"A People's History of the United States" Ch. 21 Reflection Essay

474 WordsMay 17, 20132 Pages
A People’s History of the United States: Reflection Chapter 21 Carter-Reagan-Bush: The Bipartisan Consensus This chapter summarizes a period in American history in which there was a deepening economic insecurity for much of the population, along with “environmental deterioration, and a growing culture of violence and family disarray,” (Zinn 563). What was needed during this time was, according to Zinn, a bold change in the social and economic structure. However, no major party candidates brought forth such changes. The supercharged energy of politics was coursing throughout the nation, yet a majority of voters felt disconnected and lackluster. The presidency of Jimmy Carter (1977-1980) attempted to “recapture a disillusioned citizenry” but was held back by Carter’s conformity to the political boundaries of the American system. While Carter’s term seemed to dig him into a hole as well as complicate matters for everyday people, the Reagan-Bush presidency “transformed the federal judiciary, never more than moderately liberal, into a predominately conservative institution,” (Zinn 574). Corporate America quickly became the greatest beneficiary of the Reagan-Bush years, and the concern for “the economy, which was a short-hand term for corporate profit” dominated any concern for the lower and middle class. All while the quality of life was degrading and the environment rotting. While Reagan-Bush did manage to enforce several Acts for the benefit of the people, with the Gulf War and other economic/environmental calamities, their presidencies seemed to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of Americans. I am not quite sure how to indicate my reaction to this chapter. It’s true that in reading I could not move off the thought of just how much opinion appears in this chapter. Zinn’s opinion permeates everything, without regard for more objective stances about the

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