The USA at the turn of the centuries

In 1981, faith in the American economy and government hit rock bottom. Looking for a change and the promise of better future, voters decided for Ronald Reagan as president. Reagan came up with several solutions. Government has become too big and needs to be trimmed down. Taxes are high and need to be cut to stimulate growth and investment. Military spending should be increased to fix the degenerating state of the American war machine. Morality and character need to be reemphasized in American life. Reagan's election brought a dramatic change to the federal government. No president, Republican or Democrat, had attempted to reduce the size of the federal government since Franklin Roosevelt initiated his New Deal. In an effort to wind down the Cold War, Ronald Reagan met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who had been promoting Glasnost (Openness), at home. The Cold War came to an end in 1991.

George H.W. Bush was the victor in the elections in 1988 and presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the communist regimes, ending the Cold War. In 1991, Bush organized a broad coalition of 34 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait in the Persian Gulf War. Bush also sent American soldiers to Panama to remove General Manuel Noriega. The United States later operated as well during the conflicts of former Yugoslavia (1992-96), Somalia (1992-95), Haiti (1994-95), and many others. Americans began to think of themselves as peacekeepers of the world.

The Election of 1992 brought Bill Clinton to the White House. He could have made use of the prosperous era, but was politically discredited by the Monica Lewinsky and other scandals. The resulting impeachment by the House of Representatives was followed by a vote for acquittal in the Senate, thus leaving Clinton to finish out his term of office. The 1990s saw the longest economic expansion in modern U.S. history, ending in 2001. Originating in U.S. defense networks, the Internet spread to international academic networks, and then to the public in the 1990s, greatly impacting the global economy, society, and culture.

The Election of 2000 (George W. Bush Jr. versus Al Gore) was hotly contested due to voting irregularities and required the involvement of the U.S. Supreme Court to select the President - George W. Bush Jr. With the coming of the new millenium, the United States was greeted on September 11, 2001, by the worst attack by a foreign country on American soil. The terrorist group Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the destruction of the World Trade Center's twin towers in New York City and lesser damage to the Pentagon, killing nearly 3000 people. George W. Bush responded by launching the War on Terror including the invasions of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003).

Corporations increased outsourcing jobs to elevate profits. Influence of labor unions on political and economic policy continued to decline. The middle class slowly began to disappear. Barack Obama, the first African American president, was elected in 2008 amid the Great Recession, which began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. Among the leading topics of his presidential campaign were the Iraq war (Obama was strongly against the intervention in Iraq), lowering money supplies for army, lowering taxes and mainly healthcare system transformation: he wanted the healthcare to be available for all Americans. Barack Obama was in 2009 awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; nevertheless, he was often criticized for being unexperienced in politics.