The Reagan Decade.
In American politics the 1980s were the decade of Ronald Reagan, who was elected president in 1980 and succeeded by his vice president, George Bush, in 1989. Reagan's vision of the nation—and to a somewhat lesser extent his conservative agenda—shaped the economic and political fortunes of the United States for most of the 1980s.
As the decade began, Americans were struggling with an image of a country that was no longer the most powerful and prosperous nation in the world. Trust in politicians had been eroded by a series of political scandals that began in 1974 with the spectacle of an administration disgraced, as Richard Nixon resigned the presidency in the wake of Watergate, and continued into the 1980s with revelations about bribery of elected officials in the FBI Abscam sting. Social problems such as drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and violent crime were on the rise. The American economy exhibited a conjunction of high inflation, rising unemployment, and little growth. Americans were losing well-paying manufacturing jobs and taking low-paying service jobs in their place. Japan and Germany were challenging American dominance in world trade, and the United States was incurring larger and larger trade imbalances. As the major oil-producing countries raised the price of oil higher and higher, Americans were...
(The entire section is 1467 words.)
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