The 1980s Ethan Todd

Social Aspects

The United States faced many social problems during the 1980's. The problems that the U.S. faced included: the AIDS pandemic, issues of abortion, drug abuse problems, and issues on education.

AIDS Pandemic

The AIDS pandemic was a a worldwide panic that was caused by the discovery of it in 1981 by doctors in the United States. Doctors discovered that it was transferred by bodily fluids, and they came to the conclusion that it had been mostly transferred by gay men and drug addicts who shared needles. Since there was little known about the disease, it caused panic throughout the world because people didn't know who had the disease and who didn't.

Issues of Abortion

The issues of abortion had always been a debatable topic. However, problems with abortion in the U.S. grew bigger in the 1980's. After the court case Roe v. Wade in 1973, which legalized abortion in the United States, debates on whether or not women should have the right to abort their unborn children broke out. In 1989, the Webster v. Reproduction Health Care Services court case ruled that there would be abortion restrictions, but that they would vary from state to state.

Problems with Drug Use and Drug Abuse

In the United States, drug use rapidly increased during the 1960's and 70's. Due to this rapid increase in drug use, it caused the Reagan administration to declare a "War on Drugs", which led to the creation of anti-drug use programs such as the Just Say No campaign and D.A.R.E.. These programs taught the American people, both the youth and adults, the dangers of drug use.

The increase in drug use also led to higher crime rates within the United States. However, there were a handful of Americans during this time that believed that if the U.S. government legalized all drugs that it would cause a decrease in gang violence, but other Americans felt that the government should create rehabilitation centers that would allow drug users to get the help that they needed.

Issues on Education

During the 1980's, problems with the education system erupted after multiple studies, such as the Nation at Risk study, showed that the American education system was behind other education systems from many other different nations. The findings of these studies sparked debates about the quality of education throughout the U.S.. These debates led to the creation of longer school days, more homework for students, and longer school years.

Economic Aspects

During the 1980's, Ronald Reagan used the theory of supply-side economics as the base of his economic plan during his presidency. This is where a company produces more goods, which allows them to sell the goods for lower prices, which allows there to be more consumers purchasing those goods, allowing companies to make more money and allowing consumers to save money. Since there were more products being produced, more people were needed in order to make those products, creating more jobs. Furthermore, Reagan's economic plan during his presidency also included his "trickle-down" theory. Reagan's "trickle-down" theory was a huge success during Reagan's presidency. With this idea Reagan gave tax breaks to the top 10% of the nation, which allowed them to gain more money from the products that they were selling, giving them more money to invest into smaller companies, improving and increasing the productivity of the economy all around. These ideas and Reagan's economic plan became known as Reaganomics.

Political Aspects

Conservative Shift

When Ronald Reagan became president in 1980, the United States saw a conservative shift in politics. The conservative shift refers to when Ronald Reagan appointed mostly conservative politicians to his administration. With this conservative shift the government decreased their regulations on private businesses. Groups like the New Right, Conservative Coalition, and Moral Majority greatly influenced elections and they influenced the types of policies that were passed during the 80's.

Iran-Contra Scandal

The Iran-Contra Scandal occurred during Ronald Reagan's second term. This scandal was where Reagan's administration sold weapons to Iran, who was an enemy of the United States', in order to try and gain the release of American hostages that were being held in Lebanon. With the money that the U.S. government got from the weapons sales, the U.S. turned around and supplied the Contra guerrillas in Nicaragua.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.