Politics, Presidency and Society in the USA, 1968-2001

The Presidents

President Nixon  1968 - 1974

President Ford    1974 - 1977

President Carter   1977 - 1981

President Reagan   1981 - 1989

President Bush    1989 - 1993

President Clinton   1993 - 2001

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1968 Election


  • Humphrey - only candidate left and the party didnt fully support him
  • Bobby Kennedy - assassinated  - lost support for democrats because he empathised with poor people
  • Student riots in Chicago - chaos unleashed - people tired of student protests

Midde America

  • "Silent majority"


  • Desegregation
  • Vietnam War
  • Women's Movement

Felt students were getting away with behaviour. Wanted less government. Opposed 1960's radicalism and change.


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1968 Election


  • Taking too long - troops in lower classes, families not happy
  • Promised to end the draft
  • Tet Offensive - losing battle

"Peace with Honour" - withdraw from Vietnam quickly, replacing with Vietnamese troops

Southern Strategy

NIXON promised to slow down the pace of school desegregation in the South


  • Vice President
  • Looked good
  • A man with brains, capacity, energy and quality
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1972 Election

Middle America

  • Southern, West, Suburban, and Blue Collar Workers - shared dislike for liberal views - Wallace
  • Family Assisstance Plan (FAP)
  • Decrease bureaucracy
  • Make people work


  • Tried and failed to slow down desegregation
  • 1968 - 70%
  • 1972 - 8%
  • Busing opposed by over 80% - sought constitutional amendment against
  • Supressing Black Panthers - 28 killed in 1969 - whites delighted
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1972 Election

Law and Order

  • Nixon discredited protestors
  • Mishandling of protestors left many dead at hand of police
  • Violent approach was successful and favourable
  • Proved that justice would come to protestors
  • Dropped loans and scholarships for students who were convicted and secretly monitored disruptive groups
  • April 1970 - LSD in the White House - stopped

Rebellious Youth

  • Student protests - anti-war
  • Moratorium marches - Oct/Nov 1969
  • Kent and Jackson State - May 1970
  • Woodstock Rock - Aug 1969 - liberation and freedom vs anarchy
  • Nixon tried to talk to them - embarrassed himself, working class supported
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1972 Election


  • Vetoed 1971 Child Development act - too expensive, "Sovietise" family life
  • Opposed abortion
  • Traditional family values
  • Only 3.5% of his appointees were women
  • Wife publicly called for a female Supreme Court Judge - refused by Nixon


  • New Federalism - share federal revenue directly with states and decrease red tape
  • New Economic Policy - wage freeze, devalued the dollar, 75% approval rating, dumped phrase when he discovered Lenin had had an NEP, but not the policy, didn't help solve problems


  • Legislations on Endangered Species (1969), Clean Air (1970), Environment Protection Agency (1970), Coasts (1972)
  • "We have to bring parks to the people" - 80,000 acres into state hands, 642 parks
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1972 Election

Vice President

  • Spiro Agnew
  • Hard approach to "Radiclibs" - radicals/liberals
  • Attacked East Coast Liberals - "deserves the violent rebellion it encourages" - appealed to Middle America

Foreign Policy

  • Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) - First meaningful attempt to stop nuclear race
  • Relax tensions between USSR, USA and China
  • Vietnam - "Peace is at hand" Kissinger
  • Popular with public
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1972 Election


George McGovern

  • 3 A's - "Acid, Abortion, Amnesty"
  • Most left wing
  • Dumped runnng mate Eagleton - manic depression and electric shock treatment
  • Southern Governors refused to support him
  • Unions, traditionally democrats, also rejected him

Edmund Muskie - Dropped out May 1972 - front runner

George Wallace

  • Assassination attempt left him permanently disabled and out of race - Southern vote up for grabs

Edward Kennedy

  • Scandal - car went off bridge at Chappaquiddick, 29 year old passenger died July 1969
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17th June 1972, 5 burglars were caught inside the Democratic Party Offices - trying to place "bugging" devices and steal documents.

There is no direct evidence that Nixon knew about the break-in before it happened, but people working for him did.

Nixon misused his Presidential power to cover up the crime - big mistake.

Nixon tried to stop tapes being released - he even cut incriminating sections out - shocked Americans.

Many Americans felt let down by politicians, especially President - felt he had been too powerful.

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Results of Watergate

  • Freedom of Information Act - made it easier for people to obtain official documents and find out what the government are up to
  • Weakened the US abroad - when Ford took over, North Vietnamese used the confusion to invade South Vietnam, knowing the US wouldn't help
  • Congress and Presidents found it harder to get along

Nixon was always suspicious of people and paranoid. He was also obsessed with victory.

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Causes of Watergate

Nixon's Personality

  • Sense of inferiority
  • Suspicious of others
  • Resented liberal elites
  • Paranoid Abused by father
  • Stop leaks (lying to public)
  • Ambition


  • Obsessed with victory
  • Argue others did it
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Causes of Watergate

Imperial Presidency

  • President = power
  • Checks and Balances
  • Agencies - spies

CIA Trap Theory

  • Feared removal of power
  • Ex CIA (McCord, Hunt)
  • Show executive has too much power


  • Staff too keen
  • Liddy - initiative
  • Haldeman and Ehrlichman
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Turning Point?

Increased congressional control of the executive and its agencies.

