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Flashcards in 1980s Deck (182)
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The Iran hostage crisis

Iranian college students took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, making Carter look weak, they were released when Reagan was being sworn in.


Canadian Caper

The joint U.S.-Canadian effort in 1980 to save a handful of hostages from the Iranian embassy, immortalized in the film "Argo."


New Mexico State Penitentiary riot

A sickeningly violent 1980 prison riot.



A 1980 FBI sting operation in which agents posed as rich oil sheiks and bribed members of Congress.


Miracle on Ice

The 1980 victory of the American men's ice hockey team over their Soviet challengers.


1980 Olympics

Pres. Carter announced that the U.S. would boycott these Moscow-held games.


Silver Thursday

A steep fall in silver prices occurring in 1980.


Mariel boatlift

A mass exodus of Cuban immigrants to Florida occurring in the year 1980.


Operation Eagle Claw

A fatal flawed opperation planned by Pres. Carter in 1980 to try and rescue the Iranian hostages, but instead resulted in a number of deaths.


Arthur McDuffie

A black man whose death at the hands of four acquitted white officers resulted in the 1980 Miami riots.



A phenomenally popular arcade game released in America in 1980.


1980 Democratic Primary

Sen. Ted Kennedy almost overtook incumbent Pres. Carter.


1980 United States heat wave

This deadly heat wave occurred during Carter's presidency, furthering the depressed mood of the nation.


Soviet war in Afghanistan

After the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1980, Pres. Carter proclaimed that all 19-21 year old men must register for a peacetime draft.


Equal Rights Amendment

A proposed constitutional amendment that failed to be ratified in time as a result of the campaigning of antifeminist lawyer Phyllis Schlafly. In 1980, the Republican Party officially dropped its support for the amendment.


The Religious Right

A group which propelled Reagan into the White House by taking socially conservative positions.



Ted Kaczynski was the target of one of the FBI's costliest investigations. He sent multiple bombs to locations killing 3 people and injuring 23 in all.


Ordinary People

A 1980 film depicting the disintegration of a middle class family.


Staggers Rail Act

1980 law that deregulated the railroads.


United States presidential election, 1980

Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in an electoral landslide, by attacking Carter's failures in the Iran hostage crisis, as well as rising inflation and unemployment.


Reagan Revolution

The conservative realignment of American politics that took place in 1980, signalled by the Republicans taking control of the Congress for the first time in years.


Who shot J. R.?

A 1980 episode of the TV show "Dallas" that was a culturally significant moment.


Mark David Chapman

The assassin of John Lennon.



1980 law which empowered the EPA to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous substances as well as broadly define "pollutants or contaminants."


Michael Donald

An African-American young man lynched by two Klan members in 1981, his mother successfully sued the Klans of America for her son's death.


John Hinckley, Jr.

The man who tried to shoot President-Elect Ronald Reagan in 1981 in an attempt to impress Jodie Foster.


James Brady

Reagan's aide who was paralyzed in a 1981 assassination attempt, who went on to campaign against gun violence.


Early 1980s recession

A severe recession which lasted for six months. It was caused by contractionary monetary policy undertaken by the Federal Reserve to combat double digit inflation and residual effects of the energy crisis. It caused a move from Keynesian economics towards neoliberal policies.



A disease emerging in the 1980s that seemed to only affect gay men. It crippled the gay rights movement, empowered the homophobic right, and killed a whole generation of men. Pres. Reagan and the FDA were criticized for not doing enough during the 1980s.


Wayne Williams

A black serial killer arrested in 1981, assumed to be the culprit behind over 20 child murders.


Sandra Day O'Connor

The first woman appointed to the Supreme Court, in 1981 by Pres. Reagan. Her politics were center-right with liberal views on abortion.


Hyatt Regency walkway collapse

Over 200 died in this 1981 tragedy, which changed the way architecture is taught and practiced.


Adam Walsh

A figure in the missing children's movement after he was murdered in 1981.



