Ronald Reagan


First election

President: January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989

Republican Ronald Reagan vs. Democrat Jimmy Carter vs. Independent John Anderson

Electoral vote- 489---49---0

States carried- 44-----6----0

Popular vote- 43,903,230----35,480,115-----5,719,850

Percentage- 50.8%----41.0%---6.6%

Condemned federal intervention, favoritism of minorities, and elitism.

Second Election

November 6, 1984

Republican Ronald Reagan vs Democrat Walter Mondale

Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro as his Vice Presidential running mate:

  • First woman to be in the running for a major party position.
  • Wasn't impactful enough to cover the fact that Mondale himself had been vice president to the Carter administration, which still held embarrassment for the U.S.

Electoral vote- 525-----13

States carried- 49-----1

Popular vote- 54,455,472----37,577,352

Percentage- 58.8%-----40.6%

Mondale won only the District of Columbia and his home state of Minnesota

Reagan focused mostly on foreign policy during his second term.

Concerns Over the National Budget

Reagan wished to reduce the size of the government by shrinking the federal budget and making tax cuts.

Budget shift from defense to entitlement programs.

Californians stage "tax revolt" that cut taxes

Congress approves budget cuts

Called for tax cuts of 25% over a period of three years. Supply-side economic advisers assured him this would boost the economy.

Supply-side economics initially led to a deep recession.

Yuppies (young Urban Professionals) emerged.


Cold War

Reagan was very anti-communist and is quoted claiming that soviets are the "evils of the world"

He believed that the way to deal with communists was a vast expansion of the U.S. Military

March 1983 Reagan announced his high-technology missile-defense system called Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) aka "Star Wars" ( due to the fact that lasers would be orbiting earth in space)

  • Thought of as costly, unworkable and destabilizing


  • Glasnost- "Openness" - Free speech and political liberty in soviet society
  • Perestroika "restructuring"- adoption of free market based on the capitalist west.
  • Soviets would cease to deploy Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) (signed December 1987)

Soviet control of Poland forces U.S. To reenact grain embargo

September 1983, Soviets blew up Korean passenger airline

Revolution in Nicaragua. Anti-American revolutionaries deemed "Sandinistas"

  • Contra-rebels oppose anti- American government.

Humiliating attack in Lebanon had no affect on the president, earning him the title of the "Teflon" president

Iran-Contra Imbroglio

Iran-Contra Affair:


  • Americans held hostage by Muslim extremist groups in Lebanon
  • Power of left-wing Sandinista government in Nicaragua

Reagan demanded that military aid be supplied to contra-rebels in Nicaragua, Congress refused.

American Diplomats organized arms sales to Iranians

- Money was diverted to contras

- Reagan insisted that he had no knowledge of the deal, leading to an opinion that the presidents fault is ignorance.

  • Reagan is now seen as someone who is lazy, senile, and pays little attention.

Economic Legacy

  • Eased regulatory rules
  • Pushed major tax reform
  • Supply-side economics caused revenue hole of $200 billion annual deficits
  • In his 8 years of presidency, he added $2 million dollars to the national debt