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B2 1980s De Zwaan

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Saved by Brianna Schwarcz
on June 15, 2010 at 10:45:56 pm

Lissa Mann

Nivedita Nagaraj

Brianna Schwarcz

Witek Fuchs

Ahmad Zunnu Rain


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


 The Electric Eighties




"Don't be afraid to see what you see." - Ronald Reagan


Business & the Economy

by Lissa Mann


     Upon entering office, Ronald Reagan faced economic turmoil surrounding the states. In 1981 and 1982 “Reaganonmics” took effect, as republicans cut taxes and the American budget. Reagan’s theory said that if taxes were cut, Americans would have more disposable income. Extra funds would increase investments; additional investments would promote work by investments in machinery, factories, and products, creating a greater demand for workers. Profits would allow for more taxes to be paid yet at the same time the demand for goods and services would increase, and the cycle would repeat. 



     Reagan’s second term followed similar policies, yet different results. The reduced revenue from taxes did not balance the federal aid program costs, and the federal budget went into deficit, leaving Reagan with few choices. Federal aid programs were cut, but congress refused to cut the budget. Cuts affected the poor children – school meals, education, support for single parents, aid to mortgage payments. However, the cuts were not sufficient in decreasing the budget deficit, and it only continued to grow.



     Nineteen eighty-one brought a high inflation rate, and growing unemployment rate. By 1984 oil prices were lowered and inflation was at its lowest rate, while the unemployment rate sat at a respectable 7%. New corporations arose, including Starbucks, J.Crew, IBM, and HSN (Home Shopping Network). Large corporations grew to power, and still retain economic presence today.


"I'm not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself." - Ronald Reagan




by Brianna Schwarcz


     In decades prior to the 1980's, education for all was a battle. These fights raged over equal education and many Americans that had been excluded in the past started to become mainstream. The percentage of Americans graduating rose from 50 percent in the 1950's, to 75% in the 1980's. However, the overriding concern during this time was the quality of education. There were still protests about rising student costs and budget cuts. School administators payed teachers higher salaries to teach better and efforts to censor books tripled during the 80's.

     Despite these arguments and criticism, America used to have an extremely discriminated view on blacks, immigrants, and people of ethnicities other than white. In the 1980’s, a more multicultural education came about and Blacks, immigrants, and other ethnicities were getting there turn in an education. Even the last all-men ivy league school opened their program to women. As the 1980’s flowed into the last decade of the 20th century, education was more multicultural than ever.


"Facts are stubborn things." - Ronald Reagan



by Brianna Schwarcz



     In the 1980’s, fashion started to move away from the conservative look of the previous decades. It started changing in ways that reflected people’s opinions and ideas. Common hairstyles for women during the 80’s were

teased hair, shiny blonde hair, stick-up bangs, crimped hair, and side ponytails. For men, it was long hair, frizzy hair, curly hair, and more. Piercings, rainbow makeup, eye shadow, ray-bans, and glasses were popular in both men and women. Mini-skirts, crop tops, sleeveless shirts, leather, off-shoulder shirts, and more were starting to become a huge hit in the young generation.


     Madonna’s hit song, Like a Virgin, became the match that lit the fashion rave. She was titled the “Material Girl” and many young girls wanted to mimic her fashion statement. In work places, shoulder pads remained popular because women wanted to “power dress” to keep up with the men. Aerobics were popular and that caused leg warmers and leotards to come into style. This decade of fashion led the 20th century to a close through the 90’s. As the fashion slowly began to decline, the 80’s will always be remembered for its different and bright fashion styles.










Film and theater

               by Witek Fuchs


     Movies in the 1980’s had become a form of entertainment rather than a way to inform people or ways to spread the news. The most popular form of movie, therefore, was the ‘blockbuster’, or a movie whose plot could be summarized in one or two sentences. Many of these movies are still popular today such as the ever popular Star Wars series, which released two episodes in the 1980’s. Another very popular series was the Indiana Jones series, which also came out with a lot of movies during the 1980’s. One of the most popular movies of all time also came out in the 80’s, ET, the Extraterrestrial. Many of the movies that came out in the 80’s included something supernatural which was most likely influenced by mankind’s continued exploration of space.


