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Key Lessons from the Most Influential Decade in American History

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The United States at large was prospering in the decade of the 1990’s. This era had a strong economy growth, a boost in job creation, and a booming stock market. The unemployment rate dropped from eight percent in 1992 to four percent at the end of the decade (Census Gov). The average American household income increased by nearly ten percent (Census Gov). Not only did The United States take a huge step forward economically and socially, but they also took a huge surge culturally. Literary creations such as ‘Harry Potter’, ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’, and ‘Jurassic Park’ were revolutionizing the world. Just like the motion pictures of: ‘Pulp Fiction’, ‘Silence of the Lambs’, and ‘the Matrix’, to name a few. But with good comes evil. Prominent evil events like ‘the Columbine’ and ‘the Riots of Los Angeles’ taught powerful lessons to society. From the end of The Cold War to the Impeachment of Bill Clinton, the time frame from 1990 to 2000 taught us lesson after lesson and is the most eye-catching decade since the founding of the United States in 1776.

The most prominent event politically in the decade of the 1990’s to 2000, was the impeachment of President, Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton defeated Republican president George Bush in the presidential election of 1992, becoming the forty-second president of The United States. The main reason for Bill Clinton’s victory was more because of what George Bush failed to do rather than what Clinton promised to do. The economy under Bush was in an eight-month recession. The recession was due to do lack of confidence from consumers and businesses due to the surging price of oil. Not only was the economy in a recession, but Bush also promised to refrain from increasing taxes in his presidential election in 1988 and failed to follow through. Finally, the last reason was a third-party candidate, Ross Perot. He secured nearly 19% of all votes, being the highest percent a third-party candidate had received in nearly a century. Ross Perot ended up stealing some of George Bush’s votes, allowing Bill Clinton to strike and steal a win in the 1992 presidential election. And in time, winning his re-election by a land slide because of his recovery of the economy from the miniscule recession and had the economy once again – booming. But, this is where Bill Clinton’s struggles began. In November 1995 Clinton began his affair with an intern, Monica Lewinski. In the time frame of nearly two years, the president of the United States and Ms. Lewinski had a dozen of sexual encounters in the White House. Eventually, Monica Lewinski was transferred to the Pentagon, where she continued to work as an intern. This is where a co-worker of Lewinski, named Linda Trip, recorded her stories of their affairs. Linda Trip notified the FBI, where an impeachment case had begun. Bill Clinton, immediately denied when the news broke before eventually admitting, by saying, “I did not have ‘sexual relations’ with Miss Lewinsky”. With the president’s lawyer claiming his actions were ‘morally repressible” but were not impeachable as this case was only a family matter. But none of this mattered, as the president was impeached on October 8, 1998 with the specifics crimes being lying under oath and obstruction of justice. Teaching us that impeachment does not only reflect the president, but the entire administration.

The most significant social event in the nineties were the Los Angeles Riots, in 1992. On March 3, 1999, Rodney King and two passengers were driving, when a police cruiser attempted to pull them over. This is where a high-speed chase ensued. Speeds of the chase went as high as 115 miles per hour throughout the city and their outskirts. Eventually, Rodney King pulled his car over, and the cops arrested the two passengers, leaving Rodney as the only one not handcuffed. This is where five police officers tased, struck with batons, and beat Rodney King without attempting to handcuff him. Unknown to the police officers and the participants in Rodney’s car, what transpired was being recorded by a bystander, George Holliday. This footage would soon become a rallying point for activist. A few months later, a jury in Los Angeles acquitted four of the police officers who had been charged with excessive force. The announcement of the verdict enraged the black community, ensuing the Los Angeles Riots. The riots spanned over five days. The left more than 50 dead, and more than 200 injured. Destroying and damaging The Los Angeles area causing over one billion in cost of damages. Often forgot about in the riots was the damage done to the Korean Community. The Koreans were targeted during the riots because of all the real estates and businesses they owned. The African American community believed they did not receive the same entrepreneurial opportunities as the Asians. Also, many locals of the Los Angeles area were just using the chaos as an excuse to riot and loot for personal reasons. The whole event taught the police force and citizens that if police are going to be successful leading and protecting the citizens, that they must police with the people, not police over the people.

