American History Lecture Thirteen
Next week: the final exam. The homework is to prepare for it.
This is the final lecture of the course, and takes us through the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center (typically the stopping point for American history), and then includes subsequent history from the first decade of this 21st century.
What is the most important event in America in the 21st century? The terrorist attack of 9/11? Two new Justices appointed to the Supreme Court? The election of Presidents George W. Bush and then Barack Obama? Or this class? Do not think that history is something that involves only other people. You shape history too.
Be able to identify overall trends in our history. One trend is ever-increasing federal power. Another trend is inflation. A third trend is increased democracy. A fourth trend is increasing American power in the world. A fifth trend is the Supreme Court pushing us away from our religious roots. In Engel v. Vitale (1962), the Supreme Court banned prayer in public schools. Many consider this to be one of the Supreme Court's worst decisions ever.
Also understand history as a struggle between two sides. It is like two wrestlers combating each other on a mat. The wrestlers rotate on the map as each one tries to gain an advantage over the other. Same for the two political parties: they rotate their regional support over the years. At the time of the Civil War, the Republican Party dominated in the North and the Democratic Party dominated in the South. Now it is the opposite.
We have seen several important figures who were Quakers: William Penn, Susan B. Anthony (who favored suffrage for all women), Whittaker Chambers and Richard Nixon. What was the Quaker religion really about? It was Protestant against Protestantism. Every Quaker is his own pastor; every Quaker is his own church using the Bible and his "inner light." This led to a fierce independence in the character of Quakers, including a pacifism (opposition to war) by the Quakers in the eastern United States.
What "drives" or "leads" or "causes" history? Do politicians lead or follow? Do writers of books lead or follow? What's the real cause of history?
In the 1960s, these hard-to-categorize events occurred:
- In 1960, Arab nations formed "OPEC" to control the production and sale of oil to the world. OPEC stands for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. This monopoly has caused shortages and driven up the price of oil, particularly in the early 1970s when OPEC retaliated against the United States.
- In 1960, liberal students formed the "Students for a Democratic Society" (SDS) in Port Huron, Michigan, saying that they are "looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit." It became the foundation for radical groups later in the 1960s, which became increasingly aggressive and violent in their protest activities. In the spring of 1968, it arranged for 1 million students to skip class. But the public hardly noticed. However, an SDS chapter at Columbia University did succeed with a "sit in" that forced the school to temporarily shut down.
- In 1961, President Kennedy started two programs to help alleviate poverty in foreign countries. One was the Alliance for Progress, which consisted of foreign aid to Latin America. The other was the Peace Corps, which sent volunteers to foreign countries to teach farming and build schools.
- In 1962, Michael Harrington wrote a book entitled "The Other America," which exposed poverty by 1 out of every 4, especially in Appalachia, in the South, and in city ghettos.
- Student activism expanded in 1964 with the "Free Speech Movement," which began at the ultra-liberal University of California at Berkeley and began to protest a number of perceived injustices.
- In the summer of 1969, hippies convened for a three-day massive rock concert in rural upstate New York, known as Woodstock. A half million people, far more than expected, gathered for a weekend of music and, in some cases, outrageous behavior. It caused massive traffic jams on the New York Thruway. Some viewed this as the beginning of a new era. In fact, it was the end of the hippie era, and perhaps the massive turnout to elect Obama in 2008 was likewise the end of an era.
In 1970, the Nixon Administration founded the Environmental Protection Agency (the "EPA") ostensibly to conserve natural resources and reduce pollution. The EPA quickly banned DDT on unproven environmental grounds (as incited by the since-discredited book the "Silent Spring," by Rachel Carson). This ban on DDT, which continues to this day, has resulted in the avoidable deaths of millions of Africans from malaria; DDT easily eliminates malaria.
The 1970s, or "the Seventies," is not known to have been a glorious time. America's pullout from Vietnam was humiliating, the Supreme Court issued decisions that have been much criticized (like Roe v. Wade), a president (Richard Nixon) resigned amid a scandal, an inept president (Jimmy Carter) won the next election, a nuclear power plant called "Three Mile Island" near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania had a meltdown in 1979 that turned the public against nuclear power, and the rock music was abysmal. Styles like "disco" and "bell-bottom" pants that were popular in the Seventies seem ludicrous today. Sadly, it was the decade when your teacher became a teenager. It was too early for the internet, and too late for some of the marvelous music of the 1960s. In many ways it was a wasted decade between the Sixties and Eighties.
Here are some "highlights", or perhaps "lowlights" would be more accurate, of what happened:
- In 1972, in Furman v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the death penalty nationwide until states installed more difficult-to-satisfy requirements before someone is executed. For years no criminals could be executed, due to this ruling. But eventually state laws, with stricter rules, began to impose the death penalty again for the worst crimes.
- In 1972, President Nixon formed a reelection committee entitled "Committee to Reelect the President", derisively called "CREEP" by his opponents. The security officer of this committee was later convicted of buglarizing the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building in D.C. Nixon covered up the investigation, leading to his resignation in 1974 after the Supreme Court ordered him to turn over secret tape recordings, to avoid impeachment.
- In 1973, Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned due to corruption charges arising from when he was previously Governor of Maryland, and Agnew was replaced by congressman Gerald Ford, who became president in 1974 when Nixon resigned. When Ford became president, he later pardoned Nixon of all crimes, and this made people angry especially since Nixon's aides went to jail.
- As the investigation into the Watergate scandal heightened, the "Saturday Night Massacre" in 1973 consisted of then-President Nixon ordering the Attorney General to fire the special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was investigating Nixon. The Attorney General refused and resigned, and then his successor refused and resigned, and then his second successor (future Judge Robert Bork) fired Cox.
- President Gerald Ford signed the Helsinki Accords in 1975, which was ostensibly an attempt to advance "detente" (a softening in the Cold War) and to improve human rights; critics viewed it as a naive agreement to cooperate with the communists.
A "dark horse" candidate, Democrat Jimmy Carter from Georgia, won his Party's nomination for president, and then defeated President Gerald Ford in a close contest in 1976. But Carter was not ready for the job, and anxious to give things away like Santa Claus. He started in 1977 by agreeing to give the Panama Canal to Panama, even though the United States built it, paid for it, and needed it for security reasons. The Senate ratified the treaty after a heated controversy, with conservatives opposing the giveaway, and Panama acquired full ownership of it in 1999. Now communist China runs the Canal under a contract with Panama.
