American Pious

Short-Lived Consensus in the 1980s


President Jimmy Carter Delivers National Address Regarding the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

January 4, 1980

Above: President Jimmy Carter President Carter's Afghanistan Speech, January 4, 1980

President Jimmy Carter Signed Legislation into Law Bailing Out Chrysler

January 7, 1980:

Above: President Jimmy Carter

President Carter Signs Legislation that Rescues Chrysler, January 7, 1980

The Soviet Union vs. World Opinion: United Nations General Assembly Denounced the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

January 14, 1980

Above: Wikipedia map of Afghanistan; Leonid Brezhnev, Soviet Head of State

2006 Report on the UN and Afghanistan

"The General Assembly, however, was able to act following the Soviet invasion. Under the Uniting for Peace procedure, the General Assembly met in a special session a few weeks after the Soviet invasion and passed resolution ES.6/2 on 14 January 1980, in which it deplored the armed intervention and called for the immediate withdrawal of foreign forces in Afghanistan."

----Security Council Report, November 7, 2006 On January 14, 1980, the United Nations Passed Resolution Condemning the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

"In a crushing diplomatic rebuke to the Soviet Union, the U.N. General Assembly votes 104 to 18 to 'deplore' the Russian intervention in Afghanistan.

The resolution also requested the 'immediate, unconditional and total withdrawal of the foreign troops from Afghanistan.' The immense margin of victory for the resolution indicated the worldwide disapproval for the December 1979 Soviet invasion and installation of a pro-communist puppet regime in Afghanistan.

The General Assembly’s resolution had no direct impact on the Soviet Union’s actions. Russia had earlier vetoed a similar resolution introduced in the Security Council. However, the size of the General Assembly vote and the nations that voted for the resolution indicated that Cold War world politics might be changing. Non-aligned nations (nations in the United Nations that claimed 'non-alignment' with either the West or the communist bloc) and other Third World nations voted 78 to 9 in favor of the resolution (28 others abstained or were absent).

Even the fiery rhetoric of the Cuban delegate (Cuba presided over the non-aligned nations) failed to sway many voters to defeat the proposal. 'We know,' he declared, 'the historic role of the Soviet Union and of United States imperialism.' Several representatives from Asian, African, and Latin American nations—nations that had traditionally maintained a more or less neutral attitude toward the East-West conflict—did condemn the Soviet action in Afghanistan.

The resolution was a victory for U.S. diplomats, who had been pushing for a statement from the international organization denouncing the Soviet invasion. The successful and overwhelming passage of the resolution indicated that Cold War alignments were perhaps undergoing an important and far-reaching alteration. Many of the so-called non-aligned nations and Third World countries were appalled by the Soviet action and drew closer to the United States. With the Cold War itself destined to last another decade, U.S. relations with such nations would take on more significance than ever before."

Super Bowl XIV: The Pittsburgh Steelers Defeated the Los Angeles Rams

January 20, 1980:

Above: Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Joe Greene pressures the Los Angeles Rams quarterback

1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York: The U.S. Men's Hockey Team Stuns the Soviets

February 22, 1980: 1980 Winter Olympics: Miracle on Ice


In the winter of 1980, the United States, in Lake Placid, New York, hosted the winter olympics. The highlight of the winter games came when the United States hockey team, a squad made up of non-professionals, stunned the Soviet team--a team considered one of the greatest ever. The U.S. hockey team ultimately went on to win the gold medal, a feat that was probably the most dramatic event in American olympic history.

President Jimmy Carter Signed the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 into Law

March 31, 1980

Above: President Jimmy Carter

The 1980 U.S. Census

April 1, 1980: The U.S. Census Bureau conducted the 1980 Census.


Per the Census, the population of the United States of America was 226,524,199 in 1980, a population increase of 11.4% since 1970.

Leavins-U.S. Population Growth, 1900-2010.jpg

Cuba's Fidel Castro Authorizes the Mariel Boatlift

April 20, 1980 Mariel Boatlift of 1980

The Failed Hostage Rescue Attempt in Iran

April 24-25, 1980:


Star Wars Trilogy: The Empire Strikes Back

May 21, 1980: The second of the Star Wars trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back premiered in theaters.

Above: Movie poster for The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back, May 21, 1980

The Attempted Murder of Civil Rights Attorney Vernon Jordan

May 29, 1980:

The Rise of CNN

June 1, 1980: The Debut of CNN, the first 24/7 TV cable news network

Above: An early CNN set; CNN logo

With the dawn of CNN, American television news entered a new era of round-the-clock news coverage.

