Historic Documents of 1985
Publication Year: 1986
For more than 40 years the Historic Documents series has made primary source research easy by presenting excerpts from documents on the important events of each year for the United States and the world. Each volume includes approximately 70 events with well over 100 documents from the previous year, from official or other influential reports and surveys, to speeches from leaders and opinion makers, to court cases, legislation, testimony, and much more. Historic Documents is renowned for the well-written and informative background, history, and context it provides for each document. Each volume begins with an insightful essay that sets the year’s events in context, and each document or group of documents is preceded by a comprehensive introduction that provides background information on the event. ...
- Front Matter
Copyright by Sage Publications, Inc.
Publication of Historic Documents of 1985 carries through a 14th 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.
The year 1985 was marked by major international events, including the spread of terrorist activities to new areas of the world. American and Egyptian commercial airliners were hijacked in June and November, respectively, an Italian passenger ship was commandeered in October, and airports in Rome and Vienna were attacked in December. Each of these incidents resulted in the deaths of private citizens, including Americans.
International attention also was focused on U.S.-Soviet relations following the death of Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko and the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev to the position of General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, beginning a new era in Soviet politics as a younger generation began to take control of the country. President Ronald Reagan met with the new leader in a highly publicized summit meeting in 1985 to wrestle with the issue of nuclear arms buildup and to discuss the future of U.S.- Soviet relations.
The integrity of U.S. national security against penetration by nations such as the Soviet Union was tested in what became known as the “year of the spy.” A number of individuals with access to highly sensitive government material were caught during the year engaging in espionage against the United States.
The year was also marked by continued violence in well-known trouble spots. Protests, often escalating into brutal clashes between South African police and the repressed black majority, led that nation's president, P. W. Botha, to issue a strong statement upholding that nation's apartheid policies. In the Western Hemisphere, the political and armed struggle between the Nicaraguan Sandinista government and rebel forces known as “contras” continued as President Reagan asked Congress for more U.S. aid to support the rebel forces.
[Page pii]In the United States, President Reagan took the oath for a second term in the White House, the quality of higher education was scrutinized, and the proper role of the Supreme Court was debated by the attorney general and several justices. As the year was drawing to a close, Congress enacted major legislation to balance the national budget.
Historic Documents of 1985 contains statements, Supreme Court decisions, reports, special studies, and speeches related to these and other events of national and international significance. We have selected for inclusion many documents that in our judgment will be of lasting interest. Where space limitations prevent reproduction of a full text, excerpts provide essential details and preserve the flavor of the material.
Nancy A. BlanpiedEditor Washington, D.C., February 1986