The Reagan Years: A Social History of the 1980’s

  • Also available as: Perfect Bound Softcover
  • Published: December 2017
  • Format: E-Book
  • Pages: 324
  • ISBN: 9781532037719
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Ronald Reagan’s legacy as president is nearly unparalleled in American history due to his domestic and foreign policy leadership. Reagan’s contrarian insistence on advocating limited government and supply-side economics drew much bipartisan criticism, causing the Great Communicator to take his argument that lowering taxes would encourage economic growth directly to the people. The result? Congress granted $750 billion in tax cuts in 1981. The Reagan Revolution had begun. By mid-1983, the nation’s economy was booming. On President Reagan’s first day in office, the Iran Hostage Crisis finally came to an end. Fifty-two American embassy personnel held hostage by a defiant Iran during the last four hundred-plus days of the Carter administration were freed—a definite win for all Americans. But Reagan soon was widely criticized for “insulting” Russia’s leaders by calling the Soviet Union “the evil empire.” Later, Reagan was criticized at home and abroad for challenging Soviet premier Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Reagan’s most criticized proposal of all, however, was his insistence on developing his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)—space weapons to defend America from incoming Soviet nuclear missiles. Domestic critics dismissed his proposal as a Star Wars fantasy (but the Soviets feared SDI). By December 1991, it was clear that Reagan’s Star Wars fantasy helped cause the bankruptcy and total collapse of the Soviet Union, bringing a peaceful end to the decades-long Cold War.

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