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The Big Picture:
Nixon’s successors, Presidents Ford and Carter, did little to instill hope among Americans. The 1980s witnessed the growth of conservative government, strong foreign policy, and a society defined by the “me generation.” The decade began with Americans worried about issues such as stagflation, troubles in Iran, and renewed tensions with the Soviet Union. Under the leadership of Ronald Reagan, the president helped improve the economy, win the Cold War, and restore a sense of pride among citizens. Unfortunately, problems such as AIDS, drugs, homelessness, and massive government deficits also arose under Reagan. Conservativism continued under George Bush who, despite victory over Iraq in the Persian Gulf War, could not win re-election over Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992. Under Clinton, the USA experienced its longest sustained period of economic growth, but faced new problems with international terrorism. The controversial election of 2000 brought George W Bush to the White House. The Bush years were largely defined by the September 11, 2001 attack and the War on Terrorism. In 2008, America elected its first African American president, Barack Obama.