The 1990s



There were three main leaders that influenced the United States during this decade. Saddam Hussein was the Iraqi president throughout the 1990s. After years of conflict between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s, Iraq was in shambles. To gain some wealth, Hussein ordered an attack on their neighbor, Kuwait on August 2, 1990. Hussein justified his actions by claiming territory in Kuwait belonged to Iraq. The United Nations (UN) set a deadline for Iraq to leave Kuwait, but it was ignored. In response, the UN sent in coalition forces headed by the United States. After a confrontation between Iraq and the US, Iraq evacuated Kuwait six weeks later. A ceasefire agreement was signed which included the dismantling of chemical weapons.

George H.W. Bush was elected president of the United States in 1989 with the campaign slogan "Read my lips: no new taxes." Bush was popular for handling Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, but lost his popularity when he passed bills that had taxes attached to them. Because of the taxes passed during Bush's presidency, he was not re-elected for another term.

Bill Clinton was installed as president of the United States after Bush. At first, Clinton was not very successful. He endorsed health care reform, but it was not popular in Congress. When it did not pass, it caused political disaster and the Republicans took control of both Houses. Although unpopular, Clinton made a political comeback and was re-elected in 1996. His biggest accomplishment was leading the nation into a period of prosperity. While in office, the United States had low unemployment, low inflation, and high homeownership rates. Clinton was later impeached on December 19, 1998 for a scandal he was involved in by the House of Representatives. The impeachment did not follow through in the Senate, so therefore he remained in office to finish his term.

Laws Passed

Disability (1990): This law helped with disability law suits and allowed many employees to keep their jobs. It focused on improving the working rights for the disabled and gave more workers an opportunity to maintain a career.

Civil Rights Act (1991): This law provided the right to trial by jury on discrimination claims in the workplace and introduced the possibility of emotional distress damages while limiting the amount that a jury could award. It also gave women more rights in the workforce and granted more job opportunities to all races.

These laws created a more equal business world in the United States and showed Americans that there were issues in the workforce and that many employers that there are many willing workers. They also opened opportunites to more Americans across the nation.

Supreme Court Decisions

St. Mary's Honor Center vs. Hicks: Hicks was fired as a correctional officer and accused his employer that it was based on discrimination. Hicks lost because of lack of proof he presented. This made some realize that racial discrimination was still an issue in the workplace.

Harris vs. Forklift Systems, Inc.: This suit involved sexual harassment toward Harris in the workplace. Harris won the case which led to a safer work environment for women. It also led to safer conditions for all employees.

Wars and National Defense

On August 2, 1990, Iraq invades Kuwait because of their wealth in oil production. Forces headed by the US confront Iraq and Iraq leaves Kuwait. This war was called the Persian Gulf War and lasted only six months. On February 28,1991, President Bush called a ceasefire which ended the war. The US casualty count was less that 1,000. The Cold War that started between the US and the Soviet Union after World War II, ended in 1992 when the Soviet Union fell. In 1993, a terrorist group tried to bomb the World Trade Center. The bomb was set in the parking garage. When it went off, the bomb created a big crater and several floors of the building collapsed. Six people were killed and more than a thousand were injured during the terrorist attack.


These were some popular inventions and technology used in the decade:

-cellular phones

-CD (digital versatile disc)

-MP3 player

-Snake: first mobile phone game that which was released in 1990

-Cars began to have automatic doors

-Java computer language




The 1990s were the trasition point to new entertainment throughout the United States. This decade was filled with movies and shows that everyone in the family could enjoy. The most popular movies included Titanic, Braveheart, Forest Gump, and Saving Private Ryan. Some television shows that were big on the screen were Friends, Seinfeld, Law & Order, and That '70s Show.

Music and musicians were changing throughout the decade. Popular songs were Whoomp There It Is, I Will Always Love You, and Hit Me Baby One More Time. Influential artists included Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Madonna, Alanis Morisette, and The Backstreet Boys.


Cost of Living

The items needed in the decade are much like they are today, though the cost dramatically changed. Because income was lower in the 1990s, this meant that items were cheaper. Throughout the decade, minimum wage increased from $3.00 an hour to $5.00 an hour.

These were the costs of some necessities:

Gas- $1.34

Car- $11,300

House- $122,900

Milk- $1.90

Pants- $4.75

Shirt- $3.75


Fashion was quite different than it was today. Men wore baggy, flanel shirts, denim, khakis, blazers, and cavas shoes. Women wore trousers, neon colors, mini skirts, floral dresses, and black leather jackets. A popular haircut for men was the bowl cut while women tried to copy Rachel's (Friends) haircut. The average salary in the decade was $21,000 to $36,000. Common jobs included agriculture, manufacturing, sales, technicians, and construction. Teen life included shopping, sports, and MTV.

Famous People

Nelson Mandela was a revolutionary and was released from prison in 1990 and eventually became the first black president of South Africa. Mandela was an important figure in peace making in his country.

Rodney King was a victim of harsh beating by the Los Angeles Police Department. Other officers looked on as King was being struck repeatedly. The scene was videotaped and aired across the world and the public was outraged by this act of cruelty. It shed light on the still existent racial issues and tension in the United States.