Sweet Home Chicago: Nationwide Release of The Blues Brothers

June 20, 1980:

Above: The Blues Brothers movie poster

IMDb: Release Dates for The Blues Brothers

President Jimmy Carter Signed the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 into Law

July 1, 1980:

Above: President Jimmy Carter

President Carter's Statement Regarding the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, July 1, 1980

The Rise of Solidarity, a Non-Communist Trade Union in Poland

August 31, 1980:

Above: Time coverage of the unrest in Poland; Logo for the Solidarity trade union

BBC: The Legacy of Solidarity

The Start of the Iran-Iraq War

September 22, 1980:

Above: Time coverage of the Iran-Iraq War; Saddam Hussein; Saddam Hussein of Iraq; The Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran

President Jimmy Carter Signs the Railroad Industry Deregulation Bill Staggers Act into Law

October 14, 1980:

Above: President Jimmy Carter

1980 Presidential Election

November 4, 1980: Ronald Reagan (Republican) won the Presidential Election of 1980 in a landslide victory, carrying 45 states. In addition, the GOP won a majority of seats in the U.S. Senate for the first time since the 1952 election. The incumbent Carter carried only five states---Minnesota, Georgia, West Virginia, Maryland, Rhode Island--plus the District of Colombia.

Above: Republican Ronald Reagan at left, and Democrat Jimmy Carter at right

Above: The 1980 presidential electoral map

President Jimmy Carter Signed the Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act (ANILCA) Into Law

December 2, 1980:

President-Jimmy-Carter-and-Map-of-Alaska.png President Carter's Speech, December 2, 1980

The Loss of a Beatle

December 8, 1980: Former Beatle John Lennon murdered in New York City

Above: John Lennon, 1940-1980

The Dow Closed out 1980 at 963

December 31, 1980:

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Above: President Jimmy Carter; New York Stock Exchange Building drawing

Dow Jones Timeline

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Time's 1980 Man of the Year: Ronald Reagan



The Democratization of Major College Football: Georgia Defeats Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl to Win a National Championship

January 1, 1981:

The Presidency of Ronald Reagan

January 20, 1981: Ronald Reagan became President of the United States

Ronald Reagan (Republican), 40th American President.
Years in Office: 1981-1989
November 1980: Ronald Reagan (Republican) won the 1980 U.S. Presidential Election, defeating President Jimmy Carter. Reagan won re-election in 1984 in a landslide over Democrat Walter F. Mondale. Reagan served as president from January 20, 1981 to January 20, 1989.

The Release of American Hostages in Iran

January 20, 1981:


Super Bowl XV: The Oakland Raiders Defeated the Philadelphia Eagles

January 25, 1981:

Above: Oakland Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett looks to pass against the Philadelphia Eagles

The Lynching of Michael Donald in Mobile, Alabama

March 21, 1981:

The Attempted Assassination of President Ronald Reagan

March 30, 1981: On a Monday afternoon outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., John Hinkley, Jr. fired a .22 caliber handgun at President Ronald Reagan, hitting Reagan and three other men. Reagan sustained a serious wound near the heart, but he survived and continued to serve as President. He was re-elected in 1984 and served until January 1989.

Above: President Reagan being shoved into a car by members of his security detail. Once in the car, Reagan discovered that he had been hit. He was taken to a nearby hospital. Reagan's press secretary James Brady was hit in the head. Mr. Brady did suffer significant brain damage, but he did survive. Brady went on to become a gun control advocate.

The U.S. Space Shuttle Era Begins

April 12, 1981: The Space Shuttle Columbia goes into orbit, thus beginning the Space Shuttle Era


April 12, 1981: The United States launched the Space Shuttle Columbia, the first manned reusable space vehicle, twenty years after the Soviet Union's Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the earth in space. NASA's Space Shuttles would serve in dozens of repeated manned space flights until the early 21st century. In 1986, Space Shuttle Challenger exploded enroute to orbit. In 2003, Columbia burned up as it re-entered the earth's atmosphere.

1981 French Presidential Election: Socialist Francois Mitterrand Wins the French Presidency

May 10, 1981:

Above: Francois Mitterrand, President of France from 1981 to 1995

The Attempted Assassination of Pope John Paul II

May 13, 1981: At St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, Pope John Paul II was shot four times in an assassination attempt by Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turk. The Pope was seriously wounded but survived. He continued to serve as Pope until his death in April 2005.

Above Left: The Pope collapses from his wounds

John Paul II, some years later, met with his assailant and forgave him.

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Reagan Nominates Sandra Day O'Connor to the U.S. Supreme Court

July 7, 1981:


New York Times: Reagan Nominates Sandra Day O'Connor to the U.S. Supreme Court

Above: The four women to have served on the U.S. Supreme Court: Sandra Day O'Connor (Ronald Reagan nominee), Sonia Sotomayor (Barack Obama nominee), Ruth Bader Ginsberg (Bill Clinton nominee), and Elena Kagan (Barack Obama nominee)

Prince Charles Married Diana Spencer

July 29, 1981:

Maximum Leader of Panama Omar Torrijos Killed in Plane Crash

July 31, 1981:

Above: Maximum Leader of Panama Omar Torrijos Omar Torrijos

American Music and Culture

August 1, 1981: Music Television (MTV) goes on the air.


In many respects, MTV revolutionized popular music in that video became an essential companion to the actual music. In the 1980s, performers such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince, Van Halen, Motley Crue, and many others utilized music videos to enhance their respective careers.

