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Contemporary US History

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1 Contemporary US History
Mrs. Saunders

2 Contemporary US History
American society has undergone important changes during the last fifty years. Three causes of these social and cultural changes have been: 1) the expanded role of women in the workplace; 2) the influence of new immigrant groups, particularly Asians and Latin Americans; and 3) the impact of the technology revolution.

3 Role of Women In 1963 Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique. This book examined the isolation, boredom, and lack of fulfillment felt by many American housewives. Friedan argued that women required opportunities for personal achievement in addition to those provided by marriage and motherhood. Many women began to seek such personal satisfaction in the workplace.

4 Role of Women In 1966 Friedan helped found the National Organization for Women (NOW), an organization dedicated to gaining equality for women in American society. The modern women’s movement had begun.

5 Role of Women As a result of the modern women’s movement, women have made up an increasingly large percentage of America’s labor force. 1960 = 32% of the American work force. 1994 = 46%. 1960 = 35% working outside the home. 1990 = 60% By the end of the 1970s many American women were working in nontraditional jobs. Of course, women in the workplace have faced discrimination, because of their sex. Since the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibited sex discrimination by employers, American women could seek relief from job discrimination in federal court. The federal courts have consistently protected employment opportunities for American women by citing not only the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but also the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

6 Two outstanding examples of Women taking non-traditional roles were Sandra Day O’Connor and Sally Ride. In 1981 President Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Connor the first woman to the Supreme Court. Two years later Sally Ride, who was the first female astronaut in the United States, became the first American woman in space.

7 Role of Women Nevertheless, American women still suffer discrimination because of their sex. Four problems with which American women must deal are: the need for affordable day care; equitable (fair, equal) pay; the “pink collar” ghetto; the “glass ceiling.”

8 Role of Women The term “pink collar” ghetto refers to how American women often receive only low prestige, low paying jobs. For example, clerical jobs, which are almost exclusively held by women, remain relatively low paying. The phrase “glass ceiling” refers to the perception that career advancement for women is not equal to that for men. For example, corporations often promote women to middle management positions, but few American women are CEOs (chief executive officer) of major corporations.

9 Immigrants New immigrant groups are a second factor causing social and cultural change in the United States in recent decades. Since 1970 new and increasing immigration to the United States has been taking place from many diverse (different) countries, especially Asian and Latin American nations. These contemporary immigrant groups have increased American diversity and redefined American identity.

10 Immigrants Recent immigrants have come to America for the same reasons as many of their predecessors. Political Asylum: When Fidel Castro led his successful communist revolution in Cuba in 1959, thousands of Cubans fled to south Florida in search of both political freedom and economic opportunity. As the South Vietnamese government crumbled in the mid-1970s, tens of thousands of Asian immigrants also fled to the United States to gain political freedom and economic opportunity. Economic opportunity has served as the primary reason why hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans, especially Mexicans, have flocked to the United States during the last thirty-five years.

11 Immigrants This contemporary immigration has had several important effects on American society and culture. 1. Bilingual education has become a major issue in the public education systems of several states. Many states’ public schools now offer English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. 2. Contemporary immigration has sometimes influenced American public policy. For example, following Castro’s revolution in Cuba, the United States government placed an embargo on trade with Cuba. An embargo is an order by a government prohibiting trade with another country. Because the Cuban-American community in south Florida opposes any improvement in American relations with Castro’s government, the United States continues its trade embargo on Cuba and refuses to recognize formally the Castro regime.

12 Immigrants 3. Recent trends in immigration have also affected American politics and voting patterns in states with large immigrant communities. For example, because Cuban-Americans have believed the Republican party has followed a harder line on Castro, most Floridians of Cuban descent consistently vote Republican in both national and state elections. In California Mexican-American voters have become a key ingredient in the recent election victories of Democratic candidates for the United States Senate, governor, and other statewide offices. As a Republican candidate for governor of Texas in 1994 and 1998 and as a presidential candidate in 2000, President George W. Bush worked hard to attract Hispanic voters away from the Democratic Party. 4. Contemporary immigrants have already made lasting contributions to American culture. Mexican food aisles have appeared in supermarkets throughout the nation, and Salsa music has become increasingly popular among American youth. In addition, contemporary immigrants often fill necessary but low paying jobs in the economy, which most native-born Americans find unappealing. For example, many Mexican immigrants work on American farms, harvesting crops by hand.

13 Technology The technology revolution of the late twentieth century has forever changed American culture and society. The American space program was a triumph of American technological prowess (ability). In the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy pledged increased support for the American space program. The race to the moon continued through the 1960s.