Altered public perception of the Presidency

Aided Democratic party in the short term

Resulted in a revitalisation and resurgence of the Republican party

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Ford vs Congress

  • Congress had enacted several laws to prevent another Watergate (e.g. Budget Impoundment and Control Act 1971)
  • Pardon increased tension
  • Republican Congressmen blamed Ford pardoning Nixon for the loss of 43 house seats in 1974
  • Ford didn't have a clear sense of direction
  • Angola - CIA stopped by Congress
  • Cyprus - Ford backed Turkey, but Congress backed Greece

Ford vs Press

  • Turned against Ford after pardoning
  • Joked "Ford had played football once too often without a helmet"
  • Falling on ski slopes
  • Falling down plane ramp - "Bozo the Clown"
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Ford vs Republicans

  • Disliked Rockefeller (VP) - spendthrift, womaniser
  • Nixon pardon
  • Congressional mid-term elections
  • Criticism from the right-wing side of the party
  • Reagan challenge in 1976

Ford vs Women

  • No real efforts made to help
  • Emancipation of women was a myth
  • "Feminisation of poverty" - 66% of adults classed as poor
  • Equal Rights Amendment - Betty Ford - husband did nothing
  • ROE vs WADE - legalising abortion - "great, great decision"
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Ford vs Race

  • Some prgress was made. Key area for improvement was education
  • Desegregation of schools in the South was down from 68% to 8%
  • Trouble in Boston and busing ordered
  • Ford had no eral ideas or impact on these problems

Ford vs Economy

  • Confused attitude - wrote then vetoed a bill on striking
  • Aug 1974 - unemployment at 5.4%
  • Whip Inflation Now (WIN)

Foreign Policy

  • Helsinki Conference was a failure
  • Panama Canal
  • 1974: Visits Vladivstock in USSR - results in agreement with Strategic Arms Limitations
  • 1975: South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia all fall to Communist control
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1976 Election


  • Helsinki "betrayal"
  • Put himself forward as a candidate
  • Suggested Ford was a "caretaker" President
  • Right-wing - taking support away


  • Helsinki Conference
  • Failure of Vietnam War
  • Little foreign policy success


  • Pardoned Nixon - public unhappy
  • Media
  • Limiting Ford's actions
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1976 Election


  • Democrat majority
  • Limiting Ford's action - Cyprus, budget
  • Veto
  • Poor relations


  • High unemployment - 5.4%
  • No strong vision
  • Whip Inflation Now (WIN)
  • Oil prices increase - OPEC
  • Inflation
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1976 Election


  • Democrat
  • Strong vision
  • Peanut farmer - peanut brigade!
  • Clear policy - "Big problems"
  • "Outsider" - from "Main Street", not tainted by Washington
  • Helped by Ford's gaffes in debates
  • Tackle economy
  • Wins by 49.9% to Ford's 47.9%
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  • Vietnam and Watergate
  • Liberalism discredited
  • Crisises (energy, financial)
  • Majority in Congress but many viewed him as a "Southern hick"
  • Micromanaged (Tennis Courts/ Pens)

Domestic Policy

  • Blue collar workers disliked "reverse discrimination"
  • Department of Education as a position at cabinet level
  • Nuclear power
  • Department of Energy but legislation never ratified
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Economic Policy

  • Tried to decrease government expenditure
  • High taxes
  • Energy crisis - OPEC
  • Dollar in trouble on international markets
  • High unemployment (8.2 million in 1980)

Foreign Policy

  • Camp David agreement between Israel and Egypt
  • Voters didn't feel he was winning the Cold War
  • SALT 2 (no support in Congress)
  • Soviets invaded Afghanistan - Olympics boycotted
  • Panama Canal
  • Cuban Refugees
  • Iranian Crisis
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Social Policy

  • Two female Cabinet members (insisted at least one woman be considered for each cabinet post)
  • Supported ERA but left campaign to wife
  • Same policy regarding Cabinet places for black people


  • Black rioting and it was said they blamed him for not helping poor and unemployed


  • Environmental policies continue to be important especially
  • Carter obtained legislation to prevent chemicals from polluting the environment
  • Women's rights
  • Human rights
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1980 Election


  • Never got along with Carter - affected decisions, went against each other, didn't work to full potential


  • Carter couldn't manage on his own - Volcker, Congress didn't like his policies, no one had faith in his policies


  • Not everyone liked him - alienated traditional voters

Energy Crisis

  • People disliked him because he couldn't do anything - congress limitations
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1980 Election

Foreign Policy

  • Wasn't successful
  • Iran hostages
  • Didn't deal with it well


  • His brother gave him a bad reputation


  • He was more appealing than Carter
  • Better communicator
  • Work with Congress
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40th President


Hollywood actor

Trade Union Leader

Television star

Governor of California

Made a bid for the 1968 election, 1972 election and almost defeated Ford in 1976

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Reagan's First Term


  • Decreased taxes - encouraged America to work harder and buy more
  • Deregulation - reducing the size of central government
  • "Program for Economic Recovery" - supply side economics
  • Omnibus Reconciliation Act
  • Economic Recovery Tax

These changes can be seen as extraordinary for Reagan because the Democrats controlled the House of Representatives

  • GNP grew by 11%
  • Unemployment decreased by 7% and inflation by3.8%
  • Launched a huge peace time build up of armed forces - created huge federal budget deficit by mid 80's
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Reagan's First Term

Assassination Attempt

  • 30th March 1981 - shot by gunman John Hinckley Jr.
  • Released from hospital 11th April - first President to survive an assassination attempt
  • Approval rating went up to 73% following the incident

New Federalism

  • April 1981 - Presidential Advisory Committee of Federalism and Coordinating Task Force on Federalism
  • 1982 - money given to states by federal government in blocks - NOT passed by Congress

Federal Judicial System

  • Appointed 290 district and appeal court judges.
  • Successfully nominated 3 conservative justices - 1st woman Sandra Day O'connor
  • 1987 - failed twice to get his nominee accepted
  • Court didn't go far enough to the right for his liking
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Reagan's First Term

Military Aggression

  • Tensions increase between USSR and USA
  • Patriotic and aggressive foreign policy
  • Soviet Union = "evil empire"
  • $550 billion a year spent on conventional and nuclear weapons

1982 - Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START)

  • Failed to produce agreements betweeen USSR and USA
  • 1983 - Strategic Defence Initiative (Star Wars) - anti-ballistic missile system, let USSR's weapons useless and weak
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Reagan's First Term

