Reviewing The Decade That Was…. 2000-2009



  • From Wars to Recession, a Review of Decade’s Politics: MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: It would have to be the attack of Sept.11, 2001, because, you know, not only has that caused all sorts of obvious changes in American society, but look at the kind of events that led to.
    George W. Bush declared a war on terrorism, led us into war in Afghanistan, Iraq, used very harsh measures against terrorism. In 2004 — I think Andrew — Andy would agree with this — George Bush was reelected largely by people who may have been concerned about his other policies, but were worried about terrorism.
    2008, it’s very unlikely that Barack Obama would have been nominated by the Democrats if he were not so against the war in Iraq, able to benefit from an anti-war sentiment. So, if 2001, if those attacks had not happened, our decade would have been very different…. – PBS Newshour, 12-31-09
  • Julian Zelizer: Five turning points of the decade: The first decade of the 21st century in the United States was defined by terrorism, crisis and uncertainty. The exuberance of the 1990s, with its strong economic growth and the sense of American military omnipotence, came to an end.
    Most Americans have been left reeling from nine very difficult years, even though the decade neared its close with a presidential election that spoke to the promise and potential of the nation.
    We must remember that any “most important” list should be seen as the beginning of a conversation, not a definitive judgment.
    Historians learn that it is extraordinarily difficult to discern exactly which events will be transitory and which will have the most long-lasting effects…. September 11, 2001…
    Iraq War…
    Hurricane Katrina…
    Financial crisis of 2008…
    Election of 2008…
    Any most important list is inherently incomplete, and only captures a small part of what the nation experienced. Should Congress pass health care reform, which seems likely, that could become a crucial moment in the history of our government. Nonetheless, these five events will certainly be ones that historians will look back to for years to come…. – CNN, 12-21-09
  • Gil Troy “Name That Decade: the ’00s, the Whatever Decade”: As we enter the last few weeks of the first decade of the twenty-first century, if we had a better name for this period, we might have a firmer fix on its identity. Modern Americans are decade-focused, packaging our historical memories in easily-labeled ten-year chunks: the Sixties, the Seventies, the Eighties, the Nineties. Yet neither the “oh-ohs” nor the “oughts” has stuck as a label, making this decade’s character elusive. With 2010 fast approaching, branding our trying times can help us understand them better….
    Great pessimism during economic busts is as characteristically American as great optimism during boom times. The oh-ohs’ whateverism is less fleeting and thus more dangerous. A culture of denial, disengagement, dissociation is dysfunctional. We need a culture of engagement and responsibility, even with all our traumas, distractions and high-tech toys. – HNN, 12-15-09
  • Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman “9/11 to climate change: Historians look back on the decade”: “The new century began on a bang, and it was a shot heard ’round the world,” Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, a history professor at San Diego State University, said, speaking of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001… “It’s something that’s really solidified in the past decade,” noted Hoffman, who’s also the author of “In the Lion’s Den: A Novel of the Civil War.” “All kinds of people who were either eager to believe or eager to disbelieve all came to stand at the same spot to realize this is something we have to take seriously.” – AP, 12-7-09
  • Bruce Schulman “9/11 to climate change: Historians look back on the decade”: “People are going to think that 9/11 is a significant historical turning point no matter what happens, because it certainly altered the international order,” said Bruce Schulman, who teaches history at Boston University…. “If in 2004 you told me that in the next election we would elect a black president, I would have said, ‘You’re crazy. That’s not happening maybe for my lifetime,'” Schulman said. “Now…could you imagine that ever again, at least ever again at least in the next 16 or 20 years, we would have two tickets that would be all white males? I don’t think we’ll ever see that again.” – AP, 12-7-09
  • Brian Balogh “9/11 to climate change: Historians look back on the decade”: Brian Balogh, a history professor at the University of Virginia, pointed out that 9/11 demonstrated the power of non-state actors and has kept us talking about “homeland security,” a term not widely used before the attacks. Hoffman said 9/11 revealed that the U.S. didn’t have a post-Cold War strategic vision…. Balogh added that the 2000 election contributed to political partisanship because the close race caused each side to use “any weapon in their arsenal.” Nowadays there are fewer political moderates and fewer legislative compromises — a trend exemplified in the current debate over health care reform. Bills emerged from Congress with the support of just one Republican. In the 1960s, Balogh noted, Democrats got more GOP support to pass landmark civil-rights legislation…. “The most dramatic change [of the decade] is, in essence, expecting to have all the information in the world at our fingertips and to be constantly in touch with people whenever we want to be, however we want to be,” said Balogh, who also cohosts a radio show called “BackStory with the American History Guys.” “We’re increasingly connected by what we buy, by what we read, by lifestyles. I think we’re less connected by geography and by our allegiances and attachments to nations.”…. – AP, 12-7-09
  • Julian Zelizer “9/11 to climate change: Historians look back on the decade”: As a result of 9/11, the political polarization was amplified, said Julian Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University and author of “Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security — From World War II to the War on Terrorism.” Zelizer said he thinks evolving media technology — and the development of the 24/7 news cycle, thanks in part to the rise of Internet blogging and social-networking sites — has helped increase partisan bickering this decade…. – AP, 12-7-09
  • Daryl Michael Scott “9/11 to climate change: Historians look back on the decade”: “Diversity is leading to a different America,” said Daryl Michael Scott, a history professor at Howard University. “African-Americans have been the largest minority in the country since its founding, and I think it takes place within the 2000s, this formal passing of the guard.”… – AP, 12-7-09
  • The ’00s: Goodbye (at Last) to the Decade From Hell: Instead, it was the American Dream that was about to dim. Bookended by 9/11 at the start and a financial wipeout at the end, the first 10 years of this century will very likely go down as the most dispiriting and disillusioning decade Americans have lived through in the post–World War II era. We’re still weeks away from the end of ’09, but it’s not too early to pass judgment. Call it the Decade from Hell, or the Reckoning, or the Decade of Broken Dreams, or the Lost Decade. Call it whatever you want — just give thanks that it is nearly over…. – Time, 11-24-09
  • 100 Notable Books of 2009: The New York Times Book Review selects outstanding works from the last year – NYT, 11-09
  • The 10 Best Books of 2009: By THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW – NYT, 12-09

1 Comment

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