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A4 1980s Rokicki

Page history last edited by Tahsin 10 years, 1 month ago

Michael Jackson - Billy Jean...

Names: Tahsin Rahman

Shivraj Gill

Bipin Yankanaik

Varun Matta




MYP Unit Question: How did culture, events and leadership shape and reflect post-WWII America?


Oh the 1980's


Business & the Economy


 The 1980's was a time of great development and prosperity. One of the most important industries affected by the 80's was the automobile industry. General Motors and Chrysler neared bankruptcy, but Ford was able to avoid the same fate. In addition many Japanese companies began to come into the United States and display their dominance gradually. 1985 was the first year when Japanese companies made a noticeable effect on the overall economy. This marked the beginning in history, the United State's car makers were facing competition from foreign car makers. 

Hyundai established itself as the first Korean automaker to sell cars in the United States. They sold cars that were cheap compared to US automobiles. This was the main reason why they United States car makers like General Motors and Chrysler faced may challenges and were on the verge of filing bankruptcy. The superior designs of Ford cars made them more appealing to people.  



In this decade, there was an international debt crisis in developing countries also was taking place. Another positve thing that happened during the 1980's was the rise of the Stock market. It took an unprecedented rise since the 1920's. Persons like Donald Trump and Micheal Milkan were seen has the figures of the 1980's decade. With this tremendous rise in the Stock Market, the United States still  were worried about about Japan. They had also seen great prosperity and showed how their economy was getting stronger and stronger by the day. 


The nation went though a deep recession in the early 1980s. Business bankruptcies escalated up to 50 percent. Farmers were hit the hardest, as agricultural exports declined and crop prices decreased. Luckily, by 1983, inflation had eased and the economy was back to normal. The United States thus began a period of growth in the coming years of the decade. 





 Education during the 1980s, had moderately better accomplishments than in the 1960-70 era. In the 1980’s there was more participation of people receiving an education, even women and black people. As a nation the percentage graduating from high school went from 50% in 1970 to 75% in 1980. As poor as the quality of education was during the 1960-70 era, the 1980’s wasn’t all that much better. Core class subjects like science, math and English were being replaced by classes of moral values, drug awareness and driving in the high school curriculum. Due to these “soft” fare (as they were called then) courses, the quality of education indeed suffered and did not reach college requirements.



Since the mini-courses represented no level of quantifiable educational ability, so did the overall curriculum. Although colleges were well-equipped both finically and academically there was no potential. And as a result of an influx of unprepared students from inadequate high school backgrounds, colleges were forced to lower entrance exams. Along with a very poor education America had a very high illiteracy rate at this point in time. Black were 45% illiterate and women were 10% illiterate. Liberals and conservatives agreed that America's schools were not providing a quality education and started to point fingers. Conservatives blamed increased federal presence in education and that it had been a starting point for decay. Liberals on the other hand blamed teachers who were paid hard-earned tax dollars only to keep the education at a level of weakness.





American fashion in the 1980s was truly a time in which clothing became much more expressive and creative. It was a time in which people attempted in finding who they truly were and became individuals. With the creation of MTV, different styles were conveyed and picked up by the American public. Madonna and Michael Jackson were fashion stars on their own and represented what many people wished to become, therefore they imitated their style and individualized it to be their own person. Men began to wear heavy make up and to grow out their hair. Women, on the other hand began to wear short hair as well as different layers of clothing. Hair was often stylized and professional hair stylists began to enter the scene. Jumpsuits were often seen to be the clothing fashion of the time and matching was customary. The styles started to become as they are today and becoming less appropriate, such as baggier tops and tighter pants. Towards the end of the decade, it was clear that clothing had become much more revealing than the 1970's. Brand names also began to come out during this time, a few such as Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein.


