1980-1999: The Modern Era

Timeline created by blairal
In History
  • Election of 1980

    Election of 1980
    (R) Ronald Reagan and VP George Bush: 43,903,230 popular, 489 EC

    (D) James Carter and VP Walter Mondale: 35,480,115 popular, 49 EC votes
    (I) John Anderson and VP Patrick Lucey: 5,719,850 popular, votes, 0 EC votes Significance: In Reagan's acceptance speech he says he will increase defecit spending and ensure greater federal power. Republicans take an anti-feminist tone, opposing ERA and abortion. Reagan propsed the largest tax cut in history, reducing taxes by $750 billion over five years
  • Sandra Day O'Connor

    Sandra Day O'Connor
    Event: On September 21, 1981 Sandra Day O’Connor was unanimously confirmed by the Senate to become the first women justice on the Supreme Court. Significance: This event showed the increase in equality for women despite the fact that the Equal Rights Amendment failed ratification.
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    Iran Contra Affair

    Event: In 1985, while Iran and Iraq were at war, Iran made a secret request to buy weapons from the U.S. and they accepted. Significance: Reagan lost much popularity from this event. Reagan defied one of his platform promises by trading and negotiating with terrorists, he lied to the public, and the actual arms-for-hostages deal worked out negatively.
  • Strategic Defense Initiative Program (Star Wars)

    Strategic Defense Initiative Program (Star Wars)
    Event: Reagan proposes SDI to develop technology to intercept incoming missiles, specifically Soviet ICBMs and hopefully tip the nuclear balance toward the US. Although the technology was too advanced to complete, the idea would resurface as National MIssile Defense. Significance: With the creation of SDI, the Soviets feared that the US would launch the first strike. By stationing the defense systems in outer space, the US was able to work around the United Nation’s Anti-Ballistic Treaty.
  • AIDS discovered

    AIDS discovered
    Event: On April 23, the U.S made its first official statement regarding AIDS. Margaret Heckler announced that AIDS did exist, yet science would prevail and she promised a remedy. Significance: AIDS killed thousands of people, but also put others in danger. Also, it was found very quickly that HIV/AIDS was prevalent in the gay community, so people blamed homosexuals for the disease, which would lead to more discrimination of homosexuals in the coming years.
  • Election of 1984

    Election of 1984
    (R) Ronald Reagan and VP George Bush: 54,455,472 popular votes and 525 EC votes
    (D) Walter Mondale and VP Geraldine Ferraro: 37,577,352 popular votes and 13 EC votes Significance: Reagan was helped by an economic recovery from the recession of 1981-1982 as well as his use of new media, such as paid-advertisement and news coverage. Walter Mondale selects Geraldine Ferraro as his Vice Presidential running mate, the first woman ever chosen for that position.
  • Challenger Space Shuttle explodes

    Challenger Space Shuttle explodes
    Event: NASA's Shuttle program began in the 1970s, to create reusable spacecrafts for transporting cargo into space. It was the first flight of a new program called Teachers In Space. 73 seconds into the mission, the Challenger exploded, killing the entire crew, including teacher Sharon McAuliffe. Signifcance: NASA designated a new safety board to oversea the shuttle program, and returned to a policy of putting former astronauts in NASA leadership positions.
  • "Read my lips: No new taxes"

    "Read my lips: No new taxes"
    Event: Bush Sr. Used this phrase in his acceptance speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention. His words were used against him by the then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton in a devastating attack during the 1992 presidential campaign. Significance: Once president, however, Bush agreed to raise several taxes as part of a 1990 budget agreement, due to a declining economy, increasing budget deficits, and the need to compromise with the Democratic controlled Congress.
  • Election of 1988

    Election of 1988
    (R) George Bush and VP J. Danforth Quayle: 48,886,597 PV 426 EC
    (D) Michael Dukakis and VP Lloyd Bentsen: 41,809,476 PV and 111 EC Significance: Bush capitalized on a stable economy, stable international relations, and Reagan’s popularity, which boosted the Republican image overall. Bush’s presidency was characterized by foreign policy issues. Military invasions were conducted in Panama and the Persian Gulf, the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and the USSR dissolved two year later.
  • Colin Powell is appointed Joint Chiefs of Staff

    Colin Powell is appointed Joint Chiefs of Staff
    Event: Powell served as National Security Advisor from 1987-1989, as Commander of the US Army Forces Command in 1989, and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989-1993 under President George Bush’s administration. Powell also served as the 65th united States Secretary of State from 2001-2005. Significance: Powell was the first and so far the only, African American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • Fall of The Berlin Wall

    Fall of The Berlin Wall
    Event: Since 1961, the Berlin wall had been blocking off West Berlin from East Germany and East Berlin. As Communism in the Soviet Union began to crumble, East German authorities felt obliged to open the Berlin border. Significance: Seeing the wall tumble essentially ended the long non-violent cold war. Also, the Soviet Union fell just two years after the wall fell, which showed the rest of the world that communism was going “out of style.”
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    Gulf War

