Unit 9 - Key Terms | Sherpa Learning

Unit 9 - Key Terms

U.S. History Skillbook

Unit 9: America Redefined

Key Terms

Affordable Care Act — called by its critics “Obamacare,” this measure provided expanded health care to potentially millions of uninsured Americans. It also imposed new regulations on insurance companies.

al Qaeda — a global terrorist group that opposes western influences and presence in the Middle East. They aim to install a Muslim state in the region.

Barak Obama — a former community organizer and United States Senator; in 2008, he became the first African-American president; his election represented hope for a new kind of politics and racial reconciliation.

George H. Bush — served as a Congressman, Central Intelligence head, and Vice President, he became the first V.P. since Martin Van Buren to be elected directly to the presidency in 1988.

George W. Bush — elected to presidency in 2000. He was the second son of a president to hold the office (John Quincy Adams 1824). His domestic agenda of “compassionate conservativism” was quickly subordinated by the September 11th 2001 terrorist attack. His ill-fated invasion of Iraq in 2003 deeply damaged his presidency.

Iran-Contra Scandal — Reagan’s greatest scandal. It involved the sale of arms to Iran to gain release of hostages and the use of the proceeds to fund the anti-Communist forces in Nicaragua, which Congress had outlawed. Many people thought the actions were an impeachable offense, but the President survived.

Mikhail Gorbachev — became the leader of the Soviet Union in 1985. He initiated a series of economic and political reforms that led to a reduction of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe and the eventual collapse of the Soviet system.

Monica Lewinsky Affair — named after the White House intern with whom President Clinton had a sexual relationship, and then lied about it to a federal grand jury; ultimately led to his impeachment in December 1998. The Senate failed to convict him and he remained in office.

“New World Order” — a vague concept proposed by President George H. Bush to replace the bi-polar world of the Cold War; it never quite became clear how the United States would use its superpower status to achieve its goals around the world.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) — agreement that eliminated trade barriers among the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Part of a growing globalization process in trade and culture.

Operation Desert Storm — the multi-national effort to drive Saddam Hussein from Kuwait in 1991. It was organized by President Bush and was his greatest achievement.

Osama bin Laden — a Saudi Arabian national who founded the international terrorist group known as al Qaeda, the group that carried out the 9/ll attacks on New York and Washington D.C.

Ronald Reagan — a former actor, and governor of California, served two presidential terms from 1981-1989 and redefined the conservative movement in America.

Saddam Hussein — long-time leader of Iraq who invaded Kuwait in August 1990 and posed a threat to Saudi Arabia and world oil supplies. He was driven out of Kuwait in 1991 by the first president Bush and deposed from power by the second president Bush in 2003.

Strategic Defense Initiative — nicknamed “Star Wars.” It proposed the use of lasers and satellites to shield the United States against enemy missile attack. The program frightened the Soviet Union and was useful in disarmament talks.

Supply-side Economics — Reagan’s economic program that called for tax cuts, and reduction in federal spending to grow the economy. The tax reduction coupled with increasing defense spending led to enormous federal deficits.

USA Patriot Act — passed in October 2001 in response to 9/11; it gave the government greater power to intercept and track possible terrorist activities. It authorized enhanced surveillance and search warrant powers to prevent future attacks.

William “Bill” Clinton — a former five-term governor of Arkansas who was elected to the presidency in 1992 in a three way race between himself, President Bush, and businessman Ross Perot. When he was re-elected in 1996, he became the first Democrat since FDR to win two terms as chief executive.