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Madonna was seen to be the "Material Girl" of the time and was seen practically as a model by most teens as well as women. America looked to her for fashion statements and she practically decided what would be "in style" and what would not. The styles conveyed in music videos by other artists also was carried over into fashion society, bringing on the "Thriller look", based on Michael Jackson's Thriller, and other "dance-wear looks." The television show Miami Vice also conveyed many colorful styles for men which was easily translated into daily life. Sports wear also increased in popularity which eventually brought upon rap music fashion styles which had much emphasis on the shoes, thus the creation of Converse and Air Jordan shoes. The other styles not spoken of is those influenced by metal music, creating the punk rock look which involved bleached jeans, ripped clothing, and certain styled hair. With so many new styles of hair, certain products also were created during this time and the use of mousse and gel became greatly desired and available.







Film and Theater


In the 1980s, the film industry skyrocketed with some of the most famous directors and actors entering hollywood. Just naming a few would include Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Tim Burton, James Cameron, Tom Cruise, and Syvester Stallone. There were many other actors and directors which had a prominent role in hollywood during this time and altogether, they continued the rise of blockbuster films. Just naming a few blockbuster films would include E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, Star Wars VI, Star Wars V, Batman, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Most of these movies are thanks to the directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, the heroes of the film industry during the decade. Now by seeing the top movies of the decade, there can be seen that trends of film leaned towards science-fiction during these years. These movies aimed in attracting the younger generation for it was realized the youth were a large portion of the industry. It intrigued the imagination of Americans and gave something for them to dream about with the scares of war shrouding their lives. Thrillers and fantasy films also increased in popularity, once again giving the nation something else to think about. Overall, the film industry leaned towards movies which would allow the viewer to think of adventure and uplifting ideas.



Ethics and past film habits had changed with the new decade. There was a visible increase in nudity within movies and a greater emphasis on franchise films. With these changes in ethic, the PG-13 rating was created in order to differentiate between PG and R rated movies, thus the age of teen cinema began. The top grossing film of the decade was E.T. the Extra Terrestrial bringing in a total of $435 million. In these years, the Luke Skywalker Saga of Star Wars came to an end and James Bond continued its movies.



Food &  Drink


The 1980's let in a new type of food in America.  Fast Food, or "Junk Food", as some call it, became very popular in that decade.  Places like Taco Bell and McDonald's became increasingly popular as the time went on.  Many other things like soda and Kool-Aid came up too.  These drinks were popular with kids all around the United States.  The Fast Food places were selling food for less money that tasted better than some of the food the kids were getting at home.  The parents also liked this idea of "Fast Food" because it was cheap, and easy.  Now with more and more people working, the parents did not have that much time to cook the food.  It was easy and convenient, additionally saved time and money.   



Print Culture


There was explosive growth of the media in the 1980s, especially television. With rising cost of materials and labor, and with competition of from 24-hour cable television news, many newspapers disappeared. The publishing industry was very much affected by the trends affecting other areas of popular culture in the 1980s—the concentration of power in large corporations and the public thirst for status through consumption.


The concentration of power in publishing took two forms. First, the number of newspaper and book publishers decreased as large publishers bought up smaller ones. These big publishing houses were driven by profit, so they tended to publish books by known writers and offered fewer chances to new talent. They also tended to be engaged in publishing magazines, music, and videos. Another innovation that began in the 1980s was the foreign language edition such as the Spanish version of the Miami Herald.


Sports &  Games


In the 1980s the sports industry had skyrocketed much like other sectors of the economy and lifestyle in the decade. Many records and accomplishments were set during this time period in many different sports such as basketball, football, tennis, baseball, as well as the first major appearance of boxing.


Basketball in the 1980s absolutely went through the roofs with some of the greatest players of all time entering the NBA. Such players include the legendary Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. These players still have to this day many records such as most cumulative points in their career, a record held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, as well as holding the most MVP awards. Not only did legends thrive during this time but players such as Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley made their debut. However, what kept the nation engaged in basketball during this decade is the heating rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, which together account for 8 out of 10 championships. The fierce rivalry pit Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson of the Lakers against Larry Bird of the Celtics. Michael Jordan also began his career strong and brought some creativity to the sport attracting even more Americans. With this, basketball became the most popular sport of the decade and it continued its popularity until today.


