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Proposition 13

reduced property tax bills by approximately $7 billion in the first year, and it imposed strict limitations on the ability of local governments to raise property and other taxes in the future
*led to cutbacks in taxes and decrease in the tax base available to fund social services
*launched the first successful major citizens' tax revolt in California

boll weevils

term for conservative southern Democrats who voted increasingly for Republican issues during the Carter and Reagan administrations
*supported FDR's new deal and Truman's Fair Deal; factor of Reagan's election to the presidency

supply-side economics

An economic philosophy that holds that sharply cutting taxes will increase the incentive people have to work, save, and invest
*such investments will lead to more jobs, a more productive economy, and more tax revenues for the government


Reagan's economic program which cut taxes and government regulation in order to increase productivity, and eventually increased tax revenue as cash flowed in the economy
*goal was to reduce the size of the federal government and stimulate economic growth

Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)

Renamed "Star Wars" by critics, it was a plan for defense against the Soviet Union unveiled by President Reagan in 1983; would create a global umbrella in space, using computers to scan the skies and high-tech devices to destroy invading missiles
*typified Reagan's commitment to vigorous defense spending even as he sought to limit the size of government in domestic matters


Members of a leftist coalition that overthrew the Nicaraguan dictatorship of Anastasia Somoza in 1979 and attempted to install a socialist economy; U.S. financed armed opposition by the Contras
*Reagan opposed this regime, invoking the Domino Theory; U.S. gets involved in foreign affairs


A Nicaraguan rebel group that got financial support from the CIA; was formed as a response to the overthrowing of Anastazio Somoza Debayle
*supported by the Reagan administration in order to overthrow their communist government


Policy of openness initiated by Gorbachev in the 1980s that provided increased opportunities for freedom of speech, association, and the press in the Soviet Union
*allowed for more open international relationships for the Soviet Union
*more freedom of information and less censorship in the USSR


a policy initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev that involved restructuring of the social and economic status quo in communist Russia towards a market based economy and society
*often argued to be a cause of the dissolution of the Soviet Union
*designed to make the Soviet economy more efficient and responsive to consumer needs; USSR more open to other markets

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

treaty signed by President Reagan and Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev, eliminating 2,500 U.S. and Soviet missiles from Europe
*marked the end of the Cold War and gave Gorbachev and Reagan the identity as the leaders who ended the Cold War

Iran-Contra affair

Scandal including arms sales to the Middle East in order to send money to help the Contras in Nicaragua, even though Congress had objected
*most serious crisis in the Reagan administration; number of Reagan aides were indicted and convicted
*Reagan is nearly impeached

Moral Majority

An evangelical Christian group that was created to fight against the liberal ideas and politics that developed in the 60's and after
*revealed that Americans were starting to worry about the moral fabric of society
*represented the rise of political activism among organized religion's radical right wing

Black Monday

October 19, 1987; date of the largest single-day decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average until September 2001; largest percentage drop in stock market history; led by Jerry Falwell
*indicated instability in the booming business culture of the 1980s but did not lead to a serious economic recession

Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)

A loose association of former Soviet republics that was formed after the breakup of the Soviet Union; consisted of most republics excluding the Baltic states
*remained economically connected for a few years and assisted one another

Operation Desert Storm

the code name given to the first U.S.-led war against Iraq in the Persian Gulf on January 17, 1991; initiated by bombing campaign and then a ground invasion
*first time the U.S. had declared war since WWII
*resulted in the liberation of Kuwait and the collapse of Iraqi forces

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

law passed in 1990 that requires employers and public facilities to make "reasonable accommodations" for people with disabilities and prohibits discrimination against these individuals in employment
*disabled people now had greater civil rights and were employed more easily

Ronald Reagan

brought back conservative politics and thinking to the American political arena; first elected in 1980, he represented the moral majority; encouraged Americans to mistrust communists
*implemented sweeping new political and economic initiatives; "Reaganomics"
*credited with ending the Cold War; publicly describing the Soviet Union as an "evil empire;" forged strategy of detente in his first term

Margaret Thatcher

British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990 who pledged to limit social welfare, restrict the power of labor unions, and to control inflation through a program which came to be known as "Thatcherism"
*first female prime minister, her economic policy was termed and improved the British economic situation
*supported NATO, allowed US to store missiles in England; worked for welfare reform

Mikhail Gorbachev

Soviet statesman whose foreign policy brought an end to the Cold War and whose domestic policy introduced major reforms
*his liberalization effort improved relations with the West, but he lost power after his reforms; led to the collapse of USSR
*adopted policies of greater openness (glasnostand perestroika) and allowed Soveit-bloc states greater independence

Saddam Hussein

was a dictator in Iraq who tried to take over Iran and Kuwait violently in order to gain the land and the resources. He also refused to let the UN into Iraq in order to check if the country was secretly holding WMD's
*his invasion of Kuwait made him a prime enemy of America; responsible for numerous human rights violations
*invaded oil-rich but weak Kuwait and threatened western oil sources in Saudi Arabia and the perisan gulf; reason U.S. went to Gulf War

Jerry Falwell

leader of the religious Right Fundamentalist Christians, a group that supported Reagan; rallying cry was "family values"; anti-feminist, anti-homosexuality, anti-abortion, favored prayer in schools
*led Moral Majority to restore Christian values to society

Sandra Day O'Connor

She served as Arizona's assistant attorney general and as a state legislator before becoming an Arizona state judge. In 1981 President Ronald Reagan chose O'Connor to serve on the Supreme Court
*was the first woman to be a justice on the Supreme Court; symbolized that women were now politically equal to men

George H.W. Bush

President when Cold War ended and when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, sent troops to Iraq which started the Persian Gulf war
*intervened militarily on behalf of the Kuwaiti people, pushing the Iraqi forces back
*initiated Operation Desert Storm and united UN coalition

Boris Yeltsin

First leader of the Russian Republic; his pro-democracy reaction when Gorbachev's push for reform was a rallying point for Russian democratic supporters
*helped dissolve the USSR and force Gorbachev to resign
*sponsored several subsequent constitutional provisions and weathered battles with opponents in gov't

Nelson Mandela

South African statesman who was released from prison to become the nation's first democratically elected president in 1994
*helped spearhead the stuggle against apartheid; received Nobel Peace Prize in 1993
*was instrumental in a new democratic constitution being written in 1996

Manuel Noriega

Panama leader who was overthrown in a 1989 US invasion; tried and imprisoned for drug trafficking
*became so involed in the drug trade that President George Bush sent US troops to Panama in 1989
*served as an example to other Latin American countries to be more forthcoming; U.S. displays its power in Latin America

Norman ("Stormin' Norman") Schwarzkopf

U.S. Army officer who commanded Operation Desert Storm, the American-led military action that liberated Kuwait from Iraqi occupation in the Persian Gulf War (1991)
*commander of US forces in Iraq for operation desert storm; was seen as a hero after the operation

Clarence Thomas

an American jurist who has served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1991
*he is the second African American to ever serve on the Court, after Thurgood Marshall, whom he succeeded

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