Jimmy Carter arranged a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel in 1978 by promising each over a $1 billion per year in annual gifts from the United States if they complied with the agreement, which required Israel to give up control over some of its territory. This is known as the Camp David Accords and it later earned Carter an award of the Nobel Peace Prize; American taxpayers are still paying the massive bill for this treaty, and many concerned about the future of Israel dislike Carter for his persistent attempts to coerce Israel into giving up land and security.
In 1979, Carter's appeasement and naivete badly embarrassed the United States when the Iran hostage crisis occurred. Carter angered Iranian Muslims by allowing the deposed Shah of Iran to obtain medical treatment in the United States, at the insistence of Henry Kissinger and other globalists. Muslims stormed and captured the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held everyone hostage for more than a year, creating a daily crisis. At one point Carter planned a rescue attempt, but then called it off at the last minute, only to result in the American soldiers crashing and dying in the desert.
Carter had other missteps. Friendly to the communist Soviet Union for years and even negotiating the SALT II arms reduction treaty with it (which the Senate refused to ratify), Carter was then embarrassed when the Soviet Union brutally invaded Afghanistan in 1980. Carter responded weakly by merely boycotting the Summer Olympics in Moscow (and the Soviet Union retaliated four years later by boycotting the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles). Carter also ran the economy into the ground, resulting in unemployment, a stagnant consumer demand for goods, and record-high inflation (the combination of all three was called "stagflation"), and then accusing the American people of having a "national malaise." It is easy to see why Carter lost reelection in 1980.
Debate: Should President Ford have pardoned former President Nixon?
President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan, born to a poor family in Illinois, was taught to read by his mother at home. Like his father, Ronald was unsuccessful at most things in life, but had a positive attitude instilled in him by his mother and the "Disciples of Christ" evangelical Christian faith. He played sports but was not very good; took economics in college but did poorly; became a second-rate sports broadcaster; and then went on to a second-rate movie career. But through it all his upbeat optimism about people and America continued.
After serving in World War II (he was rejected for a promotion), he became a leader of the Screen Actors Guild in Hollywood at a time when the communists were trying to infiltrate it. Though a Democrat himself, Reagan was alarmed by communist infiltration in Hollywood. He stood up to the communists, but they attempted to intimidate him. As a result of this personal experience, Reagan became strongly anti-communist, a principle that would guide him for the rest of his life.
After campaigning for the conservative Barry Goldwater for president in 1964 (Goldwater lost), Reagan ran for governor of California by emphasizing two points: (1) "to send the welfare bums back to work," and (2) "to clean up the mess at Berkeley" (referring to the student and hippie protests). Reagan won in a stunning upset. Two years later, he showed up at the Republican National Convention in Miami in 1968, when Nixon was being nominated for president. Your teacher's brothers went to shake Reagan's hand instead of Nixon's, and it turned out that Reagan would be much more influential than Nixon was.
Every president who has served since President Reagan has imitated him, or benefited from him. Reagan served from 1980 to 1988, winning reelection in 1984 by a record landslide number of votes. President George H.W. Bush won the presidency by riding on Reagan's coattails; President Clinton imitated the style (but not the substance) of Reagan, and Clinton made a special (and surprising) visit to meet him after winning in 1992; and President George W. Bush imitated Reagan by giving a weekly radio addresses just as Reagan did. Politicians, both Democratic and Republican, cite Ronald Reagan today to gain support for their ideas, and the airport in D.C. is now named after him.
President Reagan campaigned and governed based on all the conservative principles: less government, lower taxes, less regulation, more morality, new federalism (returning power from the federal government to the states), and a strong national defense (particularly against the communists). Every year of his presidency had a major achievement, so much so that bumper stickers afterward were entitled, "Eight Great Years" in reference to his Administration. President Reagan was the only person who became more conservative the longer he was in power.
His nickname was the "Great Communicator" for his ability to connect with the American people, particularly through television. An internet poll selected Reagan as the greatest American president ever, to the dismay of those conducting the survey (who expected someone like Lincoln to win). Yet, like Lincoln, President Reagan was also one of the most ridiculed or despised presidents in history.
Reagan was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 1981. On that very same day, Iran released unharmed all of the American hostages whom it had held in retaliation against Jimmy Carter's support of the Shah of Iran. President Reagan immediately went to work in enacting the conservative agenda. Within one month, on Feb. 18th, Reagan proposed the biggest tax and spending cuts in history. Reagan adhered to "supply-side economics," a new theory advanced by Arthur Laffer that cutting taxes would actually increase government revenue. He drew a curve on the back of a napkin in a restaurant one night to explain his theory: as taxes approach 100%, government revenue decreases towards zero because people lose reason to work (all their income is taken by the government). By cutting taxes, we can actually increase revenue. Most established economists laughed at this theory, sarcastically calling it "Reaganomics". But it worked and led to record-breaking prosperity, and increased government revenue.
On March 30th, John Hinckley shot Reagan as he was walking from a speaking event to his car in D.C. The bullet came with an inch of killing him. But Reagan survived with charm and good spirits. Despite losing a great deal of blood, Reagan was even cracking jokes about his misfortune as he was rushed to the hospital. Hinckley tried to kill Reagan because Hinckley had been inspired by a filthy Hollywood movie featuring a prostitute played by Jodie Foster. Hinckley was trying to impress the actress. Hinckley was later found not guilty by reason of insanity, and that led to changes in many laws to limit the insanity defense. Many people became very sympathetic to Reagan at this point. His tax cuts passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, because many Democrats voted for them based on Reagan's promise not to campaign against them when they sought to be reelected. That illustrated how much politicians feared Reagan's ability to connect with the people.
In August 1981, the Air Traffic Controllers Union (PATCO) went on strike in order to obtain much higher wages. Reagan went on television to address the nation and told the government-paid union workers to stay on the job or be fired. He was acting just as one of his heroes, President Calvin Coolidge, did when Coolidge was governor of Massachusetts and the police went on strike. When the PATCO strike continued, Reagan then fired all the PATCO workers who went on strike and barred them from ever being rehired by the government. The airports remained open through use of military traffic controllers who filled in for the strikers, and many pilots commented on how much more polite the substitutes were than the union workers.
In 1982, unemployment hit 10.8%, the worst since the Great Depression. Reagan was blamed for this and things looked bleak. But the criticism did not change Reagan. "Stay the course" was his campaign slogan for Republicans up for reelection in 1982. The Democrats, led by the clever Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, countered with this sarcastic twist: "stay the curse." After hitting rock bottom in 1982 (and losing many Republican seats in the mid-term election), the effects of Reagan's tax and spending cuts began to take hold in 1983. A tremendous economic boom began in 1983 and lasted throughout the remainder of the 1980s.
