USH 1973-2008

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The 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo

Aside from the Watergate Scandal back home, we were facing problems on an international level. Americans rely on oil so much because we are very industrial, and it is a threat to national security if the prices of oil are high. This is because our economy will not be able to function as productively if the oil prices are high. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which is mostly Arab countries, decided to use their control of oil as leverage against other countries.  The 1973 Yom Kippur War was an attack on Israel by Egypt and Syria.  OPEC decided to place an embargo on any country that had an affiliation with Israel. This was very unfortunate for the U.S. because they sided with Israel. OPEC raised prices by 70% and then by 130% which was too expensive for the U.S. This would have cause the U.S. to have its first oil shortage since WWII. This would cause the America to go into its first economic stagflation – a combination of rising prices due to inflation along with stagnating economic growth. To solve the problem, President Ford decided to cut government spending, urge the nation to cut back on oil consumption, as well as taking energy-conserving measures. Unfortunately all of these measures would fail and would lead to the election of 39th president, Jimmy Carter. — Ross Frankenberg

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The Carter Administration

Carter was a Democrat who beat Ford and became the 39th president. He was a strong advocate for human rights. His main focus towards the economy was the energy crisis that was going on during that time. Carter felt the biggest problem that America had to deal with was its independence on foreign oil. Carter created the Department of Energy and asked the people to conserve oil and promoted using coal and other renewable energy sources. While many Americans followed the request of Carter, domestic oil companies asked him to deregulate the industry in order for them to compete with OPEC and are able to make money to invest in new sources of oil. As carter agreed to the domestic oil companies’ requests he imposed some taxes so that the prices for the public would not be high. The turn out was not good. In 1979 instability in the Middle East caused another oil shortage in the United States of America. Carter was the one responsible for signing the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.  — Josh Cabrera

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American Hostages Held in Iran

The American hostage crisis involved 150 Americans, who were employees at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran. In 1953, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) organized a coup d’etat so the Shah of Iran could come to power. The Shah supported the U.S. and wanted to prevent the nationalization of Iran’s oil.  Nationalization means the oil would belong to the nation (the people of Iran), not a private corporation. The Shah was a friend of the U.S. and was given support by 8 American Presidents. In November 1979, while the Shah was in the U.S. for cancer treatments, a student led Iranian Revolution too place and a group of students entered the U.S. Embassy complex and took 53 hostages. A new leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power and was supportive of the student revolution. Khomeini called the U.S. “the Great Satan” and an “Enemy of Islam”. President Carter sent a small military team into Iran to try to free the hostages but their mission was a complete failure and 8 Special Forces soldiers were killed. A bad economy and the hostage crisis are blamed for Carter’s loss to Ronald Reagan. Ironically, the hostages were finally freed after 444 days just moments after Reagan took the Presidential Oath of Office.  — Patrick Waugh

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Liberal vs. Conservative

Liberal people believe that the government is responsible to resolve the economic problems and equality by: 1. The government should regulate the economy in order to protect the people form the power of the large companies and wealthy leaders, 2. The government should actively encourage the welfare of all the people, including the poor through social programs, 3. The government should pay for social programs, and in order to do this they should tax the people who can afford it, which would be the wealthy people and the large companies.  On the other hand the conservatives do not believe that the government should be responsible to resolve the economic problems and inequalities.

Conservatives believe in the free enterprise system, and that the economic booms and depressions are part of the normal cycle of capitalism, and that the government has no power or control over it. They also think that government intervention should be limited in order to stabilize and prevent severe depressions and runaway inflation. Some of the conservative polices included: 1. cutting taxes in times of depression to stimulate the economy 2. fiscal responsibility (balanced budgets & no deficit spending) 3. limited government intervention in the lives of citizens.  — Joana De Sa Pereira

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Ronald Reagan becomes president

Ronald Reagan, before he ran for president, was a movie actor and TV host. Reagan’s film and TV career gained him public-name recognition and his “good-guy” reputation which is sure to have helped him win some votes when running for the White House. Reagan also kept his conservative agenda no mystery to the public, people knew what his plan of action was and so they knew what they were voting for, there were no secrets. He made it quite clear that he planned to cut taxes to energize the floundering market even though he knew that these cuts would cost the government substantial amounts of money and their welfare programs would lose out.  Many social liberals and African-Americans were against Reagan as he had opposed many Civil Rights legislation in the 1960’s, President Carter even went as far to say he was a racist in his campaign. In the 1980 presidential election, however, Reagan won by a land-slide over Carter indicating a change in attitudes of American’s towards conservatism. Reagan was very anti-Communist, which appealed to people who were afraid America might follow a socialist economic policy.  — Sally Watson