Social Policy

  • Republicans concerned by growth of "a dependent underclass"
  • Wished to cut federal programmes


  • Medicare
  • Medicaid - 21.6 million people recieved
  • AFDC - 3.7 million
  • Food stamps - 20 million
  • 20% of African Americans participated

Omnibus Reconciliation Act 1981

  • Cut AFDC and food stamps by 13%
  • Child nutrition cut by 28%, Medicaid cut by 5%
  • Number of "poor" increased to 15%
  • Tried to decrease unemployed
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1984 Election


  • Many people, even those who didn't like his policies, liked him
  • Assassination attempt
  • Witty quips
  • TV appearences - homespun
  • Represented D-Day - pride
  • Economic upturn
  • Family values
  • Strong on defence

1984 Olympics

  • Popular
  • Made profit
  • Gave people a feel good factor
  • Won most of the medals
  • America's "winning"
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1984 Election

Family Values

  • Traditional values
  • Better future
  • "Morning again in America"
  • Mondale's female running partner, Ferraro - supported abortion although she was Catholic

$7.2 Million

  • Reagan had raised $7.2 million for his campaign
  • Mondale had only raised $657,000
  • Far superior to Democrats - saturated media
  • Big businesses
  • Religious right

Religious Right

  • Election promises appealed - "born again", prayer in school
  • Won 72% of Southern white vote, 1982+ 5 million votes registered
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1984 Election

Strong on Defence

  • Wanted better relations with USSR - improved relations = happier, Star Wars
  • Greneda - communism
  • Strengthened US defence and stood up to communism
  • Increased spending on ammunitions
  • Pride

Avoided Press

  • Said he was too old (73) - "my opponent's youth and inexperience"
  • Aides kept him away to avoid and prevent gaffes - roared helicopter engines

Economic Upturn

  • Lower taxes, inflation low, rising employment
  • Strong dollar, deficit - popular
  • Raising taxes - joked about Mondale taxing his patience
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1984-1988 Success to Failure?


  • "Lame duck" President
  • No large scale move towards right
  • Budget quickly got stuck in Capitol Hill
  • Failed to obtain congressional approval for aid to Contras in Nicaragua
  • Iran Crisis
  • Congress took control on money - deficit climbing
  • Meese, Baker and Denver worked well together in 1st term, but they split up in 2nd term, and problems with people were presented - 2nd term, Donald Regan took over, but lacked political experience


  • Considered current tax coding complex, unfair and full of loop holes
  • Reform seemed impossible - feared would lead to tax increase
  • Some Republicans were horrified at Reagan's bill, others felt it would bring new voters
  • Impressive oint effort from executive and legislative branches
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1984-1988 Success to Failure?

Foreign Policy

Iran Contra Affair

  • Covertly shipped arms in attempt to get hostages
  • Oliver North, Nicaragua
  • Many Americans were shocked - Iran = enemy, Congress didn't know
  • Triggered uproar in Congress/Media
  • Highly critical
  • Tower commission criticised Reagan's delegatory management style
  • His actions achieved little

America-Soviet Relations

  • "Evil empire"
  • Phase was "another time, another era"
  • INF Affair - May '88 Reagan pays a trip to Moscow to meet Gorbachev. Nuclear arms reduction treaty , weak foreign policy management
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1984-1988 Success to Failure?

Supreme Court - Bork Nomination

  • Need a conservative Supreme Court
  • Bork, if accepted, may help to swing Supreme Court - hated by libs, NOW and NAACP
  • Nomination failed in 1987
  • He did select many conservative judges
  • Reaganised the judicary - helped him impose his agenda

Women's Rights

  • Divorce increased
  • Increased social conservatism
  • Federal funding to pro-abortion programmes denied
  • Defeat of 1982 Equal Rights Amendment
  • Women's lib reduced during 1980's
  • Sandra Day O'connor
  • Women only earned 62% of mens earnings in 1980, 72% in 1990
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1984-1988 Success to Failure?

Supreme Court Decisions

  • BOWEN vs KENDRICK - no funding to pro-choice programmes
  • GROVE CITY vs BELL - anti-discriminant laws
  • Upheld a Georgia law that criminalised ****** and 24 other states and Washington DC
  • Conservative rulings

Rights of Minorites

  • Does very little to remove ghettos
  • 7 black judges
  • Jesse Jackson
  • Japanses Redress act
  • Oprah - successful TV show
  • MLK Day - 3rd Monday in January
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1984-1988 Success to Failure?

Not a lot was happening with Reaganomics - not seeing changes in class

Increased spending for military

Congress - success

Tax reform - success

ICA - success for him

ASR - success

Bork - fail but success in other places

Women - failure

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1988 Election

Gary Hart

  • The Monkey Business - National Enquire published a photo of him with a female model sitting on his knee on his yacht (not his wife)


  • Federal budget deficit of $2.7 billion
  • Bush was willing to continue with Reaganomics
  • Felt Reagan had done well
  • "Reagan had a closed door policy for eight years. You couldn't get an audience with him" - Jesse Jackson
  • Bush's inaugral address was deemed critical of Reagan years
  • Had Reagan's endorsement
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1988 Election


  • Liberal Governor of Massachusetts
  • Running mate Lloyd Bentsen
  • Suffered from mental illness - "I'm not going to pick on an invalid" Reagan
  • Dukakis in the tank, Revolving Door
  • Initially led Bush in the polls
  • Vetoed a bill compelling public school teachers to lead the Pledge of Allegence every day - left hand liberalist
  • Signed official leave for convicted criminals (weekend furlough) - Massachussettes murdered Willie Horton perpetraed a **** while on furlough, played on racism (Horton was black)
  • Unemotional response about his wife being ****d
  • Kitty Dukakis (Wife) burned an American flag
  • Concentrated on State business, didn't campaign until late - not always enthusiastic about running, came across as aloof - voters unimpressed by lack of emotion and without a clear programme
  • 45.6% of vote
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1988 Election


