The USA 1981 - present

Sites/documents/video exploring the the United States over the last thirty years; from Reagan to Obama.

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Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address (January 20, 1981)
Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address (January 20, 1981)
Text & video - while inaugural speeches are often soft on policy detail - given their formal function - they do offer an insight into the tone and aspirations of the presidency to come. How does Reagan's speech set out his agenda? Did he live up to it?
Select Portraits from the Reagan White House 1981-84
Select Portraits from the Reagan White House 1981-84
Photoes of key members of the Reagan cabinets photographed by Michael Evans.
The Public Papers of President Ronald Reagan
The Public Papers of President Ronald Reagan
The motherlode of public documents, month-by-month, day-by-day, a vast trove of material for the serious research-minded student
The American Experience: Reagan
The American Experience: Reagan
You can watch all 4 hours of this PBS documentary on the life nd Presidency of Ronald Reagan online.
Ronald Reagan White House Diary
Ronald Reagan White House Diary
Explore this online guide to President Reagan's term in office from the Reagan Library & Museum. Useful for finding out what happened when & links to source material.
George H. W. Bush Nomination Acceptance Speech (18/8/88)
George H. W. Bush Nomination Acceptance Speech (18/8/88)
The typescript of George H. W. Bush's speech accepting the nomination of the Republican Party as their Presidential candidate in the 1988 election.
ABC News Report: The Rodney King Beating (March 1991)
ABC News Report: The Rodney King Beating (March 1991)
In 1991, George Holliday videotaped the beating of Rodney Kingby officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. It was the repeated screening of the footage in reports such as this that partly set the context for the riots in 1992 which followed the acquittal of the officers.
Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas Controversy (1991)
Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas Controversy (1991)
On June 27, 1991, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall announced his retirement from the bench. Justice Marshall was the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court and a renowned advocate for Civil Rights. On July 1, 1991, President George Bush nominated Clarence Thomas, a conservative African-American federal appeals court judge, to replace Justice Marshall. The Thomas nomination was controversial from the start. Many African-American and Civil Rights organizations opposed his appointment on the grounds of his conservative political beliefs, which included his stance against Affirmative Action programs. Throw in allegations of sexual harassment, and the scene was set for a bruising confirmation process that revealed much about attitudes to race in the 1990s. This George Mason University Site explores the controversy.
George Bush, Reaction to Los Angeles Police Trial  (May 1st 1992)
George Bush, Reaction to Los Angeles Police Trial (May 1st 1992)
President Bush addressed the nation from the Oval Office two days after the announcement of the “not guilty” verdict in the trial of four white Los Angeles police officers charged with using excessive force against a black suspect. The case received national publicity after a resident of Los Angeles videotaped the scene of the arrest and the videotape was subsequently shown on national television. After the announcement of the verdict, riots broke out in Los Angeles and several cities across the nation in protest of the verdict. In his speech, President Bush said he would use whatever force necessary to restore order in Los Angeles. He said the Justice Department’s investigation into the possible violation of civil rights statutes by the Los Angeles Police Department was just beginning. He appealed for calm across the nation, and emphasized the individual acts of heroism in the riot torn streets of Los Angeles.
Bush Reaction to Los Angeles Riots (May 8th 1992)
Bush Reaction to Los Angeles Riots (May 8th 1992)
In his address, President Bush spoke of the tragic nature of the rioting, but noted the powerful spirit of the people of Los Angeles to persevere through adverse times. He extolled the values of family, freedom, free enterprise and faith, calling for Americans to instill their country with their democratic spirit.
Animated Maps of Los Angeles Demography 1940-1990
Animated Maps of Los Angeles Demography 1940-1990
For students exploring the Los Angeles riots of 1992, this page - part of a site created by USC's Philip Ethington - provides a really useful insight into the changing demography of the city. What do these maps tell us about the deeper factors shaping urban unrest?
Los Angeles - City In Stress
Los Angeles - City In Stress
A range of official reports relating to the multiple crises of police brutality, governance problems and urban violence that hit Los Angeles in the 1990s.
Famous American Trials: OJ Simpson (1995)
Famous American Trials: OJ Simpson (1995)
Part of Douglas Linder's great site. This explores the context of this, the last 'trial of the century' in which former football star cum movie star faced trial for the murder of his wife and her lover.
Pat Buchanan, "Culture War Speech" (17th August 1992)
Pat Buchanan, "Culture War Speech" (17th August 1992)
In 1992, Pat Buchanan, a former aide of Ronald Reagan, challenged his successor George H. W. Bush for the Republican Party nomination for the 1992 presidential election. Buchanan eventually withdrew, but his candidacy gained him a space at that year's party convention. The speech he delivered suggested that America was culturally and politically polarised, with no middle ground. The speech may have contributed to moderate Republicans choosing to vote for Ross Perot. How does it reflect long-held concerns over society and 'standards under attack'?
The impeachment of Bill Clinton timeline 1995-2000
The impeachment of Bill Clinton timeline 1995-2000
A chronology of the torturous process by which President Bill Clinton was pursued over various allegations of financial and sexual impropriety.
Famous American Trials: The Impeachment of Bill Clinton (1999)
Famous American Trials: The Impeachment of Bill Clinton (1999)
Another part of Douglas Linder's site with useful resources explaining the context and process of the impeachment process.