An influential TV channel which premiered in 1981, playing music videos.


The air-traffic controllers strike

In 1981 Pres. Reagan fired over 11,000 air-traffic controllers after they didn't comply with his demand for them to go back to work.


The Concert in Central Park

Simon & Garfunkel's 1981 live recording of a concert attended by half a million people.


General Hospital

This soap opera's viewership peaked in 1981, with the marriage of characters Luke and Laura.



A directive signed by Reagan in 1981 authorizing the Central Intelligence Agency to recruit and support Contra rebels in Nicaragua.


In vitro fertilisation

A method of conception first successfully performed in 1981.


Conch Republic

A tongue-in-cheek micronation consisting of Florida Keys islands which declared independence in 1982, the government treated them with serious resistance all the same.


1982 Anti-nuclear protest

One million people demonstrated in New York City's Central Park against nuclear weapons and for an end to the cold war arms race. It was the largest anti-nuclear protest and the largest political demonstration in American history.


Larry Walters

A man who, in 1982, flew a lawn chair by attaching weather balloons to it.


Sun Myung Moon

A controversial Korean religious leader who was influential in the 1970s Eastern Religious Movement. His followers saw him as a True Father while his critics called him a cult leader. In 1982 he was arrested for tax fraud.


Lebanese Civil War

In 1982, Marines arrived in Lebanon to ensure the withdrawal of the PLO.


Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act

Legislation passed to relieve the ongoing recession by closing tax loopholes, it was settled by Pres. Reagan and Speaker Tip O'Neill


Johnny Gosch

A kidnapped paper boy whose disappearance contributed to the 1980s Missing Children's Movement.


Chicago Tylenol murders

A series of 1982 poisonings that lead to reforms in the packaging of over-the-counter substances and to federal anti-tampering laws.



Michael Jackson's 1982 album that was the biggest selling of all time.


Artificial heart

A medical device first employed in 1982.


Apple Lisa

A poorly selling Apple P.C. released in 1983.


Personal Justice Denied

A 1983 congressional report decrying the practice of Japanese internment as unjust and calling for reparations.



A beloved TV series which aired its very popular series finale in 1983.


Anne Gorsuch Burford

Served as the head of the EPA. She resigned in 1983 after mishandling funds and placating polluters.


Star Wars

Pres. Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, plan proposed in 1983 to use ground-based and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by ballistic strategic nuclear weapons.



An iconic dance performed by Michael Jackson in 1983.


1983 United States embassy bombing

The bombing of the American embassy in Lebanon, orchestrated by Hezbollah in response to American intervention in the Lebanese Civil War.


Samantha Smith

An American little girl, a Cold War figure, invited to visit the USSR by Yuri Andropov, after he read her letter in which she expressed fears about nuclear war.


National Missing Children's Day

The height of the Missing Children's Movement, this holiday was proclaimed in 1983.


Sally Ride

In 1983, she became the first woman and LGBT person in space.


Guion Bluford

In 1983, he became the first African-American in space.


Korean Air Lines Flight 007

A commercial airliner shot down in 1983 by the USSR, killing a U.S. Congressman. The Soviet government claimed the plane was on a spy mission, but the American consensus was that the Soviets were trying to provoke a war. It was one of the tensest moments of the Cold War, caused the Reagan administration to allow worldwide access to the U.S. military's GPS technology.


Vanessa L. Williams

In 1983 she became the first African-American crowned Miss America, only to have her crown taken away several months later after a nude photo scandal.


1983 Beirut barracks bombing

A suicide bomb attack killing over a hundred American troops, prompting the withdrawal of peacekeeping forces from Lebanon, where they had been since the PLO invaded Lebanon in response to Israel invading Lebanon.


Eugenia Charles

The Prime Minister of Grenada who, in 1983, asked for U.S. intervention in response to a coup which led to the death of the previous Prime Minister.


