ideas, more honest leaders and greater resolve are found in other countries.

But is this all bad for the country? The 1970s held more failures than Americans were accustomed to, but are we better or worse because of those difficulties? Can nations, like people learn from their mistakes? Did Americans learn from the failures of the 1970s? Are we better able to avoid the same problems in the future? Is there evidence to support this idea?

What do you think? Can failure make us a better country?