Governor of California
1976 General election
40th President of the United States
Campaign for the Presidency
1980 general election
Invasion of Grenada
1984 general election
"Tear down this wall!"
Medal of Freedom
An American Life
The Reagan Diaries
Speeches and debates
"A Time for Choosing"
The presidency of
Ronald Reagan began at noon EST on January 20, 1981,
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
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 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 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
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
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
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. 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
4 Judicial appointments
5 Assassination attempt
6 Domestic affairs
6.1 "Reaganomics" and taxation
6.2 Government spending and debt
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
Central America and the Caribbean
7.5 End of the Cold War
7.6 Middle East
7.6.2 Libya bombing
7.7 South Africa
7.8 Free trade
7.9 International travel
8.1 Iran–Contra affair
8.2 Savings and loan crisis
9 Age and health concerns
10.1 1984 election
10.2 1988 election and transition
11 Evaluation and legacy
12 See also
13.1 Works Cited
13.2 Further Reading
14 External links
Conservative shift in politics
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. 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. 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.
An unexpected new factor was the emergence of the religious right as a
cohesive political force that gave strong support to
conservatism. Meanwhile, liberalism was facing divisive issues,
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. 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
1980 electoral vote results
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. A
darling of the conservative movement, Reagan faced more moderate
Republicans such as George H. W. Bush, Howard Baker, and
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.
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, less government interference in
people's lives, states' rights, and a strong national
defense. 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 Reagan Cabinet
George H. W. Bush
Secretary of State
George P. Shultz
Secretary of Treasury
Nicholas F. Brady
Secretary of Defense
William F. Smith
Secretary of the Interior
James G. Watt
William P. Clark Jr.
Donald P. Hodel
Secretary of Agriculture
John Rusling Block
Richard E. Lyng
Secretary of Commerce
Howard M. Baldrige Jr.
William Verity Jr.
Secretary of Labor
Raymond J. Donovan
Ann Dore McLaughlin
Secretary of Health and
Otis R. Bowen
Secretary of Education
Secretary of Housing and
Secretary of Transportation
James H. Burnley IV
Secretary of Energy
James B. Edwards
Donald P. Hodel
John S. Herrington
Chief of Staff
Administrator of the
Environmental Protection Agency
Anne M. Burford
Lee M. Thomas
Director of the Office of
Management and Budget
James C. Miller III
Joseph R. Wright Jr.
United States Trade Representative
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
Edwin Meese formed the "troika," the key White House
staffers early in Reagan's presidency. 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. CIA Director
William J. Casey
William J. Casey emerged as an important
figure in the administration, as the CIA would figure prominently into
Cold War initiatives. Reagan downgraded the importance of the
National Security Advisor, and six different individuals held that
position during Reagan's presidency.
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. Baker and Treasury
Secretary Regan switched positions at the beginning of Reagan's second
term. 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. Regan frequently clashed with First Lady Nancy
Reagan, and he left the administration in the wake of the
Iran–Contra affair and Republican losses in the 1986 mid-term
elections. Regan was replaced by former Senate Majority Leader Howard
The Cabinet of President Reagan in 1981
Ronald Reagan Supreme Court candidates, List of federal
judges appointed by Ronald Reagan, and
Ronald Reagan judicial
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. O'Connor retired from the Court in 2006, and was
generally considered to be a centrist conservative. In 1986,
Reagan elevated Associate Justice
William Rehnquist to the position of
Chief Justice of the United States
Chief Justice of the United States after
Warren Burger chose to
retire. Rehnquist, a member of the conservative wing of the
Court, was the second sitting associate justice to be elevated to
chief justice, after Edward Douglass White. Reagan successfully
Antonin Scalia to fill Rehnquist's position as an associate
justice of the Court. Scalia became a member of the Court's
conservative wing. 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 in July 1987, but the nomination was rejected by the U.S.