  • Dan Quayle as running mate - young and attractive, used family influence to avoid draft in Vietnam, figure of fun in Senate - abysmal attendence record, read a speech that had nothing to do with the topic being debated
  • "Read my lips, no new taxes" - later brought new taxes in
  • Stood up by running mate - perhaps wanted to make sure his vice president wouldn't upstage him, Quayle's conservative championing of "family values" would help to get religious right
  • Republicans raised far more money for campaign
  • George Jr. had kicked a serious drinking habit 2 years before ("it was goodbye Jack Daniels, hello Jesus") - helped father relate to religious right
  • Kept "out the loop" on Iran Contra Affair
  • "Hit the ground crawling"
  • Not good on TV like Reagan
  • 53.4% of vote
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First Impressions

Seen as successful in the first 18 months

  • Cold War was ending
  • "make kinder the face of the nation" (help poorer people)
  • Claimed to be the "environment President" and wanted to improve education#


  •  "hit the ground crawling"
  • Congress had no clear idea of his foreign and domestic policies
  • Federal budget deficit was $2.7 trillion and interest on it was $2 billion per annum
  • Bush lacked Reagan's skills in front of the camera
  • Bush staff seemed to lack the awareness of the Reagan staff of the importance of television in politics
  • Bush staff didn't test and monitor potential appointees
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Bush vs Congress

  • Bush rejected the idea that federal government should ever bail out the savings and loans industry
  • John Tower as secretary of defense - rejected nomination because of affection for alcohol
  • "Read my lips, no new taxes" - described as "deja voodoo". By 1990, Bush aggreed with Congress that there had to be higher taxes
  • HEADSTART - federal government programme to help economicallt disadvantaged pre-schoolers, providing education, health, social and other services
  • Disabilites Act - protect disabled workers
  • Minimum Wage Law (1989) - compromise
  • Vetoed family and medical leave acts and a civil rights bill. 1/4 bills were on making abortion easier
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Benefit Education and Environment?

  • Earned praise for administrations clean up operations
  • Clean Air Act 1990 - reduce smog and harmful emissions and try to control "acid rain"
  • Protected or extended parks and wildlife refuges
  • Administration backed off on clan ups of toxic waste dumps when California and New York voters defeated the tax initiative to pay for clean ups
  • Administration rejected idea of "Greenhouse Gases" - Bush believed and acknowledged it
  • Test vigorously 4th and 8th grades (9 and 13 yr olds) and set out detailed core subjects
  • Bush wanted vouchers to help children go to private schools - liberals disliked
  • Bush didn't want to spend on education
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Conservative America

  • TEXAS vs JOHNSON - protected protestors who burned American flag under First Amendment - Bush denounced and called for a constitutional amendment against flag burning
  • WEBSTER vs REPRODUCTIVE SERVICES OF MISSOURI - ruled that states could deny women access to public abortion facilities - Conservatives hoped that many states would follow this Missouri example, but only 3 did so
  • Bush admnistration declared support for an anti-abortion constitutional amendment - no Democrat congress would agree to that
  • Both nation and parties were divided on abortion
  • Replaced Thurgood Marshall (African American Supreme Court Judge) with Clarence Thomas (African American) - anyone who criticised or rejected him would be open to charged of racism - Anita Hill testified that Thomas liked pornographic mivies, discussed his sexual prowess with female aides and had sexually harrassed her - subjected to brutal cross-examination 
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Conservative America?

  • Feminist movement had gone quiet - Betty Riedan had abandoned NOW, criticising it as anti-male, anti-family, anti-feminine and preoccupied with gay and lesbian issues - Hill's ordeal mobilised women on the issue of sexual harrassment
  • Acceleration in gay rights activism - ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) demanded more research into AIDS and equal rights - $2 billion from Congress for research by 1992, more than was soent in cancer, which killed 22 times as many people
  • Gave several billion dollars to Drug Enforcement Agency which worked on employee drug testing, increased border controls and subsidising police in other countries - 1989, 375,000 were born addicted to cocaine/heroin - as unsuccessful as Reagan administration on concentrating upon law enforcement - massive public relations blunder, showed crack that had been bought for his speech, not confiscated by police
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Bush vs Race

  • Despite curbing college aid to black students, Bush was remarkably popular amongst middle-class blacks - high profile appointments, astute symbolic gestures, such as celebrating Christmas at a black church
  • Did nothing to help working-class ghetto inhabitants
  • Blacks resented Latinos and Asian Americans as job competitors and the predominantly white police force as racist
  • Acyte racial tensions were illustrated by the Rodney King case - 4 white policemen beat him up. Police were charged but put on trial in white, conservative Simi Valley - found not guilty, Los Angeles blacks rioted, looted and burned. 55 people died, 2300 injured, $1 billion worth of property damaged. This prompted rioting in other places.
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Foreign Policy

  • Coincided with end of Cold War
  • "Operation Just Cause" - landing 27,000 marines in Panama. They were ordered to seize the strategically vital Panama Canal, protect US citizens and stop the drug traffic. Noriega (General Manuel Noriega, Dictator) surrendered.

