f communism in Eastern Europe in 1989-90 and upheaval in the USSR in 1991 provided him with an opportunity to lessen international tensions and to reclaim the primacy of the United States in world affairs. Bush intervened militarily in Panama in 1989 to overthrow its president, Manuel NORIEGA. In mid-1990, responding to Iraqs invasion and annexation of Kuwait, he ordered more than 400,000 American troops to the Persian Gulf region to defend Saudi Arabia. When Iraqi troops refused to withdraw from Kuwait in January 1991, demanded by Bush in an ultimatum, he authorized a massive bombing, and then ground assault, on Iraq and its forces in Kuwait, and won a swift victory. (See PERSIAN GULF WAR.)
Decisive in acting abroad, Bush failed to evolve a domestic program that adequately addressed a persistent recession starting in 1990. That year, despite the recession, he and congressional leaders agreed to a deficit-reduction package that raised federal taxes, thereby breaking his "no new taxes" 1988 election campaign pledge. He also failed on his promise to be both "the environment president" and "the education president," and angered many women by nominating Clarence THOMAS to the Supreme Court and continuing to support him despite allegations of sexual harassment. Concerned about the economy and demanding change, many conservative Republicans backed political columnist Patrick J. Buchanans effort to contest Bushs renomination while moderates rallied to the independent candidacy of H. Ross PEROT. Also focusing on the nations economic woes and promising change, William Jefferson "Bill" CLINTON, governor of Arkansas, beat several rivals in the Democratic primaries and chose as his running mate Tennessee senator Albert GORE--like Clinton, a baby-boomer, a white Southern Baptist, and a moderate. Capitalizing on a slumping economy and increasing unemployment, the Clinton-Gore ticket won 43 percent of the highest voter turnout (55 percent) since 1976 and 370 electoral votes. The Republicans Bush and Quayle tallied just 37 percent of the popular vote and 168 electoral votes, while Perot garnered 19 percent.
The Clinton Administration
Despite the movement into Washington of new people with fresh ideas, the Clinton administration got off to a slow, unsteady start. Crises in Bosnia, Haiti, Somalia, and Russia forced the president to focus on the volatile, multipolar world of the post-cold war era. At the same time, Clinton backed down from his promise to prohibit discrimination against gays in the military and reneged on his pledge, for lack of revenue, to cut middle-class taxes. Defeated by Congress on his proposals to stimulate the economy, Clinton then won by the narrowest of margins a highly compromised federal budget plan to reduce the deficit. The president had more success in persuading Congress to enact family-leave, "motor voter" registration (see VOTER REGISTRATION), and campaign finance reform bills, to approve the NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT, and to consent to his nomination of Ruth Bader GINSBURG to the Supreme Court. Clintons future effectiveness and reputation rested largely on the fate of his plans to reform the health-care system and to provide effective solutions to the problems of economic insecurity and social disorder haunting middle-class Americans.
Ahlstrom, Sydney E., A Religious History of the American People (1972); Banner, Lois W., Women in Modern America, 2d ed. (1984); Barth, Gunther, Fleeting Moments: Nature and Culture in American History (1990); Blum, John M., et al., The National Experience: A History of the United States, 7th ed. (1989); Cohen, Warren I., ed., The Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations, 4 vols. (1993); Curti, Merle Eugene, The Growth of American Thought, 3d ed. (1964; repr. 1981); Ferrell, Robert H., American Diplomacy, 3d ed. (1975); Garraty, J. A., The American Nation, 7th ed. (1991); Heilbroner, R. L., and Singer, Aaron, The Economic Transformation of America: 1600 to Present, 2d ed. (1984); Hofstadter, Richard, The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It, 2d ed. (1973); Huckshorn, R. J., Political Parties in America, 2d ed. (1983); Morison, S. E., and Commager, H. S., The Growth of the American Republic, 2 vols., 7th ed. (1980).
Bailyn, Bernard, The Peopling of British North America (1986); Boorstin, Daniel Joseph, The Americans: The National Experience (1965; repr. 1985); Elkins, Stanley, and McKitrick, Eric, The Age of Federalism (1993); Genovese, Eugene, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made (1974).
Biles, Roger, A New Deal for the American People (1991); Foner, Eric, Reconstruction (1988); Higham, John, Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925, 2d ed. (1965; repr. 1988); Hodgson, Godfrey, America in Our Time (1976); Hofstadter, Richard, The Age of Reform: From Bryan to F. D. R. (1955); Leffler, Melvin, A Preponderance of Power (1992); Leuchtenburg, William E., Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, 1932-1940 (1963); and In the Shadow of FDR: From Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan (1985); McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (1988); Nevins, Allan, Ordeal of the Union, 8 vols. (1947-71); Painter, Neil I., Standing at Armageddon: The United States 1877-1919 (1987); Preston, Daniel, Twentieth Century United States History (1992); Schlereth, Thomas J., Victorian America (1988); Schlossstein, Steven, The End of the American Century (1990); Sitkoff, Harvard, The Struggle for Black Equality, 1954-1992 (1993); Wiebe, R. H., The Search for Order, 1877-1920 (1967; repr. 1980); Winkler, Allan, Modern America (1991).
See also: AMERICAN ART AND ARCHITECTURE; AMERICAN LITERATURE; AMERICAN MUSIC; UNITED STATES.
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