The Info List - Reagan Administration

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Governor of California

Governorship 1976 General election

Primaries Convention

40th President of the United States







Reagan Doctrine

International trips


Cabinet Judicial appointments

First Term

Campaign for the Presidency 1980 general election

Primaries Convention

1st inauguration Assassination attempt

Invasion of Grenada Cold War

Second Term

Re-election campaign

1984 general election Primaries Convention

2nd inauguration

Cold War Libya bombing Challenger disaster Iran–Contra affair "Tear down this wall!" INF Treaty


Presidential Library Medal of Freedom Bibliography

An American Life The Reagan Diaries

Alzheimer's diagnosis State funeral


Speeches and debates

"A Time for Choosing"

Reagan Era Reagan Award

v t e

The presidency of Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
began at noon EST on January 20, 1981, when Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
was inaugurated as 40th President of the United States, and ended on January 20, 1989. Reagan, a Republican, took office following a landslide victory over Democratic incumbent President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
in the 1980 presidential election. Reagan was succeeded by his Vice President, George H. W. Bush, who won the 1988 presidential election with Reagan's support. Reagan's election resulted from a dramatic conservative shift to the right in American politics, including a loss of confidence in liberal, New Deal, and Great Society
Great Society
programs and priorities that had dominated the national agenda since the 1930s. Domestically, the Reagan administration enacted a major tax cut, sought to cut non-military spending, and eliminated federal regulations. The administration's economic policies, known as "Reaganomics", were inspired by supply-side economics. The combination of tax cuts and an increase in defense spending led to budget deficits, and the federal debt increased significantly during Reagan's tenure. Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which simplified the tax code by reducing rates and removing several tax breaks, as well as the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which enacted sweeping changes to U.S. immigration law and granted amnesty to three million illegal immigrants. Reagan also appointed more federal judges than any other president, including four Supreme Court Justices. Reagan's foreign policy stance was resolutely anti-communist; its plan of action, known as the Reagan Doctrine, sought to roll back the global influence of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in an attempt to end the Cold War. Under this doctrine, the administration initiated a massive buildup of the military, promoted new technologies such as missile defense systems, and, in 1983, undertook an invasion of Grenada, the first major overseas action by U.S. troops since the end of the Vietnam War. It also controversially granted aid to paramilitary forces seeking to overthrow leftist governments, particularly in war-torn Central America
Central America
and Afghanistan. During Reagan's second term, he sought closer relations with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and the two leaders signed the INF Treaty, a major arms control agreement. The Reagan administration engaged in covert arms sales to Iran
in order to fund the Contra rebels in Nicaragua
that were fighting to overthrow their socialist government. The resulting Iran–Contra affair resulted in the conviction or resignation of several administration officials. Leaving office in 1989, Reagan held an approval rating of sixty-eight percent, matching those of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and later Bill Clinton, as the highest ratings for departing presidents in the modern era.[1] Historians and political scientists generally rank Reagan as an above-average president. Due to Reagan's impact on public discourse and advocacy of American conservatism, some historians have described the period during and after his presidency as the Reagan Era.


1 Conservative shift in politics 2 1980 election 3 Administration 4 Judicial appointments 5 Assassination attempt 6 Domestic affairs

6.1 "Reaganomics" and taxation 6.2 Government spending and debt 6.3 Economy 6.4 Deregulation 6.5 Immigration 6.6 War on Drugs 6.7 Social policies and civil rights 6.8 Mass surveillance

7 Foreign affairs

7.1 Role in setting foreign policy 7.2 Escalation of the Cold War 7.3 Reagan Doctrine 7.4 Central America
Central America
and the Caribbean 7.5 End of the Cold War 7.6 Middle East

7.6.1 Lebanon 7.6.2 Libya bombing

7.7 South Africa 7.8 Free trade 7.9 International travel

8 Controversies

8.1 Iran–Contra affair 8.2 Savings and loan crisis

9 Age and health concerns 10 Elections

10.1 1984 election 10.2 1988 election and transition

11 Evaluation and legacy 12 See also 13 References

13.1 Works Cited 13.2 Further Reading

14 External links

Conservative shift in politics[edit] Further information: Conservatism in the United States
Conservatism in the United States
and Reagan Era Reagan was the leader of a dramatic conservative shift that undercut many of the domestic and foreign policies that had dominated the national agenda for decades.[2][3] A major factor in the rise of conservatism was the growing distrust of government to do the right thing on behalf of the people. While distrust of high officials had been an American characteristic for two centuries, the Watergate scandal engendered heightened levels of suspicion of the government. The media was energized in its vigorous search for scandals, which deeply impacted both major parties at the national state and local levels.[4] At the same time there was a growing distrust of long-powerful institutions such as big business and labor unions. The postwar consensus regarding the value of technology in solving national problems came under attack; nuclear power especially was criticized by the New Left.[5] An unexpected new factor was the emergence of the religious right as a cohesive political force that gave strong support to conservatism.[6][7] Meanwhile, liberalism was facing divisive issues, as the New Left
New Left
challenged established liberals on such issues as the Vietnam War, and build a constituency on campuses and among younger voters. A "culture war" was emerging as a triangular battle among conservatives, liberals, and the New Left, involving such issues as individual freedom, divorce, sexual freedom, abortion, and homosexuality, and even topics such as hair length and musical taste.[8] The triumphal issue for liberalism was the achievement of civil rights legislation in the 1960s, which won over the black population and created a new black electorate in the South. However, that legislation alienated many working-class ethnic whites, and open the door for conservative white Southerners to move into the Republican Party.[9] 1980 election[edit]

1980 electoral vote results

Main articles: Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
presidential campaign, 1980 and United States presidential election, 1980 Reagan, who had served as Governor of California
Governor of California
from 1967 to 1975, narrowly lost the 1976 Republican presidential primaries to incumbent President Gerald Ford. With the defeat of Ford by Democrat Jimmy Carter in the 1976 election, Reagan immediately became the front-runner for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination.[10] A darling of the conservative movement, Reagan faced more moderate Republicans such as George H. W. Bush, Howard Baker, and Bob Dole
Bob Dole
in the 1980 Republican presidential primaries. After Bush won the Iowa caucuses, he became Reagan's primary challenger, but Reagan won the New Hampshire primary and most of the following primaries, gaining an insurmountable delegate lead by the end of March 1980. Ford was Reagan's first choice for his running mate, but Reagan backed away from the idea out of the fear of a "copresidency" in which Ford would exercise an unusual degree of power. Reagan instead chose Bush, and the Reagan-Bush ticket was nominated at the 1980 Republican National Convention. Meanwhile, Carter won the Democratic nomination, defeating Ted Kennedy's primary challenge. Polls taken after the party conventions showed a tied race between Reagan and Carter. An independent candidate, former Republican Congressman John B. Anderson, also appealed to numerous moderates.[11] The 1980 general campaign between Reagan and Carter was conducted amid a multitude of domestic concerns and the ongoing Iran
hostage crisis. Reagan's campaign stressed some of his fundamental principles: lower taxes to stimulate the economy,[12] less government interference in people's lives,[13] states' rights,[14] and a strong national defense.[15] Reagan won 50.7% of the popular vote and 489 of the 538 electoral votes. Carter won 41% of the popular vote and 49 electoral votes, while Anderson won 6.6% of the popular vote. In the concurrent congressional elections, Republicans took control of the Senate for the first time since the 1950s, while Democrats retained control of the House. Administration[edit]