Senate in October 1987. 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. Currently
the senior member of the Court, Kennedy is generally considered to be
a centrist conservative. 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
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 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, 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. 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. The failed assassination
attempt had great influence on Reagan's popularity; polls indicated
his approval rating to be around 73%. 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
Main article: Domestic policy of the
Ronald Reagan administration
"Reaganomics" and taxation
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. Reagan's taxation policies resembled those instituted by
Calvin Coolidge and Treasury Secretary
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. Reagan relied on Laffer and other
economists to argue that tax cuts would reduce inflation, which went
against the prevailing Keynesian view.
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. 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). 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. As
deficits continued to be an issue, Reagan signed another bill that
raised taxes, the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.
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. 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. 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.
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. However, federal income tax receipts increased from 1980
to 1989, rising from $308.7 billion to $549 billion 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%.
Government spending and debt
U.S. government revenues (orange), expenditures (yellow), and total
debt (green) as a percentage of GDP, fiscal year 1981 to 1989
Reagan prioritized tax cuts over spending, arguing that lower revenue
would eventually require lower spending. Nonetheless, Reagan was
determined to decrease government spending and roll back or dismantle
Great Society programs such as
Medicaid and the Office of Economic
Opportunity. Reagan cut the budgets of non-military
programs including food stamps, federal education programs and
the EPA. Notably absent from the budget cuts was the Department of
Defense, which saw its budget bolstered.
In 1981, OMB Director
David Stockman won Reagan's approval to seek
cuts to Social Security in 1981, but this plan was poorly-received in
Congress. 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. While Reagan avoided cuts to Social Security and Medicare
for most individuals, his administration attempted to purge many
people from the Social Security disability rolls. 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.
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. 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. The federal budget, along with the national as a whole,
also suffered from the early 1980s recession. From 1981 to 1989,
the national debt rose from $998 billion to $2.857 trillion. As
Reagan was unwilling to match his tax cuts with cuts to defense
spending or Social Security, rising deficits became an issue.
Unable to win further spending cuts, and pressured to address the
deficit, Reagan was forced to raise taxes after 1981.
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.
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. 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. The country emerged from
recession in 1983, and both unemployment and inflation dropped.
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 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
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
Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission aggressively
deregulated the broadcasting industry, eliminating the Fairness
Doctrine and other restrictions. 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 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
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. 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. 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." 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." 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.
War on Drugs
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". He promised a "planned,
concerted campaign" against all drugs, eventually leading to
decreases in adolescent drug use in America. As a part of the
administration's effort, First Lady
Nancy Reagan made the War on Drugs
her main cause as First Lady, by founding the "Just Say No" drug
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. 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. 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. Supporters
argued that the numbers for adolescent drug users declined during
Reagan's years in office. 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.
Social policies and civil rights
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.
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. 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.
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
until 1985, though in 1987 he declared AIDS "public enemy number
one." On the 1980 campaign trail, he spoke of the gay rights
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.
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. 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.
Countries Reagan visited during his presidency
Main article: Foreign policy of the
Ronald Reagan administration
Role in setting foreign policy
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
1981-1982. 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!'” after he briefed an “unresponsive”
and “impassive” Reagan." 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.” The
Tower Commission strongly
criticized Reagan for his disengagement from managing his staff.
Early in 1987, following the public disclosures of the Iran-Contra
scandal, Reagan became less attentive--
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
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 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."   
Escalation of the Cold War
Cold War (1979–85)
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"
Reagan escalated the Cold War, accelerating a reversal from the policy
of détente which began in 1979 after the Soviet invasion of
Afghanistan. Reagan ordered a massive buildup of the United
States Armed Forces and implemented new policies towards the Soviet
Union: reviving the
B-1 Lancer program that had been canceled by the
Carter administration, and producing the MX missile. In response
to Soviet deployment of the SS-20, Reagan oversaw NATO's deployment of
Pershing missile in West Germany. Together with the United
Kingdom's prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Reagan denounced the
Soviet Union in ideological terms. In a speech to the National
Association of Evangelicals on March 8, 1983, Reagan called the Soviet
Union "an evil empire." Despite these denouncements, the Reagan
administration continued arms control talks with the
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.