In 1983, Reagan turned to foreign policy. He called the communist Soviet Union the "evil empire." Then Reagan advanced a completely original idea in a speech to the nation: he proposed a missile defense system called the "Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)." This was probably the most original and powerful idea ever proposed by a president in our entire history, and its genesis remains a mystery among historians. Reagan's enemies derisively called it "Star Wars," after the popular new movie that hit the theaters earlier with advanced new special effects.
To understand the idea, it is first necessary to appreciate our military defense strategy in the 1960s and 1970s. Our foreign policy towards the Soviet Union then consisted of "Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD)." Under this approach, each side was deterred from attacking the other side because the result would be the mutual destruction of both sides through massive nuclear war. While neither side could defend against an attack, each side threatened massive retaliation as a deterrent to the attack. Simply put: "if you attack me, then I’ll attack you back and we’ll both be destroyed!"
There were obvious flaws in MAD. What about an accidental firing of a nuclear missile by the other side, which we could do nothing to stop? What about an attack by smaller countries? What about a terrorist missile attack? What about an attack by a crazed dictator who might rise to power and not mind mutual assured destruction? MAD left us defenseless against such attacks.
Reagan wanted a defense against missile attacks. He thought this would bring us to a new level of freedom and security. Critics immediately attacked his theory as impossible, wasteful, and destabilizing. Enormous debate and controversy followed, and many were vicious in their criticism of Reagan over this. Your teacher recalls attending a presentation by a prestigious scientist from IBM who described Reagan's plan as impossible and destabilizing. But questions after his talk were cut off prematurely so he could avoid addressing obvious logical flaws in his own presentation, such as why was the Soviet Union so opposed to our developing a missile defense program if it were impossible to build??
Also in 1983, communists backed by Cuba invaded Grenada, where there were over one hundred American medical students. Reagan immediately sent in our troops and saved the students, bringing them back to the United States safely. Students were seen on television kissing the American soil as soon as they got off their planes.
In 1984, Reagan stood for reelection against Walter Mondale, the former Vice President under Jimmy Carter. Mondale promised to raise taxes. In the first of two debates, Reagan's mind had been stuffed with facts by his advisers preparing him, and Reagan did poorly. Mondale pulled nearly even in the polls. For the second and final debate, conservatives demanded that his advisers "let Reagan be Reagan." Free to be himself, Reagan thoroughly destroyed Mondale in the second debate and even showed a great deal of class in politely accepting the moderator's cutting his closing short (due to time constraints). Reagan then won one of the biggest landslide victories in U.S. history.
In 1985, Reagan began authorizing the sale of arms to Iran in exchange for its work to free some American hostages kidnapped and held captive in the Middle East. Two years later this would turn into the "Iran-Contra" scandal, as the proceeds of those sales were intended to be sent to anti-communist freedom fighters in Nicaragua (the "Contras"). Congress, which was controlled by Democrats, had passed a law prohibiting funding of the Contras, and saw this as a violation of that law. Reagan was never charged with any crime, however. This became known as the "arms for hostages" deal.
In 1986, Reagan cut taxes much further. He also met with Gorbachev (the leader of the Soviet Union) in Reykjavik, Iceland to negotiate an arms reduction deal. Gorbachev was willing to give Reagan almost anything he wanted in return for just one demand: abandon the Star Wars (SDI) program. Reagan stuck to his conservative principles and refused, despite enormous media and world pressure to give in. Reagan left Iceland with the media criticizing and ridiculing him for not reaching a deal. It was obvious that Reagan was not trying merely to be popular; rather, he was trying to do what was best for America.
In 1987, Reagan insisted on visiting the Berlin Wall, despite obvious security risks of being within range of communist East German sharpshooters. In preparing for his speech there, Reagan wrote into his draft remarks this demand: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" His advisors removed this phrase from the speech as being unrealistic, silly and confrontational. As the drafts of the speech went back and forth between Reagan and his advisors, Reagan kept inserting the phrase and his advisors kept removing it. But Reagan included the phrase in his spoken words, the world heard it, and within a few years (1989) the wall was miraculously torn down. Reagan is credited with ending communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, though it still remains in China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba and Venezuela.
In 1988, Reagan struck a deal for free trade (no tariffs) with Canada. Reagan was also instrumental in enabling his Vice President, George H.W. Bush, to be elected president in 1988 in a close race.
When Reagan became president in 1981 the unemployment rate was 7.5% and the inflation rate was nearly 12%. Reagan reduced taxes and promoted business growth, and by the time his second term expired eight years later the unemployment rate had fallen to 5.4% and the inflation rate had dropped to 4.5%.
Reagan could have done better in certain areas. His appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court were Sandra Day O'Connor (the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court), Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy, and only Scalia proved to be a consistently strong conservative. To Reagan's credit, he probably appointed O'Connor on the recommendation of conservative Justice (and future Chief Justice) William Rehnquist, who had been her law school classmate and friend. And Reagan's first pick for the seat filled by Kennedy was Robert Bork, a solid conservative, but he was not confirmed by the Senate.
Reagan also signed into law the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which made it a crime for an employer to hire an illegal alien (illegal immigrant). This Act forced employers to have their employees complete the "I-9 form" to prove that they were here legally. The law imposed financial penalties on companies caught employing illegal aliens, in the hope of discouraging illegal immigration. But the Act granted amnesty to most illegal aliens who arrived before 1982, and that made many think that future illegal aliens would receive amnesty also. Illegal immigration increased even more.
Recall that President Lyndon Johnson is known for two things, the Great Society and the Vietnam War. President George H.W. Bush (the father of President George W. Bush) is known for three things: breaking his pledge of "no new taxes," winning the Persian Gulf War, and nominating Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. We discuss the first two here, and discuss Clarence Thomas in the next section.
In 1988 the economy was doing well based on eight years of conservative policies under President Reagan. President George H.W. Bush, Reagan's Vice President, won the Republican nomination for president and rode on Reagan's successes to win the presidential election in 1988. But he made a famous campaign promise of "Read my lips, no new taxes," which he later broke as President when he signed a tax increase passed by the Democratic Congress. The tax increase was to deal with a massive budget deficit, but breaking that promise caused enormous political damage to Bush.