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President Ronald Reagan Signs Tax Cut Legislation Into Law

August 13, 1981:

Above: President Ronald Reagan August 13, 1981

The U.S. Senate Confirms the Appointment of the First Woman on the U.S. Supreme Court

September 21, 1981: The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate voted to confirm Sandra Day O'Connor as an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court. O'Connor was confirmed by a bipartisan 99-0 vote in the affirmative. Sandra Day O'Connor was the first woman to serve on the nation's highest court.


The Assassination of Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt

October 6, 1981: Egypt's President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by disloyal elements of the Egyptian Army. The motive of the assassins was largely their opposition to the Camp David Accords, the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel.


Alabama's Bear Bryant Wins his Record-Setting 315th College Football Game

November 1981: Alabama's Bear Bryant wins 315th game, becoming major college football's winningest coach

Above: Bear Bryant on the cover of Time

At the end of the 1981 regular season, Alabama defeated arch-rival Auburn giving Bear Bryant his 315th career victory and putting him a game ahead of Amos Alonzo Stagg. In winning his 313th game, Alabama's Bryant became major college football's winningest coach, a record Bryant held until passed by Penn State's Joe Paterno and Florida State's Bobby Bowden.

Time's 1981 Man of the Year: Lech Walesa



The Democratization of Major College Football: Clemson Defeats Nebraska in the Orange Bowl

January 1, 1982:

Super Bowl XVI: The San Francisco 49ers Defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 26 to 21

January 24, 1982:

Above: Earl Cooper of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates in the end zone

Space Exploration and Alabama Culture

June 1982: Space Shuttle Mission STS-4 had an All-Auburn University crew, Thomas "Ken" Mattingly and Henry "Hank" Hartsfield


Pictured at left is the official badge of Space Shuttle mission STS-4. At center is a portrait of Hartsfield and Mattingly, the All-Auburn crew. At right is a photo of President Reagan welcoming home astronauts Mattingly and Hartsfield on July 4, 1982.
Ken Mattingly was a veteran of the Apollo program. In 1970, he was scheduled (but due to an illness was scrubbed) to be a crew member of Apollo 13, the ill-fated mission that suffered an in-flight explosion and made an emergency return to earth. In the movie Apollo 13, Mattingly is played by Gary Sinese. In 1972, Mattingly was the command module pilot for Apollo 16, a mission in which the two other crew members landed and walked on the surface of the moon.

The Premiere of Fast Times at Ridgemont High

August 13, 1982:

Above: Movie poster for Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Soundtrack album for Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Fast Times at Ridgemont High August 13, 1982: Fast Times at Ridgemont High

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President Ronald Reagan Signs Tax-Raising TEFRA Bill into Law

September 3, 1982:

Above: President Ronald Reagan

The Premiere of Cheers on NBC

September 30, 1982: Set in a Boston, Massachusetts bar, the NBC sitcom Cheers ran from 1982 to 1993. The series tended to follow a simple format with dialogue-driven stories in which most of the events took place in the bar itself. The series initially centered on the off-and-on romantic relationship between bartender Sam Malone (Ted Danson), a womanizing recovering alcoholic who had attained a brief career pitching for the Boston Red Sox, and Diane Chambers, a high-minded college-educated waitress struggling to find her place in the world.

Part of the success of Cheers stemmed, from the interaction between various bar patrons and staffers, each hailing from a different segment of American life. Norm Peterson was a rotund beer-loving accountant who, for reasons never fully explained, was known and loved by bar patrons throughout Boston. Cliff Clavin, in turn, was the well-intentioned misfit, hopelessly devoted to his mother, his postal career, and random trivia. Carla Tortelli was a salty unbowed waitress whose life, always in disarray, was matched only by her aggressive temper. In the early seasons, bartender Coach provided levity and kindness to all.

Cheers proved to be a series that adapted well to cast changes. Due to the death of the actor who portrayed Coach (Nicholas Colasanto), new bartender Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson), a naive and benevolent hayseed from Hanover, Indiana, proved to be an equally strong character. When Shelly Long (Diane Chambers) left the show, Rebecca Howe---an ambitious yet neurotic woman aspiring for corporate greatness--entered the world of Cheers as a manager of the bar.

Perhaps the greatest break-out character of the Cheers cast was Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer). Frasier was a snobbish Ivy League educated psychiatrist who, despite his best efforts, became inextricably addicted to the daily ups-and-downs of the Cheers ensemble. Always seeking to bringing enlightenment and refinement to the commoners, Fraser rarely succeeds. Eventually Frasier does find love, however. He ultimately marries Dr. Lilith Sternin, an equally elitist snob who was just as out of place at Cheers as was Frasier.

After Cheers, Kelsey Grammer starred in the NBC spin-off sitcom Frasier, a comedy receiving great critical acclaim and popularity.

