Period 9: 1980-Present (AP US History)

Period 9: 1980-Present

As the United States transitioned to a new century filled with challenges and possibilities, it experienced renewed ideological and cultural debates, sought to redefine its foreign policy, and adapted to economic globalization and revolutionary changes in science and technology. Topics may include

 

  • Reagan and Conservatism
  • The End of the Cold War
  • Shifts in the Economy
  • Migration and Immigration
  • Challenges of the 21st century

 

Image Source: Piece of the Berlin Wall displayed at the Newseum museum, Arlington, Virginia, a photograph taken by Carol M. Highsmith, ca. 2000. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Photograph of section of Berlin Wall displayed at the Newseum museum in Virginia; Graffiti on the wall has messages including "Tear Down the Wall" and "Democracy Freedom"
  • 4-6% Exam Weighting

Key Concepts

9.1: A newly ascendant conservative movement achieved several political and policy goals during the 1980s and continued to strongly influence public discourse in the following decades.

9.2: Moving into the 21st century, the nation experienced significant technological, economic, and demographic changes.

9.3: The end of the Cold War and new challenges to U.S. leadership forced the nation to redefine its foreign policy and role in the world.The end of the Cold War and new challenges to U.S. leadership forced the nation to redefine its foreign policy and role in the world.

Reagan and Conservatism

Ronald Reagan on economics and political parties

1962

Letter by Ronald Reagan expressing his ideas about economic policy and the nation’s political parties

  • Primary Source

The Age of Reagan

by Gil Troy

Learn about the Reagan Revolution, which promised to restore Americans’ faith in their nation.

  • Essay

Globalizing Protest in the 1980s

by Douglas R. Egerton

Learn how musicians used their talent and status to bring awareness to political and social issues at home and abroad.

  • Essay

President Reagan’s First Inaugural Address

1981

Examine Ronald Reagan discussion of key issues including rising inflation, unemployment, and the Iran Hostage Crisis.

  • Primary Source

Iran and the United States in the Cold War

by Malcolm Byrne

Learn about US-Iranian relations and the hostage crisis.

  • Essay

The End of the Cold War

Ronald Reagan and the End of the Cold War

by Michael Cox

Read about Ronald Reagan and his impact on the Cold War.

  • Essay

The End of the Cold War

by Thomas Blanton

Watch a discussion of the key turning points in the relationship between the US and the USSR.

  • Video

Reagan Speech: “Tear down this wall”

1987

Ronald Reagan’s "Tear Down This Wall" speech encouraging Gorbachev to seek peace with the US and freedom for the USSR and Eastern Europe

  • Primary Source

The United States in China during the Cold War

by Warren Cohen

Read about US policies in East Asia and the end of the Cold War.

  • Essay

Shifts in the Economy

Economic Policy through the Lens of History

by Roger E. A. Farmer

An overview of economic policy from the 1900s to the present.

  • Essay

America at the End of the 20th century

by James T. Patterson

Watch a discussion of key turning points in the US economy.

  • Video

Migration and Immigration

The 1965 Immigration Act

by Tom Gjelten

Learn about the politics of the passage of the 1965 Immigration Act and its effects today.

  • Essay

Immigration since 1965

by Mai Ngai

Watch a discussion about immigration to the US in the second half of the 21st century.

  • Video

In the Name of America’s Future

by Maddalena Marinari

Learn about the political battle over immigration policy during the Cold War era.

  • Essay

Korean Migration to the United States

by Kira Donnell, Soojin Jeong, and Grace J. Yoo

Read about the waves of Korean migration from 1900-present.

  • Essay

Indians in the United States

by Sherally Munshi

Learn about the arrival of Indians in the US from 1900 to the present.

  • Essay

Mexican Farm Labor

by Mary E. Mendoza

Read about the causes and consequences of ending the Bracero Program in the US.

  • Essay

Policy, Mexican Americans, and Undocumented Immigrants

by Eladio Bobadilla

Examine the context of undocumented immigration from Mexico.

  • Essay

Challenges of the 21st Century

Facing the New Millennium

by Michael Flamm

Read about key political, economic, and social developments in late 1980s and beyond.

  • Essay

September 11, 2001

by The National September 11 Memorial & Museum

Learn about the terrorist acts on 9/11.

  • Essay

Barack Obama’s First Inaugural Address

2009

First Inaugural address of Barack Obama calling for an end to the divisive spirit in politics and in the nation

  • Primary Source

Pop Music and the Spatialization of Race in the 1990s

by Mark Anthony Neal

Learn about hip-hop and rap as cultural phenomena.

  • Essay

Hanging by a Chad—or Not

by James Gormly

Examine the controversies of the presidential election of 2000.

