The 1980s Government, Politics, and Law: Chronology

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The 1980s Government, Politics, and Law: Chronology

1980:     January 4 President Jimmy Carter reacts to the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan on December 29, 1979, by withdrawing the SALT II arms-control treaty from consideration by the U.S. Senate.

1980:     April 12 At the urging of President Carter, the U.S. Olympic Committee votes to boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

1981:     March President Ronald Reagan directs the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to assist contra (counterrevolutionary) forces opposed to the Marxist Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

1981:     March 30 John W. Hinckley Jr. shoots Reagan in the chest outside of the Washington Hilton Hotel. Press Secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent, and a Washington, D.C., police officer are also wounded.

1981:      Reagan nominates Sandra Day O'Connor to be the first woman justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

1982:      The United States adopts a Defense Guidance Plan, which outlines a $1.2-trillion increase in defense spending over a five-year period.

1982:     November 13 In Washington, D.C., 150,000 observers witness the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

1982:     December 8 Congressman Edward Boland (D-Mass.) successfully sponsors an amendment making it illegal to use U.S. funds to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. Congress renews the amendment in 1983, 1984, and 1985, extending it through the 1986 fiscal year.

1983:     March 23 Reagan proposes the development of a defense shield, at least partly based in space, to intercept incoming missiles. Formally called the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), the proposal becomes popularly known as "Star Wars."

1983:     April The American public learns that the CIA assisted a contra attack on Nicaragua oil terminals.

1984:     April 9 Nicaragua asks the International Court of Justice to rule that U.S. aid to the contra rebels and its role in mining Nicaraguan harbors is illegal. The United States contends the court has no jurisdiction in the matter.

1984:     April 10 The U.S. Senate passes a nonbinding resolution opposing the use of federal funds to mine Nicaraguan harbors. Two days later, the U.S. House of Representatives also approves the resolution.

1985:      Spring Israeli intelligence tells the United States that Shiite Muslims will exchange western hostages for arms for Iran.

1985:     August Reagan agrees to ship antitank missiles to Iran with the hope of winning the release of American hostages. After the missiles are delivered, only one hostage is released.

1985:     November At the urging of Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and with the covert assistance of the CIA, a shipment of Hawk missiles is delivered to Iran.

1986:     November 13 Reagan says the United States has sent Iran a few defensive weapons and spare parts, but he denies any attempt to exchange weapons for hostages.

1986:     November 23 U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III announces he has discovered that proceeds from the sale of arms to Iran have been diverted to the contras.

1987:     May 5–August 3 The U.S. Congress holds public hearings on the IranContra scandal.

1987:     October 23 The U.S. Senate rejects the nomination of Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court.

1988:     March 16 A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., indicts Admiral John Poindexter, Oliver North, and two others on charges relating to their involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal.

1988:     May 27 The U.S. Senate ratifies the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, under which the United States and the Soviet Union agree to eliminate intermediate-range weapons from their nuclear arsenals.

1989:     May 4 Oliver North is found guilty on three felony charges: obstructing a congressional inquiry, destroying documents, and accepting an illegal gift.

1989:     December 20 U.S. troops invade Panama and overthrow the government of Manuel Noriega, who surrenders on January 3, 1990, and is extradited to the United States, where he is tried and found guilty on drug-trafficking charges in 1992.

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The 1980s Government, Politics, and Law: Chronology

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The 1980s Government, Politics, and Law: Chronology