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"How can a president not be an actor?" - Ronald Reagan


Food &  Drink

by Nivedita Nagaraj


     Many popular foods and drinks that are enjoyed today were created in the 1980s. Fast food revolutionized America as McDonald’s became increasingly popular and Pizza Hut made their big entrance in 1958. In addition, one of the most popular soft drinks in the world came out in a slightly different form in 1985 called Classic Cola. This was Coca-cola produced in glass bottles instead of the aluminum cans and plastic bottles that we use today. Snacks such as microwave popcorn, cool ranch Doritos, California raisins, Apple jacks, Capri sun, and Corn Pops made their big debut during the 1980s.  Also, new candy was mass produced and many are still popular today such as Tootsie Rolls, Nerds, Jaw Breakers, Fun Dip, Gushers, and Jolly ranchers. Some older drinks and candies include Jolt Cola (twice the caffeine of regular cola), Big League chew, and Orange Julius.


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"You can tell alot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jellybeans." - Ronald Reagan 


Print Culture

by Nivedita Nagaraj


     America was definitely reading during this decade. The eighties was a very controversial period in American History also known as the Reagan era. Writers of this time period delved into witty satire, greed, thoughtful narratives, and candid realism.  Scott Turow was a famous author during this time period and wrote many popular legal thrillers. In addition, Stephen King wrote many contemporary horrors, fantasy, and science fiction that were on the top of the best sellers list during the 80s. Many experimental writers arose during this time period including Alice Walker, the author of The Color of Purple, this novel reflected the struggles that continue to remain in the black society.  Slowly human drams began to take the place of realist novels.


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Sports &  Games

by Ahmad Zunnu Rain


     During the decade of the 1980s, the people of the United States enjoyed watching all sports ranging from basketball to hockey. This was one of the most successful as well as talented decade for all sports.




     The 80’s were the decade of “The Old,” “The New,” and “The Great.” This decade was the beginning of a new era as well as an era that was predominantly dominated by the older players of the time. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers and Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics were the “Big Three” of the 1980s. Everyone watched when these three players squared off in the NBA Finals. These three players along with others such as Julius Erving, Isiah Thomas, and Patrick Ewing are known as the basketball legends.


                                Larry BirdKareem Abdul-JabbarErvin 'Magic' Johnson


     However, this decade was not only one of the older players, but one of a new generation of athletes such as Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, and the great Michael Jordan. These three were only a few of the great ‘new’ players to enter the NBA in the 1980s. However, they did not dominate until the early 90’s.


                                                 Michael JordanCharles Barkley


     During this decade, alone, the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics combined for eight NBA Championships together.


Lakers vs. Celtics 1985




     During the 80’s the greatest hockey player of all time took his first skates on the ice, Wayne Gretzky. He was one of the most athletic as well as physical player to ever play the sport. He was one of the players to score the most number of goals in the entire league.


Wayne Gretzky 


     Other hockey players such as Paul Coffey, Mike Bossy, and Jari Kurri controlled this era with their extraordinary plays of hockey during this decade. The great partnership of Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, and Paul Coffey won four Stanly Cup Finals in this decade alone for the Edmonton Oilers.




     In the 1980s the sport of football was controlled by the majority of quarterbacks, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, and Terry Bradshaw. Additionally, during this time, there were many other great players like Jerry Rice, who holds the most catches and yards in the NFL till this day. There were also other players such as Walter Payton who deserve recognition for being one of the best players of his time.


                                                               Joe MontanaJerry Rice


     The San Francisco 79ers were the best team during this time period, because they won the Super Bowl three times in this decade with the great players Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.


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     The United States did not participate in this Olympics because it was in Moscow, USSR and since there was the Cold War between the United States and USSR, the United States decided not to participate in this Olympics. However, the United States did participate in the Winter Olympics and somehow defeated the Soviet Union national team, which was considered the best ice hockey team in the world. The United States had an amateur team who defeated the Soviets by one goal 4-3 in an upset. This game is now known as “Miracle on Ice.”


Miracle on Ice




     This Olympics was in Los Angeles, California. Here in this Olympics the track and field runner, Carl Lewis made his first appearances in the Olympics and here he dominated in the 100 m, 200 m, 4x100 m, and the Long Jump and won all gold. He tied Jesse Owens record set in 1936.