Saddam Hussein sent 100,000 troops into tiny neighbouring Kuwait

  • Motives for Bush - if aggression went unpunished, it might continue. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were allies of US, credibility at stake
  • Hussein talked frequently of organising a holy war against US ally, Israel
  • Hussein had used chemical weapons against Kurdish minority and was rumoured to be developing nuclear weapons
  • If Hussein kept Kuwait, he would control a 1/4 of the world's current oil supplies - could determine the price of oil
  • "Operation Desert Storm" - liberated Kuwait by Feb 1991, only 136 Americans died - most friendly fire
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Foreign Policy

  • Not finishing the job - closest advisers wanted to finish the war asap.
  • Pressure on Bush to "finish the job".
  •  Retreating Iraqi troops set fire to 650 Kuwait oil wells (took 9 months to extinguish).
  • Bush feared involvement in an Iraqi Civil War and didn't want to weaken Iraq to the advantage of Iran, so he stood by as Hussein massacred his oppoinents.
  • Bush's popularity temporarily sky rocketed - "By God, we've kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all"
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  • Major economic downturn
  • Began in July 1990 and lasted until 1992
  • AT & T fired 100,000 workers, General Motors 74,000, Pan Am and Eastern Airlines collapsed, losing 48,000 workers.
  • By 1992, the economy had lost 2 million jobs
  • 19 states were technically in a depression
  • Much of this was to do with the legacy of the Reagan years - the massive federal deficit, the savings and loan bailout (cost tax payers billions), the ever-increasing trade imbalance and the lack of an industrial policy
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1992 Election

Ross Perot

  • 19% of vote
  • Financed campaign by himself - millionaire
  • Criticised President, Congress and political parties


  • Bush - Clarence Thomas - *****
  • Pro-choice
  • Clinton was attractive


  • Bush came across as childish - Clinton and Al Gore bozos
  • Clinton had charm
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1992 Election

Poor Republican Campaign

  • Mainly ran on foreign policy - people weren't interested
  • "Wimp" by press - didn't like him, hadn't let go of the Rodney King incident

Clinton and the Media

  • Joked about his abysmal convention speech
  • "The Man from Hope" - rise from poverty and message of hope
  • Comeback kid "Slick Willie"
  • Womanising
  • Hurricane Andrew - compassion
  • "Baby Boomer"
  • Went back to Arkansas to see through death penalty - tough on crime


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1992 Election

Problems in Administration

  • Lost key staff - ill - White House healthy environment?
  • Own party feels he's gone soft
  • Pat Buchanan - spoke for new right - challenged republican nomination

Clinton's Agenda

  • The Third Way - reducing government and welfare reforms - "New Democrat"
  • Shift to the left
  • Al Gore also Southerner - better on environment and strong on family values
  • "It's the economy stupid"


  • Huge federal deficit, 19 states technically in depression, recession, new taxes, companies going bust, shut down military bases
  • NAFTA - easier to trade with Mexico and Canada - seen to threaten American companies
  • Vetoed a bill that would have helped the unemployed
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Clinton's First Term



  • Budget deficit would be greater than expected  had to delay many programmes and continue Bush's "caps"
  • Raising taxes on high earners and corporations

The Congress

  • Republicans didn't grant Clinton traditional President honeymoon. Quickly made it clear that they would be unhelpful over the budget.
  • Clinton admitted he could have made more effort to improve relations with Republican leaders, Senator Bob Dole and Congressman Bob Michel

The Conclusion

  • Clinton looked weak - struggled to get budget through.
  • Abandoned new energy tax
  • Felt Clinton had "no core values"]
  • Cut taxes for 15 million poorer families
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Clinton's First Term

Health Insurance

The Idea

  • Allowed First Lady to work on health
  • Universal coverage - employers required to provide health cover

The Problems

  • Workers and companies paid out billions in private medical insurance
  • 35 mill had no medical insurance, 20 mill had inadequate coverage
  • Small businesses and Republicans hated Hillary's idea
  • Bill was "impossibly complicated" - Task force should have just produced generalisations, pass bill onto specialists
  • Would have been better to give health care tax credits

The Result

  • Dole was willing to compromise, however Hillary wasn't - increased Republican opposition
  • Clinton said he would veto any bill that didn't cover universal coverage
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Clinton's First Term

Welfare Reform

The Idea

  • African Americans liked him. Most voters resented welfare costs.
  • Suggested bill ended ADFC - 1 million children might be without food or shelter.

The Welfare Reform Act

  • Denied benefits to immigrants who were not yet citizens
  • Limited eligibility for Medicaid and Food Stamps for those who didn't find work
  • Eliminated life time guarantee of government support to poor mothers


Some felt it worked well, others such as old Democrats didn't.

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Clinton's First Term

Congress and mid-term elections

Why did the Republicans do so well?

  • Health insurance fiasco
  • Took over House of Representatives and Senate - first time in 40 years
  • Disillusionment with Clinton - seemed to be an old Democrat - concentrated upon gays in the military instead of middle-class concerns
  • Middle class voters opted for conservative Republicans

Relationship with Congress

  • Learned to dominate Republicans in budget negotiations
  • 1995 - Republicans refused to compromise on budget, Clinton twice shut down federal government because of lack of funds
  • Americans opposed cuts on social programmes
  • Republicans obstructing
  • Easier to stop change than create it
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Clinton's First Term


  • 5% of total population
  • Allowed to join military - upset JCS and veterans
  • "Don't ask, don't tell" compromise - pleased no one


  • Quickly signed off executive orders reversing Bush's policies
  • Majority of Americans were pro-choice - extremism flourished


  • Media tended to trivialise his administration from the outset, despite his admirable work
  • Disorganisation in the White House
  • First Lady increased hostility
  • WHY - Press liked wielding power, Clinton tried to manipulate them
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Clinton's First Term

Law and order


  • American TV and films glorified violence
  • Drug lords and gangs engaged in ritualised violence and warfare in ghettos
  • Middle class youths bought guns for protection

Action Taken

  • Criticised National Rifle Association
  • Sales of guns to juveniles prohibited
  • 100,000 extra police officers recruited
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Summary of Clinton's First Term


  • Budget negotiation
  • Republican legislation -veto
  • Family and Medical leave act
  • Restoration of abortions in federally funded clinics
  • 2 successful nominations to Supreme Court
  • Limited restrictions on sale of weapons