The Reagan Cabinet

Office Name Term

President Ronald Reagan 1981–1989

Vice President George H. W. Bush 1981–1989

Secretary of State Alexander Haig 1981–1982

George P. Shultz 1982–1989

Secretary of Treasury Donald Regan 1981–1985

James Baker 1985–1988

Nicholas F. Brady 1988–1989

Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger 1981–1987

Frank Carlucci 1987–1989

Attorney General William F. Smith 1981–1985

Edwin Meese 1985–1988

Dick Thornburgh 1988–1989

Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt 1981–1983

William P. Clark Jr. 1983–1985

Donald P. Hodel 1985–1989

Secretary of Agriculture John Rusling Block 1981–1986

Richard E. Lyng 1986–1989

Secretary of Commerce Howard M. Baldrige Jr. 1981–1987

William Verity Jr. 1987–1989

Secretary of Labor Raymond J. Donovan 1981–1985

Bill Brock 1985–1987

Ann Dore McLaughlin 1987–1989

Secretary of Health and Human Services Richard Schweiker 1981–1983

Margaret Heckler 1983–1985

Otis R. Bowen 1985–1989

Secretary of Education Terrel Bell 1981–1984

William Bennett 1985–1988

Lauro Cavazos 1988–1989

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Samuel Pierce 1981–1989

Secretary of Transportation Drew Lewis 1981–1983

Elizabeth Dole 1983–1987

James H. Burnley IV 1987–1989

Secretary of Energy James B. Edwards 1981–1982

Donald P. Hodel 1982–1985

John S. Herrington 1985–1989

Chief of Staff James Baker 1981–1985

Donald Regan 1985–1987

Howard Baker 1987–1988

Kenneth Duberstein 1988–1989

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Anne M. Burford 1981–1983

William Ruckelshaus 1983–1985

Lee M. Thomas 1985–1989

Director of the Office of Management and Budget David Stockman 1981–1985

James C. Miller III 1985–1988

Joseph R. Wright Jr. 1988–1989

United States Trade Representative Bill Brock 1981–1985

Clayton Yeutter 1985–1989

Reagan tapped James Baker, who had run Bush's 1980 campaign, as his first chief of staff. Baker, Deputy Chief of Staff Michael Deaver, and Counselor Edwin Meese
Edwin Meese
formed the "troika," the key White House staffers early in Reagan's presidency.[16] Reagan chose Alexander Haig, a former general who had served as Chief of Staff to Richard Nixon, as his first Secretary of State. Other major Cabinet appointees included Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, a former Nixon cabinet official who would be charged with presiding over an increase in defense spending, and Secretary of the Treasury Donald Regan, a bank executive. Reagan selected David Stockman, a young Congressman from Michigan, as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.[17] CIA Director William J. Casey
William J. Casey
emerged as an important figure in the administration, as the CIA would figure prominently into Reagan's Cold War
Cold War
initiatives. Reagan downgraded the importance of the National Security Advisor, and six different individuals held that position during Reagan's presidency.[18] Haig left the cabinet in 1982 after clashing with other members of the Reagan administration, and was replaced by another former Nixon administration official, George P. Shultz.[19] Baker and Treasury Secretary Regan switched positions at the beginning of Reagan's second term.[20] Regan centralized power within his office, and he took on the responsibilities that had been held by Baker, Deaver, and Meese, the latter of whom succeeded William French Smith
William French Smith
as the Attorney General in 1985.[21] Regan frequently clashed with First Lady Nancy Reagan, and he left the administration in the wake of the Iran–Contra affair
Iran–Contra affair
and Republican losses in the 1986 mid-term elections. Regan was replaced by former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker.[22]

The Cabinet of President Reagan in 1981

Judicial appointments[edit] Main articles: Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Supreme Court candidates, List of federal judges appointed by Ronald Reagan, and Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
judicial appointment controversies

Reagan appointed William Rehnquist
William Rehnquist
to the office of Chief Justice in 1986; he served until his death in 2005

Reagan made four successful appointments to the Supreme Court during his eight years in office. In 1981, he successfully nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to succeed Associate Justice Potter Stewart. Reagan had promised to name the first woman to the Supreme Court in the 1980 presidential campaign, and he nominated her over the objection of some conservative leaders who objected to her past support of the Equal Rights Amendment.[23] O'Connor retired from the Court in 2006, and was generally considered to be a centrist conservative.[24] In 1986, Reagan elevated Associate Justice William Rehnquist
William Rehnquist
to the position of Chief Justice of the United States
Chief Justice of the United States
after Warren Burger
Warren Burger
chose to retire.[25] Rehnquist, a member of the conservative wing of the Court,[24] was the second sitting associate justice to be elevated to chief justice, after Edward Douglass White. Reagan successfully nominated Antonin Scalia
Antonin Scalia
to fill Rehnquist's position as an associate justice of the Court.[25] Scalia became a member of the Court's conservative wing.[24] After Lewis F. Powell Jr.
Lewis F. Powell Jr.
announced his impending retirement from the Court in 1987, Reagan faced difficulty in winning confirmation for a successor to Powell. Reagan nominated Robert Bork
Robert Bork
in July 1987, but the nomination was rejected by the U.S. Senate in October 1987.[25] Later that month, Reagan announced the nomination of Douglas H. Ginsburg, but Ginsburg withdrew from consideration in November 1987. Finally, Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy, who won Senate confirmation in February 1988.[25] Currently the senior member of the Court, Kennedy is generally considered to be a centrist conservative.[24] Reagan also appointed 83 judges to the United States courts of appeals, and 290 judges to the United States district courts. Reagan sought to appoint conservatives to the bench, and many of his appointees were connected with the conservative Federalist Society.[26] Assassination attempt[edit] Main article: Attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan On March 30, 1981, only 69 days into the new administration, Reagan, his press secretary James Brady, Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty, and Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy
Tim McCarthy
were struck by gunfire from would-be assassin John Hinckley Jr.
John Hinckley Jr.
outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. Although "close to death" at the hospital,[27] immediately after the assassination, some White House aides expressed fear that the country would be left with an invalid President, much as it had been following Woodrow Wilson's stroke in 1919.[28] However, Reagan recovered and was released from the hospital on April 11, becoming the first serving president to survive being wounded in an assassination attempt.[29] The failed assassination attempt had great influence on Reagan's popularity; polls indicated his approval rating to be around 73%.[30][28] Many pundits and journalists would later describe the failed assassination as a critical moment in Reagan's presidency, as Reagan's newfound popularity provided critical momentum in passing his domestic agenda.[31] Domestic affairs[edit] Main article: Domestic policy of the Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
administration "Reaganomics" and taxation[edit] Main article: Reaganomics

Outlining his plan for Tax Reduction Legislation from the Oval Office in a televised address, July 1981

Reagan implemented economic policies based on supply-side economics, advocating a laissez-faire philosophy and free-market fiscal policy.[32] Reagan's taxation policies resembled those instituted by President Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge
and Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon
Andrew Mellon
in the 1920s, but Reagan was also strongly influenced by contemporary economists such as Arthur Laffer, who rejected the then-dominant views of Keynesian economists.[33] Reagan relied on Laffer and other economists to argue that tax cuts would reduce inflation, which went against the prevailing Keynesian view.[34] Upon taking office, Reagan's first priority was the passage of a bill that would cut federal income tax rates. As Democrats controlled the House of Representatives, passage of any bill would require the support of some House Democrats in addition to the support of Congressional Republicans. In 1981, Reagan frequently met with members of Congress, focusing especially on winning support from conservative Southern Democrats. The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, signed into law in July 1981, cut the top marginal tax rate from 70% to 50% and lowered the estate tax and the corporate tax.[35] Due to concerns about the mounting federal debt, Reagan agreed to raise taxes the following year, signing the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA).[36] Many of Reagan's conservative supporters condemned TEFRA, but Reagan argued that his administration would be unable to win further budget cuts without the tax hike.[37] As deficits continued to be an issue, Reagan signed another bill that raised taxes, the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.[38] With Donald Regan
Donald Regan
taking over as Chief of Staff in 1985, the Reagan administration made simplification of the tax code the central focus of its second term domestic agenda.[39] Working with Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, a Democrat who also favored tax reform, Reagan overcame significant opposition from members of Congress in both parties to pass the Tax Reform Act of 1986.[40] The act simplified the tax code by reducing the number of tax brackets to four and slashing a number of tax breaks. The top rate was dropped to 28%, but capital gains taxes were increased on those with the highest incomes from 20% to 28%. The increase of the lowest tax bracket from 11% to 15% was more than offset by expansion of the personal exemption, standard deduction, and earned income tax credit. The net result was the removal of six million poor Americans from the income tax roll and a reduction of income tax liability at all income levels.[41][42] The net effect of all Reagan-era tax bills was a 1% decrease in government revenues when compared to Treasury Department revenue estimates from the Administration's first post-enactment January budgets.[43] However, federal income tax receipts increased from 1980 to 1989, rising from $308.7 billion to $549 billion[44] or an average annual rate of 8.2% (2.5% attributed to higher Social Security receipts), and federal outlays grew at an annual rate of 7.1%.[45][46] Government spending and debt[edit]

U.S. government revenues (orange), expenditures (yellow), and total debt (green) as a percentage of GDP, fiscal year 1981 to 1989[47]

