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Chapter 36—
The Conservative
SSUSH24— The student will analyze the impact of social change
movements and organizations of the 1960s.
Describe the rise of the Conservative Movement as seen in
the presidential candidacy of Barry Goldwater (1964) and
election of Richard Nixon (1968).
SSUSH25— The student will describe the changes in national
politics since 1968.
Describe President Richard M. Nixon’s opening of China,
his resignation due to the Watergate Scandal, changing
attitudes toward government, and the presidency of Gerald
R. Ford.
Explain the impact of the Supreme Court’s decisions on the
ideas about civil liberties and civil rights.
Explain the Carter Administration’s efforts in the Middle
Describe domestic and international events of Ronald
Reagan’s presidency.
SSUSH25— The student will describe the changes in national
politics since 1968.
Explain the relationship between Congress and President
Bill Clinton.
Analyze the 2000 Presidential Election and its outcome,
emphasizing the role of the Electoral College.
Analyze the response of President George W. Bush to the
attacks on September 11, 2001 and the war against
Early Demands for Equality
Chapter 32
The Conservative Resurgence (1980—1993)
Main Idea:
This chapter analyzes the political divisions
between liberals and conservatives,
describes the growth of the conservative
movement, examines the domestic and
foreign policies of the Reagan
Administration, and explains the causes and
effects of the end of the Cold War.
Issues Discussed in this Chapter
 America in the World
 Government’s Role in the Economy
 Sectionalism & National Politics
Liberalism v. Conservatism
 By the 1970s, the two dominant national political parties
(Democratic and Republican) adopted different political
ideologies or views.
 Democrats were labeled as liberals (those who generally
favored government intervention to help the poor).
 Republicans were labeled as conservatives (those who
generally favored allowing the free market, private
organizations, and individuals to help the poor).
Liberal Ideology
 By 1970, liberals tended to believe that the federal
government should play a significant role in improving
the lives of all Americans.
 In addition, they valued social programs that helped the
poor, unemployed, elderly, and women.
 They also sponsored laws that protected the civil rights of
minorities and women.
 Liberals supported greater regulation of industry and
cooperating with foreign nations.
Conservative Ideology
 By 1970, conservatives in general believed that a large
federal government threatened individual liberty and
sought to reduce taxes and deregulation (reduce
regulation by the government on business and industry).
 Traditional conservatives tended to want to put the
breaks on the new freedoms of the counterculture.
 A strong anti-communist wing of the movement favored a
strong national defense system to counter the spread of
Soviet-style communism worldwide.
The New Right
 During the 1960s and 1970s, many Republicans became
increasingly critical of liberal policies of the Democratic
 As their message grew, so did the New Right (the
resurgent conservative movement which grew in the 1970s
and was a coalition of several groups with varying ideas
and goals)./
Rise of Conservatism
 Led by Senator Barry
Goldwater, the Republican
Party and Conservatism rose in
popularity by 1980.
 The Vietnam War, urban riots,
the counterculture, Watergate,
the oil crisis, and Iran Hostage
Crisis increased fears of further
chaos in the world.
Criticizing Liberal Programs
 Conservatives blamed liberal programs for the stagflation
and other problems in the 1970s.
 Conservatives believed that the government taxed too much
and spent money on programs that were not working.
 Conservatives attacked unfunded mandates (Federal
programs required by law, but not paid for by the federal
 Conservatives also attacked federal welfare programs and
LBJ’s “Great Society” which they believed destroyed
families and created perpetual poverty.
The Moral Majority
 Moral Majority— Political organization founded by the
Reverend Jerry Falwell in 1979 which attempted to fulfill
religious goals.
 The organization boosted Republican chances of winning
the presidency in 1980 as well as other major political races
 Falwell also attacked recent Supreme Court cases such as
Roe v. Wade (1973) which legalized abortion and Engel v.
Vitale (1963) which prohibited religious teaching in public
Presidential Election of 1980
 In the Presidential Election of 1980, the Democratic Party
chose the incumbent president Jimmy Carter despite
opposition from Ted Kennedy (brother of JFK).
