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Lecture 47 - The 1980s

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History 2301E
Aldona Sendzikas

Lecture – The 1980s  Rise of Conservatism o  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 20 century idea of manifest destiny and laisser faire society  Increase military and spending o Social conservatism  Anti-abortion, ending affirmative action programs, religious revival 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 injured  Lost half his blood, narrowly missed his heart  Issue of who should be in charge  Vice president Bush was en route from Texas, no one could get in touch with him  Speaker of the House should be next, but the S
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