Reagan prioritized tax cuts over spending, arguing that lower revenue would eventually require lower spending.[48] Nonetheless, Reagan was determined to decrease government spending and roll back or dismantle Great Society
Great Society
programs such as Medicaid
and the Office of Economic Opportunity.[49] Reagan cut the budgets of non-military[50] programs[51] including food stamps, federal education programs[50] and the EPA.[52] Notably absent from the budget cuts was the Department of Defense, which saw its budget bolstered.[53] In 1981, OMB Director David Stockman
David Stockman
won Reagan's approval to seek cuts to Social Security in 1981, but this plan was poorly-received in Congress.[54] In 1982, Reagan established the bipartisan National Commission on Social Security Reform to make recommendations to secure the long-term integrity of Social Security. The commission rejected Social Security privatization and other major changes to the program, but recommended expanding the Social Security base (by including exempt federal and nonprofit employees), raising Social Security taxes, and reducing some payments. These recommendations were enacted in the Social Security Amendments of 1983, which received bipartisan support.[55] While Reagan avoided cuts to Social Security and Medicare for most individuals,[56] his administration attempted to purge many people from the Social Security disability rolls.[57] Reagan's inability to preside over Social Security solidified its status as the "third rail" of U.S. politics, and future administrations would be reluctant to propose cuts to the popular program.[58] Reagan experienced several legislative successes in his first year in office, but his attempts to cut federal domestic spending after 1981 met increasing congressional resistance.[59] Reagan's policy of New Federalism, which sought to shift the responsibility for most social programs to state governments, also found little support in Congress.[60] The federal budget, along with the national as a whole, also suffered from the early 1980s recession.[61] From 1981 to 1989, the national debt rose from $998 billion to $2.857 trillion.[62] As Reagan was unwilling to match his tax cuts with cuts to defense spending or Social Security, rising deficits became an issue.[63] Unable to win further spending cuts, and pressured to address the deficit, Reagan was forced to raise taxes after 1981.[64] In another effort to lower the national debt, Congress passed the Gramm–Rudman–Hollings Balanced Budget Act, which called for automatic spending cuts if Congress was otherwise unable to cut the deficit. However, Congress found ways around the automatic cuts and deficits continued to rise, ultimately leading to the passage of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990.[65] Economy[edit] Reagan took office in the midst of poor economic conditions, as the country experienced stagflation, a phenomenon in which both inflation and unemployment were high.[66] As the recession continued in the first two years of Reagan's presidency, many within Reagan's blamed the policies of Paul Volcker, the Chair
of the Federal Reserve. Volcker sought to fight inflation by pursuing a policy of "tight money" in which interest rates were set a high level. Unemployment reached a high of nearly 11% in 1982.[67] The country emerged from recession in 1983, and both unemployment and inflation dropped.[68] Fearful of damaging confidence in the economic recovery, Reagan nominated Volcker to a second term in 1983, and Volcker remained in office until 1987. During this period, the Reagan administration continued to urge Volcker to loosen the money supply as inflation remained relatively low and the economy continued to grow. In 1987, Reagan appointed conservative economist Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan
to succeeded Volcker, and Greenspan would lead the Federal Reserve until 2006. Greenspan raised interest rates in another attempt to curb inflation, setting off a stock market crash in October 1987 known as "Black Monday," but the markets stabilized and recovered in the following weeks.[69] Deregulation[edit] Reagan sought to loosen federal regulation of economic activities, and he appointed key officials who shared this agenda. According to historian William Leuchtenburg, by 1986, the Reagan administration eliminated almost half of the federal regulations that had existed in 1981.[70] The Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
aggressively deregulated the broadcasting industry, eliminating the Fairness Doctrine and other restrictions.[71] The 1982 Garn–St. Germain Depository Institutions Act deregulated savings and loan associations and allowed banks to provide adjustable-rate mortgages. Reagan also eliminated numerous government positions and dismissed numerous federal employees, including the entire staff of the Employment and Training Administration. Secretary of the Interior James Watt
James Watt
presided over a policy that sought to open up federal territories to oil drilling and surface mining. Under EPA Director Anne Gorsuch, the EPA's budget was dramatically reduced and the EPA loosely enforced environmental regulations.[70] Immigration[edit] See also: Immigration to the United States Reagan did not make immigration a focus of his administration, but he came to support a package of reforms sponsored by Republican Senator Alan Simpson and Democratic Congressman Romano Mazzoli. Though he was not closely involved in its passage, Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act in November 1986.[72] The act made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit illegal immigrants, required employers to attest to their employees' immigration status, and granted amnesty to approximately three million illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982, and had lived in the country continuously. The bill was also designed to enhance security measures at the Mexico–United States border.[73] Upon signing the act at a ceremony held beside the newly refurbished Statue of Liberty, Reagan said, "The legalization provisions in this act will go far to improve the lives of a class of individuals who now must hide in the shadows, without access to many of the benefits of a free and open society. Very soon many of these men and women will be able to step into the sunlight and, ultimately, if they choose, they may become Americans."[74] Reagan also said, "The employer sanctions program is the keystone and major element. It will remove the incentive for illegal immigration by eliminating the job opportunities which draw illegal aliens here."[74] The bill was largely unsuccessful at halting illegal immigration, as the population of illegal immigrants rose from 5 million in 1986 to 11.1 million in 2013.[73] War on Drugs[edit]

First Lady Nancy Reagan
Nancy Reagan
at a Just Say No
Just Say No
rally at the White House

Not long after being sworn into office, Reagan declared more militant policies in the "War on Drugs".[75][76] He promised a "planned, concerted campaign" against all drugs,[77] eventually leading to decreases in adolescent drug use in America.[78][79] As a part of the administration's effort, First Lady Nancy Reagan
Nancy Reagan
made the War on Drugs her main cause as First Lady, by founding the "Just Say No" drug awareness campaign.[80] President Reagan signed a large drug enforcement bill, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. It granted $1.7 billion to fight drugs, and ensured a mandatory minimum penalty for drug offenses.[80] The bill was criticized for promoting significant racial disparities in the prison population, however, because of the differences in sentencing for crack versus powder cocaine.[80] Critics also charged that the administration's policies did little to actually reduce the availability of drugs or crime on the street, while resulting in a great financial and human cost for American society.[81] Supporters argued that the numbers for adolescent drug users declined during Reagan's years in office.[79] Reagan also signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, which further increased criminal penalties for drug use and established the Office of National Drug Control Policy.[82] Social policies and civil rights[edit] Reagan was largely unable to enact his ambitious social policy agenda, which included a federal ban on abortions, the legalization of organized school prayer, and an end to desegregation busing. Despite the lack of major social policy legislation, Reagan was able to influence social policy through regulations and the appointment of conservative Supreme Court Justices.[83] In 1982, Reagan signed a bill extending the Voting Rights Act
Voting Rights Act
for 25 years after a grass-roots lobbying and legislative campaign forced him to abandon his plan to ease that law's restrictions.[84] In 1988 he vetoed the Civil Rights Restoration Act, but his veto was overridden by Congress. Reagan had argued that the legislation infringed on states' rights and the rights of churches and business owners.[85] No civil rights legislation for gay individuals passed during Reagan's tenure. Many in the Reagan administration, including Communications Director Pat Buchanan, were hostile to the gay community, as were many religious leaders who were important allies to the administration. The administration avoided publicly address a growing HIV/AIDS
crisis until 1985, though in 1987 he declared AIDS "public enemy number one."[86] On the 1980 campaign trail, he spoke of the gay rights movement:

My criticism is that [the gay movement] isn’t just asking for civil rights; it’s asking for recognition and acceptance of an alternative lifestyle which I do not believe society can condone, nor can I.[87]

Mass surveillance[edit] Citing national security concerns, the president's national security team pressed for more surveillance power early during Reagan's first term. Their recommendations were based upon the premise that the federal government's intelligence and counterintelligence capabilities had been weakened by presidents Carter and Ford.[88] On December 4, 1981, Reagan signed Executive Order 12333. This presidential directive broadened the power of the government's intelligence community; mandated rules for spying on United States citizens, permanent residents, and on anyone within the United States; and also directed the Attorney General and others to create further policies and procedures for what information intelligence agencies can collect, retain, and share.[89] Foreign affairs[edit]

Countries Reagan visited during his presidency

Main article: Foreign policy of the Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
administration Role in setting foreign policy[edit] From early in his presidency, Reagan at U.S. National Security Council meetings seemed "really lost, out of his depth, uncomfortable," according to Richard Pipes, the Soviet expert who served as an official on the U.S. National Security Council
U.S. National Security Council
staff[90] 1981-1982.[91] The lack of direction provided by Reagan during foreign policy discussions resulted in a "passive management style [that] placed a tremendous burden on us,” recalled General Colin Powell, deputy to U.S. National Security Advisor] Frank Carlucci. This resulted in policy being set by staffers around Reagan with differing views and agendas. Powell continued “Until we got used to it, we felt uneasy implementing recommendations without a clear decision....One morning...Frank moaned..., 'My God, we didn't sign on to run this country!'”[92] after he briefed an “unresponsive” and “impassive” Reagan."[93] Similarly, James Baker, who served as White House chief of staff
White House chief of staff
and as US Secretary of the Treasury
US Secretary of the Treasury
under Reagan, portrayed Reagan's foreign policy team as "a witches' brew of intrigue...and separate agendas.”[94] The Tower Commission
Tower Commission
strongly criticized Reagan for his disengagement from managing his staff.[95] Early in 1987, following the public disclosures of the Iran-Contra scandal, Reagan became less attentive-- White House
White House
aides said Reagan was “lazy; he wasn't interested in the job. They said he wouldn't read the papers they gave him--even short position papers and documents. They said he wouldn't come over to work--all he wanted to do was to watch movies and television at the residence,” according to White House
White House
aide James Cannon, who interviewed 15-20 White House officials, including senior staff. Cannon wrote in an internal memorandum to incoming White House Chief of Staff
White House Chief of Staff
Howard Baker
Howard Baker
that there was “chaos” in the White House. "There was no order in the place. The staff system had just broken down. It had just evaporated."[96] [97] [98] [99] Escalation of the Cold War[edit] See also: Cold War
Cold War