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Reaganomics

Reaganomics is a portmanteau of “Reagan” and “economics”. It was the term for U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s economic agenda. The pillars of his economic policy were: reducing the growth of government spending, reducing marginal tax rates on income from labor and capital, reducing government regulation of the economy, and controlling the money supply to reduce inflation. These were totally new ideas. When he took office in 1981, the U.S. was in a period of high inflation and unemployment, which had largely lessened by the time he left office in 1989. By cutting domestic welfare spending, he had money for increases in military buildup. His first main objective was to restore military pride and confidence after the devastating outcomes if Vietnam and the Iranian hostage debacle. His second was to drive the depressed Soviet economy into bankruptcy and win the Cold War. He succeeded in achieving these objectives and the economy enjoyed one of the largest booms in its history during his presidency.  — Frizzi Bschorer

Reagan gives a televised address from the Oval Office, outlining his plan for Tax Reduction Legislation in July 1981

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The End of the Cold War

It is said that President Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy was one of the major factors in the collapse of Communism and the Soviet Union. Reagan’s policy was targeted to weaken the already struggling Soviet economy in the 1980s. Reagan focused on increasing government spending on the military to surpass the Soviets in the arms race. Because of the struggling economy, the Soviet Union was unable to keep up to the United States. Prime minister Mikhail Gorbachev tried economic reforms, but his efforts were unsuccessful. In December of 1987, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed by Reagan and Gorbachev, marking the begining of the end of the Cold War. After this, the relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States improved as well as the economic growth. – Nikko Close

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HIV/AIDS appears in the U.S. While Reagan’s presidency was characterized The United States had been increasing in drug abuse, homelessness and especially crimes. In 1981 AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) was discovered in the United States, the first case were identified among gay men in the United States. However, scientists later found evidence that the disease had already existed in the world for some years. There was a Bantu man who died from an unidentified illness in the Belgian Congo in 1959, which was later found out to be AIDS. After 1981 AIDS started spreading out very quickly. Today around 33.2 million people live with AIDS and 2.1 million persons have died from AIDS, which includes 330.000 children. About three quarters of these deaths occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa.

AIDS can be transmitted through sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between a mother and her baby during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Today there is know cure for AIDS although there are treatments for AIDS and HIV that can slow the disease, but these drugs are expensive and access to them is not available in all countries. – Petur Freyr

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Apple computers   L2

Apple Computer was founded in 1976 by Stephen Wozniak and Steve Jobs. That same year Steve Wozniak hand-built the Apple I which became Apple’s first product. At the time, Apple I was sold for $666.66 and around 200 of them were made. Apple II followed Apple I becoming the first mass produced computer by Apple. Apple II was far more advanced than Apple I, adding both sound and graphic capabilities. In 1980, Apple went public with the company generating more money than any initial public offering (IPO) since Ford Motor Company. The rise of Apple led to competition between IBM who its own PC in response to the Apple II. In 1984, Apple created the Macintosh which was a new computer model with an easy operating system and mouse. Apple is now a multi-billion dollar company and with the development of personal computers, portable media devices, the iPhone and computer software, Apple has become the king of consumer electronics. — Justin Nguonly

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Microsoft / Bill Gates

William Henry Gates the third is a world famous American Businessman and software architect. He is the Chairman of Microsoft and is one of the world’s richest men. Gates got a 1590/1600 on his SAT and was enrolled at Harvard. However, he did not complete his education at Harvard due to the creation of his software company. Gates co-founded the company Microsoft to design software for personal computers. Apple and IBM had created home computers and were competing with each other in the market. IBM hired Microsoft to develop and operating system for their PC. Gates bought the rights to a software from a programmer in Seattle for the price of fifty thousand dollars. Gates made some changes to this software and produced an operating system known as MS-DOS. In the year 1985, Microsoft produced the Windows operating system which was quite similar to Macintosh. Computers then became an essential part of business and every day life making Gates a billionaire at the age of thirty one. Today, Microsoft is the biggest producer of operating systems and software for personal computers. Also, Apple still remains their rival in the software market. – Dirk Ramdial

