Ronald Regan (1980-1988)
• Ronald Reagan's presidency maybe one of the most important
in 20th-century U.S. history.
• Reagan began his political career as a Democrat and
eventually grew to hate high taxes, big government, and
• His leadership helped prepare the way for the end of the cold
The New Republican Party
• As a leader of Republican Party, he wanted economic freedom
and remove the federal government from the regulation of
industry and commerce
• All influenced by the Heritage foundation (free enterprise)
• Heritage Foundation influenced other Regan policies
• Promote conservative policies based on limited govt., individual
freedom, and strong national defense
• National Rifle Association endorsed (supported) Ronald Regan,
made it the first time the NRA supported a candidate.
• Organization to promote rifle shooting and marksmanship skills
• Moral Majority endorsed Regan
• Made up of Fundamentalist Christians (started by Rev. Jerry
• Reagan promised that, he would lower taxes, increase defense
spending, and reduce the budget deficit.
• He said an economic theory known as supply-side economics
(quickly nicknamed Reaganomics) would make those
apparently contradictory goals possible.
4 Factors of Reaganomics
• Tax cuts and Domestic Spending
• Reduced taxes would spur investment, which would increase
goods (supply) and jobs.
• More jobs, income and would create greater tax revenues.
• Eliminate federal regulations on industry, making it easier for
companies to compete and more freedom
• Relaxed enforcement of anti-trust laws and more mergers
• Increased Military Spending
• Stimulated economy and created jobs
• Domestic Jobs and Other Factors
• Steady world oil prices, new jobs (computers and health care),
and more flexible work practices
Result of Early Reaganomics
• Social (Welfare) programs cut because fewer people would
need them. By the election of 1984, most Americans felt
better off economically.
• Inflation and unemployment were down and the economy
• Further, their fears about becoming involved in a war faded.
• As a result, Reagan was reelected by the largest number of
electoral votes in history.
Negatives of Reaganomics
• Regan promised a budget where
govt. spending would be limited
to amount of taxes collected.
• Instead, by 1988, the
national debt had soared
past $3 trillion.
• To fund the debt, the Federal
Reserve was forced to keep
interest rates high (bad for those
• Unemployment was occurring in
• The federal government was not,
as promised, reduced in size.
Immigration & Domestic
• Introduced the Mazzoli-Simpson Act of
• “Legalized” illegal aliens who lived in the U.S.
• Nominated Sandra Day O’Connor as 1st
woman Supreme Court Justice (Texan!)
• Conservative that preferred “judicial
• Many people started to move to the Sun
Belt (West and South)
• Technological developments such as dams,
air conditioning, and rising oil prices (people
preferring milder winters)
• California and Texas became largest states
The Reagan Doctrine (Policy)
• Regan’s foreign policy was called
• Contain communism AND help
known as “Freedom Fighters”.
• Strategic Defense Initiative
(nicknamed called Star Wars) to
give the United States a shield
from nuclear attack
• Believed in Peace through Strength
• Make enemies think U.S. had
the way and desire to go to war
would actually create peace.
• “Let he who desires peace
prepare for war”
U.S. Marines Deployed to
Lebanon stop at 2:37
• In 1982, a civil war
between Christians and
Palestinian refugees in
• Country of Lebanon
requested a U.S. assistance
• Suicide bomber attacked
the American and French
barracks in 1983.
• 241 Marines were killed
• Regan withdrew forces
from Lebanon shortly after
• Regan announced he
would not negotiate with
• “Contra” means rebels.
• Secretly sell weapons to
Iran in exchange for the
release of American
• Iran was enemy of the
• Profits from Iran went to
“Contra” rebels fighting
government of Nicaragua
• Shocked the nation.
Went against the policy
of not negotiating with
terrorists Contras in Nicaragua
Iran-Contra Affair Aftermath
• Investigation cleared
the President of any
• Many officials were
convicted of lying to
Congress and sent to
• Hurt America’s
credibility in the world
• Reminded many people
of the Watergate
• People questioned their
trust in government.
Triumph of Democracy
• During second term,
Reagan built a
relationship with the
leader of the Soviet
Union in 1985.
• Gorbachev agreed and
wanted peace in Eastern
• In 1987, the Americans
and Soviets signed a
historic agreement to
eliminate thousands of
End of the Berlin Wall
(video) Do you think President
Reagan’s speech helped or did
not help the tearing down the
Berlin Wall? Justify your answer.
• Reagan spoke at Germany’s
Berlin Wall, a symbol of
• He challenged Gorbachev to tear
• 2 years later, Gorbachev allowed
the people of Berlin to dismantle
• Reagan returned to Germany in
September 1990—just weeks
before Germany was officially
reunified–and took several
symbolic swings with a hammer
at a remaining chunk of the wall.
Bush Sr. Administration
• Served as Regan’s Vice
• Promised to continue
policies by Regan, while
improving education and
fighting drug use
• Experienced in foreign
• Biggest problem
domestically was to
shrink the budget deficit
• Increased income taxes on
End of the Cold War
• Most important event of
Bush Presidency was the
end of the Cold War
• Eastern Europe moved
from Communism to
• Berlin Wall was torn
down, and Germany was
reunited from 1989 to
• Russia and other newly
and given economic
assistance from U.S.
The Persian Gulf War
• Gulf War was Bush’s greatest single foreign policy success
• Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August of 1990
• Capturing its plentiful oil wealth and extending it’s borders
• Refused requests by United Nations (U.N.) to withdraw
• Some feared he would invade Saudi Arabia next
• U.N. forces, led by U.S. launched attack against Iraq
• Invasion succeeded in only a few days
• Hussein agreed to remove all Iraqi troops from Kuwait and pay
• Significance was the first major challenge to world order since
• Used new prestige in Middle East to start peace talks with Israel
and its Arab neighbors