As the first U.S. president invited to speak before the British Parliament (June 8, 1982), Reagan predicted Marxism would end up on the "ash heap of history"[100]

Reagan escalated the Cold War, accelerating a reversal from the policy of détente which began in 1979 after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.[101] Reagan ordered a massive buildup of the United States Armed Forces and implemented new policies towards the Soviet Union: reviving the B-1 Lancer
B-1 Lancer
program that had been canceled by the Carter administration, and producing the MX missile.[102] In response to Soviet deployment of the SS-20, Reagan oversaw NATO's deployment of the Pershing missile
Pershing missile
in West Germany.[103] Together with the United Kingdom's prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Reagan denounced the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in ideological terms.[104] In a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals on March 8, 1983, Reagan called the Soviet Union "an evil empire."[105] Despite these denouncements, the Reagan administration continued arms control talks with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in the form of "START." Unlike the "SALT" treaties of the 1970s, the proposed START treaty would require both sides to reduce their nuclear arsenals, as opposed to setting upper limits.[106]

Meeting with leaders of the Afghan Mujahideen
in the Oval Office, 1983

In March 1983, Reagan introduced the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a defense project that would have used ground- and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. Reagan believed that this defense shield could make nuclear war impossible.[107] Many scientists and national security experts criticized the project as costly and technologically infeasible, and critics dubbed SDI as "Star Wars" in reference to a popular film series of the same name.[108] Ultimately, the SDI would be canceled in 1993 due to concerns about its cost and effectiveness as well as a changing international situation.[109] However, the Soviets became concerned about the possible effects SDI would have and viewed its development as a violation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.[110] In protest of SDI, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
broke off arms control talks, and U.S.-Soviet relations descended to their lowest point since the early 1960s. Reflecting the bitter and distrustful atmosphere, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007
Korean Air Lines Flight 007
in September 1983 after it flew through Soviet airspace.[111] Reagan Doctrine[edit] Under a policy that came to be known as the Reagan Doctrine, the Reagan administration provided overt and covert aid to anti-communist resistance movements in an effort to "rollback" Soviet-backed communist governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.[112] In Eastern Europe, the CIA provided support to the Polish opposition group, Solidarity, ensuring that it stayed afloat during a period of martial law.[113] Reagan deployed the CIA's Special
Activities Division to Afghanistan
and Pakistan, and the CIA was instrumental in training, equipping, and leading Mujahideen
forces against the Soviet Army in the Soviet-Afghan War.[114][115] By 1987, the United States was sending over $600 million a year, as well as weapons, intelligence, and combat expertise to Afghanistan. The Soviet Union announced it would withdraw from Afghanistan
in 1987, but the U.S. was subjected to blowback in the form of the Taliban
and al-Qaeda, two groups that arose out of the Mujahideen
and that would oppose the United States in future conflicts.[116] Central America
Central America
and the Caribbean[edit] See also: Latin America–United States relations

Reagan meets with Prime Minister Eugenia Charles
Eugenia Charles
of Dominica
in the Oval Office
Oval Office
about ongoing events in Grenada

The Reagan administration placed a high priority on the Central America and the Caribbean Sea, which they saw as another front in the Cold War. Reagan and his foreign policy team were particularly concerned about the potential influence of Cuba
on countries such as Grenada, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. To counter the influence of Cuba and the Soviet Union, Reagan launched the Caribbean Basin Initiative, an economic program designed to aid countries opposed to Communism. He also authorized covert measures, such as the arming of Nicaragua's Contras, to minimize Cuban and Soviet influence in the region.[117] The invasion of Grenada
in 1983, ordered by President Reagan, was the first major foreign event of the administration, as well as the first major operation conducted by the military since the Vietnam War. President Reagan justified the invasion by claiming that the cooperation of the island with Cuba
posed a threat to the United States, and stated the invasion was a response to the illegal overthrow and execution of Grenadian Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, himself a communist, by another faction of communists within his government. After the start of planning for the invasion, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
(OECS) appealed to the United States, Barbados, and Jamaica, among other nations, for assistance. The US invasion was poorly done, for it took over 10,000 U.S. forces eight days of fighting, suffering nineteen fatalities and 116 injuries, fighting against several hundred lightly armed policemen and Cuban construction workers. Grenada's Governor-General, Paul Scoon, announced the resumption of the constitution and appointed a new government, and U.S. forces withdrew that December.[citation needed] While the invasion enjoyed public support in the United States and Grenada[118][119] it was criticized by the United Kingdom, Canada
and the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
as "a flagrant violation of international law".[120] The date of the invasion is now a national holiday in Grenada, called Thanksgiving Day. End of the Cold War[edit] See also: Cold War
Cold War

Gorbachev and Reagan sign the INF Treaty
INF Treaty
at the White House, 1987

Three different Soviet leaders died between 1982 and 1985, leaving the Soviets with an unstable leadership until Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
came to power in 1985.[121] Although the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had not accelerated military spending during Reagan's military buildup,[122] their large military expenses, in combination with collectivized agriculture and inefficient planned manufacturing, were a heavy burden for the Soviet economy.[123] At the same time, increased oil production by Saudi Arabia[124] resulted in a drop of oil prices in 1985 to one-third of the previous level; oil was the main source of Soviet export revenues.[123] These factors contributed to a stagnant Soviet economy during Gorbachev's tenure.[123] Gorbachev was less ideologically rigid than his predecessors, and he believed that the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
urgently needed economic and political reforms.[125] In 1986, he introduced his twin reforms of perestroika and glasnost, which would change the political and economic conditions of the Soviet Union.[126] Seeking to reduce military expenditures and minimize the possibility of nuclear war, he also sought to re-open negotiations with the United States.[127] Reagan recognized the change in the direction of the Soviet leadership under Gorbachev, and shifted to diplomacy, with a view to encourage the Soviet leader to pursue substantial arms agreements. Reagan's personal mission was to achieve "a world free of nuclear weapons," which he regarded as "totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization."[128] He also believed that if he could persuade the Soviets to allow for more democracy and free speech, this would lead to reform and the end of Communism.[129] Gorbachev and Reagan held four summit conferences between 1985 and 1988: the first in Geneva, Switzerland, the second in Reykjavík, Iceland, the third in Washington, D.C., and the fourth in Moscow.[130] Reagan and Gorbachev began a private correspondence after the 1985 Geneva Summit, and each became increasingly optimistic about arms control negotiations.[131] At the 1986 Reykjavík Summit, Gorbachev and Reagan neared closed in on an agreement to greatly reduce or eliminate the nuclear stockpiles of both the U.S. and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
over a ten-year period, but the deal collapsed due to disagreements regarding SDI development.[132] Gorbachev and Reagan resolved this dispute by agreeing to negotiate separate treaties on intermediate nuclear forces (such as intermediate-range ballistic missiles) and strategic arms (such as intercontinental ballistic missiles).[133] At the 1987 summit in Washington, Reagan and Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), in which both parties agreed to significant cuts in their respective nuclear arsenals. They also discussed the potential strategic arms treaty, START, but SDI continued to be a major point of contention.[134] In July 1991, after Reagan left office, the U.S. and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
would sign START.[135] Though it was attacked by conservatives like Jesse Helms, the INF Treaty provided a major boost to Reagan's popularity in the aftermath of the Iran–Contra Affair. A new era of trade and openness between the two powers commenced, and the U.S. and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
cooperated on international issues such as the Iran–Iraq War.[136] When Reagan visited Moscow for the fourth summit in 1988, he was viewed as a celebrity by the Soviets. A journalist asked the president if he still considered the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
the evil empire. "No," he replied, "I was talking about another time, another era."[137] At Gorbachev's request, Reagan gave a speech on free markets at the Moscow State University.[138] In December 1988, Gorbachev effectively renounced the Brezhnev Doctrine, paving the way for democratization in Eastern Europe.[139] In November 1989, ten months after Reagan left office, the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
was opened, and the Cold War
Cold War
was unofficially declared over at the Malta Summit
Malta Summit
in December 1989.[140] Middle East[edit] Lebanon[edit] A civil war had broken out in Lebanon
in 1975, and both Israel
and Syria
undertook military action within Lebanon
in 1982.[141] After Israel
invaded Southern Lebanon, Reagan faced domestic and international pressure to oppose the Israeli invasion, but Reagan was reluctant to openly break Israel. Reagan sympathized with Israeli's desire to defeat PLO forces that had struck Israel
from Lebanon, but he pressured Israel
to end its invasion as casualties mounted and Israeli forces approached the Lebanese capital of Beirut.[142] American diplomat Philip Habib
Philip Habib
arranged a cease-fire in which Israel, Syria, and the PLO, all agreed to evacuate their forces from Lebanon. As Israel
delayed a full withdrawal and violence continued in Lebanon, Reagan arranged for a multinational force, including U.S. Marines, to serve as peacekeepers in Lebanon.[143] In October 1983, two nearly-simultaneous bombings in Beirut
killed 241 American soldiers and 58 French soldiers.[144] The international peacekeeping force was withdrawn from Lebanon
in 1984. In reaction to the role Israel
and the United States played in the Lebanese Civil War, a Shia militant group known as Hezbollah
began to take American hostages, holding eight Americans by the middle of 1985.[145] The Reagan administration's attempts to release these hostages would be a major component of the Iran-Contra Scandal. In response to the U.S. intervention in Lebanon, the Defense Department developed the "Powell Doctrine," which stated that the U.S. should intervene militarily as a last resort and should set clear and limited goals in such interventions.[146] Libya bombing[edit] Main article: 1986 United States bombing of Libya

