Rise of the New Right
The Reagan Coalition
Conservatives who sought smaller gov’t, less
intervention in eco., reduction in social programs
Others wanted to restore Christian values to society
Working class and White Southerners who had previous
Reagan Democrats jumped ship to Rep. party
The Moral Majority
Created by Jerry
Perceived the moral
decay of America
abortion, Equal Rights
women's liberation, etc.)
Became an influential
force in conservative
politics, reliable part of
American in Moral Decay
"We are born into a war zone where the
forces of God do battle with the forces of
evil. Sometimes we get trapped, pinned
down in the crossfire. And in the heart of
that noisy, distracting battle, two voices
call out for us to follow. Satan wants to
lead us into death. God wants to lead us
into life eternal.“
- Jerry Falwell
Moral Majority: A Political Force to
be Reckoned With
I was convinced that there was a moral majority
out there among those more than 200 million
Americans sufficient in number to turn back the
flood tide of moral permissiveness, family
breakdown and general capitulation to evil and
to foreign policies such as Marxism-Leninism.“
- Jerry Falwell
"Government is not the solution to our problem.
Government is the problem.”
Do you agree or disagree?
“Government's view of the
economy could be summed up in a
few short phrases: If it moves, tax
it. If it keeps moving, regulate it.
And if it stops moving, subsidize
The Role of Government
What federally-funded programs are you familiar
with/can you name?
How significant is the impact of the federal
government on everyday life?
What are the benefits of government programs?
What are the drawbacks?
How has the role of government changed since the
beginning of the 20th century?
“I never drink coffee at lunch. I
find it keeps me awake for the
- Ronald Reagan
The “Teflon President” and the
The "Teflon" president –
scandal and controversy didn't
seem to "stick" to him and he
The "Great Communicator" –
someone who had the ability to
appeal to people through his
anecdotes and rhetoric.
What to look for while we
Observe how Reagan's
personality and behavior
helped earn him these
How did these attributes affect
Reagan's presidency, both
good and bad?
The Reagan Revolution
Reduce the size and
scope of federal
New Coalition of voters that propelled
Reagan/Bush to 12 years of Republican control
with social/economic issues under Carter
No longer saw Dem. Party as the party of the working
New Right made up by Evangelical Christians
Reagan Democrats: mostly white, socially
conservative blue-collar workers from the Northeast
Reaganomics: A Controversial Legacy
Spurred record growth
Cut regulation, changed perceptions against regulation
Increased income inequality
No correlation between tax cuts and eco. growth
Sight deregulation for risky/unethical behavior
Savings and Loan scandal1985. Banks defaulted cost 130
billion gov’t bailout to pay depositors
Reagan’s Goals vs. Reality
Size of gov’t during Reagan
Employment went from 2.9 million to 3.1 million
Spending on gov’t
Increased to 23.5% of GDP, lowered to 21.5%, higher than
Between 1983 and 1989, the budget deficit was always at
least $153 billion; climbed to more than $221 billion.
National debt increased during the Reagan years from
$914 billion to $2.6 trillion;
Annual interest paid on the debt went from $71 billion to
“A Bipolar Economy”
Unprecedented economic boom. The gross national product
increased by 3.6 percent in 1983 and by 6.8 percent in
GNP had shrunk in 1982 by 2.5 percent.
Unemployment sank from 9.5 percent in 1983 to 7.4
percent in 1984. 18 million jobs added in his two terms
Stock market soared to new heights from 950-2,239 by 89’
Eco. Mixed with battered/declining manufacturing and
industry and with a burgeoning tech. industry
A More “Fractured Society”?
Low or semi-skilled workers hit hard by outsourcing
effects of globalization and modernization
Burden of social welfare fell upon state and local
Disproportionate rise in wealth/income
Hillbrook Green, Air Traffic
“I went on strike... and I'm still on
strike, 30 years later…they didn't like
unions at all and they came up with a
plan that became a blueprint for
union-busting ever since.”
PATCO Strike, 1981
Reagan praised for
Sent a clear message to
bargain more firmly with
Sharp reduction in major
strikes, 300/yr to 30/year
Changed perceptions about
The Occupy Wall Street Movement
1. What do you think the
“Occupy Wall Street” and
protests are about? What
do the protesters want?
2. Who are the protesters?
Describe who you think is
3. Do you support or oppose
this movement, and why?
Ronald Reagan (1983)
"It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide
of history.... [It is] the march of freedom and
democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on
the ash heap of history as it has left other
tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle
the self-expression of the people."
Foreign Policy: The Reagan Doctrine
Regarded Communism as an
immoral and destructive
ideology; Soviet Union bent
on world domination.
In a famous speech on
March 8, 1983, referred
to the Soviet Union as an
"evil empire," he also
called the Soviets "the
focus of evil in the modern
Had supported containment
policy under Truman; opposed
the policy of détente during
1970s (relaxation of tension)
Reagan Doctrine Continued…
Supported efforts to roll back
communist control and influence
As stated by Charles Krauthammer's
words in 1985, The Reagan Doctrine
was a policy of "democratic
militance" that "proclaims overt and
unabashed support for anti-
CIA involved in numerous anti-
communist efforts throughout the
Charles Krauthammer defines the Reagan Doctrine
(1985 Time Magazine)
The Reagan Doctrine is more radical than it pretends to be. It pretends
that support for democratic rebels is "self-defense" and sanctioned by
international law. That case is weak. The real case rests instead on
other premises: that to be constrained from supporting freedom by an
excessive concern for sovereignty (and a unilateral concern, at that) is
neither especially moral nor prudent. The West, of late, has taken to
hiding behind parchment barriers as an excuse for inaction when
oppressed democrats beg for help. The Reagan Doctrine, while still
hiding a bit, announces an end to inaction.
Only a few months ago, a Nicaraguan friend, an exSandinista who still
speaks their language, said in near despair that the struggle of democrats
around the world was doomed by the absence in the West of what he
called "democratic militance." The Reagan Doctrine represents a first
step toward its restoration.
"Defense is not a budget issue.
You spend what you need."
Military buildup had three
Sought safety through
military in case of war,
allies that the United
States would not
Encouraging Soviets to
come to the bargaining
Legacy of Reagan: Essential Question
Did Reagan's accomplishments occurred because
of his philosophy or despite it—or both.
What is his legacy in terms of economics, foreign
policy and the end of the Cold War, and his
impact on the political landscape of today?
Did Reagan win the Cold War?
Fall of the Soviet Union
Glasnost (Political openness, free speech/press)
Introduction of Democracy (local party level)
Could now question authority
Perostroika (Eco. Reforms/aspects of capitalism
Cost of arms race (SDI, nuclear arsenal)
Eco. reform failed, didn’t deliver = people lost
faith and support for Gorbachev
Overreach in Afghanistan, defeat = humiliation
“What did the president know, and when did he know it,"
No evidence that Reagan
knew about the funneling of
funds to the Contras; was
aware of money for
disengagement from the
management of White
House seen, compromised
his leadership/public image
in short term.
Opinion polls would
rebound by end of office