Important Events during 1980-2001

  • Reagan Elected

    Ronald Reagan wins the presidency, crushing incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter in an electoral landslide. The Republican Reagan wins 44 states, compared to just six for Carter.
  • First Female Justice

    President Reagan appoints Sandra Day O'Connor, the first female justice, to the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • Assassination Attempt

    Ronald Reagan is shot by a deranged would-be assassin named John Hinckley, who hopes –bizarrely—that killing the president will win him the affections of Hollywood actress Jodie Foster. Reagan takes a bullet to the chest, the shell passing within one inch his heart, but goes on to make a speedy recovery.
  • Reagan Lowers Taxes

    Congress passes President Reagan's tax bill, slashing income tax rates by 25% across the board.
  • Recession

    The United States endures its worst economic recession since the Great Depression. For the first time since the 1930s, the American unemployment rate exceeds 10%. President Reagan's approval ratings fall to an all-time low of 35%.
  • Strategic Defense Initiative

    In a nationally televised address, President Reagan unveils his Strategic Defense Initiative, a proposal to build space-based lasers capable of shooting down incoming nuclear missiles. The press will later label the futuristic and expensive plan "Star Wars."
  • U.S. Invades Grenada

    The United States invades the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada, overthrowing the country's Marxist dictatorship.
  • Iran Labeled Terrorist Sponsor

    The United States officially brands Iran a state sponsor of terrorism.
  • Born in the U.S.A. Released

    Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band release Born in the U.S.A., which will become the best-selling record of Springsteen's career and one of the iconic musical productions of the Reagan Era.
  • 1984 Olympics

    The United States dominates the Summer Olympic Games, held in Los Angeles. Benefiting from a Soviet-bloc boycott of the games, American athletes win 83 gold medals—more than four times as many as the second-place Romanians. The Olympic exploits of legendary athletes like gymnast Mary Lou Retton, sprinter Carl Lewis, and diver Greg Louganis fuel a surge in flag-waving American patriotism.
  • Reagan Reelected in Historic Landslide

    Ronald Reagan wins a second term as president, defeating Democratic challenger Walter Mondale in another electoral landslide. Reagan wins 59% of the popular vote and every state but Mondale's home of Minnesota. One out of every four registered Democrats crosses party lines to vote for Reagan.
  • Challenger Disaster

    The space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after liftoff, killing all six astronauts and one civilian—elementary school teacher Christa McAuliffe—aboard.
  • Reykjavik Summit

    Meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, American President Ronald Reagan and Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev tentatively agree to a plan to destroy all the world's nuclear weapons. While the proposal will never be enacted, the mere agreement in principle to the idea of such radical arms reductions represents real progress in the Soviet-American relationship.
  • Reagan Denies

    President Reagan delivers a nationally televised speech to address the Iran arms-for-hostages scandal. "Our government has a firm policy not to capitulate to terrorist demands," he says. "We did not—repeat, did not—trade weapons or anything else for hostages, nor will we."
  • Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!

    President Reagan delivers a speech in Berlin, calling upon Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to dismantle the Berlin Wall and open the Eastern Bloc to greater freedoms. He famously stated, "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
  • Impacts of Cold War Defense Spending and the American Space Program

    the Cold War resulted in an increase in science and math education, the creation of a space program in the US, and advancements in weaponry. also, the spending included expanded businesses and employment opportunities, the growth of high-tech industries, and it led to new research and development.
  • Huble Telescope Launched

    The huble telescope was launched in 1990 and came back to earth in 2001.
  • Gulf War

    The Gulf War starts.
  • Gulf War

    Gulf War ends.
  • In Space

    Mae Jemison is the first african-american woman in space.
  • World Trade Center Attempt to be Destroyed

    Islamic extremists unsuccessfully attempt to destroy the World Trade Center towers in NYC.
  • Death of Nixon

    Richard Nixon dies at 81 of a stroke.
  • Oklahoma City Bombing

    Timothy McVeigh kills 168 people in the worse case of domestic terrorism to date in American history
  • Cloning

    Dolly the sheep is successfully cloned.
  • Clinton Impeached

    Bill Clinton becomes the 2nd President in American history to be impeached. He will eventually be found not guitly of all charges.
  • Election of 2000

    George Bush defeats Al Gore in a controversial presidential election to become the 43rd President of the United States.
  • Terrorist Attack in New York 9/11

    Islamic extremists successfully attempt to destroy the World Trade Center towers in NYC