                                                                   Los Angeles, California 1984Carl Lewis 


     The United States won gold in basketball as well with the team with Michael Jordan, while the US men also won gold in the all-round team gymnastics. US women won silver in the all-round team gymnastics. The team managed to get the most gold medals as well as the most number of gold medals overall with 83. The United States had 615 members participating in this Olympics at Los Angeles.




     The 1988 Olympics were held in Seoul, South Korea. It was during this Olympics that the favorite American boxer, Roy Jones Jr. lost to the controversial gold medal to South Korean fighter, Park Si-Hun. However, allegations swirled against the South Koreans stating that they had fixed the judging. Jones Jr. still won the Val Barker Trophy, which is awarded to the most impressive boxer at the Games.


Seoul, South Korea 1988


     US diver Greg Louganis won back-to-back titles in men’s diving, but this Olympic Games was not one that the United States had excelled in. They only won 36 gold medals even with 615 athletes participating again.


Video Games


     In the 1980s, not only were there sports that children and adults enjoyed, there were other forms of entertainment such as video games. The video gaming industry had introduced many different new games into the market during this decade.


     This was one of the first times in the United States that there was an introduction to adventure, interactive, fighting, and racing games. These were all introduced towards the beginning of the decade with never before seen graphics as well as interest from people of all ages. Games such as Zelda, Super Mario Bros., Metal Gear, Defender, and Zork were all sensations around the nation.


                                                                        The Legend of Zelda 1987Super Mario Bros. 1984


     In 1982, the Atari 2600 was brought into the market at a low price for people of all ages and it was a sensation that had insertable cartridges. These cartridges contained different games such as Pac-Man and Combat. It was a great thing for the youth of the United States at the time.


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     Even beyond that, there was the newest introduction to platform gaming. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) first came out in 1985 at a very cheap price. It was one of the only gaming devices that could play multiple games on it as well. Some popular games for the NES were Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and the Dragon Quest Series.




by Lissa Mann


     By the late 1980s the compact disc, now known as the CD, completely replaced the vinyl record. Music was easily coded onto a four and a half inch disc, creating ease of listening and innovation. The eighties also brought innovation to genres of music – a hip-hop revolution. Hip-hop in the eighties gave the poor and disadvantaged a voice. The popular group, Run DMC, put hip-hop on the charts with their hits: “Walk This Way”, “It’s Like That” and “Tricky”.  



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     In contrast to hip-hop, heavy metal and punk music grew in popularity, taking MTV (Music Television) by storm. Yet, critics believed that metal had an “evil influence” on children. Parents opposed the music, but the loyal fan base of the music led metal into the 1990s. Mixing the elements of hip-hop and metal, grew pop music. Generating a large fan base, artists like Madonna and Michael Jackson rose to superstar status. The creation of the music video allowed pop artists to gain popularity with theatrics, fashion, and dance moves like no one had seen before. 


See music evolve in this video, with hits from Madonna, Guns & Roses, and Michael Jackson.   


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The Billboard Chart celebrated the most popular songs of the year - showcasing the diversity in music of the 1980s.




"Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music." - Ronald Reagan


"The Way We Lived"

by Nivedita Nagaraj


      The 1980s spawned a new generation of status seekers. Life often revolved around money and shopping became a way of life. Television played a huge role in the 1980s as it became standard in most American households. MTV was introduced and music soon became part of many people’s daily lives. Stars such as Michael Jackson and Madonna rose to the front stages of entertainment. Additionally, TV channels such as Nickelodeon kept the children busy and CNN kept adults informed about the news.  


     In addition, team sports became popular for kids causing the mothers to become “soccer moms” after work.  Women played very active roles in the community as mothers, wives, and workers. The men continued to be active laborers and managed the household finances.  Also in this decade, the personal computer was introduced and Americans were able to manage their personal finances and run businesses. Technology played a key role in this decade as people were adapting to new changes and developing a higher class society.




