Chapter 26

Chapter 26

Chapter 26 THE UNITED STATES IN TODAYS WORLD The 1990s and the New Millennium The nation became divided as the Democrats gained control of the White House in the 1990s, and the Republicans came to power at the beginning of the new millennium. Governor William Jefferson Clinton of Arkansas became the first member of the baby-boom generation to win the presidency.

He became president at the age of 46 and vowing to strengthen the nations weak economy and to lead the Democratic Party in a more moderate direction. After the U.S. victory in the Persian Gulf War in 1991, Republican President George H.W. Bushs popularity had climbed to 89% approval rating. In 1992 President Bushs approval rating would be 40%. In his run for reelection, President Bush could

not convince the public that he had a strategy for ending the recession and creating jobs. Throughout the presidential race in 1992 Bill Clinton campaigned as the candidate who would lead the nation out of its economic crisis. A third-party candidate- Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot targeted the soaring federal budget deficit as the nations number one problem. Election Day results, demonstrated

that Clinton's center-of-the-road strategy had the widest appeal. Clinton won, he captured 43% of the popular vote, Bush 38% and Perot 19%. William Jefferson Blythe IV was born in Hope, Arkansas, three months after his birth his father was died in a traffic accident. While in high school, Blythe took his stepfathers last name of Clinton. Bill Clinton graduated from Georgetown and won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University.

Earned a law degree at Yale and met his future wife, law school classmate Hillary Rodham. After serving as attorney general and governor of Arkansas, Clinton ran for president. His campaign video was titled A Man of Hope. A New Democrat Bill Clinton won the presidency in part by promising to move away from the traditional Democratic policies. He emphasized the need to move people off welfare and called for growth in

private business as means to economic progress. Clinton demonstrated his willingness to pursue both liberal and conservative policies on health care, the budget deficit, crime, and welfare. Health Care Reform Clinton had pledged to create a plan to guarantee affordable health care for all Americans, especially for millions of Americans without

insurance. One in office Clinton appointed First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, a skilled lawyer and child-welfare advocate, to head a team creating the plan. Congress debated Clintons health care plan for a year. Intense lobbying and Republican attacks on the plan for promoting big government sealed its doom. Congress never even voted on the bill.

President Clinton was more successful in his efforts to reduce the federal budget deficit. Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress agreed in 1997 on legislation to balance the federal budget by the year 2002. The bill cut spending by billions of dollars, lowered taxes to win Republican support, and included programs aimed at helping children and improving health care. For the first time in 30 years the federal budget had a surplus. (Government took in more than it spent.)

Perhaps the most effective tool in generating a surplus was the booming economy. Unemployment fell and the stock market soared. As a result the governments tax revenues rose and fewer people received public aid. Clinton and the congressional Republicans cooperated to reform the welfare system. Clinton managed to push several pieces of legislation through Congress during his

terms. The Family Medical Leave Act gave workers up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid family leave for the birth or adoption of a child or the illness of a family member. Clinton also persuaded Congress to create the AmeriCorps program-to put students to work improving lowincome housing, teaching children to read and cleaning up the

environment. AmeriCorps volunteers earned a salary and were awarded a scholarship to continue their education. Crime and Gun Control Despite opposition from the Republicans and the National Rifle Association(NRA), the Democrats in Congress passed the gun-control law known as the Brady Bill.

Brady Bill imposed a waiting period before people could buy handguns . Required gun dealers to have police run a background check on a persons criminal record before selling them a handgun. The following year Clinton introduced another crime bill which provided states with extra funds to build new prisons and hire 100,000 police officers. The improved economy along with enlargement of police forces-combined to lower the crime rates in the 1990s.

Columbine A crime that would shock the nation occurred April 20, 1999 when two students at Columbine High School, in Colorado, killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 23 others before taking their own lives. The crime was the worst high school shooting in U.S. history and prompted a national debate on gun control and school safety, as well as a major investigation to determine what motivated the gunmen, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17. There was speculation that the two committed the killings because they had been bullied, were members of a group of

social outcasts that was fascinated by Goth culture, or had been influenced by violent video games and music; however none of these theories was ever proven. 1993 Terrorist Attack on World Trade Center On February 26, 1993, at 12:18 p.m., a small cell of terrorists,

with links to a local radical mosque and broader Islamist terror networks, detonated about 1,200 pounds of explosives in a rental van in the underground parking garage at the World Trade Center. The terrorists fled the area after setting the bomb to explode. The explosion created a five-story crater in the sub-grade levels of the towers and undermined the floor of an adjoining hotel. The terrorist attack killed six people. More than 1,000 people were injured, including 88 firefighters, 35 police officers, and an emergency medical services worker. Oklahoma City Attack On April 19, 1995, a truck-bomb explosion

outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, left 168 people dead and hundreds more injured. The blast was set off by anti-government militant Timothy McVeigh, a veteran of the Gulf War. In 2001 McVeigh was executed for his crimes the first of the federal death penalty in 38 years.