Operation Urgent Fury

The 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada, which took place in response to a bloody military coup orchestrated by the leftist New Jewel Movement- which was very popular with the Grenadian populace.


Microsoft Word

A word processor released in 1983, free copies of the software were given out in "PC World" magazine.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

A holiday created in 1983 by Pres. Reagan, despite Reagan having had made statements critical of Reagan immediately following his assassination, when Reagan was governor of California.



A drug approved by the FDA in 1983 causing rapid developments in the world of transplants.


Thriller video

Released in 1983, it remains the most popular music video of all time.


1984 (advertisement)

An iconic commercial advertising Apple computers that aired in 1983.


Jesse Jackson

A Baptist minister who launched a surprisingly successful presidential campaign beginning in 1983.



A type of suburban car first released by Chrysler in the mid-1980s.


Drug Abuse Resistance Education

A War on Drugs program launched in 1983 that is frequently accused of being ineffective.


Kary Mullis

A groundbreaking American biochemist.


Bobby Goodman

A military lieutenant whose plane was shot down over Lebanon in 1983, Jesse Jackson liberated him after 30 days.


William Francis Buckley

An Army officer kidnapped by Hezbollah in 1984, eventually dying in captivity.


McMartin preschool trial

Part of 1980's satanic hysteria, members of the McMartin preschool were arrested and charged with sexual abuse and satanic ritualization of their students. The charges are later dropped and found to be completely unfounded.


Margaret Heckler

Pioneered AIDS research in 1984 as Secretary of Health and Human Services.


1984 Summer Olympics boycott

The Soviet Union boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.


Ricky Kasso

A Long Island teenager who murdered his acquaintance in 1984. The news was sensationalized because of fear of Satanic rituals and Kasso's interest in heavy metal music.


1984 United States embassy annex bombing

A Hezbollah orchestrated car bombing in Lebanon.


United States presidential election, 1984

Reagan obliterates Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro because he made a robust recovery from the early 80s recession and increased national confidence.


What The Future Holds For Farm Workers And Hispanics

A 1984 speech delivered by Cesar Chavez at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.


Bernhard Goetz

A New Yorker who shoots four black teens trying to rob him, sparking a debate about the urban crime which plagued America in the 80s.


Crack epidemic

A surge of crack cocaine usage in urban citied from 1984 to the mid-1990s, which was connected to the Iran-Contra affair.


USA for Africa

An organization which raised money in 1985 to combat the famine in Ethiopia by releasing the song "We Are the World."


Whitney Houston

An enormously successful eponymous album released in 1985.


Kiki Camarena

An undercover DEA agent murdered in 1985, a death which the frustrated U.S. government was unable to persecute or investigate.


AIDS blood donation controversy

In 1985, the FDA approved a system of screening donated blood for AIDS.


GNU Manifesto

1985 literature by Richard Stallman influential in computer ethics and technological growth.


1985 Beirut car bombing

The CIA killed more than 200 civilians in a failed attempt to execute Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.


Terry A. Anderson

An Associated Press reporter kidnapped by Hezbollah in 1985.



A flamboyant style of wrestling which emerged in 1985 with much fanfare.


New Coke

A monumental failed 1985 attempt by Coca-Cola to gain the upper hand in the Cola Wars.



A black liberation group which came under attack by the U.S. government in 1985.


Back to the Future

A 1985 film so successful that Pres. Reagan quoted it in his 1986 State of the Union Address.


Nintendo Entertainment System

A video game system released in 1985.


Free Software Foundation

Richard Stillman's 1985 organization supporting the free software movement.


Richard Ramirez

Dubbed "the Night Stalker," he was arrested in 1985 for 14 murders.


David Lewis Rice

A lawyer, associated with a cause célèbre, one of the most horrid anti-Semitic hate crimes in recent history, the 1985 murder of a family Rice thought were Jewish.


The Year of the Spy

The nickname the media gave to the year 1985 because law enforcement arrested many foreign spies operating on American soil.



