By Paulina Gonzalez


1980 presidential campaign,

  • Carter sought reelection, but his reputation was hurt by double-digit inflation and bungling foreign affairs.
  • Edward Kennedy entered the race for the Democratic nomination.
  • Kennedy's campaign was damaged with the "Chappaquiddick incident" of 1969.
  • he'd driven his car off a bridge killing his female passenger, delayed reporting it, happened after partying.
  • The Republicans nominated Ronald Reagan
  • former movie star and former California governor.
    • oldest elected president.
    • traditional values were from the pre-60s generation.
  • favored
  1. small government,
  2. laissez-faire capitalism,
  3. a tough stance with Russia,
  4. personal responsibility,
  5. "family values."
  • these traits came to be known as "neoconservatives."
  • America was on an "ABC" approach (Anyone But Carter) likely a huge factor in the voting.
  • Reagan won in a landslide, 489 to 49 in the electoral.

Presidential election of 1984,

  • Reagan ran for reelection.
  • The Democrats nominated Walter Mondale. His V.P. candidate was Geraldine Ferraro—the first woman ever nominated by a major party.
  • Reagan easily won, 525 to only 13.
  • Reagan's first term was about budget and economic measures,
  • his second term was marked by foreign issues.

The national budget

  • Reagan's made substantial tax cuts about 25% across the board.
  • The plan called for
  1. "supply-side economics" or "Reaganomics" or policies that supported businesses, such as lower taxes and less government interference.
  • Supply-side economics boosted investment, production, hiring, and eventually would reduced the federal deficit.
    • The plan took a hit when the economy slid into a recession in 1982.
    • Unemployment rose to nearly 11% and several banks went bankrupt.
    • Democrats accused Reagan's cuts.
    • said the cuts were aimed at the poor and helped the rich.
      • "tight-money" anti-inflationary policies of President Carter were the causes of the economic downturn.
  • The economy went up in 1983.
    • "Yuppies" (short for "young urban professionals")
    • were famous for their high success and huge materialism.
    • rich-poor gap did widen during the 80s.
  • Reagan's massive military spending was also at play.
    • his spend less policy, didn't apply to the military.
    • Reagan wanted to strengthen the military to stand strong against the U.S.S.R.
    • The annual deficit and total national debt increased significantly under Reagan, almost all because of military spending.
    • The deficit in trade was also skyrocketing.
    • America became the world's biggest borrower of money.

Reagan and the Cold War

  • Reagan called the Soviet Union the "Evil Empire" took a firm stance against them.
  • built up military to deal with the Soviet Union.
  • Reagan proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), or "Star Wars" plan
  • SDI was to put satellites in orbit armed with lasers that could shoot down Soviet missiles.
    • Questions were raised
    1. how much would it cost?
    2. would this actually work?
    3. what if the Soviets just destroy the expensive satellite?
    • the questions made the SDI construction never happen.
  • In Poland, workers organized into a huge union in the Solidarity movement.
    • The Soviets imposed martial law on Poland; the U.S. backed Poland by slapping economic sanctions on Russia.
  • Things move quickly between 1982 and '85 when three old Soviet leaders died one after another.
    • In 1982, a Korean passenger airliner went into Soviet airspace and was shot down.
    • many casualties were Americans.
    • Strained American and U.S.S.R relations

Iran-Contra Imbroglio

  • Some Americans were captured by Muslim militant radicals in Lebanon.
  • The communistic Sandinista government in Nicaragua was held onto power.
  • Reagan wanted to send military aid, but Congress wouldn't approve it.
  • U.S.-Iran-Nicaragua scheme called the Iran-Contra Affair.
    • Lt. Col. Oliver North had secretly arranged a deal where U.S. weapons would be sold to Iran
    • then the money would go to the Contra "freedom fighters" in Nicaragua.
    • neither Congress nor the president approved it or knew about it
    • Oliver North went to prison.
    • Reagan was in lose-lose situation…
      • If he did know of this scheme, it would appear he was circumventing Congress to aid the Contras.
      • If he didn't know of it, it appeared as if he didn't have control over his staff
      • True to the "Teflon president" of nothing sticking to him, Reagan came through the ordeal still popular.

Reagan’s economic legacy

  • Before to increase government revenue taxes were increased.
  • Supply-side economists felt that was ver past.
  • Claimed cutting taxes would increase revenue.
    • Reagan years were a "revenue hole" of $200 billion per year, caused by the tax cuts and increased military spending.
    • Reagan added almost $2 trillion to the national debt—more than all of the previous presidents combined.
    • A lot of the debt was to foreign nations, mainly Japan.
  • Reagan halted the "welfare-state" programs that were in the New Deal, the Fair Deal, and the Great Society.
  • His goal of smaller government was achieved.
  • The Reaganomics idea of “trickle-down economics”, helping the rich would cause money trickle down to the working classes, weren't being proved successful.
  • Between 1970 and 2000, the poorest fifth of Americans got slightly poorer
  • (from 5.4 to 4.3% of total income).
  • The wealthiest fifth got fairly richer
  • (40.9 to 47.7%).
  • The 3/5 in the middle class got fairly poorer (53.6 to 47.9%).