In 1990, Saddam Hussein thought that America would do nothing when he invaded and easily conquered nearby Kuwait, where there are lucrative oil fields. President George H.W. Bush, alarmed by the consequences of Saddam Hussein controlling so much oil and the injustice of the invasion, struck back with American troops. We quickly defeated (and killed) Hussein's army and drove the few survivors back to Baghdad. American casualties were extremely low, and President Bush was a hero. This combat was code-named Operation Desert Storm. The Operation never intended to overthrow or capture Saddam Hussein himself, but President George H.W. Bush was later criticized for not "finishing the job," and some say that his son (the future President George W. Bush) wanted to take care of that.
The high point in the war came when Saddam Hussein began launching missiles at the troops, missiles thought to contain chemical warheads that could cause horrific death. But the American troops secretly had Patriot missiles, the design of which was based on President Reagan's "Star Wars" program, and these American missiles intercepted and shot down the Iraqi missiles in mid-flight. It was spectacular to watch a fast-moving enemy missile be tracked and then explode in mid-air due to a collision by another fast-moving defense missile. This was something that liberals, including scientists, claimed was impossible to do. Hussein launched missile after missile, while an American soldier sitting in front a computer screen in a trailer fired Patriot missile after missile to shoot down the enemy missiles.
Angry and frustrated, Hussein then fired his missiles at civilian populations in Israel. It had been developing its own missile defense program, but it was not ready for this. Quickly the American troops rushed their missile defense to Israel so it could protect its population too.
In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas as the second African American to the U.S. Supreme Court, to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Thurgood Marshall (who was the first black Supreme Court Justice).
Clarence Thomas was and is a conservative opponent of affirmative action, which is giving preferences to people based on race. He was and is considered to be an opponent of abortion also, and a conservative on most other issues. Liberals seem to grow angrier when confronted with a conservative African American, like Clarence Thomas, or a conservative woman. They did everything they could to prevent confirmation of his appointment by the Senate.
The "smear" campaign against Thomas was one of the worst in American history, and Thomas himself appeared on national television to bitterly describe it as a "high-tech lynching." In a flagrant violation of the rules of the Senate, the staff of a Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee leaked a confidential FBI background report to the National Public Radio (NPR), which contained a vicious personal allegation about Thomas's past. Nothing was proven and there was much reason to disbelieve the allegation. But the plan was to intimidate Thomas into withdrawing, or turn the public against him, or give senators enough of a reason to vote against him. The liberals even scheduled a vote on the nomination almost immediately after the airing of the allegation, which could only be postponed by unanimous consent under Senate rules, in order to force senators to vote before the allegation could be disproved. But the vote was postponed, hearings were held, and only one senator moved from being for Thomas to being against him: the former Ku Klux Klan Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Thomas was confirmed by a vote of 52-48, the narrowest margin in history for a Supreme Court Justice.
Your teacher was in D.C. at the time and had personally met Clarence Thomas a year earlier. Your teacher, the entire city of D.C., and even the entire nation, was riveted by this drama. Since 1991 Thomas has been part of a conservative block on the Supreme Court that has grown to a total of 4 or 5 Justices out of a total of 9, sometimes enough for a majority and sometimes just shy by one vote.
By 1992, President George H.W. Bush's popularity was declining quickly, primarily due to a downturn in the economy but also due to shortcomings in his leadership. Both liberals and conservatives disliked his policies, and he never connected with voters. He had signed burdensome legislation into law, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, which required small businesses to comply with costly new regulations for citizens having physical or mental disabilities. Buildings were required to install elevators, for example, and create other accommodations like setting aside many parking spaces for people with disabilities. Lawyers could enter retail stores, spot something not in compliance with the new regulations, and file expensive lawsuits against the businesses with demands for payment of the lawyers' own attorneys' fees. While everyone wanted to do more for the disabled, this federal legislation created countless lawsuits and expenses. The U.S. Supreme Court used the ADA to order the Professional Golf Association (PGA) to drop its ban on golf carts at events so that a golfer who claimed he had a rare circulatory problem could compete while using a golf cart!
Conservatives supported a candidate (Pat Buchanan) to challenge Bush for the Republican nomination; Bush won the nomination but was crushed in a three-way contest in the fall. Democrat Bill Clinton won 43% of the vote, Bush won 37%, and independent third-party candidate Ross Perot (a wealthy businessman from Texas concerned about the budget deficit) won 19%.
Bill Clinton became a controversial president who served for eight years but never won even 50% of the vote. In 1993, his wife (the "First Lady") Hillary Clinton led a massive committee-based effort for the government to take over the health care system, which is about 1/7th of the nation's economy. Conservative doctors, pro-lifers and the insurance industry helped defeat Hillary's complex plan in Congress. Also in 1993, terrorists linked to radical Muslims set off a truck bomb under the World Trade Center in an attempt to knock down the two massive towers. Fortunately, the plan failed, and only six were killed.
Shortly after he was inaugurated, Clinton sought removal of the longstanding ban on homosexuals in the military. But the Democrats in Congress refused to lift the ban, and instead a policy of "don't ask, don't tell" was implemented. Gays would not be expelled from the military unless they actively promoted ("tell") their lifestyle. That policy remained in force until late 2010, when Democrats repealed it.
Enjoying big Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, Clinton aggressively pushed a liberal agenda. He raised taxes on both individuals and businesses. In 1994, he signed a federal gun control bill into law known as the "Brady Bill," which imposed a national five-day waiting period for handgun purchasers and required a criminal background check. He signed into law the "Violence Against Women Act," which authorized women to sue institutions like colleges in federal court over alleged incidents that were never charged or proven as crimes (this provision was later held unconstitutional), and authorized the spending of billions of dollars in taxpayer money to encourage women to charge men with crimes. He signed into law the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993, which created a "free-trade zone" encompassing Mexico, Canada, and the United States and submitted the United States to control by an international tribunal to decide disputes in trade. This resulted in a big increase in importation of illegal drugs (like cocaine and marijuana) from Mexico, and was later used to order the United States to allow never-inspected trucks to enter from Mexico to flood the American highways. NAFTA was unable to obtain the 2/3rd vote required in the Senate to be ratified as a treaty, and instead it was (perhaps improperly) passed as an ordinary federal law with mere majority votes in Congress.