Hockey began to gain some more popularity during this time period with Wayne Gretzky in his prime, winning many MVP awards as well as four Stanley Cups. However, the sport which boomed the most, under basketball, is the previously unpopular boxing. Just like basketball, boxing gained popularity with certain all-stars, which in this case was Mike Tyson. He defeated some of the greatest boxers, such as James Smith and Tony Tucker, in record times. Tyson's strength and willingness truly attracted Americans and provided a new outlet of entertainment.


The Olympics brought much pride to Americans during this decade as well. America had won many gold medals in running events during the summer Olympics of 1984 and 1988. Not only this, but America had set many records such as earning over 7000 points in a heptathlon, a record held by Jackie Joyner-Kersee. There were many successes in the winter Olympics as well and overall had made Americans proud of who they are and gave them a sense of nationalism, becoming some of the most spirited people of the nation's history.


Besides sports, video games had begun to enter American leisure in the 1980s. This was when the idea of arcade gaming skyrocketed and was truly a turning point for video games in general. Computer gaming became quite popular and was slowly churning the American teenage culture. Not only this, but the popular Rubik's Cube was made during this time, enchanting minds throughout the world.





Just as other forms of entertainment drastically changed during this decade, music exponentially grew in popularity and effect to Americans. The most drastic change is obviously the creation of music television, known as MTV. It's first airing was in 1981 and began playing music videos all day, not only providing another method in listening to music but opening America to different kinds of music and "less-than mainstream" music. This in the end allowed many musicians to become famous and popularized the idea of music videos. Now with these new popularized music videos, dancing and cinematography changed accordingly, conveying messages within songs and such music videos. Though music had skyrocketed during this decade, many legends also perished during this time. Examples of such people include John Lennon and Bob Marley. However there were many new artists there to walk into their footsteps, the most obvious ones being Michael Jackson and Madonna. Both used the idea of music videos and MTV to their advantage and reached the top of the industry.


Hard rock and heavy metal had the spotlight during this time with peaking bands such as Guns N' Roses, U2, and Bon Jovi dominating the industry. Punk rock also joined hard rock in its success during the 1980s. These songs many times dealt with the Cold War and other worldly issues. Some songs also related to problems in society, such as drugs, sex, and money, therefore enacting songs as a method of protesting. Music overall generally had more meaningful lyrics.


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Bullet the Blue Sky by U2 : Acts as Commentary About the Cold War


However, despite the domination of rock music, Hip-Hop is the genre of music which was altered by the times the most. With advancing technology, the use synthesizers and keyboards increased. Thus brought the beginning of techno music as well. Branching off Hip-Hop came the beginnings of rap with groups such as Beastie-Boys and Run DMC.


Michael Jackson was the male entertainer of the time and his effects are still seen today. He created the "leather jacket and gloves" look which has been imitated ever since. He created the infamous Moonwalk as well, truly being the artist with the greatest effect until this day. Madonna also dominated the Hip-Hop industry becoming the most successful woman of the decade. Along with her fame came many new fashions which would slowly affect the fashion of Americans.



  "The Way We Lived"


The 1980’s was a time where teens started shaping the way people were living. The 80’s gave a rise to one of the worst sexual transmitted diseases, AIDS, as well as drugs such as cocaine, which later lead to the creation of gangs.  AIDS was first identified in 1981 and was said to be the gay disease, discriminating the rising gay population. This conflict with gays was later ended in 1987 when both men and women came together to create one big AIDS blanket.


Cocaine had a huge impact on the life of people in the 80’s due to its addictive properties. Cocaine caused much hardship to Americans, especially teens. The use of cocaine then lead to robbery, gang wars, and prostitution. The rise in the use of cocaine lead to high increase in gang activity. Gangs like the "crips" and "bloods", who were rivals, started becoming more publicized and due to the lack of jobs people started to join gangs in order to make some easy money and get access to cocaine. Many different social groups also started emerging. Skinheads were one of the most common, people who were rebellious and usually had shaved heads and tattoos.


However there were also many positive trends that were set. Minivans were created in 1983 and having a minivan meant that you were more of a family oriented person, since you could fit up to eight people in one car. Minivans were used by mostly women that were driving their kids around to different activities. The minivan was also good for long family vacations which overall led to stronger families in America.