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
(here with Reagan outside 10 Downing Street in June 1982, as the Falklands War
Falklands War
drew to a close) granted the U.S. use of British airbases to launch the Libya attack

Relations between Libya and the United States under President Reagan were continually contentious, beginning with the Gulf of Sidra incident in 1981; by 1982, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi
was considered by the CIA to be, along with USSR leader Leonid Brezhnev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, part of a group known as the "unholy trinity" and was also labeled as "our international public enemy number one" by a CIA official.[147] These tensions were later revived in early April 1986, when a bomb exploded in a Berlin discothèque, resulting in the injury of 63 American military personnel and death of one serviceman. Stating that there was "irrefutable proof" that Libya had directed the "terrorist bombing," Reagan authorized the use of force against the country. In the late evening of April 15, 1986, the United States launched a series of airstrikes on ground targets in Libya.[148][149] Britain's prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, allowed the U.S. Air Force to use Britain's air bases to launch the attack, on the justification that the UK was supporting America's right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.[149] The attack was designed to halt Gaddafi's "ability to export terrorism," offering him "incentives and reasons to alter his criminal behavior."[148] The president addressed the nation from the Oval Office after the attacks had commenced, stating, "When our citizens are attacked or abused anywhere in the world on the direct orders of hostile regimes, we will respond so long as I'm in this office."[149] The attack was condemned by many countries. By a vote of 79 in favor to 28 against with 33 abstentions, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 41/38 which "condemns the military attack perpetrated against the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya on April 15, 1986, which constitutes a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and of international law."[150] South Africa[edit] Main article: South Africa
South Africa
under apartheid

President Reagan meeting with South African anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu
in 1984

During Ronald Reagan's presidency South Africa
South Africa
continued to use a non-democratic system of government based on racial discrimination, known as apartheid, in which the minority of white South Africans exerted nearly complete legal control over the lives of the non-white majority of the citizens. In the early 1980s the issue had moved to the center of international attention as a result of events in the townships and outcry at the death of Stephen Biko. Reagan administration policy called for "constructive engagement" with the apartheid government of South Africa. In opposition to the condemnations issued by the US Congress and public demands for diplomatic or economic sanctions, Reagan made relatively minor criticisms of the regime, which was otherwise internationally isolated, and the US granted recognition to the government. South Africa's military was then engaged in an occupation of Namibia
and proxy wars in several neighboring countries, in alliance with Savimbi's UNITA. Reagan administration officials saw the apartheid government as a key anti-communist ally.[151] By late 1985, facing hostile votes from Congress on the issue, Reagan made an "abrupt reversal" on the issue and proposed sanctions on the South African government, including an arms embargo.[152] However, these sanctions were seen as weak by anti- Apartheid
activists who were calling for Disinvestment from South Africa.[153] In 1986, Reagan vetoed the tougher sanctions of the Comprehensive Anti- Apartheid
Act, but this was overridden by a bipartisan effort in Congress. By 1990, under Reagan's successor George H. W. Bush, the new South African government of F. W. de Klerk
F. W. de Klerk
was introducing widespread reforms, though the Reagan administration argued that this was not a result of the tougher sanctions.[154] Free trade[edit] During his 1980 presidential campaign, Reagan proposed the creation of a common market in North America. Once in office, Reagan signed the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984, which granted the president "fast track" authority in negotiating free trade agreements.[155] In 1985, Reagan signed the Israel–United States Free Trade Agreement, the first bilateral free trade agreement in U.S. history.[156] In 1988, Reagan and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney
Brian Mulroney
signed the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement, which greatly reduced trade barriers between the United States and Canada. This trade pact would serve as the foundation for the North American Free Trade Agreement
North American Free Trade Agreement
among the United States, Canada, and Mexico.[155] International travel[edit] Main article: List of international presidential trips made by Ronald Reagan Reagan made 25 international trips to 26 different countries on four continents—Europe, Asia, North America, and South America—during his Presidency.[157] He made seven trips to continental Europe, three to Asia and one to South America. He is perhaps best remembered for his speeches at the 40th anniversary of the Normandy landings, for his impassioned speech at the Berlin Wall, his summit meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev, and riding horses with Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II
at Windsor Park. Controversies[edit] Main article: Reagan administration scandals Iran–Contra affair[edit] Main article: Iran–Contra affair Fearing that Communists would take over Nicaragua
if it remained under the leadership of the left-wing Sandinistas, the Reagan administration authorized CIA Director William J. Casey
William J. Casey
to arm the right-wing Contras early in his tenure. Congress, which favored negotiations between the Contras
and Sandinista, passed the 1982 Boland Amendment, prohibiting the CIA and Defense Department from using their budgets to aid to the Contras. Still intent on supporting the Contras, the Reagan administration raised funds for the Contras
from private donors and foreign governments.[158] During his second-term, Reagan sought to find a way procure the release of seven American hostages held by Hezbollah, a Lebanese paramilitary group supported by Iran. The Reagan administration decided to sell American arms to Iran, then engaged in the Iran–Iraq War, in hopes that Iran
would pressure Hezbollah
to release the hostages. The Reagan administration sold over 2000 missiles to Iran without informing Congress, while Hezollah released four hostages but captured an additional six Americans. On the initiative of Oliver North, an aide on the National Security Council, the Reagan administration redirected the proceeds from the missile sales to the Contras. The transactions became public knowledge in October 1986, resulting in the dismissals of North and National Security Adviser John Poindexter. Reagan also appointed the Tower Commission
Tower Commission
and Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh to investigate the transactions.[159] The Tower Commission, chaired by former Republican Senator John Tower, released a report in February 1987 that confirmed that the administration had traded arms for hostages, then sent the proceeds of the weapons sales to the Contras. The report laid most of the blame for the operation on North, Poindexter, and former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, but it was also critical of Regan and other White House
White House
staffers.[160] In response to the Tower Commission
Tower Commission
report, Reagan stated, "Its findings are honest, convincing and highly critical...As angry as I may be about activities undertaken without my knowledge, I am still accountable for those activities."[161] The Iran–Contra scandal, as it became known, did serious damage to the Reagan presidency. A poll taken in March 1987 showed that 85 percent of respondents believed that the Reagan administration had engaged in an organized cover-up, and half of the respondents believed that Reagan had been personally involved. The administration's credibility was shattered on the international stage, as it had violated its own arms embargo on Iran.[162] The investigations into the Iran–Contra scandal continued after Reagan left office, but were effectively halted when President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
pardoned Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger
Caspar Weinberger
before his trial began.[163] Savings and loan crisis[edit] Main article: Savings and loan crisis In the savings and loan crisis, 747 financial institutions failed and needed to be rescued with $160 billion in taxpayer dollars.[164] Revisions to the tax code during Reagan's term included the elimination of the "passive loss" provisions that subsidized rental housing. Because this was removed retroactively, it bankrupted many real estate developments which used this tax break as a premise, which in turn bankrupted 747 Savings and Loans, many of whom were operating more or less as banks, thus requiring the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to cover their debts and losses with tax payer money. This with some other "deregulation" policies, ultimately led to the largest political and financial scandal in U.S. history to that date, the savings and loan crisis. The ultimate cost of the crisis is estimated to have totaled around $150 billion, about $125 billion of which was directly subsidized by the U.S. government, which further increased the large budget deficits of the early 1990s. As an indication of this scandal's size, Martin Mayer wrote at the time, "The theft from the taxpayer by the community that fattened on the growth of the savings and loan (S&L) industry in the 1980s is the worst public scandal in American history. Teapot Dome
Teapot Dome
in the Harding administration and the Credit Mobilier in the times of Ulysses S. Grant have been taken as the ultimate horror stories of capitalist democracy gone to seed. Measuring by money, [or] by the misallocation of national resources... the S&L outrage makes Teapot Dome
Teapot Dome
and Credit Mobilier seem minor episodes."[165] Economist John Kenneth Galbraith called it "the largest and costliest venture in public misfeasance, malfeasance and larceny of all time".[166] Age and health concerns[edit]