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Human Genome Project

The next breakthrough of the 80’s and 90’s was in biotechnology, or the managing of biological systems to improve human life.  Computers made it possible to manipulate genes and cells at the molecular levels. The Human Genome Project was completed in 2003. The project was a 13-year project coordinated by the United States Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. Besides Japan, France, Germany, China and others, The Wellcome Trust also became a major partner of the project. The Human Genome Project’s main goals were the following:

* identify all the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA
* determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA
* store this information in databases
* improve tools for data analysis
* transfer related technologies to the private sector, and
* address the ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) that may arise from the project.
Although the Human Genome Project is finished, analyses of the data will continue for many years. By 2001, the HGP completed the first map of the human genome or genetic makeup. – Debbie De Villa

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President George H.W. Bush

George Herbert Walker Bush was born in Massachusetts on June 12th, 1924. He was the 41st President of the United States. Before becoming president he held many political positions such as the Vice President of the United States under Ronald Reagan. He became involved in politics soon after founding his own oil company, which had done quite well.  He succeeded Ronald Reagan as president of the United States.  He entered office at a period of change in the world such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union came early in his presidency.  He faced problems of debt after taking over from Reagan. The debt had tripled since 1980.  Many people may say that they do not like George Bush for some of his decisions but I have a lot of respect for him as a person.  I think he has exceeded expectations and did all that he could to help the United States.  Everyone makes mistakes and there will never be a perfect presidency that everyone agrees on.  — Ben Martin

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Gulf War 1 / Operation Desert Storm

Even the Cold War came to an end, the US was not able to achieve peace for their own; a new problem emerged in the Middle East. In the Middle East oil is the main natural resource, so countries in there move around oil, their relationships are based on oil treaties and when Iraq decided to invade Kuwait the US did not like the idea. They also feared that they would invade more countries. Kuwait is a small country in the Middle East but they have a lot of oil, so Saddam Hussein, dictator of Iraq, invaded Kuwait in 1990. President Bush persuaded the United Nations to stop Iraq’s movements, but Saddam Hussein refused.

On January 16th, 1991 the war begun, the United Nations sent a huge coalition to Kuwait. The US was the leader of this coalition. They called this operation  “Operation Desert Storm”. The main goal was to free Kuwait. The coalition was superior in the air and on the ground and the results came really fast. Five weeks after the war began Iraq decided to put an end to it, negotiating for peace. Americans did not suffer a lot of casualties and they reached their goal – Iraq was driven out of Kuwait. – Luis Ocejo Medrano

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Deficit spending and the National Debt

Deficit spending is when Congress deals out more money than the government actually has, thus the country begins to become in debt. When Bill Clinton was elected into office he pushed for bold economic agenda that went against previous ideas. When the Reagan and Bush administration tried to jump-start our economy by cutting taxes and increasing spending it put our country in debt, which is when we borrow money and in return must pay an extra fee for borrowing the money. Throughout Clinton’s time in office his main goal was balancing the budget, which is when the government spends only what the amount of money it takes in from tax revenue. The Deficit Reduction Act of 1993 increased the income tax for the richest 1.2% of Americans,  created a new tax on fuel for all Americans and it gave tax-relief to the working class Americans. This act hardly made it through Congress, with zero votes from the Republican Party and even some Democrats didn’t like it, but in the end it turned out to be pretty successful. – Jeff Morse

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The Monica Lewinsky Scandal

President Clinton was one of the most popular presidents throughout American history. He was well liked because he was very successful at his domestic and foreign policies and his economic boom. When people think of Bill Clinton they think of the personal scandal that involved an intern in the White house named Monica Lewinsky. This led The House of Representatives to question him in 1998. Clinton initially denied the fact of having a inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky. But he was later forced to confess when the prosecution produced irrefutable evidence. President Clinton was impeached by the U.S. Senate but was not convicted of any charges and finished him term in office.  However, this affair cost him is reputation with many Americans. No one will ever find out the truth of what really happened between the two, but many people think they knew what happened between them, I guess we will just never find out. – Paul Mastronardi