  • Essay

Disasters and the Politics of Memory

by Kevin Rozario

Gain an understanding of the politics of memory through the lens of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

  • Essay

A More Perfect Union?

by Thomas J. Sugrue

Learn more about Barack Obama and his politics of unity.

  • Essay

American History Timeline: 1980-Present

Image Citations

Listed in order of appearance in the sections above

Reagan and Conservatism

Reagan and Conservatism

  • Unknown photographer. Ronald Reagan Campaigns for Barry Goldwater in Los Angeles in 1964. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.
  • Highsmith, Carol M. White House. President Ronald Reagan Walking and Talking with Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona. Washington, D.C., July 31, 1986. Photograph. Carol M. Highsmith Archive. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Maher, Steven. Live Aid logo: The Day the Music Changed the World, July 13, 1985. Founded by Midge Ure and Bob Geldof.
  • Unknown photographer. Ronald Reagan head and shoulders portrait. 1981. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C..
  • Trikosko, Marion S. Iran Hostage Crisis Student Demonstration, Washington, D.C. November 9, 1979. Photograph.  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The End of the Cold War

The End of the Cold War

  • Trikosko, Marion S. President Ronald Reagan, His Wife, Nancy Reagan, and Others at a Press Conference. s.l., November 14, 1979. Photograph. US News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Unidentified photographer. Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in Washington DC. December 8, 1987. Photograph. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
  • Unidentified photographer. President Ronald Reagan Making His Berlin Wall Speech at Brandenburg Gate West Berlin. Federal Republic of Germany. June 12, 1987. Photograph. White House Photographic Collection. Reagan White House Photographs, January 20, 1981-January 20, 1989. National Archives.
  • Jenkins, Michael R.., photographer. Chinese activist in front of the U.S. Capitol. June 5, 1989. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Shifts in the Economy

Shifts in the Economy

  • Highsmith, Carol M. Wall Street Bull, New York, New York. Between 1980 and 2006. Photograph. Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Keating, Maureen. President Bill Clinton Delivering the State of the Union Address with Vice President Al Gore and Minority Whip Newt Gingrich Sitting behind Him. Washington D.C. January 24, 1995. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Migration and Immigration

Migration and Immigration

  • Okamoto, Yoichi. President Lyndon B. Johnson Speaking from the Podium at the Bill Signing. October 3, 1965. Photograph. LBJ Library.  
  • Ford, Ed. Americanized Chinese Gals on Mott St. New York, April 27, 1965. Photograph. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Highsmith, Carol M. Domino Players in a Cuban-American "Little Havana" Neighborhood of Miami, Florida. Between 1980 and 2006. Photograph. Carol M. Highsmith Archive. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Long, Lucy M. Music and Dance Performance, First Korean School, Silver Spring, Maryland. 1982. Photograph. American Folklife Center. Library of Congress.
  • Unknown photographer. El Centro Sikh Temple. 1951. Photograph. Personal Records of David Rai. UC Davis Library Archives and Special Collections. 
  • Collins, Marjory. Stockton Vicinity, California. Mexican Agricultural Laborer Topping Sugar Beets.
  • May 1943. Photograph. Farm Security Adminstration/Office of War Information. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Unknown photographer. Mexican Workers Recruited and Brought to the Arkansas Valley, Colorado, Nebraska and Minnesota by the FSA Farm Security Administration, to Harvest and Process Sugar Beets under Contract with the Inter-mountain Agricultural Improvement Association. May 1943. Photograph. Farm Secuirty Adminstration/Office of War Information. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Challenges of the 21st century

Challenges of the 21st century

  • Highsmith, Carol M, photographer. Mississippi Coast after Hurricane Katrina. April 12, 2006. Photograph. Carol M. Highsmith Archive. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Unknown photographer. Fire Fighting in the Aftermath of the September 11th Terrorist Attack on the World Trade Center, New York City. September 2001. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Highsmith, Carol M. 2009 Inaugural Parade, January 24th. Barack and Michelle Obama Walk in Front of the New Presidential Inaugural Car, Pennsylvania Avenue at 15th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. January 20, 2009. Photograph. Carol M. Highsmith Archive. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Copyright deposits for “Here Comes the Judge,” by Alen, Astor, Markham, and Harvey, 1968, and “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” by Gil Scott-Heron, 1971. Photograph by Heather Darnell. Library of Congress Music Division.
  • Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Invitation to the inauguration of President George W. Bush. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC09705.09.
    Highsmith, Carol M. World Trade Center, New York, New York. Between 1980 and 2001.
  • Photograph. Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
    Souza, Pete. Official Portrait of President Barack Obama in Oval Office. December 6, 2012. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.