Reagan in February 1985

As Reagan was, at the time, the oldest person to be inaugurated as president (age 69), and also the oldest person to hold the office (age 77), his health became a concern at times during his presidency. Former White House
White House
correspondent Lesley Stahl
Lesley Stahl
later wrote that she and other reporters noticed what might have been early symptoms of Reagan's later Alzheimer's disease.[167] She said that on her last day on the beat, Reagan spoke to her for a few moments and did not seem to know who she was, before then returning to his normal self.[167] However, Reagan's primary physician, Dr. John Hutton, said the president "absolutely" did not "show any signs of dementia or Alzheimer's".[168] His doctors noted that he began exhibiting Alzheimer's symptoms only after he left the White House.[169] On July 13, 1985, Reagan underwent surgery to remove polyps from his colon, causing the first-ever invocation of the Acting President clause of the 25th Amendment. On January 5, 1987, Reagan underwent surgery for prostate cancer which caused further worries about his health, but which significantly raised the public awareness of this "silent killer". Elections[edit] 1984 election[edit]

1984 electoral vote results

Main article: United States presidential election, 1984 Reagan's approval ratings fell after his first year in office, and his party suffered congressional losses in the 1982 elections. Reagan's approval ratings bounced back when the United States began to emerge from recession in 1983.[170] Reagan's opponent in the 1984 presidential election was former Vice President Walter Mondale, who had been Carter's running mate in 1980. Mondale criticized the federal debt accumulated under Reagan, stating, "...The budget will be squeezed. Taxes will go up. And anyone who says they won't is not telling the truth to the American people."[68] With questions about his age, and a weak performance in the first presidential debate, Reagan's ability to perform the duties of president for another term was questioned. His apparent confused and forgetful behavior was evident to his supporters; they had previously known him clever and witty. Rumors began to circulate that he had Alzheimer's disease.[171][172] Reagan rebounded in the second debate, and confronted questions about his age, quipping, "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience," which generated applause and laughter, even from Mondale himself.[173] That November, Reagan was re-elected, winning 49 of 50 states.[174] The president's overwhelming victory saw Mondale carry only his home state of Minnesota with a razor-thin margin and the District of Columbia. Reagan won a record 525 electoral votes, the most of any candidate in United States history,[175] and received 59% of the popular vote to Mondale's 41%.[174] 1988 election and transition[edit]

1988 electoral vote results

Reagan remained publicly neutral in the 1988 Republican presidential primaries, but privately supported Vice President Bush over Senator Bob Dole. The 1988 Republican National Convention, which nominated Bush for president, also acted as a celebration of Reagan's presidency.[176] In the 1988 presidential election, Vice President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
defeated Democratic Governor Michael Dukakis
Michael Dukakis
of Massachusetts, taking 53.4% of the popular vote and 426 of the 538 electoral votes. The Bush administration would include several veterans of the Reagan administration, including James Baker
James Baker
and Attorney General Dick Thornburgh. On January 11, 1989, Reagan addressed the nation for the last time on television from the Oval Office, nine days before handing over the presidency to Bush. On the morning of January 20, 1989, Ronald and Nancy Reagan
Nancy Reagan
met with the Bushes for coffee at the White House
White House
before escorting them to the Capitol Building, where Bush took the oath of office. Evaluation and legacy[edit] Since Reagan left office in 1989, substantial debate has occurred among scholars, historians, and the general public surrounding his legacy.[177] Supporters have pointed to a more efficient and prosperous economy as a result of Reagan's economic policies,[178] foreign policy triumphs including a peaceful end to the Cold War,[179] and a restoration of American pride and morale.[180] Proponents also argue Reagan restored faith in the American Dream with his unabated and passionate love for the United States,[181] after a decline in American confidence and self-respect under Jimmy Carter's perceived weak leadership, particularly during the Iran
hostage crisis, as well as his gloomy, dreary outlook for the future of the United States during the 1980 election.[182] Critics contend that Reagan's economic policies resulted in rising budget deficits,[183] a wider gap in wealth, and an increase in homelessness[184] and that the Iran–Contra affair
Iran–Contra affair
lowered American credibility.[185] Despite the continuing debate surrounding his legacy, many conservative and liberal scholars agree that Reagan has been the most influential president since Franklin D. Roosevelt, leaving his imprint on American politics, diplomacy, culture, and economics through his effective communication, dedicated patriotism and pragmatic compromising.[186] Since he left office, historians have reached a consensus,[187] as summarized by British historian M. J. Heale, who finds that scholars now concur that Reagan rehabilitated conservatism, turned the nation to the right, practiced a considerably pragmatic conservatism that balanced ideology and the constraints of politics, revived faith in the presidency and in American exceptionalism, and contributed to victory in the Cold War.[188] Hugh Heclo argues that Reagan himself failed to roll back the welfare state, but that he contributed to a shift in attitudes that led to the defeat of efforts to further expand the welfare state.[189] Heclo further argues that Reagan's presidency made American voters and political leaders more tolerant of deficits and more opposed to taxation.[190] See also[edit]

1980s portal Government of the United States portal Conservatism portal United States portal

History of the United States (1980–91) Premiership of Margaret Thatcher Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California 600-ship Navy