As for science and technology in the decade of the 1990’s, without a doubt, the most note-worthy event was the cloning of a sheep. Several clones had been produced before, including: frogs and mice. But never before has a mammal been cloned. And in 1996, the unthinkable happened – Ian Willmott at the Roslyn Institute in Scotland with his colleagues, cloned a mammal – Dolly the sheep. Ian Willmott successfully transplanted a nucleus from a mammary gland cell of a sheep into an enucleated egg of another sheep. This cell, with the help of electricity, was fused to stimulate cell division. Soon thereafter, the stimulated cell was placed in the uterus of a sheep. Who in due course, gave birth to Dolly, after attempting this process 277 times. Dolly lived a normal life for a sheep. She even matted and produced a healthy offspring. Showing the world that even clones have the ability to reproduce. Since Dolly, other sheep’s have been cloned, as have, cats, rabbits, horses, pigs, goats, and cattle. All this educating to the world, new ways to produce medicine and a better understanding of genetics.

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With The Cold War officially coming to an end in 1991, this decade in American history was not free of warfare. War had been ravaging between Iraq and Iran for years and it had finally seized in 1988. But still, a permanent peace treaty had yet to be negotiated between the two Middle Eastern countries. Still, the two seemed close to striking an official deal and putting an end to years of conflict. This is until Saddam Hussein delivered a speech in which he accused neighboring country, Kuwait of thieving crude oil from their border. Saddam Hussein, even went as far as claiming that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were conspiring to keep oil prices on the low, in an effort to sell to the United States and other oil buying western countries. As all of this was going on, Iraq began to gather troops on Kuwait’s border. On August 2, 1990, Hussein order the invasion of Kuwait. Believing the other Arab nations would be allies and on his side. However, Hussein was not backed by fellow Arab States. Instead, they turned the United Nations and the United States for back up. The United Nations immediately condemned Iraqi and asked for the removal of Iraqi troops. If they failed to do so the United Nations would allow authorized force to remove them. On January 17, 1991, the Persian Gulf War begun with Operation Desert Storm. After only 42 days, fire was ceased, as Iraqi forces either surrendered or fled. The Persian Gulf War was wildly considered a success. This conflict proved to the world that although the Middle East is a mess, it needs to be controlled and watched.

A large religious event that happened in this prosperous decade in American history was the case of Beorne v. Flores. This was a Supreme Court case over if the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was constitutional. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was a federal law passed in 1993 to protect the interest in religious freedoms. It predominantly is diverted toward Native Americans and if the government can expand into their religious and sacred lands. Eventually, the United States ruling of the Beorne v. Flores case came out as that The Religious Freedom Act was unconstitutional. Claiming that it exceeds the power of Congress. This ruling was significant because it allows the Congress to regulate areas traditionally controlled by states.

The art in the 1990’s was even prosperous. Music was being dominated by the likes of Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Madonna, to name a few. Movies such as ‘Pulp Fiction’ were revolutionizing the way movies were being filmed. Mel Gibson, Tom Cruize, and Robin Williams were shinning as bright as ever. Women wore crop tops, Men wore biker jackets, and they both wore overalls. Many of these examples of art, still to this day, are seen, heard, and as influential as ever.

1900 to 2000 was the most influential decade in American History. This decade had war, eminent political events, religious changes that affect us today, art we see and watch today, and science that pushed us to develop to where we are at today. The lessons learned from this time frame will be passed down from generation to generation.

Work Cited

  1. Gauthier, Jason. “1990 Fast Facts – History – U.S. Census Bureau.” 1990 Fast Facts – History – U.S. Census Bureau, www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/fast_facts/1990_new.html.
  2. Gauthier, Jason. “1990 Fast Facts – History – U.S. Census Bureau.” 1990 Fast Facts – History – U.S. Census Bureau, www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/fast_facts/1990_new.html.
  3. “Desert Storm: A Look Back.” U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, https://www.defense.gov/explore/story/Article/1728715/desert-storm-a-look-back/.
  4. Supremecourt.gov. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-354_olp1.pdf [Accessed 23 Nov. 2019].

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Key Lessons from the Most Influential Decade in American History. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/key-lessons-from-the-most-influential-decade-in-american-history/
“Key Lessons from the Most Influential Decade in American History.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/key-lessons-from-the-most-influential-decade-in-american-history/
Key Lessons from the Most Influential Decade in American History. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/key-lessons-from-the-most-influential-decade-in-american-history/> [Accessed 2 Feb. 2023].
Key Lessons from the Most Influential Decade in American History [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2023 Feb 2]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/key-lessons-from-the-most-influential-decade-in-american-history/
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