Above: Title screen for Cheers; Early cast members: L-R, Norm Peterson, Carla Tortelli, Cliff Clavin, Diane Chambers, Sam Malone, Coach

Above: Later cast members: Back row: Carla Tortelli, Woody Boyd, Dr. Frasier Crane, Dr. Lilith Sternin. Front row: Norm Peterson, Rebecca Howe, Sam Malone, Cliff Clavin

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President Ronald Reagan Signed the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982 into Law

October 15, 1982

Above: President Ronald Reagan

Vietnam Veterans and the Reagan Era: Premiere of First Blood

October 22, 1982:

Above: Movie poster for First Blood, a film that premiered on October 22, 1982

IMDb: First Blood, Released Oct 22, 1982

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1982 Midterm Elections: The Democrats Add to Their Majority in the House; Republican Senate Majority Largely Unchanged

November 2, 1982:

The Death of Leonid Brezhnev

November 10, 1982: In power for 18 years as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev died. Brezhnev's death was the first of three deaths of Soviet heads of state from November 1982 to March 1985. During that period, the Soviet Union had four different heads of state, those being Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, Konstantin Chernenko, and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Above: Leonid Brezhnev, Head of State of the Soviet Union, October 14, 1964 to November 10, 1982

Yuri Adropov takes power in the wake of Leonid Brezhnev's death

November 12, 1982: in the wake of Leonid Brezhnev's death two days prior, Yuri Andropov became General Secretary Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and thus head of state. Andropov, however, would only hold power for a little over a year. He died in early 1984.

Above: Yuri Andropov, the new Soviet Head of State

Wild College Football Finish: Cal Beats Stanford as the Stanford Band Takes the Field

November 20, 1982:

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The Democratization of College Football: Auburn Beats Alabama in the 1982 Iron Bowl

November 27, 1982: Auburn beat Alabama for the first time since 1972, a signature upset victory signifying the democratization of major college football.

Above: Painting showing Auburn freshman running back Bo Jackson scoring the winning touchdown in Auburn's 23-22 Iron Bowl victory

In the 1982 Iron Bowl, Auburn beat Alabama for the first time since 1972. Key to the AU victory was the play of freshman running back Bo Jackson, a future Heisman Trophy winner, and two-sport professional athlete (Major League Baseball and the National Football League). Bo Jackson also went on to become an advertising sensation in the late 1980s and early 1990s, most notably for his Nike "Bo Knows" ads.

The 1982 Auburn-Alabama game turned out to be the last regular season game for Alabama's Paul "Bear" Bryant. A few days after the loss, Bryant announced his retirement. Bryant's last game was a victory over Illinois in the 1982 Liberty Bowl. In early 1983, Bryant died of a heart attack, his death coming just a few weeks after the conclusion of his 25th season at Alabama.
The 1982 Iron Bowl was also a turning point in terms of college football competition in the Deep South. For the better part of the next thirty seasons, no one team enjoyed continual decade-long dominance, either in the State of Alabama, nor in the SEC in general. In many ways, the 1982 Iron Bowl signaled the democratization of college football and a corresponding rise of competitive equity.

No longer would traditional powerhouses like Alabama, Notre Dame, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Southern California, and Ohio State dominate college football as thoroughly as in prior decades, though all of these programs continued to perform at high levels. BuFrom the early 1980s on, programs like Georgia, Clemson, Penn State, Miami, Brigham Young, Georgia Tech, Washington, Florida State, Colorado, Florida, LSU, and Auburn were able to win college football's highest team honors.
The reasons for the rise of relative equity in college football from 1980-2010 were complicated, but perhaps the biggest reason was the NCAA rule change concerning football scholarships.

In the late 1970s, just as college football was becoming more racially integrated in the South, the NCAA enacted policies limiting Division I football programs to 95 scholarships per team. Prior to that, a school could sign as many players to athletic scholarships as it desired. Such practices greatly favored the traditional football powerhouses. By the early 1980s, however, traditional football powers no longer able to corner the market in terms of recruiting the best players. In short, college football, by the time of the 1982 Iron Bowl, had become much more equitable and democratized.


November 30, 1982: Michael Jackson's monumental album, Thriller, debuts

Above: Album cover for Michael Jackson's Thriller

Time's 1982 Machine of the Year: The Computer



The Democratization of College Football: Penn State Defeats Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and Wins a National Championship

January 1, 1983:


Bill Clinton Returns as Governor of Arkansas

January 11, 1983: Bill Clinton, Governor of Arkansas, 1979-1981, 1983-1992

Super Bowl XVII: The Washington Redskins Defeated the Miami Dolphins

Jan 30, 1983:

Above: Washington running back John Riggins carries the ball against the Miami Dolphins

Premiere of War an Album by Irish Rock Band U2

February 28, 1983:

Above: Album cover for War by U2

American Domestic Policy and the Survival of the New Deal

April 20, 1983: President Ronald Reagan signed the Social Security Reform Act into law

Star Wars Trilogy: The Return of the Jedi

May 25, 1983: The third of the Star Wars Trilogy, The Return of the Jedi premiered in theaters.

Above: Movie poster for The Return of the Jedi

The Return of the Jedi

Space Exploration and a milestone for American women

June 1983: Astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman to go into space. Sally Ride died in the summer of 2012.

Sally Ride was a crew member aboard the Space Shuttle mission STS-7, and remained in orbit close to a week.

