In 1970, anti-Vietnam sentiment has at its height. National Guradsman opened fire on a group of students at Kent State protesting the Vietnam War, killing four students. In New York City, constuction works broke up on anti-Vietnam protest n Wall Street and demanded that the flag in front of City Hall, that was at half mast in memory of the students at Kent State, be raised to full mast. On lighter side, the Environmental Protection Agency was established in response to increased concern for the environment. Amtrak was also established in 1970.
The fourth season of "The Wonder Years" (episodes 47 through 69) takes place in 1970. Kevin is in ninth grade. According to Kevin, being a ninth grader is a big deal because he is finally the oldest in junior high. Kevin meets Madeline, a new girl, in one of his classes. There are in French class together and Madeline is fluent in French. When Kevin fantasizes about talking to Madeline in French, the only thing he can say is "Do you want some butter?" Madeline pursues Kevin because he is nice to her, but his heart belongs to Winnie.
Kevin gets his first job as a caddie for Mr. Stein, his dad's boss, who is playing against his father.Kevin and his dad form as new bond when Mr. Stein is rude and disrespectful towards Kevin's dad. Paul, Kevin's best friend, makes the ninth grade basketball team. Kevin thinks this is a joke because he has always beaten Paul at basketball, but Paul challenges Kevin to a game and Kevin loses.
Kevin decides to run for student council president against Becky Slater, who hates Kevin. She tries to intimidate Kevin by telling him that she is going to rip him to shreds. The campaign gets dirty as Kevin and Becky try to win support from their classmates. The last straw happens when Kevin is offered the text of Becky's speech. Kevin thinks that the whole election has gotten out of control and he withdraws from the election. This situation is obviously symbolic of the Nikon campaign, when secrets were stolen and the whole campaign was dishonest.
Kevin's mom decides to go back to work. Unfortunately, Kevin is mortified to find out that her new job is at his school. Kevin is so embarrassed that he asks his mom not to speak to him at school. Mrs. Arnold returning to work is symbolic of many housewives who started to work out of the home. Many women started working in the 1970's and the original role of housewife was now a second shift job.
As Kevin and Wayne get older, they realize they both need personal space. They decide that one of them will move to Karen's room, but each one wants the other one to move. Neither brother is ready to give up his childhood bedroom. As Kevin matures, so does his relationship with Winnie. She starts hanging out with eleventh graders, and Kevin is really worried about her. When she gets in a car accident, Kevin realized how strong his feelings for Winnie are. Although Winnie's parents won't allow Kevin to see her, he tells her he loves her through her bedroom window, and she tells him she lives him in return.
The end of the season brings Kevin's graduation. Kevin flashes back to his times in junior high and realizes how much he has learned. Kevin and Paul get in a fight when Kevin hears from Winnie that Paul is going to private school next year. Kevin knows that his life is rapidly changing, and his is somewhat apprehensive about moving on.