A short-lived computer company founded by Steve Jobs in 1985 after he was forced out of Apple.


Tommy Hilfiger Corporation

An American fashion company which debuted in 1985 with great popularity.


Franklin Chang Díaz

In 1986 he became the first Hispanic astronaut.


Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

A 1986 space tragedy resulting in the death of teacher Christa McAuliffe, Pres. Reagan postponed the State of the Union and found NASA to be at fault.


1986 Berlin discotheque bombing

A Libyan attack on a club frequented by American soldiers, despite only three deaths, Pres. Reagan ordered retaliatory strikes in on Tripoli and Benghazi.


Operation El Dorado Canyon

The 1986 U.S. bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi ordered in retaliation for the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing.


Top Gun

A sensationally popular and distinctly 1986 film starring Tom Cruise.


Hands Across America

A benefit event and publicity campaign staged in 1986 in which approximately 6.5 million people held hands in a human chain for fifteen minutes along a path across the continental United States.


Going postal

A phrase referring to a series of post office shootings which began in 1986.


Goldwater-Nichols Act

Reorganization of the U.S. Military, signed into law by Pres. Reagan in 1986.



A Lebanese magazine that was the first, in 1986, to report the Iran-Contra Affair.


Oliver North

A National Security Council staff member who took the blame for the Iran-Contra scandal in 1986.


Fawn Hall

Oliver North's secretary who helped him shred files in 1986.


Tower Commission

Commissioned in 1986 by Pres. Reagan in response to Iran-Contra. They found CIA Director William Casey the most guilty party of the affair.


Howard Beach racial incident

One in a series of racially motivated hate crimes that took place in the 80s, this one in '86 specifically.


Jonathan Pollard

An American scientist arrested in 1987 for espionage for passing information on to Israel.


Jim Bakker

Him and his wife, Tammy Bakker, were popular televangelists in the 1980s until he resigned in 1987 amidst a sex scandal.


Gary Hart

A Democratic politician, considered a frontrunner in 1988, whose career was constantly plagued by allegations of womanizing.


Andrew Wyeth

A relist American painter whose works, "Christina's World" and "the Helga Pictures" were very popular in the mid-20th century.


Tear down this wall!

The challenge issued by Pres. Reagan to Soviet Premier Gorbachev in 1987, initially ignored or criticized as "warmongering" it has risen to iconic status.


Edwards v. Aguillard

(1987) Ruled that creationism is unconstitutional because it advances a particular religion.


Robert Bork

A constitutional originalist and Supreme Court nominee, rejected by a Democratic Senate in 1987.



Michael Jackson's 1987 album.


Pat Robertson

A figure in the 1980's religious revival, his unsuccessful crusade for the Republican nomination in 1988 has made him a controversial figure.


Varroa destructor

A parasitic mite responsible for colony collapse disorder, introduced in America in 1987.


National Coming Out Day

A holiday established in 1987 to celebrate "coming out" of the closet.


Jessica McClure

When this baby fell into a well in 1987, fledgling news network CNN provided 'round-the-clock coverage, indoctrinating America into a whole new type of media coverage.


Black Monday (1987)

A complex market drop, when it occurred the government did nothing and the crisis resolved itself.


Hustler Magazine v. Falwell

(1987) The rights of Hustler Magazine to mock televangelist Jerry Falwell were sustained, in a situation proving embarrassing to the reverend.


Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

A 1987 treaty signed by Reagan and Gorbachev, eliminating nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with intermediate ranges.



An antidepressant which became extremely popular in the 1990s.


Dan Rather's Interview of George H.W. Bush

In a 1988 TV interview, Rather contentiously pressured Vice President Bush to admit to having a role in the Iran-Contra Affair.


Anthony Kennedy

A centrist Supreme Court justice appointed in 1988 as a compromise after Bork's failed appointment.


