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CongressLecture Outline May 20, 2013 The Reagan Revolution & Cold War in the 1980s I. Reagan Revolution and the Rise of the New Right The new grassroots conservative movement. it focused on a few themes: 1) focus on physical restraint: reigning in spending of the economy, the great society programs 2) Tax code revision 3) government efficiency: sense of urgency for this, because of how transparent the government, and what it owed to the u. s. public. a. Reagan’s views and policies:: 1980’s high inflation and faltering economy, and regean promised to return the nation to economic promise. Campaign had focused on a strong military and a scaled back federal government. (he specifically wanted the federal government scaled back, but it was okay to undergo spending for national security (military). tensions between the national security state and the spending for the national government
He wanted a return to traditional values that had been lost. he was enormously charismatic. He was good at delivering lines and delivering his speeches,. “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem government needed to be scaled back.. ederal government needed to lessen itself in our daily lives. and in the business community too. he wanted a reversal of the programs in the great society. roll back big government. Roll back in domestic policy, expanding it in foreign policy with the military. 1989 when he concluded his presidency, economy debt had tripled. b. “Reaganomics” / Supply-side economics: seeking to increase the economies capacity to produce. the theory behind it was exxessive taxation was slowing things down in the economy, and it discouraged hard work? have economic growth by cutting taxes…so people could invest that money in another way.
Trickle down economics: leave the money to the wealthy and it will trickle down into society. c. Economic Recovery Tax of 1981: lowered the taxes on the wealth to free up capital. 23% cut. then social security taxes went up d. Business expansion: capital was freed up, and there was an expansion and the government did grow. high employment, Anti-union stance. violating a law of federal worked fighting back. e. cut non-defense federal spending. it was hard to cut social security and medicare. US became a debter nation f. rapid growth and critique of the economy . Wall Street & Deregulation: dirty decade, stock speculation, corporate mergers, a lot of shady wallstreet dealing, and a lot of deregulation. These companies were too bogged down in regulation. so they deregulated business. and allow corporations to make risks they wouldn’t normally take. also allowed for greater abuses. laizze faire, leave business alone, big stores were growing during time, and have merger mania (Microsoft when public in 1986, this environment was condusive) this also created a lot of tensions. class tensions were exacerbated. elebration of wealth for those getting richer, and the poor getting poorer. h. lifestyles for the rich and the famous II. The Cold War & Foreign Policy in the 1980s i. Reagan’s domestic vs. foreign policies: he had a foreign policy that was highly activist, but he wanted to stay small in domestic. he wanted to battle communism and leftism. he launched the biggest military expansion in peacetime history. More than 70% 1981 to 1986, Reagan was struck by wanting the united states to both be powerful military and symbolically. they wanted people to associate us as a military strength.
He had a nostalgia for WW2, and how the US emerged out of ww2. j. Nuclear freeze movement: anti nuclear protest throughout this time in force in the early 1980’s activists one a lot of recruits. The entire world wold be blown up if we didn’t reduce the arms. This wasn’t just in the united states, it was in great Britain and Germany too. it was a world wide movement. it called a cause for a freeze, banning testing and building. june 1982 800,000 freeze campaign. it permiated all levels of society. in response to this he had the star wars speech k. Star Wars” & Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), 1983: this was a space based missile system, that was supposed to defend the united states from nuclear attack. it looked very futuristic, we do have some of this technology now however. don’t introduce this because we really don’t have this technology
l. Anticommunism & Latin America: some critics that expressed fear, that hear we are repeating veitnam. Congress responded to the fears, and congress said do not fund this anymore. m. “Evil Empire” speech (1983) n. Iran-Contra Scandel i. Role of Oliver North: national security aid, stationed in the white house. e directed money from the Iranian arms sales to the contras. congress had banned this, do not fund the contras anymore. congress had forbidden this aid. North had circumvented this ban by raising money from wealthy conservatives from other governments, to fund this. (wealthy new right conservatives funded this) all in secret to the congress and to the people. New story broke, televised hearings in 1987, erased computer files right before the fbi arrived. he defended it by saying sometimes you need to go above the law for patriotism. he emphasized, I love my country and I am a patriot.
Reagan praised north as a national hero, for undergoing this with American security in mind, but he also fired him. TV Reagan denied knowing anything about the scandal, but mistakes were made. criticized his lack management style. there was no evidence that he knew of this, but there was a lot of lax white house procedures. it diminished the credibility on a national scale of the us presidency, but he emerged form this unscathed. this is when historians lok back and he really was the Teflon president, the American public still supported him I. Conclusion: 1989, End of the Cold War & Post-Cold War Challenges
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