His co-conspirator Terry Nichols received life in prison. Until September 11, 2001, the Oklahoma City bombing was the worst terrorist attack to take place on U.S. soil. Republicans Gain Control of Congress Despite his success, President Clinton was very unpopular by the late 1994. Instead of cutting taxes, he had raised them and he had not fixed health care. The economy was improving, still many companies

were downsizing. Several personal issues weakened the public confidence in him. All these factors convinced many Americans to vote Republican in 1994. Newt Gingrich of Georgia created the Contract with America. This program proposed 10 major changes, including lowering taxes, welfare reform, tougher anti-crime laws, term limits of Congress, and a

balanced budget amendment. In there first 100 days in office, House Republicans passed almost the entire Contract with America, but ran into trouble in the Senate and the president vetoed those not defeated by the Senate. By standing firm against Republican budget proposals and allowing the government to shut down, Clinton regained much of the support he had lost in 1994.

In the months before the 1996 election, the president and Republicans worked together to pass new legislation. In August 1996 Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability Act. This act improved coverage for people who changed jobs and reduced discrimination against people with preexisting illnesses. Congress passed the Welfare Reform Act which limited people to no more than two consecutive

years on welfare and required them to work to receive welfare benefits. The law also increased childcare spending and gave tax breaks to companies that hired new employees who had been on welfare. The two reforms that Clinton and Congress agreed to support were the health insurance portability and the welfare reform. Election of 1996 Clinton quickly took credit for the economy. The economic boom of the 1990s was the longest

sustained period of growth in American history. Unemployment and inflation fell to their lowest levels in 40 years. The stock market soared, wages rose, crime fell, and number of people on welfare declined. With the economy booming so did Clintons approval rating. The Republican Party nominated Senator Bob Dole to run against Clinton. Dole promised a 15 percent tax

cut and tried to portray Clinton as a tax-and-spend liberal. H. Ross Perot also ran again as a candidate of the Reform Party which he created. Clinton won re-election with 49% of popular vote and 379 electoral votes. Clintons Second Term During Clintons second term the economy continued to expand.

As peoples income increased so too did the amount of taxes they paid. Despite the President and Congress differences the nation debt decreased. For the first time in 24 years the president was able to submit a balanced budget to Congress. Clinton Is Impeached By 1998 Clinton had become entangled in a serious scandal that threatened to undermine his presidency. The scandal began in Clintons first term when he was accused of arranging illegal loans for Whitewater

Development an Arkansas real estate company while he was governor of that state. In early 1998 a new scandal emerged involving a personal relationship between the president and a White House intern. (Monica Lewinsky) Some evidenced suggested that the president had lied under oath, and committed perjury, about the relationship. The three-judge panel directed Kenneth Starr (independent counsel who investigated the president) to also investigate the allegations concerning Monica

Lewinsky. Starr sent his findings to the House of Representatives. Starr argued that Clinton had obstructed justice, abused his power as president and committed perjury. Clintons Foreign Policy While attracting world attention, the impeachment drama did not affect world affairs. With the collapse of the Soviet Union the struggle with communism was virtually gone. Small but bloody wars continued to erupt around the world.

President Clinton used force to bring an end to regional conflicts. In 1991 military leaders in Haiti overthrew Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the countrys first democratically elected president in many decades. The new rulers used violence, even murder to suppress the opposition. Clinton convinced the U.N. to impose a trade embargo on Haiti. The embargo created a severe economic crisis in the country. The result of this crisis brought about thousands of Haitian

refugees coming to the U.S. Clinton ordered an invasion of Haiti. Before the troops arrived former president Jimmy Carter convinced Haitis rulers to step aside. Bosnia and Kosovo The U.S. was also concerned about the increasing tension in Southeastern Europe. In Bosnia a vicious three-way civil war erupted between Orthodox Christians Serbs, Catholic Croatians, and Bosnian Muslims.