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. 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. Ultimately, the SDI would
be canceled in 1993 due to concerns about its cost and effectiveness
as well as a changing international situation. 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. In protest of SDI, the
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
Soviet Union shot down
Korean Air Lines Flight 007
Korean Air Lines Flight 007 in
September 1983 after it flew through Soviet airspace.
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. In
Eastern Europe, the CIA provided support to the Polish opposition
group, Solidarity, ensuring that it stayed afloat during a period of
martial law. Reagan deployed the CIA's
Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the CIA was instrumental in
training, equipping, and leading
Mujahideen forces against the Soviet
Army in the Soviet-Afghan War. 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.
Central America and the Caribbean
See also: Latin America–United States relations
Reagan meets with Prime Minister
Eugenia Charles of
Dominica in the
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.
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.
While the invasion enjoyed public support in the United States and
Grenada it was criticized by the United Kingdom,
United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly as "a flagrant violation of
international law". The date of the invasion is now a national
holiday in Grenada, called Thanksgiving Day.
End of the Cold War
Cold War (1985–91)
Gorbachev and Reagan sign the
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 came to
power in 1985. Although the
Soviet Union had not accelerated
military spending during Reagan's military buildup, their large
military expenses, in combination with collectivized agriculture and
inefficient planned manufacturing, were a heavy burden for the Soviet
economy. At the same time, increased oil production by Saudi
Arabia 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. These factors contributed to a stagnant Soviet economy
during Gorbachev's tenure. Gorbachev was less ideologically rigid
than his predecessors, and he believed that the
Soviet Union urgently
needed economic and political reforms. In 1986, he introduced his
twin reforms of perestroika and glasnost, which would change the
political and economic conditions of the Soviet Union. Seeking to
reduce military expenditures and minimize the possibility of nuclear
war, he also sought to re-open negotiations with the United
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." 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. 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. Reagan and Gorbachev
began a private correspondence after the 1985 Geneva Summit, and each
became increasingly optimistic about arms control negotiations.
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 over a ten-year period, but the
deal collapsed due to disagreements regarding SDI development.
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). 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. In July 1991, after
Reagan left office, the U.S. and the
Soviet Union would sign
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 cooperated
on international issues such as the Iran–Iraq War. 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
Soviet Union the evil empire. "No," he replied, "I was
talking about another time, another era." At Gorbachev's request,
Reagan gave a speech on free markets at the Moscow State
University. In December 1988, Gorbachev effectively renounced the
Brezhnev Doctrine, paving the way for democratization in Eastern
Europe. In November 1989, ten months after Reagan left office,
Berlin Wall was opened, and the
Cold War was unofficially declared
over at the
Malta Summit in December 1989.
A civil war had broken out in
Lebanon in 1975, and both
Syria undertook military action within
Lebanon in 1982. 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
Israel to end its invasion as casualties mounted and
Israeli forces approached the Lebanese capital of Beirut.
Philip Habib arranged a cease-fire in which Israel,
Syria, and the PLO, all agreed to evacuate their forces from Lebanon.
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. In October 1983, two
nearly-simultaneous bombings in
Beirut killed 241 American soldiers
and 58 French soldiers. The international peacekeeping force was
Lebanon in 1984. In reaction to the role
Israel and the
United States played in the Lebanese Civil War, a Shia militant group
Hezbollah began to take American hostages, holding eight
Americans by the middle of 1985. 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.
Main article: 1986 United States bombing of Libya
British Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher (here with Reagan outside 10
Downing Street in June 1982, as the
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 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. 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
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. The
attack was designed to halt Gaddafi's "ability to export terrorism,"
offering him "incentives and reasons to alter his criminal
behavior." 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."
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."
South Africa under apartheid
President Reagan meeting with South African anti-apartheid activist
Desmond Tutu in 1984
During Ronald Reagan's presidency
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
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.
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. However,
these sanctions were seen as weak by anti-
Apartheid activists who were
calling for Disinvestment from South Africa. In 1986, Reagan
vetoed the tougher sanctions of the Comprehensive Anti-
but this was overridden by a bipartisan effort in Congress. By 1990,
under Reagan's successor George H. W. Bush, the new South African
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.