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"My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose - somehow we win out." - Ronald Reagan 


Government & Politics

by Witek Fuchs 


     The 1980’s were definitely a time of great change for the US, as the economy suffered and the Cold War was spiraling to an end, the leaders of America had to prove themselves worthy.  Ronald Reagan’s policy to help bring the US out of a recession was known as “Reaganomics”.  Ronald Reagan’s policies helped bring the US out of the recession, but he failed to pass some bills that some people feel even today would be important to society, such as the ERA, or the Equal Rights Amendment, which states that no right shall be denied on account of sex, which failed to pass under Reagan in 1983. A problem that Reagan had to face during his presidency was that the Republicans lost control of the Senate during Reagan’s term in office. This could have complicated things for him because, since Reagan ran as a Republican, many people would oppose him just for that reason.



     One more problem that Reagan faced was that he was almost killed in his second year as president, after the failed assassination attempt, his popularity increased dramatically, which helped him win his second election. Many changes were happening during the 80’s, and in 1988, Bush Sr. was elected president, and only one year later, the Berlin Wall was pulled down and Communism began to fade.





by Witek Fuchs 


     The 1980’s were the decade when Ronald Reagan reigned, and when the Cold War escalated to include space, even though mankind had just started exploring it. Reagan’s wife also fought a war; she had started the war on drugs because of the increasing availability of cocaine. She started the motto “Just Say No”, which has remained popular up to modern times. The leadership of the 80’s definitely shaped how people saw those times, it was the time when the Soviet Union (USSR) was beginning to fail, it was the time when the space program restarted after the recent disaster.


     Another person who influenced how people thought was England’s princess Diana, who helped spread humanitarianism through the world, and her efforts are still seen around the world today. Mainly, however, it was Ronald Reagan who affected the mood of the American people, whether they loved him or hated him; few people decided he was not good enough to be President. He started the very short War in Grenada, he ordered the bombing of Libya, and he continued the war against Communism and drugs. All of these things affected the mindset of the American People.


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Law &  Justice

 by Ahmad Zunnu Rain


     During the 1980s there were many different laws and regulations that were in place at the time through the different administrations in the White House. However, there were some that stayed constant and were amendments to other previously created laws for the nation.


     The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was renewed in the fall of 1984. This was to prohibit any procedure or practice of discriminatory acts against minorities living in the United States when they would go to the poll and request to vote. The 1982 amendment contained two significant changes. First, Congress provided the insurance that the minorities would be protected at the time of voting. Second, Congress completely redesigned the bailout standard where discriminatory behaviors are banned and thus improve minority voting opportunities.


The 1982 Amendment to the Voting Rights Act of 1965


     There also was the Economic Tax Recovery Act of 1981 where all personal income taxes were cut by 25 percent over three years. Corporation taxes were also reduced as well. It was the largest tax cut in American history at the time. This meant that the rich would keep their income and that less money would be flowing into the federal budget.


President Reagan signing the Economic Tax Recovery Act of 1981


     In addition to all of these government regulations, there were also other laws that citizens of the United States had to abide. There was the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which stated that all legal citizens of the United States, living in the US, were not allowed to be discriminated based on race. However, it did state that other illegal immigrants into the US were not allowed to get a job.


     Nevertheless, there were also many different laws that were in the United States at the time. In 1985, Congress decided to pass a law stating that there should be harsher laws on drug offenses in order to discourage the people living in the United States from using drugs.


"Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged." - Ronald Reagan



by Lissa Mann and Nivedita Nagaraj 


     The nineteen-eighties was a period of great religious conflict - a majority of religions sought restructuring, yet with that came controversy. Religious groups divided further, as liberals and conservatives developed their own churches. Liberal churches celebrated social gospel and conservatives emphasized loyalty and obedience to higher power. In the mid-1980s Protestantism attracted the most church-goers, 55% of the population. During the decade the Catholic church grew 16%, mostly from the Hispanic community,  while maintaining seven active cardinals. Throughout the eighties Catholics had smaller families, earned higher incomes, and became better educated than Protestants. Due to the current state of the Catholic church, worshipers began to question - according to survey, 31% of Catholics did not approve of the Pope's conservative approach.  