^ "A Look Back At The Polls". CBS News. Retrieved May 15, 2015.  ^ Bruce J. Schulman and Julian E. Zelizer, eds. Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s (Harvard UP, 2008) pp 1-10. ^ Andrew Busch, Regan's victory: the presidential election of 1980 and the rise of the right (UP of Kansas, 2005). ^ J. Lull, and S. Hinerman, "The search for scandal' in J. Lull & S. Hinerman, eds. Media scandals: Morality and desire in the popular culture marketplace (1997) pp. 1-33. ^ Timothy E. Cook and Paul Gronke. "The skeptical American: Revisiting the meanings of trust in government and confidence in institutions." Journal of Politics 67.3 (2005): 784-803. ^ Paul Boyer, "The Evangelical Resurgence in 1970s American Protestantism" in Schulman and Zelizer, eds. Rightward bound pp 29-51.: ^ Stephen D. Johnson and Joseph B. Tamney, "The Christian Right and the 1980 presidential election." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (1982) 21#2: 123-131. online ^ James Davison Hunter, Culture wars: The struggle to control the family, art, education, law, and politics in America (1992). ^ Jack M. Boom, Class, race, and the civil rights movement (1987). ^ Weisberg, pp. 56-57 ^ Weisberg, pp. 61-63 ^ Uchitelle, Louis (September 22, 1988). "Bush, Like Reagan in 1980, Seeks Tax Cuts to Stimulate the Economy". The New York Times. Retrieved February 6, 2008.  ^ Hakim, Danny (March 14, 2006). "Challengers to Clinton Discuss Plans and Answer Questions". The New York Times. Retrieved February 6, 2008.  ^ Kneeland, Douglas E. (August 4, 1980) "Reagan Campaigns at Mississippi Fair; Nominee Tells Crowd of 10,000 He Is Backing States' Rights." The New York Times. p. A11. Retrieved January 1, 2008. ^ John David Lees, Michael Turner. Reagan's first four years: a new beginning? Manchester University Press ND, 1988. p. 11 ^ Brands, pp. 241-246 ^ Brands, pp. 246-248 ^ Herring, pp. 864–866 ^ Brands, pp. 376-381 ^ Brands, pp. 472-474 ^ Wilentz, pp. 178–180 ^ Brands, pp. 645-649 ^ Wilentz, pp. 189–190 ^ a b c d Biskupic, Joan (September 4, 2005). "Rehnquist left Supreme Court with conservative legacy". USA Today. Retrieved February 27, 2016.  ^ a b c d "U.S. Senate: Supreme Court Nominations: 1789-Present". www.senate.gov. Retrieved June 15, 2017.  ^ Weisberg, pp. 116-117 ^ "Remembering the Assassination Attempt on Ronald Reagan". CNN. 2001-03-30. Retrieved 2007-12-19.  ^ a b Leuchtenberg, pp. 597-598 ^ D'Souza, Dinesh (June 8, 2004). "Purpose". National Review. Retrieved February 16, 2009.  ^ Langer, Gary (June 7, 2004). "Reagan's Ratings: 'Great Communicator's' Appeal Is Greater in Retrospect". ABC. Retrieved May 30, 2008.  ^ Leuchtenberg, pp. 598-599 ^ Karaagac, John (2000). Ronald Reagan
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Deregulation". CQ Press. Retrieved 29 November 2017.  ^ Brands, pp. 544-545 ^ a b Plumer, Brad (30 January 2013). "Congress tried to fix immigration back in 1986. Why did it fail?". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 November 2017.  ^ a b Reagan, Ronald. (November 6, 1986) Statement on Signing the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Collected Speeches, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Retrieved August 15, 2007. ^ "The War on Drugs". pbs. org. May 10, 2001. Retrieved April 4, 2007.  ^ "NIDA InfoFacts: High School and Youth Trends". National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH. Retrieved April 4, 2007.  ^ Randall, Vernellia R (April 18, 2006). "The Drug War as Race War". The University of Dayton School of Law. Retrieved April 11, 2007.  ^ "Interview: Dr. Herbert Kleber". PBS. Retrieved June 12, 2007. The politics of the Reagan years and the Bush years probably made it somewhat harder to get treatment expanded, but at the same time, it probably had a good effect in terms of decreasing initiation and use. For example, marijuana went from thirty-three percent of high-school seniors in 1980 to twelve percent in 1991.  ^ a b Bachman, Gerald G.; et al. "The Decline of Substance Use in Young Adulthood". The Regents of the University of Michigan. Retrieved April 4, 2007.  ^ a b c "Thirty Years of America's Drug War". PBS. Retrieved April 4, 2007.  ^ "The Reagan-Era Drug War Legacy". stopthedrugwar.org. June 11, 2004. Retrieved April 4, 2007.  ^ Johnson, Julie (19 November 1988). "REAGAN SIGNS BILL TO CURB DRUG USE". New York Times. Retrieved 7 December 2017.  ^ Roberts, Steven V. (11 September 1988). "THE NATION; Reagan's Social Issues: Gone but Not Forgotten". New York Times. Retrieved 7 December 2017.  ^ Raines, Howell (June 30, 1982). " Voting Rights Act
Voting Rights Act
Signed by Reagan". The New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2015.  ^ Shull, Steven A. (1999). American Civil Rights Policy from Truman to Clinton: The Role of Presidential Leadership. M.E. Sharpe. p. 94.  ^ Wilentz, pp. 185–186 ^ Scheer, Robert (2006). Playing President: My Close Ecounters with Nixon, Carter, Bush I, Reagan, and Clinton--and How They Did Not Prepare Me for George W. Bush. Akashic Books. p. 154. ISBN 978-1-933354-01-9.  ^ Farivar, Cyrus (August 27, 2014). "The executive order that led to mass spying, as told by NSA alumni: Feds call it "twelve triple three"; whistleblower says it's the heart of the problem". Ars Technica. Retrieved December 23, 2017.  ^ Jaycox, Mark (June 2, 2014). "A Primer on Executive Order 12333: The Mass Surveillance
Starlet". San Francisco, California: Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved December 23, 2017.  ^ Melvyn P. Leffler, “For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War” (New York, United States: Hill and Wang: 2007) p. 349 https://books.google.com/books?id=KW0u816iR5wC&pg=PT518&lpg=PT518&dq=%22At+some+meetings+of+the+National+Security+Council,+according+to+Richard+Pipes%22&source=bl&ots=ScKqN5z-_L&sig=cIPki5Om_wyWc6yGMKoM7LpLEes&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwji6arg4MnZAhXPtlMKHWD-AHIQ6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=%22At%20some%20meetings%20of%20the%20National%20Security%20Council%2C%20according%20to%20Richard%20Pipes%22&f=false ^ "His influence peaked in 1981-82 when, as an official at the National Security Council, he helped steer Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
toward the belief that the Soviet regime could and must be defeated." The Boston Globe, 11 Feb. 2003, “The Hard-Liner,” https://basecamp.com/2506747/projects/10128822/documents/12159531 ^ William E. Pemberton, "Exit with Honor: The Life and Presidency of Ronald Regan," (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1997) p. 151 https://books.google.com/books?id=HV3rBgAAQBAJ&pg=PT214&dq=William+E.+Pemberton+Exit+with+Honor+Carlucci+witches%27+brew+of+intrigue&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiJ77aZtabaAhVJs1kKHZhBDkYQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=William%20E.%20Pemberton%20Exit%20with%20Honor%20Carlucci%20witches%27%20brew%20of%20intrigue&f=false ^ William E. Pemberton]], "Exit with Honor: The Life and Presidency of Ronald Regan," (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1997) https://books.google.com/books?id=qPfqBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA144-IA15&lpg=PA144-IA15&dq=William+E.+Pemberton+Exit+with+Honor+Carlucci+My+God,+we+didn%27t+sign+on+to+run+this+country!&source=bl&ots=-7yQmmMQ_A&sig=2d-BOe69YRq1F1NkiTck9CZ9hCE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwju9-KstKbaAhXHzFMKHZ1tAZAQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=William%20E.%20Pemberton%20Exit%20with%20Honor%20Carlucci%20My%20God%2C%20we%20didn%27t%20sign%20on%20to%20run%20this%20country!&f=false ^ William E. Pemberton, "Exit with Honor: The Life and Presidency of Ronald Regan," (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1997) p. 151 https://books.google.com/books?id=HV3rBgAAQBAJ&pg=PT214&dq=William+E.+Pemberton+Exit+with+Honor+Carlucci+witches%27+brew+of+intrigue&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiJ77aZtabaAhVJs1kKHZhBDkYQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=William%20E.%20Pemberton%20Exit%20with%20Honor%20Carlucci%20witches%27%20brew%20of%20intrigue&f=false ^ "Reagan's mixed White House
White House
legacy". BBC News. June 6, 2004. Retrieved August 19, 2007.  ^ Cannon’s interviews and memorandum were part of internal White House deliberations among senior officials regarding whether to invoke the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution to remove Reagan from office due to incapacity. Los Angeles Times, 15 Sept. 1988, “Removal of Reagan From Office Suggested to Baker : Report Said Aides Described President as Depressed, Inept in Wake of Iran-Contra Crisis,” http://articles.latimes.com/1988-09-15/news/mn-2825_1_president-reagan ^ The New Yorker, 24 Feb. 2011, “Worrying About Reagan,” https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/worrying-about-reagan ^ United Press International
United Press International
(UPI), 15 Sept. 1988, “A White House Aide Sent a Memo to President,” https://www.upi.com/Archives/1988/09/15/A-White-House-aide-sent-a-memo-to-President/2142590299200/ ^ Jane Mayer, Doyle McManus, “Landslide: The Unmaking of the President, 1984-1988,” (Houghton Mifflin, 1988) ^ Reagan, Ronald. (June 8, 1982). " Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Address to British Parliament". The History Place. Retrieved April 19, 2006.  ^ "Towards an International History of the War in Afghanistan, 1979–89". The Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
International Center for Scholars. 2002. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved May 16, 2007.  ^ "LGM-118A Peacekeeper". Federation of American Scientists. August 15, 2000. Retrieved April 10, 2007.  ^ "Großdemo gegen Nato-Doppelbeschluss, SPIEGEL on the mass protests against deployment of nuclear weapons in West Germany".  ^ "Reagan and Thatcher, political soul mates". MSNBC. Associated Press. June 5, 2004. Retrieved June 24, 2008.  ^ Cannon (1991), pp. 314–317. ^ Herring, pp. 868–869 ^ Beschloss, p. 293 ^ Herring, pp. 870–871 ^ Brands, pp. 725-726 ^ Brands, pp. 581-585 ^ Herring, pp. 869–870 ^ Stephen S. Rosenfeld (Spring 1986). "The Reagan Doctrine: The Guns of July". Foreign Affairs. 64 (4). Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.  ^ Herring, pp. 883–884 ^ Crile, George (2003). Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History. Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 0-87113-854-9.  ^ Pach, Chester (2006). "The Reagan Doctrine: Principle, Pragmatism, and Policy". Presidential Studies Quarterly. 36 (1): 75–88. doi:10.1111/j.1741-5705.2006.00288.x. JSTOR 27552748.  ^ Herring, pp. 883–884 ^ Brands, pp. 350-357 ^ Magnuson, Ed (21 November 1983). "Getting Back to Normal". Time.  ^ Steven F. Hayward. The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980–1989. Crown Forum. ISBN 1-4000-5357-9.  ^ " United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
resolution 38/7, page 19". United Nations. 2 November 1983.  ^ Herring, p. 894 ^ Lebow, Richard Ned & Stein, Janice Gross (February 1994). "Reagan and the Russians". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 28, 2010.  ^ a b c Gaidar, Yegor (2007). Collapse of an Empire: Lessons for Modern Russia (in Russian). Brookings Institution Press. pp. 190–205. ISBN 5-8243-0759-8.  ^ Gaidar, Yegor. "Public Expectations and Trust towards the Government: Post-Revolution Stabilization and its Discontents". Retrieved March 15, 2008.  ^ Herring, p. 894 ^ Brands, pp. 675-676 ^ Herring, p. 894 ^ "Hyvästi, ydinpommi". Helsingin Sanomat. September 5, 2010. pp. D1–D2.  ^ "Modern History Sourcebook: Ronald Reagan: Evil Empire Speech, June 8, 1982". Fordham University. May 1998. Retrieved November 15, 2007.  ^ "Toward The Summit; Previous Reagan-Gorbachev Summits". The New York Times. May 29, 1988. Retrieved January 26, 2008.  ^ Herring, pp. 895–896 ^ Brands, pp. 596-604 ^ Brands, pp. 676-677 ^ Brands, pp. 682-685 ^ Brands, p. 720 ^ Herring, pp. 897–898 ^ Talbott, Strobe (August 5, 1991). "The Summit Goodfellas". Time. Retrieved January 26, 2008.  ^ Reagan (1990), p. 713 ^ Herring, pp. 898–899 ^ "1989: Malta summit ends Cold War". BBC News. December 3, 1984. Retrieved August 12, 2011.  ^ Brands, pp. 366-367 ^ Brands, pp. 382-385 ^ Brands, pp. 386-389 ^ Brands, pp. 394-395 ^ Brands, pp. 488-491 ^ Herring, p. 875 ^ "Libya: Fury in the Isolation Ward". Time. August 23, 1982. Retrieved August 12, 2011.  ^ a b "Operation El Dorado Canyon". GlobalSecurity.org. April 25, 2005. Retrieved April 19, 2008.  ^ a b c "1986:US Launches air-strike on Libya". BBC News. April 15, 2008. Retrieved April 19, 2008.  ^ "A/RES/41/38 November 20, 1986". United Nations. Retrieved April 14, 2014.  ^ [1] Archived July 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. ^ Smith, William E. (1985-09-16). " South Africa
South Africa
Reagan's Abrupt Reversal". TIME. Retrieved 2014-04-14.  ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=ZZopAAAAIBAJ&sjid=AYQDAAAAIBAJ&dq=anti-apartheid%20act%20reagan&pg=4676%2C4983327 ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=iOJLAAAAIBAJ&sjid=uIsDAAAAIBAJ&dq=bush%20sanctions%20south%20africa%201989&pg=4903%2C1578476 ^ a b Amadeo, Kimberly. "History of NAFTA and Its Purpose". The Balance. Retrieved 28 November 2017.  ^ Tolchin, Martin (23 April 1985). "U.S. Signs Trade Pact With Israel". New York Times. Retrieved 28 November 2017.  ^ "Travels of President Ronald Reagan". U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian.  ^ Weisberg, pp. 128-129 ^ Weisberg, pp. 129-134 ^ Brands, pp. 646-649 ^ Brands, pp. 650-653 ^ Brands, pp. 653, 674 ^ Brinkley, A. (2009). American History: A Survey Vol. II, p. 887, New York: McGraw-Hill ^ Timothy Curry and Lynn Shibut, The Cost of the Savings and Loan Crisis: Truth and Consequences FDIC, December 2000. ^ The Greatest-Ever Bank Robbery: The Collapse of the Savings and Loan Industry by Martin Mayer (Scribner's) ^ John Kenneth Galbraith, The Culture of Contentment. Houghton Mifflin, 1992. ^ a b Rouse, Robert (March 15, 2006). "Happy Anniversary to the first scheduled presidential press conference - 93 years young!". American Chronicle.  ^ Altman, Lawrence K (October 5, 1997). "Reagan's Twilight – A special report; A President Fades into a World Apart". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-18.  ^ Altman, Lawrence K., M.D. (June 15, 2004). "The Doctors World; A Recollection of Early Questions About Reagan's Health". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-11. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Leuchtenberg, pp. 620-621 ^ "The Debate: Mondale vs. Reagan". National Review. October 4, 2004. Archived from the original on April 16, 2007. Retrieved May 25, 2007.  ^ "Reaction to first Mondale/Reagan debate". PBS. October 8, 1984. Archived from the original on February 18, 2001. Retrieved December 31, 2007.  ^ "1984 Presidential Debates". CNN. Archived from the original on March 8, 2007. Retrieved May 25, 2007.  ^ a b "1984 Presidential Election Results". David Leip. Retrieved May 25, 2007.  ^ "The Reagan Presidency". Ronald Reagan
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Presidential Foundation. Retrieved April 19, 2008.  ^ Brands, pp. 697-698 ^ Andrew L. Johns, ed., A Companion to Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
(Wiley-Blackwell, 2015). ^ Hayward, pp. 635–638 ^ Beschloss, p. 324 ^ Cannon (1991, 2000), p. 746 ^ " Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
restored faith in America". Retrieved October 7, 2014.  ^ Lipset, Seymour Martin; Schneider, William. "The Decline of Confidence in American Institutions" (PDF). Political Science Quarterly. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 22, 2016. Retrieved July 18, 2016.  ^ Cannon (2001), p. 128 ^ Dreier, Peter (2011-02-04). "Reagan's Real Legacy". The Nation. Retrieved 2018-04-07.  ^ Gilman, Larry. "Iran-Contra Affair". Advameg. Retrieved August 23, 2007.  ^ "American President". Archived from the original on October 11, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014.  ^ Henry, David (December 2009). "ISBN". The Journal of American History. 96 (3): 933–934. doi:10.1093/jahist/96.3.933. JSTOR 25622627.  ^ Heale, M.J. in Cheryl Hudson and Gareth Davies, eds. Ronald Reagan and the 1980s: Perceptions, Policies, Legacies (2008) Palgrave Macmillan ISBN 0-230-60302-5 p. 250 ^ Heclo, pp. 558–560 ^ Heclo, pp. 562–563

