TO THE NINETIES:
American political system during the twentieth century revolved
around two major parties. The Republican and Democratic parties.
The first was seen as more conservative and the second as more
liberal, but at the start of the Nineties many Americans began
to see both parties as catering to big business. During the
1992 election a third candidate competed for power. A billionaire,
by the name of Ross Perot. While Perot ultimately lost, many
Americans voted for him because they saw him as a fresh alternative
to the two party system. Perot warned about the mounting debt
crisis even though as the owner of a computer company he had
made most of his fortune off government contracts.
American people were in a furious mood. In 1994, the Republicans
took control of both houses of congress for the first time since
1954. President Clinton had raised taxes during an economic
slow-down and had also attempted to create a national health
plan for all Americans. Many conservatives and the medical industry
opposed the plan. But what proved fatal to President Clinton
was a growing anger among conservative white males, especially
in the southern parts of America over job insecurities and the
promotion of ever more rights for women and minorities.
the rest of the decade President Clinton and the Republican
congress fought perpetual battles over what the federal government
could do or not do. The end result was a complete stalemate.
Twice Republicans partially shut down the federal government
in battles over the budget. President Clinton also became caught
up in a sexual scandal and Republicans almost ousted him from
power. Yet, many Americans supported President Clinton because
economic times were relatively good despite the growing problems
underneath the economy.
Clinton like President Reagan was elected to two full terms.
The first Democrat since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to do so.
President Clinton's wife, Hillary Clinton also became the most
influential First Lady in American history. Hillary Clinton
helped shape government policy with her husband; and would ultimately
become elected to the U.S. Senate at the end of the decade.
women also were elected to congress and state offices during
the Nineties than at any other time in American history. Women
were now working outside the home in ever greater numbers. Sixty
percent of all women whether married or not. More women completed
college than men also during the Nineties. So the need for day-care
became an urgent priority for both state and federal governments
in America. More children needed supervision while their mothers
worked and working mothers also now needed more compensation
while on maternity leave.
Americans continued to demand more rights. One million African
Americans marched on Washington D.C. in 1996 to protest against
further social welfare cuts. The march was five times larger
than the march led by Martin Luther King in 1963. Yet, American
corporations continued to receive government assistance while
more Americans received less aid in the form of food-stamps
and welfare checks. Americans were no longer in a generous mood.
Politeness and civility continued to decline in America, at
all social levels, on a daily basis.
were working harder and longer hours for more and more material
goods while having less and less time for rest and leisure.
Take-out food became a popular item for Americans who no longer
had time to cook. Family life was becoming more and more fragmented.
Generation X was the first American generation to become used
to starting life with bigger and bigger debts.
Y which was born between 1980-95, like Generation X became used
to growing up with computers. Virtual reality games were becoming
more sophisticated with each new generation of computer software.
The growth of the internet made possible a whole new way of
producing and distributing music, as well as listening to it.
With the internet, it became possible for anyone to become an
independent music producer. A musician could put his or her
own music on the web, and anyone with access to the internet
could download it. By the end of the decade a new kind of software
called Napster allowed music listeners to share their music
files without the need of paying royalties to anyone. Record
companies decried this new kind of music piracy. By the time
Napster was forced off the web, 20 million Americans were using