 The Republican Party nominated former California
governor and former actor, Ronald Reagan.
 More charismatic and polished than Barry Goldwater,
Reagan ran on opposition to big government, support for a
strong military, and faith in traditional values.
 His strong optimism convince Americans that he would
usher in patriotism and prosperity.
“The Conservative Resurgence” (p. 3)
1. What spurred the rise of conservatism in the late
1970s and early 1980s?
Conservatives most valued the ideals of
individualism, patriotism, and self-determination.
The social and economic declines of the 1970s
showed the failure of the liberal response to these
problems and spurred the rise of conservatism.
Presidential Election of 1980
Presidential Election of 1980
Ronald Reagan
40th President
1981 – 1989
Party: Republican
Home State: California
Vice President:
George H.W. Bush
Ronald Reagan
On the night of his inauguration, Iran released 52 Americans hostages.
Reagan was shot on March 30, 1981, but survived the assassination
Vigorously pursued tax and budget cuts, an economic policy that came
to be known as “Reaganomics.”
Reagan pushed for the build-up of the military and spent billions on
nation defense providing thousands of new jobs in the defense industry.
Reagan was a successful movie and television actor before starting his
political career.
Ronald Reagan
Ordered an invasion of Grenada in 1983 to break up a Marxist coup.
Sent Marines as peacekeepers into Lebanon following an Israeli
invasion in 1983.
Launched air strikes on Libya in 1986 in response to Libyan support of
Signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the
Soviet Union in 1987.
Met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to encourage him to
initiate Glasnost and Perestroika.
 Reagan and his advisers based their economic policies on
the theory of supply-side economics.
 The theory that rests on the assumption that if taxes are
reduced, people will work more and have more money to
spend, causing the economy to grow.
 The government will then collect more in taxes as social
programs become less funded and not needed.
 Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress criticized it
for cutting the programs needed by the poorest in society.
 Congress cut taxes (nearly 25% over three years) with the
wealthiest Americans receiving the highest cuts (who, in
turn, created new jobs to existing businesses and stimulated
the business growth).
 In addition, Reagan ordered the deregulation of various
industries (airline and telecommunications) and reduced
the government’s role in many aspects of society.
 Reagan also ordered increased spending in defense.
 Despite a recession (1979—1982), inflation decreased and
unemployment fell to levels near 5% by the end of 1983.
Problems with Budget Deficits
 Reagan failed to win support in welfare state programs, but
saw dramatic spending in defense causing a spike in the
annual budget deficit (shortfall between the amount of
revenue collected and expenses).
 Between 1981 and 1986, the national debt (the amount of
money the federal government owes to owners of
government bonds) rose to $2.5 trillion.
 Even with the passage of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act
of 1985, deficit spending continued passed the 1990 deadline
to balance the federal budget.
Reagan Assassination Attempt
 On March 30, 1981,
as President Reagan
was walking out of a
Washington, D.C.
hotel, he was shot by
John Hinckley, Jr. (a
would-be assassin).
 Reagan survived the
attempt and
Domestic Issues in the Reagan Presidency
 Despite the economic successes
of the 1980s, both Reagan and
Bush had to contend with
domestic issues.
 Social Security became a topic
as the number of elderly people
Reagan Signed the Social Security
Reform Act of 1983
in the United States grew.
 Reagan raised the minimum
retirement age and increased
payroll taxes to offset costs.
 In 1983, Reagan called the Soviet Union the “evil empire”
increasing Cold war tensions.
 Reagan also proposed a new weapon known as the Space
Defense Initiative (SDI) or “Star Wars” which would place
defense weapons in space to prevent ICBMs from hitting
targets in the United States.
 Though it was never fully developed or deployed, the
research and technologies of SDI paved the way for some
Anti-ballistic missile systems of today.