Premiere of National Lampoon's Vacation

July 29, 1983:

Above: Movie poster for National Lampoon's Vacation

IMDb: Release Dates for National Lampoon's Vacation


Cold War Crisis: Soviets Shoot Down Korean Airlines Flight 007

September 1, 1983:

Above: Time coverage of the Soviet attack on Korean Airlines Flight 007

National Release of The Big Chill

September 30, 1983:

Above: Movie poster for The Big Chill

IMDb: Release Dates for The Big Chill

1983 World Series:

October 16, 1983:

Above: 1983 World Series Program

241 U.S. Marines Killed in Beirut, Lebanon

October 23, 1983:


Time's Men of the Year: Ronald Reagan and Yuri Andropov



The Democratization of Major College Football: SEC Champion Auburn Defeats Michigan in the Sugar Bowl

January 2, 1984:

The Democratization of Major College Football: Miami Defeats Nebraska in the Orange Bowl and Wins a National Championship

January 2, 1984:

Super Bowl XVIII: The Los Angeles Raiders Defeated the Washington Redskins

January 22, 1984:

Above: Raiders running back Marcus Allen carries the ball against the Redskins; Taking advantage of a Redskins turnover, a Raiders defensive player goes for a touchdown

Above: The Apple commercial depicts a "Big Brother" figure speaking via television to an obedient

Above: During the 1984 commercial, a sledgehammer-wielding woman enters the room and shatters the screen; Apple announces that its Macintosh will ensure that 1984 will be much different than 1984

The Computer Revolution: Apple's Macintosh 128K

January 24, 1984: Apple Computer introduced the Macintosh 128K

Above: Two photos of Apple's Macintosh 128K computer

Apple's Macintosh 128K

The Sclerotic Interregnum Rule of Konstantin Chernenko

February 13, 1984: In the wake of the death of Yuri Andropov, Konstantin Chernenko became General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and thus the head of state. He would serve until his death on March 10, 1985.

Above: Konstantin Chernenko, Head of State of the Soviet Union, February 13, 1984 to March 10, 1985

Prince's Purple Rain Album Released

June 25, 1984:

Above: Purple Rain album cover

Hollywood Anti-Communism in the Reagan Era: The Premiere of Red Dawn

August 10, 1984:

Above: Movie poster for Red Dawn, a film that premiered on August 10, 1984 Red Dawn, the First PG-13 Movie, Released on August 10, 1984

Premiere of The Cosby Show on NBC

September 20, 1984:

1984 World Series: The Detroit Tigers Defeated the San Diego Padres in Game 5 to Win the Series

October 14, 1984:

Above: The program for the 1984 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and the San Diego Padres

Baseball Almanac: The 1984 World Series

Michael Jordan Plays His First Regular-Season Game for the Chicago Bulls

October 26, 1984: Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls began his rookie season in the National Basketball Association.

In many respects, Jordan's basketball talents transformed the game, and professional basketball became more popular than ever before. By the early 1990s, Michael Jordan was easily the biggest name in American sports, and along with figures like Babe Ruth and Muhammed Ali, Michael Jordan is one of the most important athletes in American history. Sports-oriented marketing, in turn, was transformed by Jordan's image and popularity. During the height of his career in the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, Micheal Jordan was one of the most famous people in the world.

Above: Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls

USA Today: 30th Anniversary of Michael Jordan's Debut in the NBA

"On October 26, 1984, Michael Jordan, who was picked third in the 1984 NBA Draft made his rookie debut for the Chicago Bulls against the Washington Bullets.

He had a pretty decent showing; seven assists, six rebounds, and 16 points. Those 16 points came from 5-of-16 shooting, which, while frowned upon as trigger-happy, only proved that he wasn’t afraid to shoot from the hip.

Chicago won, 109-93."

---USA Today, October 26, 2014

The Presidential Election of 1984

November 1984: Republican Ronald Reagan won 49 states in being re-elected President of the United States.


Above: President Reagan taking the oath of office to begin his second term on January 20, 1985.

Iconic College Football Moment: Boston College's Flutie-to-Phelan Touchdown Pass

November 23, 1984:

American Racial Conflict: Bernie Goetz Shot Four Black Males on a New York City Subway Train

December 22, 1984:

Above: Bernie Goetz, the NYC subway passenger who shot four black males

Bernie Goetz Timeline

Culture War: Abortion Clinics Bombed on Christmas Day in Pensacola, Florida

December 25, 1984:

Above: Matthew Goldsby and Jimmy Simmons

1985 Article on the Pensacola Bombers


Super Bowl XIX:

January 20, 1985:

Above: Roger Craig of the San Francisco 49ers carries for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins

Hollywood and the Rise of Generation X: The Premiere of The Breakfast Club

The Rise of Mikhail Gorbachev

March 11, 1985: In the wake of the death of Konstantin Chernenko, Mikhail Gorbachev became General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and thus the head of state. He would serve until 1991.