The Serbs began what they called ethnic cleansing the brutal expulsion of an ethnic group from a geographic area. Serbian troops slaughtered the Muslims instead of moving them. The U.S. convinced its NATO allies that military action was necessary. NATO war planes attacked the Serbs in Bosnia forcing them to negotiate. The Clinton administration then arranged a peace plan known as the Dayton Accords.

In 1998 another war erupted in the Serbian province of Kosovo, between Serbs and Albanians. President Clinton once again convinced Europeans leaders that NATO should again begin bombing Serbian troops. The bombing convinced Serbia to pull its troops out of Kosovo. Middle East Despite the success in the Persian Gulf War, (Operation Desert Storm) Saddam Hussein remained in power and continued to threaten

its neighbors. In 1996 Iraq attacked the Kurds an ethnic group whose homeland lies in northern Iraq. To stop the attacks, the U.S. fired cruise missiles at Iraq targets. Clinton Leaves Office President Clintons legacy would be uncertain. He had balanced the budget and presided over the greatest period of economic growth in American history.

Clintons presidency was marred, by the impeachment trial, which had divided the nation and widened the division between liberals and conservatives. The Race for the White House (2000) In the 2000 presidential race, the Democrats chose Vice President Al Gore to succeed Bill Clinton. The Republicans nominated George W. Bush governor of Texas and son of former President George H.W. Bush. Ralph Nader , a long term consumer advocate, ran for the

Green Party, which championed environmental causes and promoted an liberal agenda. The 2000 election was one of the closest in American history. Al Gore narrowly won the popular vote-48.4 % to Bushs 47.9%.

Neither candidate had the 270 electoral votes needed to win. The election came down to the Florida vote- both needed 25 electoral votes. The results in Florida were so close that state law required a recount of the ballots using vote-counting machines. There were, however, thousands of ballots that had been thrown out because the counting machines could not discern a vote for president. Gore immediately asked for a hand recount of ballots in several strongly Democratic counties. After the machine recount showed Bush

still ahead, a battle began over the manual recounts. Most Florida ballots required voters to punch a hole. The little piece of cardboard punched out of the ballot is called a chad. The problem for vote counters was how

to count a ballot when the chad was still partially attached. When looking at the ballots, vote counters had to determine what the voter intended and different counties used different standards. Under state law, Florida officials had to

certify the results by a certain date. It became clear that not all of the recounts could be finished in time Al Gore went to court to overturn the deadline. The courts agreed to set a new deadline. At Bushs requested, the U.S. Supreme Court would step in and determine if the Florida Supreme Court acted unconstitutionally.

Despite having more time, not all of the counties where Gore wanted recounts were able to meet the new deadline. On November 26, Florida officials certified Bush the winner by 537 votes. On January 20, 2001, George W. Bush became the 43rd president of the United States. In his inaugural address, he promised to improve the

nations public schools, to cut taxes, to reform Social Security and Medicare, and to build up the nations defenses. A New Terrorist Threat In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Muslims from all across the Middle East headed to

Afghanistan to join the struggle against the Soviets. Among them was a 22 year old Muslim named Osama bin Laden. Bin laden came from one of Saudi Arabia's wealthiest families. He used his wealth to support the Afghan resistance. In 1998 bin Laden founded an organization called al-Qaeda or The Base. AL-Qaeda recruited Muslims and channeled money and arms to the Afghan resistance. Bin Ladens experience in Afghanistan convinced

him that superpowers could be beaten. September 11, 2001 On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.

Over 3,000 people were killed during the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., including more than 400 police officers and firefighters. Antiterrorist Measures The political landscape changed dramatically after 9-11. The Bush administration, now with the overwhelming support of Congress and the American people, shifted its energy and attention to combating terrorism. November 2001, President Bush created the Department of Homeland Security, a government body set up to

coordinate national efforts to combat terrorism. The Bush Administration also began waging war against terrorism. October 2001, coalition forces led by the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan. The Afghan government was harboring Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan.