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Growing Pains was a very popular tv show back in the 80's it was a show about a family that consisted of a dad, mom two sisters and a brother. The parents were very sucessful, the dad a pshycologist and the mom a journalist. The kids were all different from each other, the oldest son only cares abbout girls and always wants to have fun, while his sister only focuses on getting good grades and making her parents happy.Growing pains was a show that featured common problems between kids and parents and siblings back in the 1980's, while reflecting on how family life was back then.



Government & Politics


The government and politics in the 1980's was the decade of Ronald Reagan, who was elected in 1980 and then later replaced in 1989 by his vice president George W. Bush senior. Reagan's goal for the nation somewhat helped shape the political and economical aspects of the United States for much of the 1980's. However before Reagan came into office, the United States was struggling because they were no longer seen as the most powerful nation in the world, which made Americans lose faith in their country and government, especially due to the multiple political scandals that were started in 1974, one of the most famous being the Watergate scandal which caused the resignation of former president Richard Nixon.


Reagan and his administration did a lot in the years from international affairs to things that hit home. Reagan used strong international policies to try and stop the spread of communism to the States. He started building up the United States military power so that they would be prepared to fight the Soviet Union if the situation were to ever come up. He also directly challenged the Iron Curtain, which essentially divided Europe into two parts, by demanding that the Soviet Union take down the Berlin Wall. There was much tension between the United States and Russia as well, however negotiations had been made between the two to finally end the Cold War. The president also put himself into affairs in the Middle East, getting the U.S. involved with the oil transportation going on in places such as Kuwait. Reagan's administration also challenged the war on drugs through many anti-drug campaigns which included the "Just Say No" campaign by the first lady, Nancy Reagan. Drugs were becoming a significant problem in America, due to the increasing popularity of cocaine by famous people and the young as well as the rise of the cheaper crack which resulted in the devastation of inner cities.


While Reagan was in office during the 80’s, many changes were made along with history. On July 7th 1981, Reagan appointed the first women into the supreme court. This was a huge step for Americans as well as women. This act later could have influenced the decision made by democratic presidential nominee Walter F. Mondale to choose  Geraldine A. Ferraro as his running mate, which made Ferraro the first ever women to be nominated as a vice president. Even though the government had a lot of history making events, there were also many downfalls. In 1981 the nationwide debt had reached a outstanding one trillion dollars, as well as a annual budget deficit which was nearly $80 billion.This caused the economy of the United States at that time to become very poor.


That budget is much more than a long list of numbers, for behind all the numbers lies America's ability to prevent the greatest of human tragedies and preserve our free way of life in a sometimes dangerous world. It is part of a careful, long-term plan to make America strong again after too many years of neglect and mistakes. Our efforts to rebuild America's defenses and strengthen the peace began two years ago when we requested a major increase in the defense program. Since then the amount of those increases we first proposed has been reduced by half through improvements in management and procurement and other savings. The budget request that is now before the Congress has been trimmed to the limits of safety. Further deep cuts cannot be made without seriously endangering the security of the nation. The choice is up to the men and women you have elected to the Congress - and that means the choice is up to you.


The primary source document above is archived from Ronald Reagan's famous "Star Wars" Speech. It was his Address to the Nation on Defense and National Security. This gives a sense of where the debt of the nation was coming from and that Reagan was focusing much of his power in strengthening the country's defenses. The spacial defense program titled "Star Wars" was brought up during this speech.




Leadership is the ability to influence people so that they willingly and enthusiastically strive towards the achievement of group goals. Politicians, business executives, writers, scientists, and artists exert leadership in a country in various ways. In the political arena, the decade started with President Jimmy Carter in his 4th year in office mired in the hostage crisis in

Iran. US personnel in the embassy were held hostage by Iranian students and militants. This prolonged crisis dealt a blow to the leadership of President Jimmy Carter at home and abroad and ultimately caused him to lose to Ronald Reagan in the November 1980 election. President Reagan with his optimism, folksy comments and dynamic leadership style brought a sense of hope and confidence to the US people. The contrast between Carter and Reagan is s a stark example of how leadership is not always about brains over brawn. Carter may have been brainier but the brawn of Reagan made him an effective leader.  