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Globalization

Globalization is the process of transformation of some things or phenomena into global ones. In short, it is the process by the people unified into single society sharing all the goods and services. Over the last years the American economy had become the leader. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war many nations that were Communist or follow that system changed and adapted to the democratic system. Globalization can be good or bad. In one hand it helps large companies which generate huge profits and simulates economic growth around the world, but in the other hand the introduction of other economies or countries can affect the effectiveness or competition of some US companies. Globalization will be good for large economies, but for third world countries Globalization can be devastating.  —Mikhail Meyreles

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Kyoto Protocols

The Kyoto Protocol was agreed on December 11 of 1997 and came into force 9 years later in February of 2006. This protocol was drafted to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases which change the climate.  Many countries have agreed to this treaty which sets how much greenhouse gases can be emitted by the country.  Among these countries is the European Union which includes all the leading countries from Europe. The United States have not yet ratified this treaty even though they emit more carbon dioxide than any other country in the world. It has been determined by the studies of the creators of this protocol that the highest amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere come from developed countries and that undeveloped countries are slower in producing it and emit less which is contrary to popular belief. People who oppose this protocol and are skeptical to global warming argue that this document was drafted so that the leading countries could give way for the smaller economies of undeveloped countries to grow with an equal level of competition. Thus putting developed countries at a disadvantage.  —Anthony Sasso

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September 11, 2001

On the morning of September 11, 2001 terrorists from al-Qaeda hijacked four planes and crashed two of them into the two World Trade Centers.  This resulted in the collapse of both buildings soon after the planes flew into the side of the two buildings.  The third plane crashed into the Pentagon.  This was very scary for me because my uncle works less then a block from the Pentagon.  He felt the ground shake and ran for his life.  He was covered in debris and had to hide underneath a car to save his life.  He waited there for forty-five minutes before everything settled!  Without counting the highjackers, almost 3,000 people died because of these attacks.  This day will be remembered forever in United States history.  This is a huge deal and there just keep being more and more ironic things that pop up about this day.  The most memorable for me is that it is my mom’s birthday on that day so I will never forget it.  This was a tragic event and I can only pray that something like this does not happen again. – JR Murphy

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The War in Afghanistan

Al Qaeda, a terrorist group, which can be located in Afghanistan, claimed that they were heavily involved in the September 11 attacks. The United States Of America immediately invaded, which wasn’t surprising. Al Qaeda is led by Osama Bid Laden, who is one of the most wanted men in the world. The Taliban, a completely different terrorist organization, were essentially in command of Afghanistan before The United States Of America invaded in an attempt to restore order. The Taliban refused to surrender Al Qaeda staff so they were overthrown. After this task was complete a democratic political and government system was implemented, although these actions took place, the government situation is still pretty sketchy and unstable to this very day. Sporadically Osama Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda organization release videos, which have updates of there current thoughts, location, plans and surprisingly a lot of information, but it’s been proven that the videos are mostly lies and heavily edited and not as realistic as their appearance. – Marc Richard Culmer

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The War in Iraq

After the attacks of September 11, President George W. Bush declared a sweeping war on terror. Many Americans agreed with this as national pride and patriotism rose sky high. At first, American soldiers invaded Afghanistan. However, the attention quickly turned to the other major campaign, Iraq. After having failed to cooperate with the weapons inspectors of the U.N, Saddam Hussein brought suspicion upon himself. This led the United States government to believe that Iraq was supplying Al-Qaeda, the group responsible for 9-11, with weapons of mass destruction. The invasion was a quick success. On April 9, 2003, Baghdad fell to the victorious Americans. About one month later, President Bush declared that all major combat operations had ended. This was just a false saying though for as of today, numerous American troops (up to 165,000) are still stuck in combat.  Ironically, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found, leaving Bush stumbling upon justifications for his actions.  —Alex Ilic

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The Election of 2008

The Presidential election will finally happen on November 4th, 2008. For the first time in election history, you can watch the presidential debates on YouTube. Actually, the Republican and Democratic parties held debates aired on You Tube, where most of the questions came from YouTube viewers.  Aside from YouTube, what is also unique to this campaign is that candidates are also using MySpace and Facebook to campaign. The Democrats seem to have a race that won’t end.  The Democrats will choose a minority between an African American and a white woman.  It is May and both candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are still fighting it out. Barack Obama is leading the race.  There are more young voters that in any other election.  The young voters favor Obama over Clinton.  The winner of the Democratic primary needs 2,025 delegates to win the nomination.  Obama needs a little over 100 more delegates and Hillary needs over 300 to clinch the nomination.  —Brad Doliner

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