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The 1980s: A Decade Of Change

1311 words - 5 pages

In the 1980s, the U.S. was changed in many ways. The U.S. had a great hockey win in the Olympics and intense new fashion that strongly influenced the youth. Controversial political issues also made headlines. The three most significant events were when President Reagan was elected, the U.S. Challenger exploded, and the Iran-Contra Affair.
Politics
The Iran-Contra Affair was a secret arrangement in the 1980s to provide funds to the Nicaraguan contra rebels from profits gained by selling arms to Iran. “In 1979, a political group called the Sandinistas led a revolution in Nicaragua and took control of the government” and President Reagan strongly voiced his disdain for the Sandinistas (Kornbluh 1). Reagan directed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to begin aiding the contras, Nicaraguan rebels who were fighting to overthrow the Sandinistas. In 1983, the United States Congress limited the CIA in aiding Nicaragua. In October 1984, Congress cut off all aid to the contras. Reagan and his administration sought ways to continue aiding the contras after the congressional ban.
At first, they secretly raised funds from several foreign countries and wealthy Americans to help finance the contras. “In 1985, the administration initiated a secret arms-for-hostages operation designed to free seven Americans held hostage by terrorists in Lebanon,” and members of the administration arranged for the CIA to secretly purchase arms from the Department of Defense (Kornbluh 2). Private individuals bought the arms from the CIA and sold them to Iran in return for its promises of help in the hostage release, but the sales led to the release of only three hostages, and three more Americans were taken hostage during the same period. Administration agents secretly gave profits from the arms sales to the contras, but reports of the arms sales and contra aid became widely known in November 1986. Congressional hearings held in 1987 concluded the National Security Council (NSC) staff had attempted to deceive Congress about the affair and a final report about it said the Iran-contra operations "violated United States policy and law and it criticized the Reagan administration and succeeding Bush administration for involvement in a cover-up” (Kornbluh 2).
Fashion
Fashion in the 1980s was based mostly on making a statement and flaunting style by wearing designer brands, mimicking Madonna (a popular pop artist), or emulating music television (MTV) idols and television icons. Women “ditched the stringy long hair of the 1970s, instead opting for perms and hairspray, teasing their hair into incredible walls, emphasizing the new look with two-toned eye shadows and glossy lipsticks” (Batchelor 67). The appearance was acceptable for businessmen, oversized suit jackets with wide padded shoulders became quite popular. The youth insisted on replicating trendy looks and wearing brightly colored leg warmers, ripped sweatshirts hanging off the shoulder and headbands, which...

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