Historic Documents of 1983


Edited by: CQ Press

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    Publication of Historic Documents of 1983 carries through a twelfth year the project launched by Congressional Quarterly with Historic Documents 1972. The purpose of this continuing series of volumes is to give students, scholars, librarians, journalists and citizens convenient access to documents of basic importance in the broad range of public affairs.

    To place the documents in perspective, each entry is preceded by a brief introduction containing background materials, in some cases a short summary of the document itself and, where necessary, relevant subsequent developments. We believe these introductions will prove increasingly useful in future years when the events and questions now covered are less fresh in one's memory and the documents may be difficult to find.

    Conflicts in Central America and the Middle East continued to capture headlines in 1983. There was sharp debate over U.S. aid to the El Salvador government in its war with communist-backed guerrillas. The swift and unannounced U.S. invasion of the island of Grenada was among the most controversial of the Reagan administration's actions. The war in Lebanon intensified; its toll for the United States was tragically underscored by the terrorist bombing in Beirut that killed more than 240 Marines. On a global scale, the devastating effects of nuclear war were starkly delineated by an international group of scientists who described the “nuclear winter” that would follow such an exchange.

    A number of domestic issues proved newsworthy in 1983. In a landmark decision with far-reaching repercussions, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional Congress' use of the legislative veto, contained in scores of laws. A presidential commission found major flaws in America's schools and declared the “nation at risk.” Although they continued to fault the administration for the so-called “gender gap,” women's rights groups were encouraged by Court rulings that barred sex bias in pension plans and reaffirmed a woman's right to have an abortion.

    Historic Documents of 1983 contains statements, Court decisions, reports, special studies and speeches related to these and other events of national and international significance. We have selected for inclusion as many as possible of the documents that in our judgment will be of more than transitory interest. Where, space limitations prevented reproduction of the full texts, excerpts were used to set forth the essentials and, at the same time, to preserve the flavor of the materials.

    CarolynGoldingerMargaret C.Thompson Editors Washington, D.C. March 1984

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