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Modern American History. 1973-present. Nixon Resigns Aug 1974. Watergate scandal leads to Nixon’s resignation. Gerald Ford assumes office. Sept 1974: Ford pardons Nixon for any crimes he “committed or may have committed” as Pres. “I’m a Ford, not a Lincoln.”. Changing world for women.

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Nixon resigns aug 1974
Nixon ResignsAug 1974

  • Watergate scandal leads to Nixon’s resignation.

  • Gerald Ford assumes office.

  • Sept 1974: Ford pardons Nixon for any crimes he “committed or may have committed” as Pres.

  • “I’m a Ford, not a Lincoln.”

Changing world for women
Changing world for women

  • Roe v. Wade 1973 Supreme Court ruled abortion was legal in the 1st 3 months.

  • 1970s saw women moving into professional fields.Then medical students were 16% women. Today they make up over 50%.

Opec oil embargo

OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) stop shipping oil to countries which supported Israel.

Drastic rise in prices—1973 $3/barrel

1980 $30/barrel

Gas shortages all over country

1976 election
1976 Election

Jimmy Carter ran as an outsider, not tainted by the scandals of Watergate.

Seen as honest, a man of the people. But his inexperience in working with Congress led to an ineffective Presidency.

Camp David Accords

Carter saw success in his foreign policy. He brokered an historic peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1978.


Hostage crisis in iran
Hostage Crisis in Iran

1978: Shah of Iran is pushed out of power.

Iran becomes an Islamic Republic led by the Ayatollah Khomeini.

8 American soldiers killed in failed rescue attempt.

Pres. Carter loses support of Americans. Seen as weak and ineffectual.

  • Pres. Carter allows the Shah to enter the US for medical reasons.

  • In 1979, in Tehran, Iran, militants take 52 embassy staff as hostages for 444 days.

1980 election
1980 Election

  • Ronald Reagan defeated Carter. Former Calif. gov. and actor. Signalled a swing to a New Conservatism in US as well as the rise of the religious right, the Moral Majority.

What s the difference which one are you
What’s the difference?Which one are YOU?



Gov’t should regulate the economy.

Fed gov’t should help disadvantaged thru social programs paid for thru taxes.

Strong supporters of free speech and privacy.

  • Distrust fed. gov’t

  • Favor free enterprise with little gov’t regulation

  • Lower taxes encourage investment.

  • Believe gov’t programs take away the incentive to work and invest.

The reagan years 1980 88
The Reagan Years 1980-88

  • Domestic Policy

  • Reaganomics: cut taxes to stimulate the economy. Encouraged investment. “Supply-side” Economics or “trickle-down” theory (Hoover)

  • Program Cuts: lower taxes meant less money for gov’t programs like welfare.

  • Deregulation: airlines, auto safety standards, EPA standards on pesticides, chemicals, cable tv industry.

  • Supreme Court: appointed conservative justices who would follow original intent of the Constitution rather than expand.

  • Foreign Policy

  • Military Buildup: Peace thru strength. Saw USSR as the “evil empire” to be defeated, not negotiated with.

  • Afghanistan: US support the Afghan mujahadeen against a Soviet invasion. Becomes the USSR’s Vietnam. 1988 Soviets withdraw.

  • Nicaragua: US arms the “contras” fighting the socialist gov’t. Congress banned aid to contras.

  • Grenada: Marxist (communist) rebels overthrow gov’t. US troops sent in to put down rebellion .

What was the iran contra affair
What was the Iran-Contra Affair?

  • 1985 scandal

  • Senior members of Reagan’s administration sold weapons to “moderates” in Iran hoping that Iran’s influence would free American hostages in Lebanon.

  • Profits from the sales then went to support the Contras in Nicaragua, bypassing Congress.

  • Was Reagan fully aware of the situation?

  • Lt. Col. Oliver North oversaw much of operation.

  • He claims he had authority from the President; Reagan testified he was not aware of the deal.

  • US-Soviet Relations

  • Under Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, there was a reduction in Cold War tensions. Gorbachev was known for perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost(openness), very “unsoviet” ideas.

  • Led to breakup of USSR and satellite nations and the reunification of Germany

1988 election read my lips no new taxes george bush
1988 Election—Read my lips: no new taxes!—George Bush

  • George Bush elected President. Strong background in foreign policy.

  • Collapse of the Soviet Union, peaceful revolutions in Eastern Europe. 1989-91

  • Tiananmen Square Protest, Beijing 1989.

  • Iraq invasion of Kuwait Aug.1990

  • Operation Desert Storm Jan.1991

  • Recession at home—growing deficit, slow economy, rising unemployment. Responds with program cuts and tax increases.

  • 1989 berlin wall falls
    1989 Berlin Wall falls

    Tiananmen Square Massacre—gov’t crackdown on pro-democracy protest. Number dead: estimates range from few hundred to thousands. No one knows for sure.

    Clinton presidency 1992 2000
    Clinton Presidency 1992-2000

    • Bill Clinton of Arkansas defeats George Bush

    • Focus on economic issues

    • Somali intervention 1992 US troops attempt to provide food relief and stabilize political situation, but pulled out after American soldiers were killed. Because of this setback, there was no US assistance when 1mill+ Rwandans were murdered in 1994.

    • Yugoslavia Intervention 1999– Ethnic cleansing in former Yugoslavia. US and NATO air strikes forced Serbia to withdraw from Kosovo and stop violence


    • Operation Restore Hope, initiated by Bush in Dec ’92, sent troops in a humanitarian mission in civil war-torn Somalia. Control of the country was splintered by rival warlords, and refugees were starving.

    • After the situation was “stabilized”, the mission changed to restoring peace and democracy. However, not all factions were willing to give up their power.

    • After 19 Americans died in the Battle of Mogadishu in Oct ’93(Black Hawk Down), Pres. Clinton ordered all US troops removed from Somalia.

    Ethnic cleansing
    Ethnic Cleansing

    • The ethnic cleansing campaign that took place throughout areas controlled by the Bosnian Serb Army targeted Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats. The ethnic cleansing campaign included unlawful confinement, murder, rape, sexual assault, torture, beating, robbery and inhumane treatment of civilians; the targeting of political leaders, intellectuals and professionals; the unlawful deportation and transfer of civilians; the unlawful shelling of civilians; the unlawful appropriation and plunder of real and personal property; the destruction of homes and businesses; and the destruction of places of worship.

    Rwanda 1994

    Rwanda 1994

    800,000 dead

    100 days

    Genocide never again
    Genocide- “Never Again”?

    • A history of ethnic strife between the Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority had led to civil war in Rwanda. During a UN-brokered cease-fire, the Rwandan president’s plane was shot down. Blame was cast on the Tutsi faction, although most believed it was Hutu extremists who shot down the plane, triggering a long-planned massacre of the Tutsi population.

    • Over the course of 100 days while the world wondered what to do, 800,000 Rwandans were massacred. Much of the killing was done by civilians, neighbors turning on neighbors, much of it by machetes.

    Why was clinton impeached
    Why was Clinton impeached?

    • He was charged with perjury, obstruction of justice, and abusing his power as president.

    • He was accused of illegal financial dealings and improper conduct with a White House intern, and of lying about it.

    • Charges originate in the House, but votes in the Senate fell short of the majority needed to remove him from office.