Under Gorbachev's rule, the Soviet Union underwent a period of mild reform and less authoritarian rule. In doing so, Gorbachev unleashed forces that would ultimately bring about the dissolving of the Soviet Union

Above: Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet Head of State, 1985-1991

The Reagan Era and a Re-Imagined Vietnam War: The Premiere of Rambo: First Blood Part II

May 22, 1985:

Above: Movie poster for Rambo: First Blood Part II, a film released on May 22, 1985

IMDb: Rambo: First Blood Part II, Released May 22, 1985

Bo Jackson Wins the Heisman Trophy

December 1985: Auburn's Bo Jackson won the Heisman Trophy

Above: Bo Jackson and his Heisman Trophy

An athlete of rare ability, Vincent "Bo" Jackson--who grew up in Bessemer, Alabama---became a professional two-sport athlete in Major League Baseball and the National Football League. During his MLB years, Bo played for the Kansas City Royals and later the Chicago White Sox. His playing days in the NFL were at the Oakland Raiders. Like Joe Namath and Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson became a sports marketing phenomenon, and in the late 1980s, Nike launched its "Bo Knows..." advertising campaign. A hip injury ended Jackson's football days in 1991. After hip replacement surgery, however, Jackson did return to play Major League Baseball again. In his first game after hip replacement, he hit a home run.

Time's 1985 Man of the Year: Deng Xiaoping



Super Bowl XX: The Chicago Bears Defeated the New England Patriots, 46 to 10

January 26, 1986: The Chicago Bears defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX.

Above: Chicago Tribune photo of Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka (center) being carried in celebration after winning Super Bowl XX against the New England Patriots

The Loss of Challenger

January 28, 1986: United States Space Shuttle, Challenger, exploded shortly after lift-off, destroying the space craft and killing all aboard

Above: The explosion of Challenger

The Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor Meltdown

April 26, 1986:

Above: Time coverage of the Chernobyl Reactor Meltdown

Premiere of Ferris Bueller's Day Off

June 11, 1986

Above: Movie Poster for Ferris Bueller's Day Off

MLB Debut of Bo Jackson

September 9, 1986:

The 1986 World Series, Game 6

October 25, 1986: In New York City, in bottom of the 10 inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, the New York Mets--trailing 5 to 3--staged an amazing comeback victory over the Boston Red Sox, thus forcing a Game 7.

Two days later, the Mets became world champions of Major League Baseball in defeating the Red Sox in the final game of the best-of-seven series.

Game 6 of the '86 World Series proved to be one of the mythical games in baseball history. For one, the Boston Red Sox had not won a World Series since 1918. A bitter rival to the New York Yankees (a fellow American League club), Red Sox fans remembered with great regret that Boston had sold legendary player Babe Ruth to the Yankees.

In the minds of many Red Sox fans, the Curse of the Bambino (in reference to the selling of Babe Ruth) haunted the Boston franchise, and thwarted them from winning another World Series trophy.

In Game 6, the Red Sox led the World Series, 3 games to 2. And while Game 6 went into an extra inning, the Red Sox scored 2 runs to take a 5 to 3 lead going into the bottom of the 10th.

In the bottom of the 10th, the 5-3 lead seemed sufficient once the home team Mets had two outs. The Red Sox, as such, were one out away from a World Series title.

But with two outs, the Mets began to hit, drove in a run, and made it 5-4. Then, due to a passed ball from a wild pitch, the Mets advanced a runner home, tying the game.

Next, New York Met Mookie Wilson hit a "little roller" down the first base line. Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner seemed in position to make an easy play, but the ball rolled past his glove. An on-base runner for the Mets sprinted home, thus winning Game 6.

The Curse of the Bambino seemingly had struck again.

Curse or not, the 10th inning Red Sox collapse was a complicated affair that, unfortunately, became explained in terms far too simplistic. The overly simplistic explanation was that Bill Buckner had lost the game and the World Series for the Red Sox.

The explanation was simple, easily understood...and wrong. Bill Buckner gave up a run, not the World Series.

As a matter of fact, Buckner's error occurred after the Mets had tied the game. If Buckner had made the play at first, the game would have gone to an 11th inning. There is no guarantee that the Red Sox would have prevailed from that point on.

Secondly, Buckner's error ended Game 6, not Game 7. If the Red Sox had won Game 7 two days later, they would have been world champions.

As unfair as it was, however, Bill Buckner became the iconic image of the Red Sox collapse.


"Little roller up along first... BEHIND THE BAG! IT GETS THROUGH BUCKNER! HERE COMES KNIGHT, AND THE METS WIN IT!" ---Broadcaster Vin Scully's description of the final at bat in Game 6

The Democratic Party Wins a Majority in the U.S. Senate

November 4, 1986: In Congressional midterm elections, the Democrats won a majority, and would take control of the Senate in January 1987. The Democrats picked up a net of 8 Senate seats in the 1986 midterms.

Above: Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia became the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate when the Democratic majority assumed control in January 1987. The Democrats would continue to control the U.S. Senate from January 1987 to January 1995.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

November 6, 1986: President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 into law. The legislation, among other things, gave amnesty to about 3 million immigrants who had, prior to 1982, entered the United States unlawfully.

