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Chapter 34 - The Age of Globalization

A Resurgence of Partisanship Launching the Clinton Presidency ·The new administration compounded its problems with a series of missteps and misfortunes in its first months. ·A long time friend of the president, Vince Foster, serving in the office of the White House counsel, committed suicide in the summer of 1993. ·Despite its many problems the Clinton administration could boast of some significant achievements in its first year. ·Clinton was a committed advocate of free trade and a proponent of many aspects of what came to be known as globalism. ·He won approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which eliminated most trade barriers among the United States, Canada, and Mexico. ·Early in 1993, he appointed his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, which proposed a sweeping reform designed to guarantee coverage to every American and hold down the costs of medical care. ·The foreign policy of the Clinton administration was at first cautious and even tentativea reflection, perhaps, of the president’s relative inexperience in international affairs, but also of the rapidly changing character of international politics. The United States was among the nations to send peaceke eping troops to Bosnia to police the fragile settlement, which-despite many pessimistic predictions-was still largely in place 7 years later, although terrible new conflicts soon emerged in other areas of the Balkans. The Republican Resurgence ·For the first time in 40 years, Republicans gained control of both houses of Congress. ·Newt Gingrich of Georgia, released a set of campaign promises signed by almost all Republican candidates for he House and called it the “Contract with America”. ·It called for tax reductions, dramatic changes in federal spending to produce a balanced budget, and a host of other promises consistent with the long-time goals of the Republican Party’s conservative wing. ·The Republican Congress proposed a series of measures to transfer important powers from the federal government to the states. Medicare program to reduce costs. ·In November 1995 and again in January 1996, the federal government literally shut down for several days because the president and Congress could not agree on a budget. The Election of 1996 ·The United States presidential election of 1916 took place while Europe was embroiled in World War I. · Public sentiment in the still neutral United States leaned towards the British and French (allied) forces, due to the harsh treatment of civilians by the German Army, which had invaded and occupied large parts of Belgium and northern France. · Despite their sympathy with the allied forces most American voters wanted to avoid involvement in the war, and preferred to continue a policy of neutrality. Clinton Triumpant and Embattled ·He proposed a relatively modest domestic agenda, consisting primarily of tax cuts and tax credits targeted at middle-class Americans and designed to help them educate their children. ·In early 1998, inquiries associated with the Paula Jones case led to charges that the president had had a sexua l relationship with a young White House intern, Monica Lewinsky; that he had lied about it in his deposition before Jones’s attorneys; and that he had encouraged her to do the same. ·Clinton admitted that he had an “improper relationship” with Monica. The president seemed to have escaped his difficulties as a result of strong popular support. Impeachment, Acquittal, and Resurgence ·House leaders resisted all calls for dismissal of the charges or compromise. ·First the House Judiciary Committee and then, on December 19, 1998, the full House, both voting on strictly partisan lines, approved 2 counts of impeachment: lying to the grand jury and obstructing justice. ·Expanding role of scandal in American politics driven by an increasingly sensationalist media culture, the legal device of independent counsels, and the intensely adversarial quality of partisan politics. ·Numerous reports of Serbian atrocities against the Kosovans, and an enormous refugee crisis spurred by Yugoslavian military action in the province, slowly roused world opinion. The Two-Tiered Economy ·The increasing attendance created enormous new wealth that enriched those talented, or luck, enough to profit from the areas of booming growth. ·Between 1980 and the mid-1990s, the average family incomes of he wealthiest 20 percent of the population grew by nearly 20 percent. ·Poverty in America had declined steadily and at times dramatically in the years after World War II, so that by the end of the 1970s the percentage of people living in poverty had fallen 12 percent. Globalization ·The most important economic change, and certainly the one whose impact was the most difficult to gauge, was what became known as the “globalization” of the economy. ·As late as 1970, international trade still played a relatively small role in the American economy as a whole, which thrived on the basis of the huge domestic market in North America. ·Imports rose. ·The North American Free Trade Agreement and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, were the boldest of a long series of treaties designed to lower trade barriers stretching back to the 1960s. Science and Technology in the New Economy The Personal Computer ·The most visible element of the technological revolution to most Americans was the dramatic growth in the use of computers in almost every area of life. ·The development of the microprocessor, first introduced in 1971 by Intel, which represented a notable advance in the technology of integrated circuitry. ·Apple launched its Apple II personal computer, the first such machine to be widely available to the public. ·3 years later, Apple introduced its Macintosh computer technology, among other things. ·Computerized word processing replaced typewriters and spreadsheets revolutionized bookkeeping. ·The computer revolution created thousands of new, lucrative businesses: computer manufacturers themselves (IBM, Apple, Compaq, Dell, Gateway, Sun, Digital, and many others). The Internet ·The Internet is, a vast, geographically far-flung network of computers that allows people connected to the network to communicate with others all over