History of America 1973-2000
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The history of America 1973-2000 saw a new attitude towards conformism arise among Americans, taking them away from the rebellion and social upheaval of the 1960s. Many of those who participated in the protests against the Vietnam War and in support of the Civil Rights Movement cut their hair and enrolled in business school. With this new emphasis on the corporate rather than the social, companies rolled out powerful new technologies. These included microprocessors and computers, which brought them closer to personal use.
The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 brought the greatest peacetime expansion of defense spending in United States history. In consequence, superpower tensions escalated rapidly as the United States abandoned detente and adopted a more aggressive posture against the Soviet Union. Finally, the United States outspent the Soviet Union in the arms race, hastening the demise of the Soviet Union. With that, the dissolution of the Soviet Union left the United States as the world’s only remaining superpower.
The era had begun with the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 that hobbled the economies of the West. And it changed when the United States led a United Nations coalition force in expelling an Iraqi invasion from Kuwait.
The Democrats returned to power in 1992 when Bill Clinton won the White House. But the Republicans took control of Congress for the first time since the early 1950s. The resulting discord between Clinton and the Republican Congress led to a budget crisis that shut down the federal government. Later, a bipartisan effort led to an impressive legislative package. This included welfare reform, medical insurance for children, and a balanced budget. But politics were further embittered by the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998, which led to impeachment of the president but no conviction. High-technology boomed in the 1990s until the NASDAQ dot-com bubble burst and gave way to recession in the early 2000s.
Republican George W. Bush won a razor-thin electoral victory in the 2000 presidential race, whose popular vote was actually won by Al Gore. In response to the September 11 attacks, the United States launched its War on Terrorism with its 2001 attack on Afghanistan. It then invaded Iraq in 2003 and overthrew the regime of Saddam Hussein. The self-styled “Great Saddam” was later tried, convicted of war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and hanged. The controversial Patriot Act promised to protect Americans against the threat of domestic terrorism. However, it was seen by many as a threat to civil liberties. Furthermore, the ineffectual response of the Bush administration to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, along with political scandals and the unpopularity of the Iraq War, enabled Democrats to regain control of Congress.
The 1980s saw great advances in digital technology. Foremost, the Internet took shape along with other computer networks for academic and defense purposes. By 1989, the Internet was worldwide, with extensive cable and satellite links providing coverage to most of the developed world. But other scientific horizons were darker. The emergence of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and global warming became growing concerns to the scientific and political community.
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Power: Gerald Ford
Power: Jimmy Carter
Power: George H.W. Bush
Power: Bill Clinton