Above: President Ronald Reagan signs the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 into law

The Howard Beach Incident

December 20, 1986: The Howard Beach Incident


The Democratization of Major College Football: Penn State Defeats Miami in the Fiesta Bowl and Wins a National Championship

January 2, 1987:


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Bull Market: For the First Time Ever, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (The Dow) Closes Above 2000

January 8, 1987:

Above: President Ronald Reagan; New York Stock Exchange Building drawing

Associated Press: Milestone Closings in the History of the Dow

TV Evangelism: The Fall of Jim and Tammy Bakker.

March 19, 1987: Jim Bakker, the head of the evangelical TV operation, PTL Club, resigned. Bakker admitted to having a sexual encounter with Jessica Hahn, a church secretary. It also became public that hush money was paid to Jessica Hahn. The Bakker-Hahn tryst was only part of a larger scandal, much of it financial. Ultimately, Jim Bakker went to prison.

Above: Jim and Tammy Bakker, TV Evangelists. In the upper left corner is Jessica Hahn.

The World According to Al Bundy: The Premiere of Married With Children

April 5, 1987: Married With Children, a satirical sitcom on the Fox Network, debuted.

The series centered around a character named Al Bundy, a former high school football star, and long-suffering shoe salesman, husband, and father of two. Married With Children employed an irreverent and very-little-is-sacred when it came to depicting the ever-dysfunctional world of Al, Peggy (wife and mother), Kelly (daughter and sister), and Bud (son and brother) Bundy.


The world of Al Bundy was a far cry from the world of Father Knows Best and Ozzie and Harriet, thus indicating quite a cultural shift in terms of what the American viewing public would accept about the depiction of family life. Married With Children ran until 1997.

Iraq Attacks the U.S.S. Stark

May 17, 1987:


Welcome to the Jungle

July 21, 1987: Rock album Appetite for Destruction by Guns n' Roses was released


The Senate Rejection of Conservative Robert Bork as a Nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court

October 23, 1987: In a 42 to 58 (against) vote, the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate voted down Robert Bork (President Reagan's nominee) nomination to be an Associate Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Above: Robert Bork in 1987

In January 1987, the Democratic Party took control of the U.S. Senate, having won a majority in the 1986 midterm elections. Robert Bork was something of an icon among some American conservatives, and many anticipated that he would move the Supreme Court significantly to the right.

In the end, Senate Democrats closed ranks on the Judiciary Committee and voted against a recommendation of confirmation. Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy led the charge against Robert Bork.

Above: Ted Kennedy in 1987

“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, and schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of Americans.”

----Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy of Massachusetts

After the Bork nomination went down, President Reagan's third nominee, Anthony Kennedy (no relation to Ted Kennedy), was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. While right-of-center, Anthony Kennedy proved to be more centrist than Bork likely would have been. The fall of Robert Bork was one of the biggest Democratic victories during the Reagan Era.

Above: Anthony Kennedy

Robert Bork died in December 2012.

Time's 1987 Man of the Year: Mikhail Gorbachev



The Democratization of Major College Football: Miami Defeats Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl

January 1, 1988:

The Fall of TV Evangelists

February 21, 1988: Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart became embroiled in a sex scandal

Above: Jimmy Swaggart cries in front of a congregation…and TV cameras

U.S Navy Mistakenly Shoots Down Iranian Civilian Airliner, Flight 655

July 3, 1988:

Above: USS Vincennes, American Guided Missile Cruiser

Washington Post: Retrospective Look at the U.S.S. Vincennes Incident PBS: Iran Air Flight 655 Remembered

Slate: Flight 655, a Quarter-Century Later

The Rise of Rush Limbaugh, Tribune of the Angry White Male

August 1, 1988: Rush Limbaugh, previously a local disk jockey and later a local radio talk show host, took his show into national syndication. In time, Limbaugh became perhaps the most important rightwing conservative advocating on behalf of the Republican Party.

By the 1990s, Limbaugh commanded an afternoon radio audience of millions. Limbaugh, a college drop-out but from a prominent and wealthy Missouri family, became quite effective at channeling and voicing the anger and resentment of many conservative American whites.

Moreover, Limbaugh daily launched invectives against "liberals" and the Democratic Party will little nuance or subtlety. During Limbaugh's tirades, there existed a us-versus-them universe of virtuous "conservatives" and evil "liberals/Democrats." No middle ground existed.

In 1994, when "angry white males" flocked to the polls to elect Republican majorities in both the House and Senate of the U.S. Congress, Limbaugh was honored by some on the political right as being the "majority maker."

Per his fans and supporters, Rush Limbaugh gave voice to the values of Middle America, values that had come under duress, beginning in the 1960s. And in doing so, Limbaugh became something of a new George C. Wallace, the Alabama Governor who, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, appealed to many working class and lower middle class whites.

Per his detractors and opponents, Limbaugh was (and is) a racial bigot and sexist who appealed to the darkest impulses of his audience, not unlike the segregationist George C. Wallace in the 1960s.

Whatever his ultimate cultural and political influence, Limbaugh amplified the bitterness of the American Right in the Culture Wars of the 1990s and beyond.