  • Rise of the right
  • Use of media by Democrats
  • Newt Gingrich - Contract with America
  • Whitewater - property deals by the Clinton's in Arkansas
  • Welfare Reform Bill
  • Don't ask, don't tell
  • Mid-terms '94
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Clinton's Second Term

Monica Lewinsky

  • 1995 - 21 years old
  • Met privately 10 times in the White House between Nov 1995 and Dec 1997
  • 9 of those - oral sex upon the President
  • He inserted a cigar into her vagina
  • Small private study off the Oval Office - or windowless hall way outside study
  • 15 times for *********
  • Jones' case thrown out for lack of evidence - sued Clinton for sexual harassment committed in 1991 - claimed she could identify the President's genitals, caused controversy and media speculation
  • Sept 1997 -Linda Tripp began recording conversations with Lewinsky about the affair
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Clinton's Second Term


  • DENIAL - 26th Jan - "I did not have sexual relations with that woman...". Hillary supported her husband. DNA tested a semen-stained navy blue dress - found to be Clinton's.
  • CONFESSION - 17th Aug - Admitted to inappropriate relationship. TV apology was neither heart felt nor emotional, combative rather than contrite.
  • IMPEACHMENT - Starr sent a report to House of Representatives about Clinton's sex life, (not Whitewater which he was meant to be investigating) - charged President with perjury, lying under oath and obstruction of justice. Press highly critical - but job approval ratings very high.
  • House of Representatives voted to proceed with impeachment inquiry (Oct 1998)
  • 12th February 1999, Senate rejected perjury charge 55 votes to 45, with 10 Republicans joining the 45 Democrats
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Clinton's Second Term

Impact on Domestic Affairs

  • 60% of Americans disapproved of his personal conduct
  • Clinton's job approval rating s were exceptionally high during the scandal - more liberal public attitudes
  • 2 explanations for the contrast in opinions - public could no longer be shocked by anything that politicians did, "Baby boomer generation" - other suggestions - public decided Clinton was getting a raw deal, didn't like Starr, US economy booming
  • Both parties remained confrontational and partisan - Republicans felt Presidency had been damaged, Congress would be more careful.
  • Democrats rallied to him during Monicagate - nearly rebelled against him a few weeks before
  • Bombings - Osama bin Laden - Pharmaceuticals factory in Sudan and on a guerrilla camp in Afghanistan (3 days after grand jury testimony) - attempt to direct attention away from Monicagate?
  • When Clinton was about to be impeached, futile aerial bombardment of Iraq - Hussein continued to deny UN inspectors access to suspected weapon sites
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Clinton's Second Term

Foreign Policy

Peacemaker - tried to solve disputes in Yugoslavia, Middle East, Africa and Northern Ireland - helped bring about ceasefire in Northern Ireland.

Trade - Believed classical theory of free trade - lower tariffs, lower prices, more exports and a stronger American economy. Problem - unionised workers that opposed free trade and usually voted Democrat.


  • Concerned about militantly anit-Western Muslims, many from Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
  • Feb 1993 - World Trade Centre bomb, 6 people died, 1000 injured.
  • Al Qaeda - Osama bin Laden hated America - Feb 1998, declared a jihad (holy war) - every Muslim's duty to kill Americans and their allies
  • Attempt to bomb LA airport on New Year's Eve 1999 was thwarted by the FBI
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Clinton's Second Term


  • 9/11 - scrutiny of and disagreement over the way in which Clinton handled the terrorist threat - Clinton paid too little attention to terrorism - responsible?
  • Disagreements as to whether Clinton was at fault or not - should have forseen?
  • Anti-Western feeling had a long history in the Middle-East - Clinton hadn't done anything to increase it, Yugoslavia - been on the behalf of persecuted Muslims
  • US traditionally an open nation - easy to enter - easy for terrorists to attack from the inside
  • Government agenices failed to get along with each other and Clinton
  • When terrorist threat incresed, Clinton was occupied with Monicagate

Moral Failures

  • Clinton didn't always tell the truth
  • Vunerable when faced with sycophants, fundraisers and favour-seekers
  • Pardoned 177 on his last night in office - worst was Marc Rich, on FBI's 10 most wanted list
  • First of the baby boomer Presidents - bit bored and "unlucky" - needed the thrill
  • Damaged and cheapened the Presidency
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Clinton's Second Term


  • Talents had been squandered, opportunities wasted
  •  Help less wealthy
  • Tamed Republican Congress
  • Huge budget surpluses
  • Environment - more awareness and small gains
  • Economic prosperity
  • Management of Congress
  • Raising funding for HEADSTART from $2.8 billion in 1993 to $6.3 billion in 2000
  • Middle class incomes increased by 35%
  • Made public sector activism acceptable once more
  • Americorps - new form of national service
  • Defeated Newt Gingrich
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Sport is GOOD

  • Reflected all that was good about the US and the "American Way"
  • Characterised by the capacity for hard work, equal opportunities for advancement and frequent success.
  • Team games and team spirit correlated with good citizenship, and all sport strengthened character

