Reagan and George H.W. Bush Years: 1980–1992

Vocabulary

contras

members of a Nicaraguan right-wing counterrevolutionary militia trained and funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under orders from President Reagan

fiscal conservatism

an economic philosophy promoted during Ronald Reagan's presidency that and concentrated on tax cuts, reduced federal spending, and deregulation of business

free market

economic system in which prices are based on competition and are not government-controlled. In a free market economy, government influence on prices is nonexistent or minimal.

glasnost

Russian word for "openness," a policy that encouraged free and critical discussion of political and social problems in the Soviet Union

globalization

free trade of goods, ideas, and services around the world

intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)

nuclear-armed missile designed to be launched from a military ground base at a target up to 3,500 miles away

Iran-Contra affair

political scandal involving members of Reagan's administration who secretly sold weapons to Iran and used the proceeds to fund counterrevolutionaries in Nicaragua

Kurds

members of a mainly agricultural people who live in northern Iraq. A Kurdish uprising in 1991 was quashed by Saddam's troops.

libertarian

conservative with a strong belief in freedom of speech and worship, as well as the right to own property. Libertarians believe the role of government should be limited to protecting the individual rights of the population.

Moral Majority

coalition of evangelical Christian conservatives founded in 1979 by televangelist Jerry Falwell. The Moral Majority was a political organization focused on social issues.

mutual assured destruction (MAD)

military doctrine of nuclear deterrence. If each opponent realizes launching a nuclear strike will lead to its own destruction, neither side is likely to begin an attack.

New Right

social and political movement that began in the 1960s and continued for two decades in response to a social and political move to the left

perestroika

Russian word for "restructuring," Gorbachev's policy to create economic and political reform

Persian Gulf War

brief international conflict in the Middle East. It was set off by Iraq's invasion of its small but oil-rich neighbor Kuwait on August 2, 1990.

Reaganomics

economic policies built around the concept that tax cuts combined with reductions to federal spending and deregulation of businesses would stimulate the nation's economy

Saddam Hussein

Iraq's notoriously brutal and ambitious leader. Saddam's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 led to the Persian Gulf War.

Sandinistas

members of a procommunist Nicaraguan revolutionary force. In 1979 the Sandinistas overthrew dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle and established a procommunist regime.

Shiites

Muslims of the Shia branch of Islam. In the 1990s Iraqi Shiites lived chiefly in the South. A Shiite uprising in 1991 was quashed by Saddam's troops.

social conservatism

in modern American politics, a political philosophy committed to traditional values and social institutions like the Christian church and the nuclear family

Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)

space-based defense system that proposed using lasers to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles launched from the Soviet Union. The media gave SDI the nickname "Star Wars."

trickle-down theory

idea that tax cuts for large businesses result in corporations producing more goods and employing more people. Trickle-down theory reasons economic growth flows from the wealthier sector to the less well-off classes.

Václav Havel

noncommunist activist who led Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution in 1989 and became the country's first noncommunist president since 1948

Velvet Revolution

November 1989's nonviolent democratic transition of power in Czechoslovakia. Václav Havel and fellow dissidents peacefully replaced the nation's Soviet regime with a noncommunist government.