14 Technology United States astronaut John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth. In 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first person to step onto the moon’s surface. Armstrong proclaimed, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.

15 Technology Dramatic advances in technology in the closing years of the twentieth century have affected life in America in many significant areas. Over the past three decades improved technology and media have brought about better access to communication and information for rural areas, businesses, and individual consumers. As a result, many more Americans have access to global information and viewpoints.

16 Technology Recent technological advances include cable television with such twenty-four hour news channels as CNN, personal computers, cellular telephones, and the World Wide Web. Such advances have brought changes in work, school, and health care: 1. Telecommuting through the Internet has allowed workers to do their jobs from home. 2. The Internet has also opened up educational possibilities through distance learning. 3. Rapid growth of the technology field has created an entire new category of white-collar careers in the American economy. 4. Technological advances in the second half of the twentieth century have resulted in important breakthroughs in medical research.

17 Technology For example, Dr. Jonas Salk, a microbiologist from New York City, developed a lifesaving vaccine for polio in the mid-1950s.

18 Reagan Revolution Ronald Reagan’s policies had an impact on the relationship between the federal and state governments. The conservative political philosophy of President Reagan prompted a re-evaluation of the size and role of government in the economy and society of contemporary America.

19 President Reagan and Conservative Republicans advocated for:
Tax cuts – Reaganomics or Trickledown Economics Transfer of responsibilities to state governments Appointment of judges/justices who exercised “judicial restraint” Reduction in the number and scope of government programs and regulations Strengthening of the American military

20 The “Reagan Revolution” extended beyond his tenure in office with:
The election of Reagan’s vice president, George H. W. Bush The election of centrist (moderate or in the political center) Democrat William Clinton The republican sweep of congressional elections and statehouses in the 1990s with the “Contract for America” The election of George W. Bush (son of George H. W. Bush)

21 Presidents since 1988 With the end of the Cold War, the United States changed its goals and policies. Involvement in conflicts in other areas of the world has been an integral part of the United States foreign policy in the modern era.

22 George H. W. Bush 1989-1993 Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe
Reunification of Germany Collapse of Yugoslavia Break-up of the soviet state Persian Gulf War First war in which American women served in a combat role Operation Desert Storm

23 William J. Clinton North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) trade agreement between United States, Canada, and Mexico Full diplomatic relations with Vietnam Lifting of Economic sanctions against South Africa when its government ended the policy of apartheid NATO action in former Yugoslavia - “Bosnian Conflict”

24 George W. Bush Terrorists attacks on United States soil 9/11/2001 (New York at the World Trade Center and Virginia at the Pentagon) The “Bush Doctrine” War in Afghanistan War in Iraq

25 International Terrorism
The United States has confronted the increase in international terrorism by formulating domestic and international policies aimed at stopping terrorism. The United States responded to terrorism with heightened security at home including the new cabinet level Department of Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, and diplomatic and military initiatives. 

26 International Terrorism
Patriot Act – An act signed into law in 2001 after 9-11 by George W. Bush expanding the authority of United States law enforcement agencies for the purpose of fighting terrorism in the United States and abroad.

27 Supreme Court minorities
Thurgood Marshall (1967 – 1991) First African American Clarence Thomas (1991 – active) Sandra Day O'Connor ( , retired) First Woman Ruth Bader Ginsburg ( active) Sonia Sotomayor ( active) First Latino Elena Kagan ( active

28 Technological advances
Space Exploration Mars rover Voyager missions Hubble telescope Communications Satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) Personal communication devises Robotics

29 Government and the Economy
The Federal Government has the ability to influence the United States economy. It bases its decisions on economic indicators such as Gross Domestic Product (total market value of all the goods and services produced by workers and capital during a specified period – usually a year- within a region – usually a country), exchange rates, inflation, and unemployment rates.

30 Government and the Economy
Government promotes a healthy economy characterized by full employment and low inflation through the actions of the Federal Reserve and The President and Congress

31 Government and the Economy
Federal Reserve (the central banking system of the United States) – monetary policy decisions control the supply of money and credit to expand or contract economic growth. Presidents and Congress - fiscal policy decisions determine levels of government taxation and spending; and government regulation of the economy

32 Changes in work place Growth of service industries –production of goods in not as large a part of the US economy as it used to be Outsourcing – subcontracting or giving part or all of the work to another company to complete Offshoring – taking the work to another country – usually to save money. The difference between offshoring and outsourcing is that a company can own that work unit as well (ex. GE has offshored work to India in a place that it owns.

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