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“Morning in America”: The Age of Reagan

by: Carina Sauter

“Morning in America”: The Age of Reagan HIST 2112

Marketplace > University of Georgia > History > HIST 2112 > Morning in America The Age of Reagan
Carina Sauter
GPA 3.79

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These notes discuss Reagan's 8 years of presidency and the freshness Americans felt with a new president in office, offering optimist and positive policies. Dr. Rohrer also discusses the end of th...
American History Since 1865
Dr. Rohrer
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carina Sauter on Saturday April 30, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 2112 at University of Georgia taught by Dr. Rohrer in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views. For similar materials see American History Since 1865 in History at University of Georgia.

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Date Created: 04/30/16
“Morning in America”: The Age of Reagan • How do we label Reagan and how do we label the 1980’s? o Hybrid decade o 1980: year that the age of Liberalism begins to suffer a slow death § never completely disappears, but definitely overshadowed by the dominant ideology of conservatism o How did Conservatism rise to the top? § White backlash from aggressive civil rights movement • Not comfortable with liberal/radical direction by federal government and Americans § The Southern Strategy • Political strategy • White racial fears to peal away normally southern democrats into republican party – working class • Why would they move? o 1960’s: African Americans start voting for democrats o platform seems to switch to a more integrated party/ support for civil rights and “radical” ideas o don’t want to be in the same party as African Americans o move to conservative, republican party • Republican and Southern Strategy obliterated the solid democratic south • Today: due to 60’s movement – switch to a strong republican part of the nation § Economic issues • Explains shift • Vote for candidate that represents the party that’s not currently in office/ power to get away from the problems – blame the current party o Poster boy for conservatism = Ronald Reagan § Serves January 1881-1889 § Defines 80’s § Most influential president since Vietnam (1970’s) • Not for what he did but what he symbolized: shift to the right § Dreams: • Reagan wanted a conservative revolution economically and politically – traditional social values and laissez faire • Put an end to naivity to liberalism • Wants to roll back the clock o 1930’-1960’s o “Anti-FDR” “Anti-LBJ” § came across as an authoritarian § “Saint Ronny” – was it a mask? § Not heartless/ authoritarian • Friendly, even to opponents/haters o Leads many to vote for him • Masterful in gaining across the aisle support § Assaults on new deal and the great society § Not a moderate o Was not as conservative as admirers today believe § Accommodated liberalism on occasion § Registered democrat/liberal when he was younger o Economic growth returns in 80’s § At the same time, fears of poverty and racism come up • Poverty does increase • Sense that government has something to do with redistribution of wealth o Culturally complicated § Legacy of the counter-culture § Ex. women and other minorities are making strides in work force and education • Meanwhile, rise of Christian right, mega-churches Christian media, generally powerful religiously strong section in congress § 1980’s = hybrid decade • mostly corporative with liberalism thrown in • Reagan’s Political Odyssey, 1930-1960’s: Transformation of Reagan o Born in Illinois in 1911 o Nice, good looking, charismatic young kid o Optimist o Eureka College – small 4-year school o No intentions of ever becoming a politician – instead he was an actor § “Bedtime for Bonzo”, “Knute Rockne, All American” o Staunch liberal form the 30’s to 40’s § Lover of FDR and the new deal § President of a union – “Screen Actor’s Guild” o 1950’s – starts turn during second red scare § lied to by communists saying they were union § secret FBI informant § becomes a wealthy man through acting • more and more resentful of taxes o Spokesman for General Electric TV § Recognizable face – only 3 channels § Gained a lot of exposure § Most active union company § Positive conservatism o 1960: officially republican § enemy of big government § as early as 1964, people were turning toward ideas for him as president § Governor of California in 1966 and re-elected in 1970 • Slash welfare, education and healthcare budgets • Call out national guard for student anti-war protests at UCLA, Berkley § Socialized medicine § “criticized social security for supplanting private savings and warned that subsidized medicine would curtain Americans’ freedom” § Supporter of Barry Goldwater • Jimmy Carter and the rise of the New Right o Carter the moderate and the “conservatization” of the democratic party o Why was he elected in the first place? § Consequence of Watergate § Wanted clean, outsider candidate § Not a liar/insider like Nixon § Known as a solid, decent man § Christian, Southern democrat § Run in spending on social programs § Staunch cold warrior § Administration defined by crisis: o Iran Hostage Crisis: 1979-1980 § Shiites (sect of Isham) mad over support for western leader of Iran • (we helped assign him) § The Shah (western-supported leader of Iran) seeks asylum in US to treat his cancer § In reaction, groups of conservative Iranian students take over the US Embassy in Tehran, Iran (capital) in November, 1979 • >60 American diplomats/citizens held as hostages for 444 days because we accommodated their enemy § Carter does not handle this well • Negotiation and military attempts fail • Seen as embarrassing to nation • Hammered by Americans § Hostages released on January 21 , 1981 • President Reagan’s Election o Reagan and his allies (never right) appear in 1988 and receive republic nomination and wins by a huge landslide against Carter o Full support of business world, corporations and military o Took nearly 40% of union vote and ½ of all blue collar working Americans § Usually these workers are heavily tied to the democratic party o Campaign slogan 1984: “It’s morning in America” § Positive and sunny message appealed to people cynical and depressed of government since 60’s o Reagan supporters = Reagan democrats § Americans who had been solidly democratic for 50+ years moving to republican party § Republicans gain 12 seats in senate in 1980 in a single election: HUGE • President Reagan’s Four Priorities – 1980-88 o Revive “Old Fashioned” Patriotism § Gain confidence § Made Americans proud of their country again § Fight Vietnam Syndrome § Noble cause – we would do Vietnam all over again in Central America § Instituting pledge of allegiance and prayer in school o Dramatically increase military size/strength § Increase military strength and spending § B1 Bomber and missal program § Containment of communism • Probable the most intense decade of Cold War since 50’s § Anti-communism gorillas § Most effective negotiating tool – almost reaches agreement regarding nuclear warfare o Intense support of big business, aggressive capitalism § Embrace free market § Dislike unions § Capitalism § Supporter of wealthy § Social Darwinist § Reagan-nomics: help the great Americans § Corporation • Tax cuts o Especially to wealthy o Reduction for richest bracket o Cut business taxes by 20% o Wealth becomes more concentrated • De-regulation o Boost business communities o Get rid of government rules § Ex. wages and work place safety o Thought government reform stifled business o “Government is the problem, not the solution” • Combating inflation o Tighten money supply by federal reserve – first plunges to recession by by 1982 we had come back out o Oil blut may also have been the reason we came out o Push “traditional values” § 60’s had warped traditional gender roles • women working too often outside of home § homosexuality § drug abuse § rock and roll • taints moral fabric § lobby for school prayer and stifling of political rights of homosexuals § But Reagan believed in separation of church and state § Growth of CBN: Christian Broadcasting Network • End of Cold War o 45 years later, Soviet Union collapses o Gorbachev (Soviet Union) o Glasnost and Perestroika § Glasnost: “openness” • Greater willingness for Western ideas and goods § Perestroika: allowed limited free market industries o June 1989: Poland votes non-communist leader/government § No one questions or challenges them § Begins trend § All nations fall one by one • East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, etc. o December 1991: Ukraine States declare independence § SU officially dissolves § Gorbachev is now a president with no country o No one won the Cold War § US: trillions of dollars to defend states and political ideology § … unnecessary


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