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HIST212: Introduction to United States History - Reconstruction to the Present

Unit 11: New World Disorder   Our final unit will evaluate trends in U.S. history during the 1990s and early 2000s. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States no longer had a powerful international adversary. Instead, America provided support for the reconstruction and reunification of Germany and much of Eastern Europe. With NATO and European Union allies, U.S. forces assisted with military and humanitarian efforts in the former Yugoslavian republics and Somalia. At home, economic prosperity pushed the stock market to new levels and some Americans began to speak of permanent economic prosperity. At the same time, warning signs of a growing threat from Islamist extremists began to appear abroad. Embassy bombings and attacks on U.S. forces in the late 1990s preceded the 9-11 terrorist attacks in which Al Qaeda targeted New York City and Washington, DC. These attacks resulted in the U.S. engaging in long military struggles in Afghanistan (beginning in 2001) and Iraq (beginning in 2003). By late 2008, the economic bubble that had been growing since early 2002 finally burst, plunging the U.S. stock market into the worst circumstances since the Great Depression and initiating a steep economic decline. In response to these problems, voters elected Barack Obama president based on his message of change and renewal. We will examine these contemporary political, economic, and social trends within the context of the past century of American history. 

Unit 11 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 10 hours.

☐    Subunit 11.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 11.2: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 11.3: 3.5 hours

☐    Unit 11 Assessment: 1 hour

Unit11 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • identify and explain America’s place within the global community based on contemporary political, social, and economic trends; and
  • analyze and interpret primary source documents from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, using historical research methods.

  • Reading: America.gov’s Outline of U.S. History: “Chapter 14: The New Conservatism and a New World Order” and “Chapter 15: Bridge to the 21st Century” Links: America.gov’s Outline of U.S. History: “Chapter 14: The New Conservatism and a New World Order” (PDF) and “Chapter 15: Bridge to the 21st Century” (PDF)

    Instructions: Read Chapter 14 from the section titled “The Presidency of George H.W. Bush” through the end of the chapter and all of Chapter 15. 
     
    Note on the Text: These chapters focus on the domestic and international challenges that Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush faced from the late 1980s through the first decade of the twenty-first century. They also address important changes in American society during this era.

    Reading these chapters should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: The material above is available in the public domain. 

11.1 The 1990s   - Lecture: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Walls Fall: The US in the Post-Cold War World” Link: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Walls Fall: The US in the Post-Cold War World (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Watch this video.

 Watching this lecture should take approximately 35 minutes.

11.1.1 George H.W. Bush   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 11: Toward a New Century, Chapter 26: Imperial Presidency, Lesson 80—Moving into a New Millennium” presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 11: Toward a New Century, Chapter 26: Imperial Presidency, Lesson 80—Moving into a New Millennium” presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on the “Start Lesson” button to launch the video. Watch the first section of the presentation (“George Bush”), and read the accompanying text. 

 Note on the Media: Section one discusses the presidency of George
H.W. Bush. Bush entered office promising to continue the economic
policies of Ronald Reagan. In office he faced numerous international
challenges, including the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Bush organized
a coalition of nations to fight the Persian Gulf War and liberate
Kuwait. His domestic policies, though, could not prevent a declining
economy, which led to his decline in popularity among voters.  

 Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately
30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

11.1.2 Bill Clinton   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 11: Toward a New Century, Chapter 26: Imperial Presidency, Lesson 80—Moving into a New Millennium” presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 11: Toward a New Century, Chapter 26: Imperial Presidency, Lesson 80—Moving into a New Millennium” presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the video. Watch the second section of the presentation titled “Bill Clinton” and  read the accompanying text. 
 
Note on the Media: Section 2 discusses the presidency of Bill Clinton. Clinton ran as a moderate Democrat in 1992 and gained widespread support from Americans frustrated by George H.W. Bush’s policies. In office, Clinton attempted a number of ambitious legislative proposals including a universal healthcare plan. Popular dissatisfaction with his ideas led to a Republican takeover of Congress in 1994. During his remaining time in office, Clinton was forced to work with Republicans in order to pass necessary legislation. Clinton’s personal actions while in office also led to an impeachment effort by Congress, which failed to gain the necessary votes for approval.

