Period 1: 1491–1607 Key Concept 1

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Key Concept 9.3: Moving into the 21st century, the nation continued to experience challenges stemming from social, economic, and demographic changes.
I. The increasing integration of the U.S. into the world economy was accompanied by economic instability and major policy, social, and environmental challenges. (WXT-3) (WXT-7) (WOR-3) (ENV-5) (CUL-7)

  1. Economic inequality increased after 1980 as U.S. manufacturing jobs were eliminated, union membership declined, and real wages stagnated for the middle class.

  1. Policy debates intensified over free trade agreements, the size and scope of the government social safety net, and calls to reform the U.S. financial system.

• North American Free Trade Agreement, debates over health care reform, debates over Social Security reform

  1. Conflict in the Middle East and concerns about climate change led to debates over U.S. dependence on fossil fuels and the impact of economic consumption on the environment.

  1. The spread of computer technology and the Internet into daily life increased access to information and led to new social behaviors and networks.

II. The U.S. population continued to undergo significant demographic shifts that had profound cultural and political consequences. (ID-6) (ID-7) (PEO-2) (PEO-3) (PEO-7)

  1. After 1980, the political, economic, and cultural influences of the American South and West continued to increase as population shifted to those areas, fueled in part by a surge in migration from regions that had not been heavily represented in earlier migrations, especially Latin America and Asia.

  1. The new migrants affected U.S. culture in many ways and supplied the economy with an important labor force, but they also became the focus of intense political, economic, and cultural debates.

  1. Demographic changes intensified debates about gender roles, family structures, and racial and national identity.

• Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in earlier migrations, especially Latin America and Asia.

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