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Just two weeks ago, you and I joined millions of our fellow Americans in marveling at the magic historical moment that John Young and Bob Crippen created in their space shuttle Columbia. The last manned effort was almost six years ago, and I remembered on this more recent day, over how--over the years, how we'd all come to expect technological precision of our men and machines. And each amazing achievement became commonplace, until the next new challenge was raised. With the space shuttle we tested our ingenuity once again, moving beyond the accomplishments of the past into the promise and uncertainty of the future. Thus, we not only planned to send up a 122-foot aircraft 170 miles into space, but we also intended to make it maneuverable and return it to earth, landing 98 tons of exotic metals delicately on a remote, dry lake bed. The space shuttle did more than prove our technological abilities. It raised our expectations once more. It started us dreaming again.


This is a part of a primary source document of a speech by Ronald Reagan, specifically his State of the Union Speech. This shows Reagan's goals and the accomplishments he saw America achieving. It is obvious from this that Reagan was truly a perfectionist and was aiming quite high. 


Law &  Justice


The laws in the 1980’s are pretty much what they are.  There were a few added laws that changed how people lived at the time.  In 1980’s, the United States started to make stricter laws in the field of immigration.  They started getting stricter on the illegal immigrants they find.  It is obvious that till this day they have not completely stopped the flow of illegal immigrants, but they have gotten better at what they do.  They started to put more emphasis on protecting our borders and making security tighter.  Another thing that the United States put out in the 80’s was the “green card”.  It is not really a green card, but in fact it is a document that says you, as the carrier, are a legal citizen of the United States.




Sec. 101. Control of unlawful employment of aliens.

Sec. 102. Unfair immigration-related employment practices.

Sec. 103. Fraud and misuse of certain immigration-related documents.


Above is a portion of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 which acts as a primary source document. Just by seeing the table of contents, we see how strict the United States was becoming on immigration. The alien affairs had become a top priority of the United States at this point and as can be seen from Sec. 103, the use of documents and "green cards" were to be established.



The laws in the 80’s had a lot to do with immigration.  Ronald Reagan, who was the president for most of the decade, put a lot of new laws out there that were both good and bad.  Good in the sense that they protected us from things that people might smuggle into the United States, and bad in the sense that it kept the people who were trying to get away from whatever they were running from that might harm them away from the safety that the United States could have given. 


The battle on drugs also began to hit legislature and laws began to be passed in order to stop all the illicit drugs spreading through the United States.Though this was a subtle beginning on the battle against drugs, the battle was to heat up exponentially within the next decade. 




The 1980's was a great period for many religions trying to make a name for themselves in the United States. After the 1960's and 70's many religious groups decided to refocus themselves on their religion, while causing multiple errors and conflicts. One of the main conflicts that emerged was the division between religious liberals and the newer conservative religious movement. And by the mid 1980's multiple surveys were acknowledging the decrease of protestant sects, by the mid 1980's it was reported that three out of ten Americans were evangelicals, which was a huge decrease from the previous decades.


Denominations With the Most Churches in 1999





% Growth or Decline 1980-1999

Southern Baptist Convention





United Methodist Church





Roman Catholic Church





Churches of Christ





Assemblies of God





Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints





Jehovah's Witnesses





Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)





Evangelical Lutheran Church in America





Episcopal Church





Read more:

Religion in America: Data Presentation http://social.jrank.org/pages/1023/Religion-in-America-Data-Presentation.html#ixzz0q6R7Pkyd


The chart clearly shows the huge decrease in the number of people attending church as well as the number of people that have denounced themselves as being that religion  during 1980-1990, this was a huge deal because it meant that more people were moving away form the ideals and beliefs that country once had about god, to something much more different ideals as well as switching to different religions. The 1980's was a time for many Americans to really think about what exactly it is that they believe in and to act based on those beliefs.