Current Patriot Missile from
SDI Technology
SDI in Proposed Plan
Foreign Issues in the Reagan Presidency
 Reagan ordered a peacekeeping
force to Lebanon in 1982 as a
response to an Israeli invasion.
 In October of 1983, the United States
marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon,
was attacked by the Islamic Jihad (a
radical wing of Hezbollah which
receives aid from Iran) .
 Reagan removed the Marines.
Attack on Marine Barracks
(October 23, 1983)
Savings & Loan Crisis
 In the mid-1980s, about 1,000
Savings and Loans banks failed
(mainly due to risky loans and
fraudulent business practices)
causing the Savings & Loan Crisis.
 Many blamed Reagan’s
deregulation of the industry.
 The federal government spent
$200 billion to bail out depositors
at the failed banks.
Presidential Election of 1984
 In the 1984 Presidential Election, the Republicans
nominated the incumbent Ronald Reagan who was riding
an air of popularity.
 The Democratic Party nominated former Vice President
Walter Mondale.
 The election featured the nomination of Geraldine Ferraro
(the first women to appear on a major ticket for VP) by
the Democratic Party.
 Reagan won reelection in a landslide.
Presidential Election of 1984
Walter Mondale
Ronald Reagan & George H.W. Bush
at the 1984 GOP Convention
Geraldine Ferraro
Presidential Election of 1984
Presidential Election of 1984
The Supreme Court Turns Right
 Reagan nominated conservative judges to
the federal courts and three Justices to the
Supreme Court: Antonin Scalia, Anthony
Kennedy, and Sandra Day O’Connor (the
first women to sit on the Supreme Court).
 Reagan also elevated Justice William
Rehnquist to the position as Chief Justice
and continued the Court’s move to the
political right.
Iran-Contra Affair
 The Iran-Contra Affair was a political scandal revealed in
November 1986 and began as an operation to increase
United States-Iranian relations, wherein Israel would ship
weapons to a moderate, politically influential group of
Iranians opposed to the Ayatollah Khomeini.
 The United States would reimburse Israel for those
weapons and receive payment from Israel.
 The funds then would then be sent to aid the Contras (anti-
communist forces) in Nicaragua who were resisting the
Sandinistas (communist forces) fighting for control.
Iran-Contra Affair
 The plan eventually deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages
scheme, in which members of the executive branch sold
weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of the American
hostages being held in Lebanon by Hezbollah.
 In November of 1986, Reagan appeared on television and
stated that the weapons transfers had indeed occurred, but
that the United States “did not trade arms for hostages.”
 Though Reagan supported the Contras, no evidence could be
found that he knew the full extent of the plan.
 Three members of Reagan’s Cabinet were found guilty.
Mikhail Gorbachev
 Mikhail Gorbachev was a reforming
leader of the Soviet Union (1985—
1991) who met with Ronald Reagan to
bring about the end of the Cold War.
 Gorbachev worked to bring changes
to the Soviet Union which included
Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika
(reforms which moved resources
from the state to private entities).
“Tear Down this Wall” Speech
 On June 12, 1987, Reagan spoke in
West Berlin at the Brandenburg
 Reagan’s speech acknowledged
Mikhail Gorbachev’s efforts to
reform the Soviet Union.
 Reagan challenged Mikhail
Gorbachev to showing real
commitment by his famous quote:
“Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr.
Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
The End of the Cold War
 In 1988, Gorbachev
visited Reagan in the
United States and Reagan
eventually visited the
“Evil Empire” and
 Eventually, the Berlin
Wall did come down, and
the Cold War came to an
end in 1991.
“The Conservative Resurgence” (p. 3)
2. What were the major characteristics of the
conservative Reagan Revolution?
The Reagan Revolution focused on reducing the size
and influence of government.
It lowered taxes and limited government
intervention in Social Security, healthcare, and
“The Conservative Resurgence” (p. 3)
3. What were Reagan’s foreign policies, and how did they
contribute to the fall of the Soviet Union?
Reagan sought to confront communism, and he greatly
expanded the United States military budget on
programs such as the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).