Sport is BAD

  • Excesive greed, commercialisation, violence, drug abuse and cheating
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  • Sport was shaped by an American society that was increasingly commercialised
  • One of the clearest signs that sport was all about money was an acceleration of the trends wherby teams dumped their supporters and traditional homes and moved to another city to earn more money, as with the Oakland Raiders
  • Corporate America wanted to exploit successful athletes
  • Money caused problems with loyalties, as in the 1992 "shoe war" between Reebok, the official Barcelona Olympic Games sponsor, and Nike, whose stars such as Jordan refused to wear the official Olympic Logo because it advertised Reebok
  • Sporting "tradition" was damaged by increasing violence in the 1970's
  • From 1965 to 1975, the national violent crime rate doubled, and disorderly conduct by fans increased simultaneously
  • In 1995-6, over 200 athletes, mostly football and basketball players, were arrested for sexually or physically abusing women - Mike Tyson was jailed in 1992 for 3 years for ****** an 18-year old female beauty contestant in Indiana, and boasted that "the best punch I ever threw" was in the face of his wife
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  • Sport often had a negative impact on society, for example, with repeated drugs and cheating scandals
  • It was estimated that 1/3 of the 1968 US Olympic team used steroids. By 1972, it was around 68%. By 1988, some thought it was more like 99%. Sport's governing bodies were reluctant to crack down -~Carl Lewis tested positive 3 times at the1988 US Olympic trials but was let off when he claimed it was accidental use
  • Sports reflacted national life again, when in the 1980's, there was greatly increased recreational drug use
  • In a court case of a cocaine trafficker, it was estimated that nearly half of major-league baseball players used cocaine in 1980.
  • However in the Reagan era "war on drugs", the sport authorities cracked down hard and quite successfully on recreational drug use
  • The rise in ivestigative journalism during the 1970's led to much exposure of corruption and violence in sport
  • In 1980 University of New Mexico coaches were found tampering with athletes' test scripts
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Sport and Race Relations

  • Some Southern college teams still resisted black membership - out of 2236 athletics scholarships given in Southeastern universities, only 11 were awarded to black athletes
  • University of Kentucky - basketball team was all white until 1970
  • Even Michigan University in North had disparities - few black coaches, athletic councillors or cheerleaders
  • Reliant on white-funded sport scholarships
  • Muhammad Ali - member of Nation of Islam, stripped of world heavyweight title in 1967 for refusing to fight in Vietnam
  • Harry Edwards - mobilised students across the US, successfully organising a boycott of the 100th Anniversary Games of the New York Amateur Athletic Club, which refused equal access to blacks and Jews.
  • 1968 Olympics - Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the gold and bronze medal winners in the 200m, both raised a black-gloved fist when "The Star-Spangled Banner" was played as they stood on the podium - thrown out of Mexico City and the US team
  • O.J Simpson denounced Smith and Carlos - "It's the material things that count"
  • The desire to win made many Southern schools integrate their football and basketball teams in the late 1960's and early 1970's
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Sport and Race Relations

  • O.J Simpson, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan made a fortune by advertising products
  • In 1992, Jordan earned over $21 million from endorsements, appearence fees and royalties
  • Several wealthy black athletes dominated their sport in the 1990's - Williams sisters and Tiger Woods
  • As late as 1991, the golf club where the PGA was played had no black members
  • Black athletes dominated team sports in th 1980's - 63% of top football players, 33% of baseball players and 75% of basketball players
  • The belief that blacks could not cope with the "thinking" positions persisted. By 1999, there had been only 9 black managers and two general managers in MLB
  • The successful black athletes had become an unproductive stereotype
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Women and Sport

  • There was a long tradition that said that women belonged in the home not in sport, and that a competitive woman was not feminine
  • At college level, most women's sports were not competitive up to the 1960's, but 1969 saw thr first national championship for women students
  • in 1967, a sole woman entered the Boston Marathon, having registered for it without giving her first name. (Women were not allowed to enter any race longer than 2.5 miles) The marathon referee tried to throw her out, but her boyfriend and his friends formed a protective circle around her, enabling her to finish the race.
  • "Battle of the Sexes" 1973 -  Tennis - Billie Jean King won Wimbledon three times (1966-8), but she earned far less than male competitors. The nation was riveted by the "Battle of the Sexes" between Mrs King and Bobby Riggs.  Riggs declared that women were naturally inferior to men, and that female tennis players were overpaid. King repeatedly rejected his challenges to play a match, but world No. 1 Margaret Court accepted, and was thrashed 6-2, 6-1. Riggs taunted King until she accepted his challenge. King beat Riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, which at least proved that women could win under pressure
  • The leading athletic universities gave 5000 football scholarships to males in 1971, but only 50 in all sports to women.
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What Affects Sport?

Society had an impact on sport, not only through contemporary financial, racial and gender preoccupations, but also through foreign policy concerns.

During the Cold War, the US was desperate to beat the USSR in sport.

The Olympics were for the most part the only time that American and Soviet athletes could compete against each other, so during the Olympics, sport was closely associated with partiotism.

When the US defeated the highly fancied Soviet ice hockey team at the 1980 Winter Olympics in New York, it was "as if the nation had been given a great present" (New York Times)

However, Cold War rivalry could aslo hurt sport. In 1980 President Carter orchestrated the US boycott of the 1980 summer games in Moscow, in protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

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AIDS and the Gay Community

In 1991, the news broke that Los Angeles Lakers footballer Magic Johnson had tested positive for HIV after unprotected sex with multiple partners. Over 100 newspapers covered the story, depicting him as a "modern-day hero" for speaking out.  ("I confess," said the hero, "that after I arrived in LA in 1979,  I did my best to accommodate as many women as I could - most of them through unprotected sex".)

Lesbian tennis star Martina Navratilova complained that if a female athlete had confessed to such heroic athleticism in the bedroom, she would have been pilloried. Perhaps sports fans were simply homophobic and glad that Johnson was not gay.

Olympic diving gold medallist Greg Louganis had announced that he was gay in 1994. In 1995 he announced he had AIDS. This changed opinions of him.

While individuals such as these reflected the increase in numbers in cases of AIDS, tolerance of gays in sport did not reflect increasing tolerance of gays in the community.