    Event: In 1990, the UN waged war against Iraq. They sent troops to Kuwait to impede the Iraqi forces in an attempt to liberate Kuwait. Significance: This war marked the beginning of live news. Also, the war proved that the U.S. technology/military doctrine is a deadly force. Lastly, the Gulf War showed that the U.S. could enter in foreign affairs for selfish reasons yet fool other countries and its own citizens.
  • EU of today formed

    EU of today formed
    Event: European leaders in the late 1940s thought the only way to establish long term peace was to unite the belligerent nations-France and Germany. This idea expanded into the European Union in 1992. Significance: Europe taking large steps to maintain peace helps the U.S. as well. No war in Europe allows America to focus on domestic issues and policies.
  • L.A. Riots

    L.A. Riots
    Event: The verdict for the case involving the 1991 beating of Rodney King by four LAPD officers was announced on April 29, 1992, stating that one of the officers was found guilty of excessive force and the other three officers were cleared of all charges.After word spread, people in LA rioted for three days straight. Significance: It was the worst civil unrest LA had ever experienced in over 30 years. 50 were killed, 4000 injured, 1200 arrested, and $1 billion in property damage.
  • Planned Parenthood v. Casey

    Planned Parenthood v. Casey
    The Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act imposed several obligations on women seeking abortions and medical practitioners: Biased Counseling, 24 hour waiting period, Parental consent, Spousal notification, and Reporting requirements.
    5 votes for Planned Parenthood, 4 votes against. A woman’s right to an abortion, as announced in Roe v. Wade, is upheld, but a system of “undue burden” is created (husband notification failed). Significance: It is the current standard employed by the Court today
  • Election of 1992

    Election of 1992
    (R) George Bush and VP J. Danforth Quayle: 44,909,806 PV and 370 EC votes

    (D) William Clinton and VP Albert Gore Jr.: 39,104,550 PV and 168 EC votes Significance: Breaking his 1988 campaign pledge against raising taxes and the economic recession played a large role in Bush’s defeat, for he alienated much of his conservative base. It was the first time since 1968, with Nixon vs. Humphrey vs Wallace, that a candidate won the White House with under 50% of the popular vote.
  • “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

    “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
    Event: Clinton passed a federal law permitting closeted homosexuals to join the military, yet did not allow openly gay men or women to do so. Significance: Continued the discrimination against gays, which was already soaring due the blame that homosexuals received in regards to the AIDS epidemic. Also, this act started countless gay right’s riots and a decrease in popularity for President Clinton.
  • NAFTA goes into effect

    NAFTA goes into effect
    Event: The North American Free Trade Agreement created a trilateral “trade bloc” or free trade zone between Canada, Mexico, and America. NAFTA had two parts, the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation and the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation. Significance: NAFTA created the world’s largest free trading region and attempted to contend with the European Union.
  • Oklahoma city bombing

    Oklahoma city bombing
    Event: McVeigh and Nicholas bombed the P.Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. Killing 168 people and injuring close to 700, this was the largest terrorist attack at its time. Significance: The U.S. government passed legislation designed to increase the protection around federal buildings. Also, the terrorist attack spread the idea of public destruction to other radicals. In a five year span after the bombing, over 110 terrorist attacks were attempted.
  • Election of 1996

    Election of 1996
    (R) Robert Dole and VP Jack Kemp: 39,198,755 PV and 379 EC votes
    (D) William Clinton and VP Albert Gore Jr. : 47,400,125 PV and 159 EC votes Significance: Clinton benefited from a relatively stable economy and a recovering economy from the early 1990s recession. This election was the first time since FDR that a democrat was elected for a second full term in office.
  • The Lewinsky Scandal

    The Lewinsky Scandal
    Event: The Lewinsky Scandal was a political sex scandal that emerged from an affair between President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. The scandal made major news for months and caused the nation much debate. Some thought the President’s private life should be kept to himself, while others thought the man representing their country should be one of better ethics and morals. Significance: This event lead to the impeachment of President Clinton by the House of Representatives.
  • Iraq Liberation Act

    Iraq Liberation Act
    Event: The “Iraq Liberation Act” was passed in the US House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority. This Act stated that the US would spend money to support the overthrow of Saddam Hussein from power and “establish a program [to] support a transition to democracy in Iraq.” Significance: This Act was cited in 2002 to argue for the authorization of military force against the Iraqi government, which authorized the Iraq War.
  • No Child Left Behind Act

    No Child Left Behind Act
    Event: NCBL supports standard based education reform, states that setting high standards and establishing measurable goals will improve education. The Act requires states to develop assessments for certain grade levels if those states want to receive federal funding for schools Significance: Federal funding of education increased from $42.2 billion in 2001 to $54.4 billion in 2007. In President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address, he announced that NCLB will become more flexible.