History 2301E Lecture Notes - Air Traffic Control, Boland Amendment, Oliver North

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4 Apr 2012
Lecture The 1980s
Rise of Conservatism
Reagan’s vision for America
o Came into office in 1980
o Used image from John Winthrop, “City upon a hill” idea
America as a shining example to the rest of the world
Embraced 20th century idea of manifest destiny and laisser
faire society
Increase military and spending
o Social conservatism
Anti-abortion, ending affirmative action programs, religious
o Background: actor, made him a good public speaker
o Oldest president to take office, 69
Strong anti-communist
o “Reaganomics”
Similar to Harding-Coolidge era
Stifle business and the economy
Key was a large tax cut to stimulate the economy
Economic Recovery Tax Act
25% tax cut for everyone
Supported higher unemployment and weakened unions
Increase in military spending, spent $1.5 trillion over 5 years
Wanted an army that could fight unilaterally all around
the world
Mixed results and reactions
Economy improving
Period of transfer of wealth from the middle class to the
upper classes (rich getting richer, poor getting poorer)
o Averaged 560,000 per year vs. 20,000 per year
14.5 million new jobs created, but not well distributed
through society
Poor stuck with part-time, dead end jobs, paid
minimum wage
Tax cuts included: housing assistance, lunch programs
at schools, etc.
o Assassination attempt
Only president for 69 days
4 people injured
Reagan hit by a bullet that bounced off the limo, seriously
Lost half his blood, narrowly missed his heart
Issue of who should be in charge
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