Deaf President Now

Protest occurring in 1988 at the congressionally established Gallaudet University, a school for the deaf. The subject of the controversy was for the failure of the school to ever be presided over by a deaf person.


Evan Mecham

Arizona governor and extreme social conservative removed from office via impeachment in 1988.


Operation Praying Mantis

An attack in 1988, by U.S. naval forces within Iranian territorial waters in retaliation for the Iranian mining of the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq war and the subsequent damage to an American warship. The ICJ ruled America's actions unnecessary.


Medical Waste Crisis

In 1988, hypodermic needles wash up on the shore of numerous New York beaches, possibly infected with AIDS, forcing the closure of many of them.


Tompkins Square Park Riot (1988)

The NYPD was accused of causing this riot, which symbolized the success of gentrification efforts, pitting artists, the homeless, and the poor against the police.


United States Metric Board

A board formed under the Metric Conversion Act and disbanded by Pres. Reagan in 1982.


Space Shuttle Discovery

In 1988 it was the first post-Challenger shuttle flight, putting America back into the Space Race.


Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy

A remark made during the 1988 United States vice-presidential debate by Democratic vice presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen to Republican vice-presidential candidate Dan Quayle. The affair increased the Democrats popularity and showed the incompetence of Quayle.


1988 UCLA Presidential Debate

It was at this debate that Bernard Shaw asked Dem. Michael Dukakis "Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?." In his response, he stuck by his pro-life opinion. This was deemed to be a significant cause of his defeat.


Morris worm

In 1988 this became one of the first ever computer worms and the first to receive mainstream media attention.


Dorothea Puente

An elderly woman who ran a boarding house, murdering demented boarders and collecting their social security. A 1988 cause célèbre.


Mulugeta Seraw

An Ethiopian law student murdered by three Neo-Nazis in 1988.


War on Drugs

A campaign began in the 1970s, but really revved up during Pres. Reagan's terms. It resulted in numerous inner city citizens being arrested for nonviolent drug offenses.


United States presidential election, 1988

Republic George H.W. Bush defeated Democrat Michael Dukakis, who was nominated by an unexcited Democrat party that was initially eager for Jesse Jackson. Bush capitalized on a good economy, a stable international stage, and on President Ronald Reagan's popularity, running an aggressive campaign. Meanwhile, Dukakis' campaign suffered from several miscues, including failure to defend against Bush's attacks.


World AIDS Day

A December 1st holiday created in 1988.


Yasser Arafat

In 1988, this PLO leader renounced violence, causing the U.S. to announce they would consider reopening relations with the PLO.


LaRouche movement

A political movement which began in the 1960s being founded by Lyndon LaRouche. Its leftist philosophies promoted culture and science. In 1988, LaRouche and 25 associates were convicted on fraud charges related to fundraising. The movement called the prosecutions politically motivated. The movement has seen success in certain European and Latin American countries.


Pan Am Flight 103

This 1988 terrorist attack left 178 Americans dead and was orchestrated by Muammar Gaddafi.


Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement

One of the last actions of Reagan's Presidency was signing this 1988 NAFTA precursor.


Second Gulf of Sidra incident

In the days following the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, Americans shoot down Libyan fighter pilots. Libya, mysteriously, does not respond.


Office of National Drug Control Policy

Established in 1988 by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 at the height of the War on Drugs, its stated goal is to establish policies, priorities, and objectives to eradicate illicit drug use, manufacturing, and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health consequences in the U.S.



A pesticide. In 1989 numerous public schools removed their apples after a "60 Minutes" report claimed it caused cancer.


Robert McFarlane

National Security Adviser, he advised Reagan to end arms shipments with the Contras, but was then replaced with John Poindexter. In 1987, he attempted suicide and in 1989 was convicted for his role in the scandal.


John Tower

Head of the Tower Commission, the United States Senate rejected Pres. Bush, Sr.'s nomination of him to the position of Secretary of Defense in 1989. The largest factors were concern about possible conflicts of interest and Tower's personal life, in particular allegations of alcohol abuse and womanizing.