Works Cited[edit]

Brands, H.W. (2015). Reagan: The Life. New York: Doubleday.  Beschloss, Michael (2007). Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789–1989. Simon & Schuster.  Cannon, Lou (2000). President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime. New York: Public Affairs. ISBN 1-891620-91-6.  Cannon, Lou; Michael Beschloss (2001). Ronald Reagan: The Presidential Portfolio: A History Illustrated from the Collection of the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum. PublicAffairs. ISBN 1-891620-84-3.  Heclo, Hugh (2008). "The Mixed Legacies of Ronald Reagan". Presidential Studies Quarterly. 38 (4): 555–574.  Herring, George C. (2008). From Colony to Superpower; U.S. Foreign Relations Since 1776. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507822-0.  Leuchtenberg, William E. (2015). The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195176162.  Reagan, Ronald (1990). An American Life. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7434-0025-9.  Weisberg, Jacob (2016). Ronald Reagan. Times Books. ISBN 978-0-8050-9728-3.  Wilentz, Sean (2008). The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-074480-9. 

Further Reading[edit] Main article: Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

Brownlee, W. Elliot and Hugh Davis Graham, eds. The Reagan Presidency: Pragmatic Conservatism and Its Legacies (2003) Coleman, Bradley Lynn and Kyle Longley, eds. Reagan and the World: Leadership and National Security, 1981–1989 (University Press of Kentucky, 2017), 319 pp. essays by scholars Diggins, John Patrick (2007). Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History. New York: W. W. Norton.  Ehrman, John. The Eighties: America in the Age of Reagan. (2005) Hayward, Steven F. The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution, 1980–1989 (2010) Hertsgaard, Mark. (1988) On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency. New York, New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux. Matlock, Jack (2004). Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War
Cold War
Ended. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-46323-2.  Patterson, James T. Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush vs. Gore. (2005), standard scholarly synthesis. Reeves, Richard (2005). President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-3022-1.  Service, Robert. The End of the Cold War: 1985-1991 (2015) excerpt Walsh, Kenneth (1997). Ronald Reagan. New York: Random House Value Publishing, Inc. ISBN 0-517-20078-3. 

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