The 1980s: A Period of Change in the United States

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The Transformation of the United States in the 1980s

The United States underwent a tremendous transformation in the 1980s. Americans witnessed many fundamental changes in their living standards. This period saw America undergo a 360-degree transition because economic, political and social changes were experienced throughout the country. It was at this time that capitalism developed deep roots and Americans felt that every man was himself and only God was for them all. During this period, success was measured by how much money one was able to make as money to s greater extent dictated how powerful one was. Some of the things which started during this time have been rendered obsolete through creativity and innovation while others are still present.[1]

The Shaping Forces of the 1980s

Among the most remembered things of the 1980s which really shaped the United States is the dynasty of President Reagan, expansion of cable television, sensitization of the effects of drugs and sex, and technological improvement.

The Reagan Years and the Economic Turnaround

To begin with, the 1980s is the popular period known as Reagan years because it was during this period that Reagan was elected as the president of the United States where he ruled for eight continuous years. Reagan turned around the economic and political landscape of America through the introduction of policies and strengthening foreign affairs. He took power in the year 1981 when the nation was doing poorly economically. During this time, the United States was experiencing an economic recession, high inflation rate and payment of high taxes. During his first term of presidency, Reagan introduced economic policies popularly known as Reaganomics which advocated for a reduction in tax rates and reduction in government expenditure. By the end of his first term, he was able to end the recession and also reduced inflation from 12.5% to 4.4% which gave Americans hope of ever making money again. It was during the second term that Reagan, having achieved economic stability in the nation focused on foreign affairs and he was able to end the cold war as well as the Iran-Iraq war which made America popular and was respected by the other nations.

The Expansion of Cable Television and Cultural Influence

On the social front, this period of 1980s brought a dramatic change in the entertainment industry where the role of television expanded. During this period, cable television became a standard for every homestead which resulted in the birth of different kind of programs which commanded a lot of audiences. Movie theaters and television talk shows were very popular and through them, talents were discovered and refined resulting in many celebrities in the United States. The growth in the entertainment industry provided a lot of jobs in America during this period therefore significantly reducing unemployment in the country. ‘Rap' is a form of music which traces its origin during this period. In this music, words are not sung but they are spoken and a good number of artists used this music to sensitize Americans about the effect of drugs and sex. It is during this period that action movie gained incredible popularity making heroes such as ‘Rambo' a household name. The television programs, movies, and songs were used by artists to teach ethics and moral values and at the same time castigated evil deeds in society thus shaping the character of Americans.[2]

The Technological Advancement Revolution

Advancement in technology is perhaps the most memorable thing that happened in the United States during the 1980s. The development of personal computers revolutionized different sectors of the country ranging from businesses to homes. Many business processes became automated because tasks such as payroll management, inventory monitoring, and quick word processing could easily be handled using one small computer relative to the large computers used in the later years. It was during this period that any American including children could learn how to use a computer because they became a household item used to read the newspaper, stories, play games and carry out school work and assignments. Such technological advancement reduced paperwork in the country thereby improving efficiency which translated to improved standards of living for the Americans.

The Impact of AIDS and Health Concerns

It is worth noting that it was during the 1980s that a deadly disease appeared and quickly spread in the United States killing a good number of citizens as it had no cure. The disease is presently known as AIDS which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The spreading of the disease was catalyzed by the rampant drug abuse in the country as well as irresponsible sexual behaviors. The disease was mostly spread through unprotected sexual intercourse as well as sharing of needles used during illegal drug injections.[3] The health sector in the country was shaken and responded by undertaking vigorous campaigns against lust for either drugs or sex because they resulted in fatalities.

The Enduring Legacy of the 1980s

In conclusion, the 1980s remains a significant period in the history of the United States because many privileges the Americans enjoy today were started during this period. America is among the most powerful nations both economically and politically which is attributable to the goodwill of leaders such as President Reagan who risked assassination fighting for the long-term stability of America. The technological advancement we so much enjoy today is to a large extent connected to this period not forgetting the efforts carried out by both government and non-governmental organizations to sensitize people about the dangers of AIDS which are not a major concern presently.

Bibliography

Landes, David S. Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World, revised and enlarged edition. Harvard University Press, 2000.

Nye Jr, Joseph S. Bound to lead: The changing nature of American power. Basic Books, 2016.

Pettigrew, Andrew, Ewan Ferlie, and Lorna McKee. "Shaping strategic change‐The case of the NHS in the 1980s." Public Money & Management 12, no. 3 (1992): 27-31.

[1]

Landes, David S. Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World, revised and enlarged edition. Harvard University Press, 2000.

[2]

Nye Jr, Joseph S. Bound to lead: The changing nature of American power. Basic Books, 2016.

[3]

Pettigrew, Andrew, Ewan Ferlie, and Lorna McKee. "Shaping strategic change‐The case of the NHS in the 1980s." Public Money & Management 12, no. 3 (1992): 27-31.

November 13, 2023
Category:

History Life

Number of pages

4

Number of words

1038

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63

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