Ronald Reagan

Nicole Francis

Election of Reagan

Election of 1980

Rep. Candidate- R. Reagan

  • "Neoconservative", populist, free-market capitalist, conservative
  • Acting skills improved public's opinion in televised debates
  • Reagan won all but six states

Dem. Candidate- J. Carter

  • Party divided between E. Kennedy and Carter
  • Growing political group, ABC (Anyone but Carter)

Election of 1984

Rep. Candidate- R. Reagan

  • Another wide win, losing only Mondale's home state of Minnesota

Dem. Candidate- W. Mondale

  • VP running mate- G. Ferraro, the first female on a major party presidential ticket
  • Mondale was Carter's VP, tainted campaign

National Budget

Aimed to shrink federal budget and lower taxes by removing social programs

Cut billions in welfare programs to spend on military

Aug 1981 Congress approved to lower individual tax rates, reduce federal estate taxes, and create new tax-free savings plans for small investors

Supply-side economics- "Reaganomics", emphasized cutting taxes and government spending to stimulate investment, productivity, and economic growth of private enterprise, failed mostly but experienced brief success in 1983

Created large gap between classes

Debt grew to trillions

The Cold War

Reagan was stern in his negotiations with Soviets

Plan was to threaten another arms race and hope USSR surrenders

Strategic Defense Initiative- "Star Wars" plan for orbiting battle stations in space that could vaporize intercontinental missiles on liftoff, defensive strategy to force Soviet to move, costly but Congress approved

1981 Poland unionized into "Solidarity", US imposed sanctions on Poland and USSR

1983 Arms control negotiations with Soviets are broken off

1980 US boycotts Moscow Olympics

1984 USSR boycotts Los Angeles Olympics

1985 M. Gorbachev is new USSR Chairman


  • Introduced Glasnost (free speech to reduce Soviet oppression) and Perestroika (adopted free market practices, like profit motive and ended subsidized prices)
  • Redirected interests from military to dismal economy
  • April USSR would stop intermediate-range nuclear forces towards Western Europe as long as the US agreed to completely eliminate them
Summit Meetings



  • Nov 1985 USSR pushed INF Agreement
  • Oct 1986 stalemate
  • Dec 1987 Sign INF Agreement, banning all INFs from Europe
  • May 1988 celebrate end to Cold War

Iran-Contra Imbroglio

1979 Sandinistas take over Nicaragua, Islamic radicals overthrow US-supported Iranian government

Contra rebels fight socialist Sandinistas, Reagan wants to provide military aid but Congress refuses

1985 US Diplomats secretly sell arms to Iranians for aid in rescuing American hostages from Middle Eastern terrorists in return

One hostage in returned

Money from Iran to pay for the weapons is given to the contras, violating congressional ban on military aid to Nicaraguan rebels

Nov 1986 American public learns of dealings

Reagan said he was ignorant of the dealing, some of his administration was indicted but it was later overturned through appeals

Economic Legacy

Lowered taxes and increased military spending

Added more financial debt than all his predecessors combined

1986 Congress decides to close national debt by 1991, didn't happen

Widened gap between classes, rich got richer and poor got poorer