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In the wake of the war in Indochina, U.S. citizens began to reassess their country's role in world affairs. Troubled by their own government's violence, they questioned its support of violent governments elsewhere. Too frequently, the United States was providing aid to governments that violated fundamental human rights. In the 1970s, Congress enacted several statutes designed to curtail this practice; by 1980, a comprehensive scheme of human rights legislation was in force. This legislation prohibited military sales and assistance, development assistance, and favorable votes for certain multilateral loans to countries whose governments engage in a "consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights."' In addition, Congress enacted human rights legislation directed at specific countries.

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