Chapter 37

Chapter 37: Triumph And Tragedy: America At The Turn Of The Century

Chapter Outline

I. Introduction---the U.S. and the world at century's end

II. America's changing mosaic

  1. Demographic shifts
    1. Growth of Sunbelt and urban areas
    2. Women and the workforce
    3. Decline of the "traditional family unit"
    4. Black Americans and poverty
  2. The new immigrants
    1. Changes in America's ethnic mix
    2. Origins of immigrants
    3. Immigrants and American society

III. The computer revolution

  1. An overview of the computer revolution
  2. Microchip and "personal computer" development
  3. Computers and globalization

IV. Cultural conservatives

  1. More ideological and partisan
  2. Attacks on liberalism
  3. The Religious Right
    1. Christian Coalition
    2. Political effect

V. Bush to Clinton

  1. Decline in Bush's popularity
    1. Foreign affairs
    2. Economic recession
    3. Broke "No new taxes" pledge
    4. Pat Buchanan's challenge
  2. Meanwhile, Democrats presented solid centrist image
    1. Clinton's background
      1. Early years
      2. Positions on issues
      3. "Slick Willie"
    2. Election of 1992
      1. The Clinton-Gore team
      2. The Perot wild card
      3. Results

VI. Domestic policy in Clinton's first term

  1. Controversy over gays in the military
  2. Clinton's economic program
    1. Deficit-reduction package barely passed
    2. Approval of NAFTA
  3. Health-care reform
    1. Background
    2. Clinton's plan
    3. Vested interests opposed
    4. Democrats dropped fight for universal medical coverage

VII. Republican insurgency

  1. Republican landslide in midterm elections of 1994
  2. Democrats resented Clinton's "waffling"
  3. Republicans' "Contract with America"
    1. Rise of Newton Leroy Gingrich
    2. Fate of individual provisions
    3. "Gingrich revolution" fizzled out
  4. Legislative breakthrough
    1. Increase in minimum wage
    2. Welfare reform
  5. Election of 1996
    1. Bob Dole for Republicans
    2. The campaign
    3. Democratic victory

VIII. Economic and social trends of the 1990s

  1. The "new economy"
  2. Factors behind the economic boom
  3. Status of affirmative action began to shift
  4. Scandals
    1. Whitewater
    2. The Lewinsky affair
    3. Impeachment
    4. Senate acquittal
    5. Clinton's good and bad qualities

IX. Foreign policy challenges

  1. Haiti
  2. The Middle East
  3. The Balkans
    1. Bosnia
    2. Kosovo

X. Globalization

XI. The election of 2000

  1. Democrats nominate Albert Gore, Jr.
  2. Republicans nominate George W. Bush
  3. Election results
  4. Outcome determined by a decision of the Supreme Court

    XII. George W. Bush's presidency
  1. Economic conditions and policies
    1. 2001 recession
    2. Tax cuts
  2. No Child Left Behind
  3. Exploiting the environment
  4. Global terrorism
  5. September 11, 2001
    1. The hijackings
    2. Death toll
    3. American and global reaction
    4. al Qaeda and the Taliban
  6. War on terrorism
    1. Bush's new sense of purpose
    2. Attack on Afghanistan
  7. Terrorism at home
    1. Office of Homeland Security
    2. Airport security
    3. Patriot Act

XIII. Bush doctrine

  1. Preemptive military action
  2. Second Gulf War (Iraq War)
    1. Rationale for attack on Saddam Hussein
    2. Operation Iraqi Freedom
    3. Military results
    4. Challenges of Iraq reconstruction
    5. Renewed insurgency
    6. No weapons of mass destruction
    7. Increasing human and financial costs of occupation

XIV. The 2004 election

  1. George W. Bush, Republican candidate
  2. John Kerry, Democratic candidate
  3. Bush carries Ohio and wins second term

XV. Second-term blues

  1. Changes on the Supreme Court
  2. Hurricane Katrina
    1. Terrible destruction in New Orleans and elsewhere
    2. FEMA's inept response
    3. Importance of levee failure and loss of wetlands
  3. Stalled presidency
  4. Democratic victory in 2006 Congressional elections
  5. The Surge in Iraq
    1. Iraq Study Group recommendations
    2. Bush instead increases troop levels
    3. The surge's partial success
  6. Economic calamity
    1. The bursting of the housing bubble
    2. Credit contraction and recession
    3. Stock market prices collapse
    4. Bush bails out the banks

XVI. A historic election

  1. Bush's accumulated negatives
  2. Hopeful indicators for the Democrats
  3. Barack Obama betters Hillary Clinton for the nomination
  4. Obama's background
  5. John McCain's background
  6. Palin and Biden as running mates
  7. The fall campaign
    1. Obama's promise of change
    2. The dominance of the economy hurts McCain
    3. Decisive victory for Obama

XVII. Obama's first hundred days

  1. Cabinet choices
  2. Historic inauguration
  3. Quick action on campaign pledges
  4. A massive stimulus bill passed by Congress
  5. Whither Iraq?
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