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Historical Era:
Political :
Reagan was part of a new conservative branch of the Republican Party.
 a smaller government
 less government benefits to the poor
 lower taxes
 a strong military.
Opposite of the Democratic Party
 dominated by social progressives
 more programs and benefits to be paid for by taxes
Global Politics: This was during the Cold War.
The United States was competing for influence with the U.S.S.R.
 a race for military power
 economic and political influence over other countries
 There was a fear of nuclear war
Economic: The American economy was weak as it was starting to
be exposed to competition from the global economy.
 U.S. factories were closing and laying off workers.
 Gas prices were high
 inflation had driven up lending costs
 growth was slow
Social issues: Democrats had championed many minority and women’s rights during the 1970’s.
Many of the white middle class felt forgotten by leaders. Women’s liberation, cultural identity, gay
rights were all still controversial. Abortion had been legalized just a few years before and made
many Christian voters upset.
Issues and
Economic Plan
Presidential Role
Watchdog of the
 Lowered taxes
 Lower welfare benefits
 More military spending
Boosted the economy
Increased business investment
Recession and unemployment
Invasion of
Funding the
Commander in Chief
Head of State
INF treaty
Foreign Policy Maker
 Sent Marine force to take over
a small island nation in the
 Sent arms and money to a
rebel group in Nicaragua
Space Shuttle “Challenger”
explodes during lift-off.
 Kills all 7 astronauts including
female teacher
 Millions of Americans are
watching on live TV
 Reagan’s gives speech that
evening on TV
Treaty with USSR that reduces the
number of nuclear weapons by 4%.
Boost to the national spirit
Military success
Blow to communism and Russians
Illegal to aide rebels
Reagan’s speech morns the death
of the astronauts but also makes
them into heroes.
His speech strengthens faith in the
U.S.A. during a time of trouble.
This is the first treaty to reduce the
stockpile both nations have built
over the last 30 years.
This would signal the beginning of
the end of the Cold War