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  • In 2000, 29 million of the total US population of 281 million were foreign born.
  • Over 28 million immigrants had arrived in the US between 1970 and 2000, by which date there was considerable tension about this influx
  • 1/4 of the legal arrivals during these years came from Mexico alone. In 2000, Latinos or Hispanic Americans overtook African Americans as the nation's largest ethnic minority.
  • The number of Asian Americans had been tiny in 1970, but they constituted 4% of the population by 2000, in which year, over half of Calinfornia's population was Asian American, Latino or African American.
  • Some Americans opposed this large-scale immigration.
  • African Americans complained that low-wage immigrants were taking their jobs, while labour leaders said immigrants who accepted low pay drove down overall wage levels and increased poverty and income inequality in the United States.
  • Opponents of immigration claimed that many immigrants worked for cash and paid no taxes, and that those on welfare roles were a burden to US tax payers.
  • They overcrowded US hospitals and classrooms, and some failed to acculturate because they frequently returned to their homelands, lived in ethnic enclaves and continued to only hear their native tongue.
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  • Some Americans welcomed the immigrants, pointing out that the US had always been a nation of immigrants and that they took jobs vital to the US service-based economy, which other Americans would not do for such low wages.
  • Most immigrants were hard working and productive, and ambitious immigrants had energised the economy throughout American history.
  • There was considerable sympathy for immigrants amongst liberals and recent immigrants, who claimed that these new entrants were just as eager to be acculturated as previous immigrants
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African Americans in 2000

  • By 2000, blacks were quite well represented in politics, government bureaucracies, police departments and the unions, and fully integrated in the armed forces.
  • Affirmative action was solidly entrenched in major companies and universities - 12% of college students were black, a figure close to their percentage of the US population
  • The average black household income in 2000 was $30,400 compared to $24,000 in 1990. It had risen to 69% that of the average white household
  • Half of America's black population lived in neighbourhoods that were 50% or more white, while interracial marriages were increasing.
  • In 2000, there were over 350,000 black/white married couples, which was a 70% increase over 1990.
  • The number of black/whites cohabiting was estimated to be even higher.
  • These statistics suggested an increasingly integrated society
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African Americans in 2000

  • Black poverty and unemployment rates were twice those of whites.
  • 2/3 of black children had been on the welfare rolls by the the age of 18 years, and conservatives accused the cycle of dependency
  • Since California had taken the lead in 1994, a backlash was eroding affirmative action programmes.
  • Despite the substantial black middle class, 9% of the overall black population in 2000 lived in overcrowded and impoverished central city ghettos.
  • Black life expecting in 2000 was lower than that of whites (71. compared to 77.44 years);
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African Americans in 2000

  • In 2000, 12% of black males aged 20-34 were in jail compared to only 1.2% of similarly aged white men.
  • African Americans only constituted to 12.3% of the population, yet 46% of prisoners (36% white and 17.6% Hispanics)
  • Justice Department estimated that 28% of black men would serve time during their lifetime
  • Minorities and white liberals interpreted the statistics as proof of racism and police oppression
  • During the 1990's, lawyers came out with the "critical race" theory, which claimed that white racism ensured that balcks remained chronically disadvantaged and therefore justified black lawbreaking.
  • Conservative Americans believed the statistics confirmed that blacks, and to a lesser extent Hispanics, were more prone to criminal behaviour than whites
  • Many black ghetto dwellers turned to crime, drugs and gang turf wars because their poor education gave them few economic opportunities
  • 1988 was the peak for desegregation - 43% of black students in the South attended public schools that were over 50% white - dropped to 30% by 2000
  • Segregated schools were more common in Northern and Midwestern ghettos
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Other Ethnic Minorities

  • In 2000, Hispanics constitutedthe nation's largest minority. Over 14 millions of them were Mexican Americans living in the Southwest.  Both LA and Miami were 1/3 Hispanic.
  • 1/3 of Puerto Ricans and 1/5 of Mexican Americans lived below the poverty line.
  • Hispanics were slowly increasing their political participation.
  • They married outside their ethnic group more often than blacks, and their relations with the whites were less strained.
  • Long established Chinese and Japanese communities, there were newer immigrant groups of Asian Americans from places such as Korea, Vietnam and the Indian subcontinent - average Asian American income remained above the national average.
  • 2.5 million (1% pop) Native Americans in 2000.
  • Income was only 1/2 of the national average in 2000
  • Native Americans still suffered high rates of disease, poverty and alcoholism in 2000
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Minorities and Education

  • Previously disadvantaged groups wanted their cultures taught, understood and valued more, so they demanded the adjustment of education to reflect their increased power and assertiveness.
  • In cities such as Miami and LA, Hispanics called for bilingualism. In 1996, the Oakland city school board temporarily ordered for the teaching of ebonics, but after a national outcry and a great deal of mockery, this ceased.
  • By 2000, most colleges had well-established African Amerian studies programmes. Latinos were beginning to make similar progress.
  • Some courses had become dominated by the underprivileged, whether American or foreign.
  • 1988, Stanford University dropped a compulsory core course on Western culture, conservatives were in uproar, while the Stanford faculty rejoiced at the "birth of multiculturalism" in their curriculum.
  • There was even greater uproar in 1994-5, over proposed national standards in teaching American history.
  • The standards emphasised the importance of evils such as slavery, the Ku Klux Klan and McCarthyism, and conservatives felt there was insufficient emphasis on great patriots such as the Founding Fathers.
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Women in 2000

  • In 2000, women held nearly 50% of executive and managerial positions, compared to 32% in 1983.
  • Although underrepresented in the professions in 2000 (20% of doctors and lawyers), they constituted around 50% of students entering classes at law and medical schools
  • The number of women in the House of Representatives (62 in 2000, 28 in 1991) and Senate (13, 3 in 1991) remained depressingly low. These figures reflected both sexism and the desire of some women to interrupt their careers to give time to homemaking.
  • Many employers had become far more flexible over leave, especially after the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act - still remained problematic so many feminists focused on better childcare facilities in the workplace.
  • Work became increasingly essential due to the rising divorce rate and the number of single mothers
  • Full time female workers' earnings were only 76% of the men's in 2000, but that was an improvement on the 62.5% of 1979.
  • Toleration of sexual harrassment in the workplace had decreased.
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Amanda Fosu


amazing! thanks

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