the world. ·In 1989, a laboratory in Geneva introduced the World Wide Web, through which individual users could publish information for the Internet, which helped establish an orderly system for both the distribution and retrieval of electronic information. ·Newspapers, magazines, and other publications have begun to publish on the Internet. Breakthroughs in Genetics ·The Human Genome Project set out to identify all of the more than 100,000 genes by 2005. Anti-Abortion advocates20denounced the research, claiming that it exploited unborn children. A Changing Society The Graying of America ·The declining birth rate and a significant rise in life expectancy produced a substantial increase in proportion of elderly citizens. ·Increasing costliness of Social Security pensions. New Patterns of Immigration and Ethnicity ·The nation’s immigration quotas expanded significantly in those years, allowing more newcomers to enter the United States legally than at any point since the beginning of the 20h century. ·In 1965, 90 percent of the immigrants to the united States came from Europe. ·Mexico alone accounted for over one-fourth of all the immigrants living in the United States in 2000. ·In the 1980s and 1990s, Asian immigrants arrived in even greater numbers than Latinos, constituting more than 40 percent of the total of legal newcomers. ·Many of the new Asian immigrants were refugees, including Vietnamese driven from their homes in the aftermath of the diatoms war in which the United States had so long been involved. The Black Middle Class ·There were increased opportunities for advancement available to those in a position to take advantage of them. ·As the industrial economy declined and government services dwindled, there was a growing sense of helplessness and despair among the large groups of nonwhites who continued to find themselves barred from=2 0upward mobility. ·The percentage of black high-school graduates going on to college was virtually the same as that of white high0school graduates by the end of the 20th century. ·There were few areas of American life from which blacks were any longer entirely excluded. Poor and Working-Class African Americans ·The “underclass” made up as much as a third of the nation’s black population. ·The black family structure suffered as well from the dislocations of urban poverty. ·There was an increase in the number of single-parent, female-headed black households. ·A bystander videotaped several Los Angeles police officers beating a helpless black man, Rodney King. ·Black residents of South Central Los Angeles erupted in anger. Modern Plagues: Drugs and AIDS ·The new immigrants arrived in cities with a dramatic increase in drug use, which penetrated nearly every community in the nation. ·AIDS is the product of the HIV virus, which is transmitted by the exchange of bodily fluids (blood or semen). ·The first American victims of AIDS, group among whom cases remained the most numerous were homosexual men. ·In 2000, U.S. government agencies estimated that about 780,000 Americans were infected with the HIV virus and that another 427,000 had already died from the disease. The Decline in Crime ·There was a dramatic reduction in crime=2 0rates across most of the United States. ·New incarceration policies-longer, tougher sentences and fewer paroles and early releases for violent criminals-led to a radical. Increase in the prison population and a reduction in the number of criminals at liberty to commit crimes. A Contested Culture ·Battles over Feminism and Abortion ·Leaders of the New Right had campaigned successfully against the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. ·The played a central role over the controversy over abortion rights. ·The opposition of some other anti-abortion activists had less to do with religion than with their commitment to traditional notions of family and gender relations. ·The Reagan and Bush administrations imposed further restrictions on federal funding and even on the right of doctors in federally funded clinics to give patients any information on abortion. The Changing Left and the Growth of Environmentalism ·The environmental movement continued to expand in the last decades of the 20th century. ·They blocked the construction of roads, airports, and other projects that they claimed would be ecologically dangerous, taking advantage of new legislations protecting endangered species and environmentally fragile regions. The Fragmentation of Mass Culture ·The institutions of the media, news, entertainment grew more powerful. ·Fast food chains became the most widely known restaurants in America.=0 A ·Viewers could now rent or buy videotapes. The Perils of Globalization Opposing the "New World Order" ·Environmentalists argued that globalization, in exporting industry to low-wage countries, also exported industrial pollution and toxic waste into nations that had no effective laws to control them. ·In November 1999, when the leaders of the 7 nations gathered for their meeting many of them clashed with police. Defending Orthodoxy ·The Iranian Revolution of 1979, in which orthodox Muslims ousted a despotic government whose leaders had embraced many aspects of modern western culture, was one of the first large and visible manifestations of a phenomenon that would eventually reach across much of the Islamic world and threaten the stability of the globe. The Rise of Terrorism ·The U.S has experienced terrorism for many years. ·Due to the events on September 11, 2001, new security measures began to change the way Americans traveled. ·A puzzling and frightening epidemic of anthrax began in the weeks after 9/11. ·The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, government intelligence indicated, had been planned and orchestrated by Middle Eastern agents of a powerful terrorist network known as Al Qaeda led by Osama Bin Laden. ·In his State of the Union address to Congress in January 2002, Bush spoke of an “axis of evil”. The New Era ·In the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001, may Americans came to believe that they had entered a new era in their history. The reaction to the catastrophe exposed a side of American life and culture that had always existed but that had not always been visible.  


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