In the "midterm elections" in 1994 (called "midterm" because it is halfway between the presidential elections), there was a voter backlash against the liberal policies of President Bill Clinton. Republicans swept to victory in a landslide, and captured large majorities in both the House and Senate. But before the Republican majority took office, a "lame duck" session of the Democratic House and Senate passed a law requiring the United States to join the World Trade Organization. Like NAFTA but on a world-wide scale, the WTO aims to promote world trade by lowering trade barriers. In practice, it forces the United States to submit to the authority of an international tribunal comprised mostly of nations hostile to America, and that court has ruled against the United States in nearly every trade dispute. Also like NAFTA, the WTO was passed as an ordinary federal law rather than obtaining the 2/3rd vote required by the Constitution to ratify treaties.
Debate: Do you think Congress should pass treaties as ordinary laws when unable to obtain the 2/3rd vote required under the Constitution to ratify a treaty?
The Republican Congress that took over in 1995 passed several important conservative laws, including a massive welfare reform (this was in last week's lecture) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which established that federal law would recognize only marriages between a man and a woman and that one state did not have to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state. Clinton, chastened by the landslide defeat of his Democratic Party, began to govern more like a conservative. He also wanted to win reelection in 1996, and he knew he had to move in the same direction as the nation: to the "right" (more conservative).
On April 19, 1995, domestic terrorism hit the United States when Timothy McVeigh exploded a massive truck bomb in front of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This caused the building to collapse and kill 168 people, including children in a day care center that was in the building, and injured over 800. Reportedly McVeigh was angry at the federal government for a raid that it conducted against a group in Waco, Texas, which occurred exactly two years earlier and resulted in the deaths of dozens of citizens. Speculation that McVeigh had foreign help for this attack was never proven, and McVeigh himself was executed after a lengthy trial that included testimony by a friend who described how McVeigh intended to do this. McVeigh got the death penalty for his crime.
Clinton's approval rating increased based on his response to this terrorism, just as the future President George W. Bush's approval rating soared after the terrorist attack in 2001. Clinton also benefited from an improving economy, which increased his chances of being reelected. In 1996, the Republicans nominated the aging Senator Bob Dole, a moderate Republican, to run against Clinton. Clinton, along with his Vice President Al Gore, won reelection easily but failed to attain 50% support by the voters. Ross Perot ran again, but did not do as well as he had in 1992.
By the 1997 the internet was becoming mainstream and very popular, and the nation began to experience the "dot-com" boom (e.g., amazon.com) that would last until 2000. An internet craze swept the nation, and speculators (short-term investors) bought up the stock of new internet companies and drove up their price to high levels far above what was reasonable. The stock market, particularly the high-tech NASDAQ exchange, reached record levels. The economy benefited from all this, and the first budget surplus in decades was achieved by the federal government. But just as in 1929, the boom was followed by a "bust" that occurred in mid-2000.
Bill Clinton should have enjoyed immense influence during this good time. But his personal immorality caught up with him, in what became known as the "Monica Lewinsky" sex scandal. Clinton had a sexual relationship with this young woman, who worked at the White House as an unpaid "intern". When Clinton was asked about this under oath during a lawsuit, he lied about it. That was perjury, a serious crime, and the House impeached Clinton near the end of 1998 for it. But as happened to President Andrew Johnson about 130 years earlier, the Senate did not reach the 2/3rd vote needed to remove Clinton from office.
In spring 1999 at a public high school in Columbine, Colorado, two anti-Christian bigoted high school students massacred 12 students, one for believing in God, and a teacher. Clinton and liberals seized on this event to push hard for gun control. But in the presidential election in 2000, voters in the pro-gun, rural states of West Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas remembered and voted against Democratic candidate Al Gore, causing him to lose the election. Democratic strategists admitted after the election that the gun control issue really hurt them, and no leading Democrat has pushed for gun control ever since.
The 21st Century began in 2001 (though many thought it started in 2000), with a new President George W. Bush being sworn in on Jan. 20, 2001. That election was the most contested since 1876, when Rutherford was declared the winner over Tilden based on the Compromise of 1877 to end Reconstruction. Bush defeated his opponent, Al Gore, by a few hundred votes in the decisive state of Florida but it took the U.S. Supreme Court (Bush v. Gore) to intervene to stop the Democrats from recounting and reevaluating ballots in an attempt to declare Gore the winner.
President George W. Bush described himself as a "compassionate conservative," which meant expanding government to give more "entitlements" (handouts). He did slightly cut taxes, but let government spending increase beyond control.
Less than eight months into the presidency of George W. Bush, on September 11, 2001 ("9/11"), 19 Saudi Arabians hijacked four planes (about five hijackers per plane), and flew them in suicide missions into targets. Two flew into the World Trade Centers in southern Manhattan, one for each tower, causing a massive fire at about 9am in the upper floors of the towers (see diagram at right). Unbeknownst to the terrorists, many New Yorkers do not fully arrive to work until about 9:30am; the building was only partially full and many below the impact were able to evacuate. But many could not evacuate; some were trapped above the point of impact and fled to the roof that soon became too hot to stand upon; and hundreds of firefighters courageously entered the building to try to save who they could. Within an hour both towers collapsed from the fires, killing nearly 3,000 people (including those who died on the airplanes). A third hijacked plane went to D.C., probably seeking the White House as its target. But the White House is not easy to see from the air, and the plane crashed into the much easier-to-find large Pentagon military building, killing 66. By then the passengers on the fourth hijacked plane learned of what happened to others by making calls to loved ones on their cell phones. They fought back against the hijackers, preventing it from ever reaching its target of D.C., but died when the plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field during the struggle. Ironically and tragically, pilots who regularly carried guns on flights for self-defense had been disarmed by the government just a few months earlier, leaving all pilots defenseless against this attack. A program to rearm pilots after this attack proceeded slowly, amid opposition by proponents of gun control.
9/11 was the deadliest attack ever on American soil, even deadlier than the attack on Pearl Harbor. President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress and the entire nation, vowing to hold the perpetrators responsible. Quickly blame was pinned on Osama bin Laden, who was in Afghanistan leading the terrorist group "Al Qaeda." Bush demanded that the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan at the time, expel him from its country. The Taliban refused, and Bush ordered American troops to invade Afghanistan to defeat Al Qaeda and look for bin Laden, who was not found until he was reportedly killed by U.S. Navy SEALS in May 2011. During the 2011 invasion of Afghanistan, American soldiers captured terrorists, including an American later charged with treason and sentenced to 30 years in jail; some terrorists were held at Guantanamo Bay, and hundreds are still being held there a decade later while awaiting trial.
Congress quickly passed the Patriot Act of 2001, which authorized extensive phone and email surveillance of Americans possibly connected with terrorism, and authorized deportation or detention of suspected terrorists. The internal surveillance and fighting in Afghanistan became known as the "War on Terrorism," which began in 2001 and continues to this day.