Exxon Valdez oil spill

A 1989 environmental disaster in which much oil was spilt in Alaska.


Pittston Coal strike

This 1989-1990 strike resulted from Pittston's termination of health care benefits for approximately 1,500 retirees, widows, and disabled miners. The participation of women in the labor action through the ad hoc formation of the Daughters of Mother Jones proved an essential element of the successful strike.


Savings and loan crisis

The failure of about one third of all savings and loan associations. Some believe that Paul Volcker, as Chairman of the Federal Reserve System, is to blame for his decision to double interest rates in 1979 as an attempt to reduce inflation. Others give multiple reasons as to why the Savings and Loan Crisis transpired, such as increased governmental spending for Pres. Johnson's "Great Society" programs and the War in Vietnam.


Keating Five

Five U.S. Senators embroiled in a 1989 scandal, in which they were accused of improperly intervening in 1987 on behalf of Charles H. Keating, Jr., Chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which was the target of a regulatory investigation by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. Lincoln Savings and Loan collapsed in 1989, at the cost of $3 billion to the taxpayer. Keating, Jr. made significant political contributions to each senator. John McCain escaped the scandal, politically wounded but resilient.


Central Park jogger case

A widely publicized 1989 case involving the rape and murder of a 29 year old investment banker. Racial discrimination, sexism and gentrification all were key elements of the affair.


L.A. Schoolteachers Strike

In 1989, L.A. schoolteachers successfully went on strike for a 24% pay increase.


Robert Mapplethorpe

A controversial artists whose homoerotic artwork fueled a debate in the 1980s and 90s over the role of the government in funding art.


Texas v. Johnson

(1989) Flag burning is protected speech, invalidated 48 state laws to the contrary.


Penry v. Lynaugh

(1989) The execution of a mentally retarded person is not cruel or unusual.


Lyn Nofziger

An anti-metrician and controversial lobbyist under Pres. Nixon.


Webster v. Reproductive Health Services

(1989) This case allowed states to impose restrictions on the use of state funds, facilities, and employees in performing, assisting with, or counseling on abortions.



Jerry Seinfeld's TV show, very popular in the 1990s.


Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989

Signed by Pres. Bush, Sr. in response to the savings and loan crisis, it dramatically changed the savings and loan industry and its federal regulation, encouraging loan origination.


Lyle and Erik Menendez

CourtTV broadcast the trials of these brothers who were convicted of murdering their parents.


Yusef Hawkins

An African-American youth shot in a predominantly Italian-American neighborhood in 1989, inciting racial tensions.


Greekfest fraternity festival

A 1989 incident in which numerous frat brothers spent two days rioting in Virginia Beach.


This is crack cocaine

In 1989, during Pres. Bush, Sr.'s first address to the nations: he holds up a bag of crack cocaine purchased across the street and announces increased funding in the War on Drugs.


Lech Wałęsa

Polish politician who spoke to Congress in 1989, asking them to support his Solidarity Movement.


Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Repeal Act of 1989

A 1989 bill, repealed the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988, after it became unpopular with seniors. It's stated goal was to prevent senior citizens from not being able to afford medical treatment in the face of unforeseen illness. It was complicated and expensive and repealed the next year.


Alcee Hastings

A U.S. District Court judge impeached and removed from office in 1989.


Robert García

A member of the House forced to resign in 1989 for his role in the Waltech Scandal.


Walter Nixon

A U.S. federal judge impeached and removed from office in 1989.


Malta Summit

A meeting between Pres. Bush, Sr. and Gorbachev taking place a few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in which it is implied that the Cold War may soon be over.


Operation Just Cause

In 1989 Pres. Bush, Sr. ordered an invasion of Panama to protect human rights, Panama Canal neutrality, and prevent drug laundering. It was successful in deposing dictator Manuel Noriega and erecting Guillermo Endara.