Historic Documents of 1984

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Edited by: CQ Press

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    Foreword

    Publication of Historic Documents of 1984 carries through a 13th year the project Congressional Quarterly launched with Historic Documents of 1972. The purpose of this continuing series 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.

    Election-year politics held the national spotlight in 1984. Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman nominated for vice president by a major party, Jesse Jackson's presidential bid involved blacks in the political process in record numbers, and Ronald Reagan was re-elected president with an unprecedented electoral landslide of 525 votes.

    It was also a year of Reagan administration successes on the Supreme Court. Affirming the administration's view, the Court ruled that inclusion of a Nativity scene as part of an official Christmas display did not violate First Amendment strictures on separation of church and state. In two other landmark decisions the Court limited the penalties against sex discrimination by federally aided schools and barred casting aside of seniority rules to protect the jobs of newly hired minority workers.

    The year also marked renewed dialogue between the United States and the Soviet Union. In his first meeting with a ranking Soviet official, President Reagan discussed arms control talks with Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. The death of Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, after less than 15 months in office, and the questionable health of his successor, 73-year-old Konstantin Chernenko, necessarily raised questions about the future of U.S.-Soviet relations.

    International attention focused on various trouble spots: the Persian Gulf, where fighting continued between Iran and Iraq; India, where street violence erupted following the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi and, in an unrelated tragedy, a gas leak at a Union Carbide plant poisoned more than 2,000 people; Nicaragua, where the Sandinista government protested the U.S. mining of its ports; and South Africa, where the government's apartheid policies roused widespread condemnation.

    Historic Documents of 1984 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.

    The Editors Washington, D.C., February 1985

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