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. In 1985, Reagan
signed the Israel–United States Free Trade Agreement, the first
bilateral free trade agreement in U.S. history. In 1988, Reagan
and Canadian Prime Minister
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.
Main article: List of international presidential trips made by Ronald
Reagan made 25 international trips to 26 different countries on four
continents—Europe, Asia, North America, and South America—during
his Presidency. 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 at
Main article: Reagan administration scandals
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
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 and
Lawrence Walsh to investigate the
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 staffers. In response to the
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." 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. 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 before his trial began.
Savings and loan crisis
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.
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 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 and
Credit Mobilier seem minor episodes." Economist John Kenneth
Galbraith called it "the largest and costliest venture in public
misfeasance, malfeasance and larceny of all time".
Age and health concerns
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.
White House correspondent
Lesley Stahl later wrote that she and
other reporters noticed what might have been early symptoms of
Reagan's later Alzheimer's disease. 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.
However, Reagan's primary physician, Dr. John Hutton, said the
president "absolutely" did not "show any signs of dementia or
Alzheimer's". His doctors noted that he began exhibiting
Alzheimer's symptoms only after he left the White House.
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
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. 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."
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. 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.
That November, Reagan was re-elected, winning 49 of 50 states.
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, and received 59% of the
popular vote to Mondale's 41%.
1988 election and transition
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. In the 1988 presidential election, Vice President
George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush defeated Democratic Governor
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 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 met with the
Bushes for coffee at the
White House before escorting them to the
Capitol Building, where Bush took the oath of office.
Evaluation and legacy
Since Reagan left office in 1989, substantial debate has occurred
among scholars, historians, and the general public surrounding his
legacy. Supporters have pointed to a more efficient and
prosperous economy as a result of Reagan's economic policies,
foreign policy triumphs including a peaceful end to the Cold War,
and a restoration of American pride and morale. Proponents also
argue Reagan restored faith in the American Dream with his unabated
and passionate love for the United States, 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. Critics contend that Reagan's economic
policies resulted in rising budget deficits, a wider gap in
wealth, and an increase in homelessness and that the
Iran–Contra affair lowered American credibility.
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. Since he left office, historians have reached a
consensus, 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.
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. Heclo further argues that
Reagan's presidency made American voters and political leaders more
tolerant of deficits and more opposed to taxation.
Government of the United States portal
United States portal
History of the United States (1980–91)
Premiership of Margaret Thatcher
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California
^ "A Look Back At The Polls". CBS News. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
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Ronald Reagan and Conservative Reformism.
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1990S". Washington and Lee Law Revie. 50 (2).
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Pragmatic Conservatism & Its Legacies. Lawrence, Kansas:
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Dominate the Public Agenda. Washington D.C.: The Urban Institute
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^ "Views from the Former Administrators". EPA Journal. Environmental
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immigration back in 1986. Why did it fail?". Washington Post.
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^ "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
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Voting Rights Act
Voting Rights Act Signed by
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Clinton: The Role of Presidential Leadership. M.E. Sharpe.
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^ 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.
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mass spying, as told by NSA alumni: Feds call it "twelve triple
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the Soviet Union, and the Cold War” (New York, United States: Hill
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^ "His influence peaked in 1981-82 when, as an official at the
National Security Council, he helped steer
Ronald Reagan toward the
belief that the Soviet regime could and must be defeated." The Boston
Globe, 11 Feb. 2003, “The Hard-Liner,”
^ William E. Pemberton, "Exit with Honor: The Life and Presidency of
Ronald Regan," (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1997) p. 151
^ William E. Pemberton]], "Exit with Honor: The Life and Presidency of
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Brownlee, W. Elliot and Hugh Davis Graham, eds. The Reagan Presidency:
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Coleman, Bradley Lynn and Kyle Longley, eds. Reagan and the World:
Leadership and National Security, 1981–1989 (University Press of
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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)
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Presidency. New York, New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux.
Matlock, Jack (2004). Reagan and Gorbachev: How the
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.
Ronald Reagan biography on whitehouse.gov
Reagan Era study guide, timeline, quotes, trivia, teacher resources
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