Ronald Reagan

The Man and His Presidency

Background of the President

  • had an easy communication style that came from his background as an entertainer

  • after he graduated from college, he worked as a radio sports announcer until he signed a contract with a movie studio in 1937

  • in 1954 he began to host a television show that was sponsored by General Electric

  • he then began to tour the country for the company and gave speeches that promoted traditional values and American business

  • after his views started to become more conservative he left the Democratic Party and joined the Republican Party

  • in 1964 he gained political fame because of his speech that supported conservative senator Barry Goldwater’s run for the presidency
  • originally a Democrat, but then joins the Republican Party

President's Policies

Foreign Policy

  • from 1981 to 1989
  • It (Reagan Doctrine) was characterized by a strategy of peace through strength followed by a warming of relations with the Soviet Union and resulting in an end to the Cold War when Mikhail Gorbachev rose to power.
  • Trade imbalance with Japan

    • Japan’s import restrictions cause American gods to be kept of of Japanese store shelves

    • Japan imports to the US more than what the US exports to Japan

  • Reagan believed the the US had to weaken communism by challenging it without going to war (created policies, like building new nuclear missile systems or funding covert operations against Soviet troops and Allies, to topple the communist nations

  • dedicated billions to the development/ production of B-1 and B-2 bombers.

  • Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI): propose program where land and space based lasers would destroy any missiles aimed at the US before the targets could be reached

  • supported anti-communist rebellions around the globe

  • US funded/trained the mujahadeen (anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan)

  • Reagan made a speech called “Tear Down This Wall” about destroying the wall in Berlin that separated communist East Berlin and democratic West Berlin (came down in November 1989)

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Domestic Policy

  • “Reagan Revolution” - cutting the taxes for the wealthy to promote investment and the creation of jobs, while at the same time cutting government spending

    • Conservatives advocated belt-tightening and balanced budgets

    • after a deep recession, the economy entered an era of growth and posterity

    • Reaganomics - the theory of supply-side economics

      • if taxes are reduced, people will work more and have more money to spend, which will then grow the economy

      • supply-side economics

      • Economics Recovery Act of 1981 - reduced taxes by 25% over three years

  • Savings and Loans crisis - Savings and Loans banks fail because of fraudulent behavior and too many risky loans

  • Equal Access Act - required public secondary schools to allow any group equal access to school facilities

  • limited the enforcement of regulations on businesses and banks

    • supported regulation of businesses to constrain the free enterprise system

  • limited the enforcement of environmental protection

  • Space shuttle Challenger Explodes

  • Trading imbalance with Japan

  • - US sends less to Japan than what Japan sends to US

    equal rights for disabled citizens

  • Americans with Disabilities Act passed - equal rights for the disabled

  • AIDS becomes a threat

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one who returns to a traditional viewpoint in political ideology

Reduced the size of the government

    • Cut taxes

    • Shrunk the federal budget

    • Supply-side Economics

    • Increase in Military Spending due to the threat of communism

    • Created new jobs

    • Large increase in national debt

      • Increasingly Friendly Relations with the Soviet Union

      • Served 2 terms