Bush also scored a major success when direct elections were held for the first time in Afghanistan. The Afghan people elected interim President Hamid Karzai as their first democratically elected president. Axis of Evil The attacks of 9-11 created fear that groups such as al-Qaeda might acquire nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. These weapons of mass destruction (WMD) could kill tens of thousands of people all at once. In his state of the union speech in January 2002, President Bush warned that an AXIS OF EVIL, made up of Iraq, Iran and

North Korea posed a grave threat to the world. Each of these countries had been known to sponsor and was suspected of trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. War in Iraq President Bush considered Iraq a more immediate threat than Korea in the developing and distributing weapons of mass destruction. Iraqs dictator, Saddam Hussein, had already used chemical weapons twice once in the war with Iran in 1980 and again in 1998 against the Kurds, an ethnic minority in northern Iraq who rebelled against Husseins

regime. After the Gulf War in 1991, UN inspectors found evidence that Iraq had developed biological weapons and were working on a nuclear bomb. Finally Saddam Hussein, refused to cooperate with UN inspectors and eventually barred them from enter his country. After September 11 attacks Bush alleged that Hussein was supporting terrorist and might supply them with weapons of mass destruction. The inspectors determined that Iraq had not resumed

its WMD program; but Hussein still refused to cooperate fully with the inspection process. The U.S. and Great Britain along with other coalition forces ended diplomacy with Iraq. At 5:34 a.m. Baghdad time on 20 March

2003 (9:34 p.m., 19 March EST) the surprise military invasion of Iraq began. There was no declaration of war. The 2003 invasion of Iraq, led by General Tommy Franks, under the codename "Operation Iraqi Freedom. On 9 April, Baghdad fell, ending Saddam's 24year rule. U.S. forces seized the deserted Baath Party ministries and stage-managed the tearing down of a huge iron statue of Saddam, photos and video of which became symbolic of the event, although later controversial.

In the summer of 2003, the multinational forces focused on capturing the remaining leaders of the former government. On 22 July, a raid by the U.S.101st Airborne Division and

soldiers from Task Force 20 killed Saddam's sons (Uday and Qusay) along with one of his grandsons. In all, over 300 top leaders of the former government were killed or captured, as well as numerous lesser functionaries and military personnel. Most significantly, Saddam Hussein himself was captured on December 13, 2003, on a farm near Tikrit in Operation Red Dawn. The operation was conducted by the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division and members of Task Force 121. Intelligence on Saddam's whereabouts came from his family members and former bodyguards.

The soldiers arrested him, he didnt resist them so he was uninjured. Saddam Hussein was in custody of the US and will be on trial in front of a special tribunal for a few criminal cases pending against him. On November 2006, he was found guilty of crimes violent against humanity convicted and sentenced to death by hanging. He was executed on December 30, 2006 after his appeal failed. After Saddam Hussein execution (hanging), his body

was returned to his birthplace of Al-Awja, near Tikrit, and was buried near the graves of other family members. His body was never shown. 2004 Election Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. Foreign policy was the dominant theme throughout the election campaign, particularly Bush's conduct of the War on Terrorism and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. As in the 2000 presidential election, voting controversies and concerns of

irregularities emerged during and after the vote. The winner was not determined until the following day, when Kerry decided not to dispute Bush's win in the state of Ohio. The state held enough electoral votes to determine the winner of the presidency. Both Kerry and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean

have stated their opinion that voting in Ohio did not proceed fairly and that, had it done so, the Democratic ticket might have won that state and therefore the election. However, there was far less controversy about this election than in 2000. The Presidential Election of 2008 With neither the sitting president nor the vice president running for the first time in eighty years the election was truly open. The Democratic race soon tightened into a fiercely fought contest between Senator Barrack Hussein Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Obama narrowly prevailed, surveying Clintons attack on his inexperience. Son of a black Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas and raised in Hawaii and Indonesia, Obama had a cosmopolitan background well suited to the age of globalization. To strengthen his national security credentials, Obama picked foreign policy savvy Senator Joe Biden from Delaware as his running mate. In keeping with the countrys anti-Bush mood, Republicans nominated Senator John McCain a selfstyled maverick and a Vietnam War hero who had

endured years of torture as a P.O.W. McCain picked as his running mate Sarah Palin. During the presidential election campaign, the major- party candidates ran on a platform of change and reform in Washington. Democrat Barack Obama, then junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain. The election was the first in which an African American was elected President. It was also the first time two sitting senators ran against

each other. The 2008 election was the first in 56 years in which neither an incumbent president nor a vice president ran. Obama in the White House To jumpstart the economy, Obama supported the passage of the

American Relief and Recovery Act. This was an economic stimulus bill that was comprised of tax cuts, spending for jobs programs, and funding for state and local governments. The economy started to recover from the "Great Recession" by 2009. Obama supported a healthcare reform bill in 2010 called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (OBAMACARE) Most notably, this required all Americans to buy health insurance and prohibited health insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