More controversial was President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003, after its dictator Saddam Hussein refused to disarm and refused to cooperate with inspections of its nuclear program. Some feared he was developing "weapons of mass destruction," though no hard evidence of that has ever been found. More plausible is that Saddam Hussein was harboring or funding terrorists, and there is no doubt that his regime was brutal to Iraqis themselves. Americans captured Baghdad, Iraq's capital, remarkably quickly, but actually the enemy had gone "underground" to engage in terrorist attacks against our troops for the next several years, possibly aided by Iran. In 2007, President Bush approved "the surge" to stop the terrorist attacks, and it was remarkably successful. American troops remained fighting in Iraq until 2010, when President Barack Obama pulled them out. After the American military left, defenseless Christian churches suffered from horrible violence against them.
President Bush was unsuccessful at immigration "reform" that would have granted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens in the nation, and given them a path to American citizenship. President Bush did support and sign into law the "No Child Left Behind Act of 2001," which allows students of public schools that repeatedly do poorly on mandatory tests to transfer to another public school that has a better record on these tests. But the liberal Senator Ted Kennedy's staff wrote most of the bill, and before long both conservatives and liberals were criticizing many of its burdensome regulations on the school system. The Act does seem to have improved accountability of public schools slightly, but does not generate new alternatives. Alert political activism by homeschoolers resulted in adding a provision to protect us against being subjected to the mandatory public school tests; any state that attempts to do that (and there was legislation in New Jersey to require that) will automatically lose millions of dollars in federal funding. Homeschooling continued to grow.
In November 2008, Barack Obama was elected president and the Democratic Party won large majorities in Congress. They pushed into law the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," also known by its critics as "ObamaCare". This law imposes a penalty on working adults who do not purchase health insurance, making it the first time that Congress has penalized people unless they bought something. There are many legal challenges to the law and Republicans vow to repeal it if they win back control of Congress and the presidency. In 2010, Republicans did win a landslide in the House of Representatives, but could not win a majority in the Senate. In 2012, the chances of Republicans also winning back the Senate are high (note that only a third of the Senate is elected every two years, while every seat in the House is elected).
In 2009 the Democrats enacted a "Stimulus" economic packages, which consisted of hundreds of billions of dollars in new federal spending, throwing the nation into enormous debt. Then President Obama and the Democrats passed the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," better known as "ObamaCare", in March 2010, to compel nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance. Every Republican voted against this legislation, and in the "midterm elections" in November 2010 the Republican Party won in a landslide in the House of Representatives and the state legislatures. The Democrats held on to control of the U.S. Senate, and Obama won reelection in 2012, but Republicans continue to have a majority in the House of Representatives and are expected to control that chamber for the remainder of this decade.
The Supreme Court
From about 1975 to the end of 2008, the Supreme Court has grown increasingly conservative (as has the nation, in your teacher's view). The 7-2 vote in favor of legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1972 had narrowed to an expected 5-4 level of support by the end of 2008, or perhaps the Court is now split 4-4 with one undecided on the issue. This Court did rule 5-4 against a right to partial-birth abortion, which is a most heinous form of abortion, and in November 2013 by a 5-4 vote the Court allowed a pro-life Texas law to go into effect, which prohibits abortion by someone who lacks nearby hospital privileges.
President George W. Bush appointed two strong conservatives to the Supreme Court during his presidency: Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito, who is from New Jersey. The liberal Justices tend to be older, while the more conservative Justices are younger. But after 2008, President Obama nominated two young liberals to the Supreme Court, ensuring that this Court would be almost equally divided between conservatives and liberals for the foreseeable future. Perhaps because it is nearly equally divided, the Supreme Court accepting fewer cases for its review (i.e., the Court is "denying cert." more often).
State supreme courts have been deciding the issue of same-sex marriage. In 2003, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled by a 4-3 margin, in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, that its state Constitution required issuing same-sex marriage licenses. In 2008, a 4-3 vote of the California Supreme Court mandated marriage licenses for homosexual couples, but in November California voters overturned that decision by adding a provision ("Proposition 8") to the California Constitution specifying that marriage is between only a man and woman. Most states have banned same-sex marriage.
A Very Brief History of America
Alexis de Tocqueville was an aristocratic Frenchman who was homeschooled. He came to America when he was 25 years old, in 1831, and wrote a two-volume study of what he saw, entitled Democracy in America. His insightful observations continue to be cited to this day. His two fundamental conclusions were that in America (1) the majority is considered to be "right" and (2) every individual is the "only lawful judge" of his own interests. Those two principles conflict with each other to this day. Which matters most in America, the majority or the individual? De Tocqueville also had other insights: our high level of faith in America, our reliance on family, and our way of life on the frontier. At the time the United States was the world's greatest democratic form of government. We still are.
Understand that history is a series of struggles. For example, consider the Federalist Party versus the Democratic-Republican Party. What happened to the Federalist Party? It collapsed near the end of the War of 1812, because the Federalist Party was pro-British. What happened to the Democratic-Republican Party? It collapsed because it had no reason to exist after the Federalist Party collapsed!
Appreciate the economic cycles of our nation. Every 20 or so years there is an economic crisis: 1773. 1797. 1819. 1837. 1857. 1873. 1893. 1907. 1929-1941. 1979. 1991. 2008. How would you know those years without memorizing them? Note that the crisis occurs about every 20 years, and usually the president at the time does not win reelection.
Understand the natural expansion of our nation. There were 13 colonies when we won our independence in 1783, plus the "northwest" territories of the Ohio River Valley and Michigan. Vermont was added as a state in 1791. Kentucky joined in 1792; Tennessee in 1796; and Ohio in 1803. What happened next? The Louisiana Purchase added massive new territory. Louisiana itself was added as a state in 1812. The population expanded westward, and the concept of "Manifest Destiny" took hold.
More territory was acquired in 1848. How? It was due to the Mexican War (Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo). Was California added as a state immediately? No, it took the Compromise of 1850. California was state number 31 in being admitted.
Kansas was the 34th state to join the Union when it was admitted in 1861. Remember all the controversy about that? What was the next state to be added? West Virginia in 1863, as it split from Virginia due to the Civil War. By 1896, Utah was the 45th state to join, after it gave up its practice of allowing a man to marry more than one wife (polygamy).
Only five states joined in the 1900s. Who can name them? Oklahoma (which has many large Indian settlements from the Trail of Tears) was added in 1907. New Mexico and Arizona were added in 1912. And then Alaska and Hawaii joined the United States in 1959.