Above: Undated snapshots of Rush Limbaugh

During the presidency of George H.W. Bush (1989-1993) through the early years of the Clinton presidency, Limbaugh did not receive a great deal of push-back from American liberals and the Democratic Party. That began to change in the mid-1990s. One of the earliest attacks on Limbaugh came from Al Franken--a former Saturday Night Live writer/performer--in a book entitled, Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot.

In 2008, Al Franken was elected to the U.S. Senate, representing Minnesota. He took office in 2009.

Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot by Al Franken.jpg
Above: The cover of Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot by Al Franken

The Rise of Gangsta Rap: Straight Outta Compton Released

August 8, 1988:

Album-Cover-Straight-Outta-Compton-by-NWA-Released-8AUG1988.jpg Straight Outta Compton Released, August 8, 1988

The Willie Horton Ad: Race and the American Culture War in the 1988 Election

September 21, 1988: During the 1988 Presidential Election, a conservative political action committee run by conservative activist Floyd Brown aired a commercial designed to do political damage to Governor Michael Dukakis, the Democratic nominee for President. The ad showed a mugshot of Willie Horton, and an African American inmate who had raped a woman while out on a weekend furlough.


Dukakis was running against Vice President George H.W. Bush. The ad was designed to depict Michael Dukakis as being weak on crime, and was part of an overall effort by Republicans and other political conservatives to undermine Dukakis. This particular ad, however, became infamous because of the use of a sinister looking mugshot of Willie Horton.

In the view of some, the Willie Horton Ad exploited deeply seeded fears of American whites, particularly via the use of the Horton mugshot.

The Presidential Election of 1988

November 8, 1988: Vice President George H.W. Bush (Republican) won the Presidential Election of 1988.

Above: Republican George H.W. Bush at left, and Democrat Michael Dukakis at right

Above: The 1988 presidential electoral map

The Bombing of Pan Am 103 Over Lockerbie, Scotland

December 21, 1988: While in flight over Lockerbie, Scotland (United Kingdom of Great Britain), American airline Pan Am Flight 103 ended catastrophically when a terrorist bomb detonated, thus causing the airliner to crash, killing all aboard. All total, over 200 people died in the terrorist attack. 179 of the victims were Americans.

Above: Part of the fuselage of the Pan Am Flight 103 Airliner

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The Dow at the End of 1988

December 30, 1988:

Above: President Ronald Reagan; Drawing of the New York Stock Exchange Building

Dow Jones Closings History


The Presidency of George H.W. Bush

January 20, 1989: George H.W. Bush became President of the United States

George H.W. Bush (Republican), 41st American President
Years in Office: 1989-1993

November 1988: Vice President George H.W. Bush (Republican) won the 1988 U.S. Presidential Election, defeating Democrat Michael Dukakis. Bush lost his 1992 re-election bid. Bush served as president from January 20, 1989 to January 20, 1993.

Culture War and Rap Music: The Release of As Nasty as They Wanna Be by 2 Live Crew

February 7, 1989:

Above: Undated photo of rap group 2 Live Crew

The Birth of the World Wide Web

March 12, 1989:

The Web at 25 Timeline of Key Events in the Development of the Internet

Crackdown in Tiananmen Square

June 4, 1989:

Above: Time coverage of the Communist Crackdown in Beijing, China

Time: Looking Back 25 Years Politico: 25 Years After Tiananmen Square

1989 NBA Finals: The Detroit Pistons Defeated the Los Angeles Lakers

June 13, 1989:


Box Score: Game 4 NBA Finals, Detroit Pistons vs. Los Angeles Lakers

The Premiere of Batman

June 23, 1989: Batman, starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, premiered.

Above: Movie poster for Batman

The Premiere of Do the Right Thing

June 30, 1989: Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing was released.

Above: Movie poster for Do the Right Thing; Scene from Do the Right Thing, Mookie (Spike Lee) and Sal (Danny Aiello)

Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing was a pathbreaking and controversial film about race relations in New York City.


The Debut of Seinfeld on NBC and the Rise of the Age of Nothing

July 5, 1989:

Above: Kramer, Jerry, Elaine, and George

CNN: 25 Years of Seinfeld

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

November 1989: Fall of the Berlin Wall


November 1989: The Berlin Wall was destroyed, thus indicating the collapse of Soviet-led Communism in eastern Europe. The fall of Communism in eastern Europe signaled the impending collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union.

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The Democratization of Major College Football: Auburn Hosted the Iron Bowl for the First Time and Defeated Alabama, 30 to 20

December 2, 1989:

Above: Illustration celebrating the first Iron Bowl to be played in Auburn

Premiere of The Simpsons on Fox

December 17, 1989: Network debut of the Iconic TV Show of the Late-20th and Early 21st Centuries, The Simpsons (1989-Present)


Members of the Simpsons family from left to right: Lisa (middle child), Maggie (baby), Bart (son and oldest child), Marge (mother and wife), Homer (father and husband(

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The U.S. Invasion of Panama: Operation Just Cause

December 20, 1989: George Bush's Invasion of Panama, and the Precedent it Set

Time's 1980s Man of the Decade: Mikhail Gorbachev


Chronicle of the Years 1990-1999