In 2010, Obama signed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. This overhauled the nation's financial regulatory system. Back to Backlash and New Directions in Foreign Policy The "Tea Party" emerged in 2009 as a right-wing, ultra

Republican party. They opposed most of Obama's policies. In 2010, Obama helped repeal the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy and he renewed a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia. President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. By 2011, Obama had withdrawn all American combat troops from Iraq. Afghan insurgents made Afghanistan very unstable and made it difficult for American troops to leave. American troops began leaving Afghanistan in 2011. The American People Face a New Century

The "information age" followed World War II and was marked by an industry of storing, organizing, and processing data. New communication tools threatened to eliminate jobs including post office workers, store clerks, and teachers. Scientific advancements created social and moral questions like, Should the human gene pool be engineered? Affluence and Inequality Although Americans salaries increased during the 1990's and 2000's,

they did not have the world's high per-capita income, like they had in the 25 years after WWII. From the 1990s-2000s, the economic disparity between the rich and the poor increased as the richest 20 percent of Americans made half of the nations income. This was caused by: Decrease in number of high-paying manufacturing jobs for skilled workers Higher pay for educated workers in high-tech industry Decline of unions Growth of part-time work Increase in number of immigrants

Increasing tendency for highly paid men and women to marry and pool their income The Feminist Revolution Half of all workers were women by the 1990s. Women began to enter male-dominated fields including airline pilots, lawyers, etc. Despite these gains, women still made less money than men in equivalent positions, and women were still minorities in traditionally male-dominated fields. The gender gap was caused by discrimination

and the greater burdens that families placed on women. In 1993, Congress passed a Family Leave Bill to provide job protection for working fathers and mothers who needed to take time off work for their family. New Families and Old 50 percent of marriages ended in divorce during the 1990s. The relative number of adults living alone tripled by the 1990s.

By the 1990s, 1/4 children grew up in a household without two parents. The Aging of America The lifespan of Americans increased by the 1990s due in large part

to advances in medicine; males and females had life expectancies of 76 and 83, respectively. Because of the increased lifespan, the relative number of old people increased. Consequently, the percentage of the GNP spent on healthcare for older people doubled after the creation of Medicare in 1965. The Social Security system was strained because the ratio of active workers (contributors) to retirees (benefactors) had decreased dramatically more money was being taken out than was being put in. These fiscal problems were compounded when Medicare was made available to the elderly. These problems led to increased taxes on workers.

The New Immigration Immigration from Asia and Latin America increased rapidly during the 1980s and 1990s. Immigrants came to America in search of jobs and opportunity, leaving countries where populations were growing rapidly. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 made it

illegal for employers to hire undocumented immigrants, and it granted amnesty to many illegal immigrants already in the U.S. Anti-immigration sentiment swept over America as people were concerned that the U.S. could not absorb the influx of immigrants. Studies showed that immigrants actually took jobs that Americans didn't want. Immigrants also paid more dollars in taxes than they received in welfare. In the late 2000's, anti-immigrant sentiment swept over the country. In 2010, Arizona passed a law that required police

officers to detain people if there was a "reasonable suspicion" that they were not legally in the country. In 2010, Congress rejected the DREAM Act, which would have given a path to citizenship for undocumented young people who had finished college or served in the U.S. military. Citizenship and Civil Rights Anti-immigration sentiment swept over America as people were

concerned that the U.S. could not absorb the influx of immigrants. Studies showed that immigrants actually took jobs that Americans didn't want. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. The Act had denied federal benefits to same-sex couples. In 2013, it was revealed through government leaks that the National Security Agency (NSA) had been spying on Americans.

Cities and Suburbs Violent crime rates exploded during the 1980s, hitting an all-time high during this decade. Crime leveled off in the 1990s, but this trend had caused middle income Americans to flee the cities for the suburbs. By the 1990s, a majority of Americans lived in the suburbs. By the 2000s, some major cities started to rebound as commercial redevelopment increased in cities.

Battling for the White House in 2012 Mitt Romney was the GOP nominee in the presidential election of 2012. He promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the Wall Street Reform Act. The Supreme Court ruled in 2010 in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations, unions, and advocacy groups could not be limited in how much money they spent on political campaigns. This ruling vastly increased the amount of money spent on campaigns. Obama won the presidential election of 2012.

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