Positive Political Cartoon  



The nation truly was going through a cultural revolution as can be seen in the political cartoon. This was seen as an optimistic thing in the nation and that there was change coming in the future. Everyone believed that the nation was truly coming to a peaceful state where culture was flourishing. The nation was deviating from the threats of war and the people focused on the smaller things in life, trying truly to enjoy their lives to the fullest and increasing the quality of life overall.


 Negative Political Cartoon



This Image is of Reagan who is portrayed as Dracula, he is shown sucking the blood of Lady Liberty and essentially America and its democracy. The title refers to how much time Reagan spent on television instead of dealing with problems during his presidency.  



MYP Unit Question: How did culture, events and leadership shape and reflect post-WWII America?


The 1980s was indeed a time, where America radically changed from its roots and the culture of the nation was completely rearranged. The extent of technological change resulted in bringing the nation into the new age and brought upon modernized styles which are still seen today. The clothing of the time has been carried over to our generation, as a model and made a true difference. An absence of the 1980s would result in the common trend amongst our generation's teens to be devoid of colorful clothing and the let-loose clothing style. Additionally, the music and movies of this decade not only represent the 1980 era itself, but can also be seen as the revolutionary step of both music and cinema in our nation today. Still after 30 years, movies like Star Wars and E.T. are still spoken about and regarded as some of the greatest movies of all time. Not only this, but the revolution of movie genres truely expressed the post-World War II and the fact that the world was not willing to go through another war, therefore movies leaned toward that which was unworldly and fictitious. This theme is still seen today even though we have decreased in cautiousness towards war. The writing of the time is still seen today in the sense that there are many more fiction novels rather than straightforward stories. Once again, this reemphasizes the anti-war motif which was created during post-World War II period. Much of the sports and games which were played during this time had a great impact on what the majority of the nation watch today. Much of the youth is now exposed to basketball and it has become quite a popular sport due to the famous Celtics VS Lakers rivalry which stormed through the 1980s. There were also those video games which probably made the biggest impact today in changing the youth. And that these early video games is what brought upon that which now enchants millions of minds around the world, giving the world games such as “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” and “Halo”.


The major events dealing with law and justice in the 1980s reformed society and also expresses post World War II legislature. Just as there was much emphasis on drugs in the 1980s, we can see that today there is a great emphasis on ending illicit drugs where there is much controversy surrounding that topic today. It shows that the nation after World War II began to have many more internal conflicts and international affairs began to calm down, that is until the recent war in the Middle East. Additionally, the emphasis on immigration and the problems involved with immigration, however is still seen today, an example being the Arizona Immigration Act only passed recently. Once again, the nation had begun to worry about internal issues rather than butting in on issues which were worldly. The increase in debt in the 1980s claerly shows the nation habitual tendency on increasing debts through time rather than paying them off, once again showing the nature of America after World War II. The 1980s also foresaw the future conflicts of the United States with the nation’s involvement in oil in the Middle East. Though international conflicts were trying to be escaped, it was only a matter of time until another conflict outside the borders of the nation occurred. Also, when it comes to leadership, it seems that many presidents after that time have attempted in following Reagan’s charismatic, friendly example.


The education of the time very well conveys the education of the times now and its transformation after World War II. Education was truly going down the drain and it would require much work within the next years in order to recuperate and fix. Then there is the economy of the 1980s, which helped express the recessions the nation would face in the future, yet also showing the habit of rebounding from such recessions. It seems that America truly assimilated itself into such a pattern and shows how the economy has been after World War II. It also showed how the United States was leaning towards an automotive focused economy. Religion in the 1980s accurately depicts religion post World War II because religions within the nation were starting to become diversified.


Overall, the 1980s is very close to the modern day and signifies truly the United States after World War II. Though it does not exactly emulate the times after the war, it has the signifigant points required to state that this decade evidently does express the change of America and the fact that this decade was indeed a cultural revolution.


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"Vreeland, Diana."The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives Thematic Series: The 1980s. Ed. William L. O'Neill and Kenneth T. Jackson. 2 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/

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