Ronald Reagan
Miller Center (University of Virginia)

The Reagan Years (CNN In-Depth Special)

How Evangelicals Turned from a Born-Again Christian to a Divorced Hollywood Actor
[Carter to Reagan]

Ronald Reagan bio

Miller Center

Campaign commercials

Reaganomics (Alanis Morissette's "Ironic" parody) - @MrBettsClass

Beruit bombing

President Ronald Reagan - Address on Iran-Contra

Oliver North hearing

Cold War in Latin America

Election of 1980

Reagan accused President Carter of letting America be kicked around in world affairs.
Reagan's bold conservatism scared many voters
Reagan elected largely as a reaction against Carter.
Reagan's theme of "Stand Up, America" resonated with the electorate.

Campaign commercials (Living Room Candidate)

There you go again!

Assassination attempt (March 1981)

Reagan's courageous response to assassination attempt (during first 100 days) increased his political power.

Finding Dulcinea: On This Day: John Hinckly, Jr., Shoots President Reagan and James Brady

President Reagan shot (New York Times)

March 30, 1981 | President Reagan Is Shot (New York Times)

Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence

Reagan's administrative agenda

1. Cut taxes

2. Cut government red tape

3. Cut government spending on domestic programs

4. Increase defense spending

Scroll to the section entitled "Military Buildup"

Pointe du Hoc, Normandy

5. Stand up to communism

Scroll to the section entitled "Confronting the Soviets"

Reagan pictured Soviet Union as "evil empire." [Axis of Evil??]

Believed intense military buildup needed to confront Soviets.

"Evil Empire" speech

Ronald Reagan: “Evil Empire” Speech (1983) [use this] (Milestone Documents)

6. Negotiate with the Soviets

Scroll to the section entitled "Reagan and Gorbachev"

Reagan Urges Soviets to Tear Down Berlin Wall (New York Times)

"Tear Down This [Berlin] Wall" speech

Republican party coalition

Made up of ideologically diverse constituencies:

1. Economic conservatives who had always voted Republican

2. Cultural conservatives

Fundamentalist and evangelical Christians
Advocated family values
Opposed abortion and homosexuality

3. "Reagan Democrats"

Blue–collar workers who supported family values

4. White voters in South (no longer the Solid Democratic South)

5. Young Americans (18–30) activated during Reagan years

6. Suburban voters (anti-taxes and anti-government).


Supply–side economic policies.

Cut federal spending on domestic programs

Cut taxes for the wealthy and for corporations

Free up investment capital and encourage new job creation

Investment income to offset loss of tax revenue caused by tax cuts.

Money freed up by tax cuts would "trickle down" to less wealthy

Did not work.

We got tremendous economic deficits.

Foreign policy events during the Reagan Administration

1. Beirut barracks bombing (1983)
Scroll to the section entitled "Involvement in Lebanon"

Scroll to the section entitled "Middle Eastern Terrorism"

The Bombing of U.S. Embassy Beirut — April 18, 1983
The Embassy Beirut Bombing — A Consular Officer’s Perspective

Beirut Bombing 1983 (New York Times)

1983 Beirut Bomb Still Reverberates Today (Finding Dulcinea)

2. Invasion of Grenada (American Experience)

U.S. Invades Grenada - 1983 | Today in History | 25 Oct 16

US activities in the Caribbean, 1898 to the 1930s

Trouble spots in Central America and the Caribbean

3. Reagan Doctrine
U.S. would openly support all anticommunist fighters.

Reagan Doctrine, 1985

Elliot Abrams: The Reagan Doctrine in Central (America Ashbrook Center)

4. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Reagan

Margaret Thatcher biography (Finding Dulcinea)

Margaret Thatcher (New York Times Topics)

5. Egypt

Anwar Sadat Assassinated - 1981 | Today in History | 6 Oct 16

Presidential Election (1984)

President Reagan easily re-elected.

Campaign commercials (Living Room Candidate)

Iran–Contra scandal

Beginning of Iran-Contra Affair (New York Times)

Understanding the Iran-Contra Affairs (Brown University)

Iran Contra Affair
Scroll to the section entitled "Iran-Contra Affair"

Two sides to the issue: Contras in Nicaragua and US arms sales to Iran (American Experience)

Finding Dulcinea: On This Day: Reagan Endorses CIA Support of Nicaraguan Contras

U.S supported those fighting against (contra) the communists in Nicaragua.

After Vietnam and Watergate, Congress anxious to oversee foreign policy

Congress ordered Reagan not to continue support of Contras

Finding Dulcinea: On This Day: Iran-Contra Scandal Breaks

Role of Oliver North.
Sold arms to Iran (illegal) and our enemy.
Used profits to send to the Contras to keep fighting Communists

See also:

The Iran-Contra Affair 20 Years On (National Security Archive)

US guilty of backing Contras (BBC On This Day)