Our nation's population has grown enormously. In 1790 which state had the largest population? Virginia (including West Virginia): 748,000 people. Second? Massachusetts: 475,000 (including Maine). Third? Pennsylvania: 434,000. Fourth? North Carolina: 394,000. The biggest city? Philadelphia (42,000 people). But by 1820 New York had surpassed Philadelphia in population.
Here is how the entire U.S. population has grown:
1790: 4M (M=million)
Transportation improved over time. In 1817, how long do you think it took for freight to travel from Cincinnati to New York City? A total of 52 days was required. How would you have traveled it? Take the Ohio River to Pittsburgh, then by wagon to Philadelphia, and then by wagon and river to New York City. Now, how long would the same trip take in 1845? Only 28 days: by canal across Ohio to Lake Erie, then the Erie Canal to the Hudson River, which flows to New York City.
Then how long would that shipment take in 1860? Only 6-8 days, using the Erie Railroad and connecting lines. How long would it take today? Only one day by truck over federal highways, like Route 80; perhaps only two hours by airplane.
But the addition of new states to the United States does not tell the whole story of the American territory. What else needs to be told? Imperialism is a controversial part of our history from late 1893 (when we installed an American to run Hawaii) through 1914 (when we completed the Panama Canal). The presidents most responsible for imperialism were William McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt (who also established the national park system and engaged in "trust-busting" actions to break up large business monopolies).
Our imperialism included our invasion of Cuba to liberate it (while retaining Guantanamo Bay), and our acquisition of the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam from Spain at the end of the Spanish-American War. The U.S. Senate ratified the Treaty of Paris in a close vote at the end of the war to allow this. Arguments for imperialism in the Philippines include these: the U.S. has a civilizing mission and the Philippines gave us important strategic advantage. If we withdrew, foreign powers would acquire it. Arguments against imperialism were these: Democrats and populists said it was contrary to American principles of self-government, the Monroe Doctrine, and traditional U.S. "isolationism", a pejorative term for the view that we should focus on America first.
Part of imperialism was the building of the Panama Canal based on the Jay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty in 1903. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter pushed through the Senate a treaty to return the Canal territory to the ownership of Panama. A Republican senator from New Jersey, Clifford Chase, supported the return of the Canal to Panama; public outrage caused his unusual defeat by an obscure conservative opponent in the Republican primary in 1978. Now, due to the giveaway, the Panama Canal is operated by ... Communist China!
After Jimmy Carter's one term as president (1977-81), Ronald Reagan served as president for two very successful terms (1981-89). His successor in office was his Vice President, George H.W. Bush, who was able to serve only one term before losing reelection, from 1989-93. This repeated how the previously popular presidents of George Washington and Andrew Jackson were followed in office for only one term by their Vice President. In all three cases, economic problems plagued the term of service of the former Vice President. John Adams, Martin Van Buren and George H.W. Bush all were unpopular partly due to a downturn in the economy during their presidency, and none were reelected.
Democracy (without a constitution) started in Ancient Greece hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. By 1776 many countries were already implementing the principles of democracy, but without constitutions. Britain had an elected parliament, and so did France. The American Revolution was motivated partly by economics, partly by religion, and partly by philosophical principles, and its result was the Constitution (including the Bill of Rights) that protected individual freedom, private property and a republican form of government. Today the U.S. Constitution is the longest governing document of its kind in the world.
James Madison, in advocating ratification of the Constitution in the Federalist Papers, admitted that democracies were short-lived and that a single faction or special interest could obtain tyrannical control in a democracy. But he observed that the Constitution established a republic rather than a democracy, and the large size of our republic would protect us against any single faction or special interest obtaining control of our country.
Key Term List After Reconstruction
Here are the key terms after Reconstruction (a prior Lecture contained the key terms before and through Reconstruction). The bolded terms are the most important.
|Transatlantic Cable||"Peace without Victory"||McCarren Internal Security Act|
|Seward Purchase of Alaska||Jones Act||Joseph McCarthy|
|Tariff Issue||Zimmermann telegram||Edward R. Murrow|
|Exodusters||Selective Service Act||Korean War|
|The Grange/Oliver Kelley||Espionage Act||General Douglas MacArthur|
|Elizabeth Cady Stanton||World War I||McCarren-Walter Immigration & Nationality Act|
|Chataugua Movement||Lever Act||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|Chief Joseph/Nez Perce||Trading with the Enemy Act||Earl Warren|
|Munn v. Illinois||Sedition Act||Brown v. Board of Education|
|Workingmen's Party||Fourteen Points||AFL-CIO|
|Edison/Light bulb||National War Labor board||Montgomery Bus Boycott|
|Bland-Allison Act||Overman Act||Beat Culture|
|Standard Oil Trust||Schenck v. U.S.||Eisenhower Doctrine|
|Booker T. Washington||Abrams v. U.S.||Domino Theory|
|James Garfield||Debs v. U.S.||Mutual Assured Destruction|
|Stalwarts||Treaty of Versailles||NASA|
|Chester Arthur||Prohibition supporters||Landum-Griffin Act|
|Pendleton Act||19th Amendment||Fidel Castro|
|Civil Service Commission||How the Other Half Lives||U-2|
|Helen Hunt Jackson||Adkins v. Children's Hospital||Sputnik|
|Chinese Exclusion Act||Wright Brothers Flight||John F. Kennedy|
