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1980 prelude---Reagan's contrast to Carter
Reagan had a rev of ideas to restore pride, spirit, and respect.
Reagan as actor and Democrat
Demographic factors favoring Reagan
- Reagan as actor and Democrat – he supported new deal, was a liberal unionist.
- Conservative transformation – he campaigned for Ike, Nixon, Goldwater.
- California governor – in ‘66
- Demographic factors favoring Reagan
- Population aging – + senior citizens
- Growth of "Sunbelt" – the above were moving to the sunbelt (conservative region).
Rise of new fundamentalism
- Increased popularity – religious conservatives formed the strongest grassroots mvmt of the 20th c.
- The Moral Majority's political agenda – reduced gov, lassaiz faire econ, reverse roe v. wade (which had legalized abortion), anti Darwinism, prayer allowed in schools, women submit to gov.
- Religious right rejects Carter – b/c carter wasn’t willing to restore prayer in schools, ban abortions. And he supported the = rights amendment for women/gays.
The rise of anti-feminism
Schafly hated feminists. Regan combated this by supporting “trad fam”
- Background to "supply-side" economics – reduce taxes and ease gov reg of business → free market capitalism would revive the econ.
- Tax cuts passed by Congress – Econ Recovery Tax Act
- Deficit increased – b/c of massive increases in defense
- Social programs cut – cuts in edu, cultural, housing, food stamps, school lunches, programs.
- Deepening recession – b/c cuts in domestic spending wouldn’t be enough to balance he budget.
- New tax bill passed by Congress – raised about $100bil.
- Reagan's stance on labor – appointed nat’l labor relations board which favored management. Fired some who were in an illegal strike. Broke power of AFL-CIO.
- Reagan's stance on women – he opposed the ERA, abortion on demand, and legal guarantee of = pay for jobs.
- Reagan's stance on civil rights – he cut funds for civil rights, initially opposed the renewal of the voting rights act but it was overruled by congress.
Reagan's foreign policy
The defense buildup
- Soviets – seen as the evil empire
- Strategic Defense Initiative – complex anti-missle defense sys in outer space.
- Soviet crackdown on Polish Solidarity – polish worker sunited and challenged comm. Regan supported them.
reagan didn’t send troops, but did send mil advisors and financial aid.
CIA train/supply guerilla bands of anti-comm Nicaraguans. Regan wanted to stop traffic in arms to Salvadoran rebels and replace Sandinistas w/ dem gov.
The Middle East
- Reasons for tensions – prolonged Iran-Iraq war, Islamic fundamentalism.
- America's position – we see Israel as strongest/most reliable ally.
- Tragedy in Lebanon – tensions b/w Israeli forces, Muslims, Christians, Palestinians. ’83 an Islamic suicide bomber killed 241 ams in US marine headquarters.
Reagan got rid of comm. It served as a notice to LA revolutionaries that Reagan might use mil force elsewhere.
Tax reform Act
reduced # of fed tax branches from 14 to 2. Reduced rates from 50% to 15 and 28%.
The Iran-Contra affair
Background – the much-decorative marine lieutenant colonel Oliver North had been running secret operations.
Effects –showed the lengths to which members of Reagan Admin would go to support rebels fighting the ruling Sandinistas in Nicaragua.
intracontra affair: Tower Commission
blamed the bungled Iran-Contra efforts on Reagan’s loose management style.
- Nicaragua – cease fire agreement ending the fighting
- El Salvador – far right ARENA party scored an upset victory in ’88, setting back Reagan’s attempt to shore up the centrist gov.
Debt and the stock market crash
Reagan created a deficit-reduction package including ↑taxes.
A historic treaty
- Main purpose – Agreement to eliminate intermediate range missiles
- Gorbachev reorients Soviet policy – he renews détente so they could focus their energy/ $ on other domestic problems.
The Reagan legacy
The 1988 election
- The Reagan legacy – he redefined the nat’l pol agenda, renewed ams optimism.
- The 1988 election – bush won, he won the votes of suburbs and rural areas. Dukakis won inner-city votes.
Tone of the Bush administration
– he viewed himself as a guardian rather than an activist.
The national debt
The drug problem
- The national debt – was bush’s biggest problem.
- The drug problem – cocaine addictions in 80s. Bush vowed to make drug abuse his #1 domestic priority.
The end of the cold war
- Crackdown on democracy movement in China – Tiananmen Square. Gorbachev responded w/ openness, restricting, loosening of centralized econ planning and censorship.
- Gorbachev repudiates Brezhnev Doctrine – asserted soviet right to interfere w/ other comm countries.
- E Euro – East European Communist regimes quickly collapse, Germany re-unifies
- Failed Communist coup in the Soviet Union – was doomed from start, they failed to recognize the strength of the democratic idealism unleashed by Gorbachev’s reforms.
- The break-up of the USSR – 15 repubs proclaimed independence, econ sucked. Weapons on both sides ↓.
- The problem of Manuel Noriega – he was supplying info to the CIA and drug smuggling/gun running.
- Invasion of Panama and capture of Noriega – after a US marine was killed there. Bush installed gov headed by pres Endara.
The Gulf War
- Background – Saddam Hussein (director of Iraq) invaded Kuwait, which caused ↓oil pries.
- Actions by United Nations and United States – embargo trade w/ Iraq.
- Operation Desert Shield – bush’s mobilization of am reserve forces. 1990.
- Operation Desert Storm – the beginning of allied cruise missiles hitting Iraq. Jan ’91.
- Aftermath of war – many deaths, tensions to be felt later on.