 Reading this text and watching the video should take approximately
30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “Beyond Watergate: The Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton Years, America 1974 - 2001” Link: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “Beyond Watergate: The Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton Years, America 1974 - 2001” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Scroll down this webpage to the section titled “The Election of 1988” and read down through the section titled ”The Economy of the 1990s”. This webpage concerns the presidencies of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton and the major events of their presidencies (1989-2001). Also note that the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the trial of the right-wing extremist, Timothy McVeigh was part of historic development in the 1990s, which witnessed the emergence of extremist anti-government organizations and militias. The ideology of these groups inspired the bombing of a federal office building in Oklahoma City, OK, and the murder of 168 people by Timothy McVeigh and his co-conspirators.

    Reading this webpage should take approximately 20 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

11.2 Entering the New Millennium   11.2.1 The Election of 2000   - Lecture: University of California Irvine: Richard Hasen’s “The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown” Link: University of California Irvine: Richard Hasen’s “The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Listen to this lecture. Note that this lecture focuses on the controversial 2000 election and its aftermath.

 Listening to this lecture should take approximately 50 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

11.2.2 George W. Bush   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 11: Toward a New Century, Chapter 26: Imperial Presidency, Lesson 80—Moving into a New Millennium” presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 11: Toward a New Century, Chapter 26: Imperial Presidency, Lesson 80—Moving into a New Millennium” presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the video. Watch the third section of the presentation titled George W. Bush. You may access this section by clicking on the circle above the section’s title at the top of the page and read the accompanying text. 

 Note on the Media: Section 3 discusses the presidency of George W.
Bush. Bush entered office following a controversial and disputed
election in 2000. He promised a more conservative social and
economic agenda than Clinton’s administration. Bush’s terms in
office were marked by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and
the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. His growing
unpopularity enabled Democrats to take over Congress in 2006. Bush
left office in 2009 with extremely high negative approval ratings.  

 Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately
30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “Beyond Watergate: The Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton Years, America 1974 - 2001” Link: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “Beyond Watergate: The Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton Years, America 1974 - 2001” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Scroll down this webpage to the section titled “The Election of 2000” and read to the end of the webpage. This webpage concerns the presidency of George W. Bush.

    Reading this resource should take approximately 10 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

11.2.3 9-11 and the War on Terror   - Web Media: Authentic History’s “The September 11 Attacks and Aftermath” Links: Authentic History’s “The September 11 Attacks and Aftermath” (Flash)
 
Instructions: Read this webpage.

 Reading the text and watching the accompanying videos should take
approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Authentic History.

11.3 A New Age of Uncertainty   11.3.1 A Changing Society   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 11: Toward a New Century, Chapter 26: Imperial Presidency, Lesson 80—Moving into a New Millennium” presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 11: Toward a New Century, Chapter 26: Imperial Presidency, Lesson 80—Moving into a New Millennium” presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the video. Watch the final section of the presentation titled “The Changing American Society.” You may skip to this section by clicking on the circle above the section’s title at the top of the webpage and read the accompanying text. 

 Note on the Media: Section four provides an overview of America’s
changing society over the past two decades. It addresses the role of
immigration, foreign competition, and new technologies in shaping
the lives of Americans in the new millennium.  

 Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately
25 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

11.3.2 A Great Recession   - Reading: Political Affairs: Ross Morrow’s “A Critical Analysis of the US Causes of the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008” Link: Political Affairs: Ross Morrow’s “A Critical Analysis of the US Causes of the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008” (HTML) 
 
Instructions: Read this article which examines this financial collapse from a Marxist perspective.

 Reading this article should take approximately 45 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Cato Institute: Patric Hendershott and Kevin Villani’s “What Made the Financial Crisis Systemic?” Link: Cato Institute: Patric Hendershott and Kevin Villani’s “What Made the Financial Crisis Systemic?” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this article which examines the financial crisis from a libertarian perspective. This reading should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

11.3.3 The Election of Barack Obama   - Web Media: Democracy Now’s “Unchaining History: Barack Obama Elected President of the United States” Link: Democracy Now’s “Unchaining History: Barack Obama Elected President of the United States” (Flash)
 
Instructions: Listen to President Barack Obama’s 2008 election victory address and read the transcript. The speech highlights his message of change and social renewal. 

 Listening to this address should take approximately 25 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

Unit 11 Assessment   - Assignment: The Saylor Foundation’s “New World Disorder” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “New World Disorder (PDF)

 Instructions: Complete this written assignment. When you are
finished, check your work against this [“Guide to
Responding](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/HIST212-Guide-to-Responding-Unit11.FINAL_.pdf)[”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/HIST212-Guide-to-Responding-Unit11.FINAL_.pdf)
(PDF).  

 Completing this assessment should take approximately 1 hour.