|Civil Rights Cases||Niagara Movement/NAACP||OPEC|
|Brooklyn Bridge||DuBois compared to Washington||Sit-ins|
|James Blaine||"Big" Bill Haywood||Alliance for Progress|
|Mugwumps||Henry Ford||Bay of Pigs|
|Grover Cleveland||United Negro Improvement Ass'n||Berlin Wall|
|American Federation of Labor (AFL)||18th Amendment||Peace corps|
|Haymarket Square riot||Volstead Act||Freedom Rides|
|Yick Wo v. Hopkins||Great American authors wrote ...||Project Apollo|
|Interstate Commerce Act||Tin Pan Alley||Vietnam|
|Dawes Act||William Faulkner||Engel v. Vitale|
|Jane Addams/Hull house||Eugene O'Neill||Baker v. Carr|
|Williamsport, Pennsylvania||Harlem Renaissance||The Other America|
|Benjamin Harrison||Sacco and Vanzetti||The Feminine Mystique|
|US Census Bureau declares...||radio, Television||National Organization For Women|
|Sherman Antitrust Act||Warren G. Harding||Students for a Democratic Soc'y|
|John Sherman||Federal Highway Act||James Meredith/Univ. of Mississ.|
|Sherman Silver Purchase Act||Washington Naval Conference||Cuban Missile Crisis|
|McKinley Tariff||Immigration 1890-1917||Gideon v. Wainwright|
|Alfred Thayer Mahan||Emergency Quota Act||Martin Luther King Jr.|
|Homestead Strike||Fordney McCumber Act||South Christian Leadership Conference|
|Frederick Jackson Turner||Calvin Coolidge||Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee|
|Panic of 1893||Coolidge's view on strikes||Black Panthers|
|Queen Liliuokalani||National Origins Act||March on Washington|
|National Municipal League||Scopes "Monkey" Trial||Office of Economic Opportunity|
|Coxey's Army||Charles Lindbergh||Civil Rights Act of 1964|
|Wilson-Gorman Tariff||Great Mississippi Flood||Escobedo v. Illinois|
|Eugene V. Debs||Kellogg-Briand Pact (or Treaty)||Free Speech Movement|
|Pollack v. Farmers Loan & Trust||Herbert Hoover||Gulf of Tonkin Resolution|
|Atlanta Exposition/Compromise||Stock Market Crash||Lyndon Johnson|
|U.S. v. Knight Co.||Hawley-Smoot Tariff||Voting Rights Act|
|In re Debs||Causes of the Great Depression||"Great Society"|
|Condition to admit Utah as State||Reconstruction Finance Corp.||Medicare and Medicaid|
|Plessy v. Ferguson||Bonus March||Elementary & Secondary & High Educ. Acts|
|William Jennings Bryan||Franklin Delano Roosevelt||Dept. of Urban Housing and Dev't|
|"Cross of Gold Speech"||New Deal||Miranda v. Arizona|
|Populist Party/Platform||"Hundred Days"||Thurgood Marshall|
|Populist Party high point||Emergency Banking Act||Tet Offensive|
|Populist Party ended because||Civilian Conservation Corps||Paris Peace Talks|
|William McKinley||Agricultural Adjustment Act||Robert F. Kennedy (brother of JFK)|
|Spanish American War||Federal Emergency Relief Act||Democratic National Convention - 1968|
|De Lome Letter||Tennessee Valley Act||Chicago Seven|
|U.S.S. Maine||Farm-Credit Act||EPA|
|Rough Riders||Glass-Steagall Banking Act||Roe v. Wade|
|Joseph Pulitzer||National Industrial Recovery Act||Richard Nixon|
|"Yellow Journalism"||21st Amendment||Apollo 11|
|Teller Amendment||Good Neighbor Policy||War Powers Act|
|Commander George Dewey||Federal housing Authority||New York Times v. U.S.|
|Treaty of Paris||Gold Reserve Act||Furman v. Georgia|
|Open Door Policy||Securities and Exchange Act||Henry Kissinger|
|Foraker Act||Works Progress Administration||"Vietnamization"|
|Boxer Rebellion||National Housing Act||Strategic Arms Limit Treaty (SALT)|
|Platt Amendment||Schecter Poultry v. U.S.||Committee to Reelect the President|
|Theodore Roosevelt||Wagner Act||Watergate|
|Hay-Pauncefote Treaty||Social Security Act||Spiro Agnew|
|Venezuela boundary dispute||Congress of Indust. Organ. (CIO)||Saturday Night Massacre|
|Newlands Reclamation Act||Fair Labor Standards Act||Nixon Resigns|
|The Philippines||Trade Agreements Act||Gerald Ford|
|Women's Trade Union League||Neutrality Act||Jimmy Carter|
|Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty||Pennsylvania Turnpike||Panama Canal Treaty|
|Northern Securities Co. v. U.S.||Selective Training and Service Act||Camp David Accords|
|Russo-Japanese War||Four Freedoms||Black Codes|
|Lochner v. New York||Lend-Lease Act||Three Mile Island|
|Hepburn Act||Atlantic Charter||Salt-II|
|The Jungle||U-Boats||Iran Hostage Crisis|
|Meat Inspection Act||Pearl Harbor||Equal Rights Amendment|
|Pure Food and Drug Act||D-Day||Ronald Reagan|
|Treaty of Portsmouth||Holocaust||women Supreme Court Justices|
|Taft-Katsura Agreement||CORE||Iran-Contra Scandal|
|Susan B. Anthony||"Voice of America"||Star Wars|
|Gentlemen's Agt. re: Japan||Teheran Conference||George Bush Sr.|
|Root-Takhira Agreement||Yalta Conference||Persian Gulf War|
|Muller v. Oregon||Potsdam Conference||Americans with Disabilities Act|
|Paine-Aldrich Tariff||Manhattan Project||Budget Plan of 1990|
|Mann-Elkins Act||Harry S. Truman||Clarence Thomas|
|Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire||Hiroshima, Nagasaki||Bill Clinton|
|Progressive Movement||Korematsu v. U.S.||"Don't Ask, Don't tell"|
|William Howard Taft||Servicemen's readjustment Act||Health Care Reform|
|Progressive (Bull moose) Party||Bretton Woods/World Bank||World Trade Center Bombing|
|Woodrow Wilson||Dumbarton Oaks/United Nations||Brady Bill|
|Underwood Tariff||Full Employment Act||Bombing of the Federal Building|
|Dillingham Commission||Loyalty Boards||NAFTA|
|17th Amendment||Taft-Hartley Act||World Trade Organization|
|16th Amendment||Truman Doctrine||Monica Lewinsky|
|Federal Reserve Act||George Kennan/Containment||Columbine High School|
|Triple Alliance||National Security Act/Council||Dot-Com Boom|
|Triple Entente||Marshall Plan||Bush v. Gore|
|Archduke Ferdinand||Jackie Robinson||George W. Bush|
|Clayton-Antitrust Act||Organization of American States||9/11 terrorist attacks|
|Federal Trade Commission Act||Central Intelligence Agency||Patriot Act of 2001|
|Guinn v. U.S.||"Iron Curtain"||No Child Left Behind Act|
|Lusitania||North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)||War on Terrorism|
|National Defense Act||Youngstown Sheet & Tube Case||Invasion of Afghanistan|
|Federal Farm Loan Act||House Un-American Activities Committee||Invasion of Iraq|
|Sussex Pledge||Whittaker Chambers/Alger Hiss||homeschooling|
|Urban League||Ethel and Julius Rosenberg||How will you shape history? (think about it)|