Textbook Pages 870-899
1.The Conservative Revolt
Ronald Reagan a Republican led a
conservative revolt against years of
government expansion during his two terms
(1981-1989). In his two terms as President, he
began to move the nation in a new direction.
Since the 1930’s American government has grown steadily. The past
presidents felt that government should play a large role in managing the
economy and providing programs. By the 1980’s, conservatives led by
Ronald Reagan believed that federal social programs had become too
costly. Reagan also felt that federal regulations has kept businesses from
In 1980 Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter for President.
Reagan promised to “make America great again.” He was
reelected in 1984 by an even wider margin. The President’s first
priority was his program he called, Reaganomics. Reagan’s
persuaded Congress to cut taxes. He hoped the taxpayers would
use the money to buy more and save more. Reaganomics also
involved cutting federal spending and to slow the size of
government. Reagan slowed the spending on social programs
such as welfare and aid to education. A third goal of
Reaganomics was deregulation, or reduction of restrictions on
With the Cold War tensions high,
Reagan still spent more money on
the military. As military spending
rose, the budget deficit jumped to an
all time high of 240 billion dollars.
Reagan funded the Strategic Defense
Initiative or Star Wars program to
protect the US from nuclear attacks.
George H.W. Bush won a
victory as President and “Read my
promised to continue lips……No
Reagan’s economic policies.
During his campaign Bush
said “Read my lips……No new
taxes!” Bush could not keep
his promise. He raised taxes.
Many banks gave out risky
loans that were not repaid.
Without bank loans the
economy slowed. Many
businesses cut costs by
downsizing, or reducing the
work force. These conditions
led to a recession, or an
economic slump that is milder
than a depression. George H.W. Bush
Reagan and Bush appointed a total of five Justices
to the Supreme Court. Sandra Day O’Connor was
the first woman to serve on the court.
Sandra Day 7
In August 1990, Saddam Hussein sent 100,000 troops to invade oil rich
Kuwait. President Bush feared the invasion was the start of a greater plan to
get control of the Middle East Oil. President Bush sent troops to Saudi
Arabia. He also persuaded the United Nations to impose a trade boycott on
Iraq. These events led to the Persian Gulf War which was fought from August
2, 1990 to February 28, 1991. In six weeks the Iraqis were driven out of
Kuwait. In spite of the end of the war Saddam Hussein continued a chemical
and biological weapons program. Hussein refused to cooperat with weapons
inspectors so a four day air strike was imposed on Iraq.
Persian Gulf War
During George H.W. Bush’s presidency the former Soviet Union
collapsed as the world faced a new threat. The threat of the spread of
nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia signed the Strategic
Arms Reduction Treaty in 1991. In the treaty the United States and
Russia agreed to destroy one third of their nuclear weapons.
A nuclear weapon
On election day voters signaled
their dissatisfaction by electing
Bill Clinton as the new Democratic
President of the United States. He
served two terms in office.
President Clinton followed a
middle-of-the-road course. He
convinced Congress to increase
some taxes and reduce spending.
The federal deficit began a steady
decline. By 2002 the economy
grew so strongly the government
reported a budget surplus, in
which income exceeded spending.
In 1996, Clinton easily won reelection. However, controversy began
over real estate dealings and lying under oath about a relationship
with a White House intern. The House voted to impeach President
Clinton. In February 1999, Clinton was acquitted. All 45 Democratic
senators supported the President. All but five Republicans voted to
convict him but he was not removed from office (impeached).
The impeachment trial of
President Bill Clinton in
1999, Chief Justice William
H. Rehnquist presiding. The
House managers are seated
beside the quarter-circular
tables on the left and the
counsel on the right, much
in the fashion of President
Andrew Johnson's trial. 11
In the presidential election of 2000, the Republicans nominated
Texas governor George W. Bush, son of former President George
H.W. Bush along with Richard Cheney. Vice President Al Gore ran
for the Democrats. For his running mate he chose Senator Joseph
Lieberman of Connecticut. Gore won the popular vote but lost the
electoral vote by a narrow margin. With the Florida vote so close
the votes had to be recounted. After 46 days the Supreme Court
ordered the counting to be stopped. Gore conceded and Bush
became the winner. George W. Bush became the new President of
the United States.
Al Gore 12
George W. Bush Richard Cheney
One of the challenges George W. Bush was faced with was the September 11th
terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. After the attack Bush waged an attack
on terrorism. In response to the September 11th attacks launched by Osama bin
Laden and his al-Qaeda network in 2001, Bush ordered a military campaign against
Afghanistan that would remove the country's Taliban government. In March 2003
Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair led an invasion of Iraq that toppled the
government of Saddam Hussein, whom they accused of concealing weapons of
mass destruction; no such weapons were found. Today, the United States continues
to fight in Iraq.
Another change which Bush made while he was in office was in 2002 Congress
passed the administration's controversial No Child Left Behind Act, which required
regular tests of public school students.
Saddam Hussein’s statue being