     Religion played a prominent role in politics during the nineteen-eighties. All of the presidential candidates were self-proclaimed "born-again" Christians: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and John Anderson. Religious rhetoric was abundant as fundamentalist Christian organizations were created, including: Moral Majority and Campus Crusades for Christ; fusing religion into politics. With the aid of technological innovations, the organizations were able to spread their message with ease. Thus resulting in a strong populist effort.  





Positive Political Cartoon





Negative Political Cartoon




"One picture is worth 1,000 denials." - Ronald Reagan 


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

by Lissa Mann


     The clay that is the eighties was molded by the hands of politics and economics, to the point that the nineteen-eighties are referred to by many as the “Reagan Era”. In the early eighties, Americans saw “Reaganomics” take effect, and large corporations rise to power. The launch of companies such as Starbucks, and J. Crew created a material craze in society. Glitz and glamour of the nineteen-eighties is even depicted in Madonna’s smash hit – “Material Girl”. However, the finishing touches to the sculpture that we now know as the nineteen-eighties were put on by pop culture: fashion, music, and the media. 


            Under President Ronald Reagan, the United States sat at a comfortable and secure seven percent unemployment rate, only after a rough couple of year. The American belt was tightened, but congress sat in a golden throne, refusing to cut back. Americans began to see the force that congress was, and disapproved of the elitist ways; although they themselves strived for material wealth. Ultimately, it was the powerful face of Reagan that restored tranquility to the lives of Americans from coast to coast – setting the tone for leaders and events to come.    


      Americans remember the nineteen-eighties by leg warmers, denim, and off the shoulder shirts. Yet, the decade should also be remembered for more – fashion in the nineteen-eighties was a form of self-expression, with styles ranging from genre to genre in a similar way that music diversified. Music and dance changed in the eighties, today many giggle at the sight of eighties music and dance, with the combination of the outrageous hair, it’s hard not to. That said, the music of the eighties made an impact on future generations. Hip-hop music gave the young and disadvantaged a voice, and the innovation of the CD revolutionized the way the world listened to the latest jams. 


            Growth and development of technology was fundamental in the decade. From the personal computer to arcade video games, Americans changed the way they were doing things. The “out with the old and in with the new” mantra held true; new television stations were introduced, new flavors of chips hit the market, and recipes were altered to have twice the punch, like Jolt Cola. Films and television took advantage of the new uses of technology and the American ideal of innovation. Movies that hit the big screen generally held a supernatural element, exposing the audience to a whole new world. 


            For many, the eighties was a time of growth. The growth and development seen in the eighties through politics, economics, and culture created the building blocks for success. Development in the nineteen-eighties allowed for much success from generations to come. The stable economy and sound leaders gave Americans much to aspire to – the best was yet to come.




Works Cited


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Berg, Timothy. "Heavy Metal." Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 5: 1980s-1990s. Detroit: UXL, 2002. 1139-1141. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 4 June 2010. 


"Cartoon 1." (Cartoon). Online Image. Web. 7 June 2010. 


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"Chart 1". (Online Image). Web. June 4 2010.


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"Dutch X." (Cartoon). Online Image. Web.  7 June 2010.


Edelman, Rob. "Starbucks." Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 5: 1980s-1990s. Detroit: UXL, 2002. 1110-1111. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 4 June 2010.


Gianoulis, Tina. "Home Shopping Network." Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 5: 1980s-1990s. Detroit: UXL, 2002. 1106-1107. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 4 June 2010.


Gianoulis, Tina. "Rap and Hip-Hop." Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 5: 1980s-1990s. Detroit: UXL, 2002. 1149-1150. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 4 June 2010. 


 "Leisure Time (1980s)." American Decades CD-ROM. Gale Research, 1998. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/ 


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Pendergast, Sara. "J.Crew." Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 5: 1980s-1990s. Detroit: UXL, 2002. 1109. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 4 June 2010.


Pennington, Joanne de. Modern America: The USA, 1865 to the Present. London: Hodder Murray, 2005.


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Routledge, Chris. "IBM." Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 5: 1980s-1990s. Detroit: UXL, 2002. 1107-1109. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 4 June 2010.


Schnakenberg, Robert E. "Run-DMC." Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 5: 1980s-1990s. Detroit: UXL, 2002. 1151-1152. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 4 June 2010.

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