The Soviets could not match the United States arms
build-up, and their military disadvantage contributed
to the fall of communism in 1991.
Presidential Election of 1988
 In the 1988 Presidential Election, the Republicans
nominated the incumbent Vice President, George H.W.
Bush who was riding on the coattails of Ronald Reagan.
 Bush made a campaign slogan from a speech in which he
stated, “Read my lips, no new taxes.”
 The Democratic Party nominated former Governor of
Massachusetts Michael Dukakis.
 Bush won the election and continued the policies of
Reagan and the conservative movement.
Presidential Election of 1988
Presidential Election of 1988
George H.W. Bush
Michael Dukakis
Dan Quayle
Presidential Election of 1988
Presidential Election of 1988
George H.W. Bush
41st President
1989 – 1993
Party: Republican
Home State: Texas
Vice President:
Dan Quayle
George H.W. Bush
Formulated a plan to bail out the Savings and Loan industry, when
many savings and loans faced severe financial problems.
Signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which prohibits
discrimination against people with disabilities.
Bush served as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),
led the Republican Party as its chairman, and was Vice President under
Reagan for eight years.
George H.W. Bush
Sent troops to Panama in December 1989 to assist in
overthrowing dictator Manuel Noriega.
Launched the Persian Gulf War in 1991, which united
international forces in driving Iraq out of Kuwait.
Proposed the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) in 1991 between the United States, Mexico, and
Domestic Issues in the Bush Presidency
 Education became a political topic as schools in the United
States seem be failing nationwide.
 Students continued to score low on standardized exams and
were perceived as unable to compete globally.
 School vouchers (government checks spent on private
schools) were an alternative offered by conservatives to
force government schools to improve or loose funding.
 Liberals argued that it took funding away from government
schools and discriminated against poor school districts.
Domestic Issues in the Bush Presidency
 In the early 1980s, Acquired Immune Deficiency
Syndrome (AIDS) became a major issue as the Human
Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) spread originally in
certain communities in the United States.
 By 1990, it had killed nearly 200,000 Americans.
 Without a cure, Bush began funding for research on the
disease which also became a political issue in the 1990s./
Domestic Issues in the Bush Presidency
 The Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990
ensured that those with
disabilities received the
same opportunities in
employment and access to
public transportation and
public places as other
Invasion of Panama
 In 1989, President
Bush sent 12,000
soldiers to arrest
Manuel Noriega (the
dictator of Panama)
for drug trafficking
in the United States.
 He was sentenced to
40 years in prison.
Tiananmen Square
 In the Spring of 1989, Chinese students captured the
world’s attention by staging pro-democracy protests in
Tiananmen Square (center of Beijing, China).
 Many in China and in parts of the world hoped that it
meant the fall of communism in China.
 In June, Chinese tanks rolled into the Square, killed
hundreds of protestors, and crushed the demonstrations.
 Bush condemned the action of the Chinese government and
levied minor sanctions against China.
Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square
Changes in South Africa
 By the end of the 1980s, economic and
political pressure on South Africa’s forced
that nation to end Apartheid (oppressive
system of rigid segregation) and initiate a
series of reforms.
 In 1990, Nelson Mandela was released
from prison and met with President Bush,
and in 1994, was elected president of
South Africa.
Persian Gulf War
 On August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein
(President of Iraq) invaded Kuwait in
an effort to take oil fields.
 President Bush began building a
coalition of nearly 700,000 troops from
nearly 40 nations.
 Planning and leader of the coalition
was Colin Powell (Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff).
Persian Gulf War
 Operation Desert Storm— The name
of the United States-led attack on Iraqi forces in Kuwait
(January 16, 1991).
 By the end of February, coalition troops compelled the Iraqi
forces to retreat from Kuwait.
 Despite the victory and President Bush’s approval rating
near 90%, Saddam Hussein remained in power.
Persian Gulf War
Persian Gulf War
Operation Desert Storm
“The Conservative Resurgence” (p. 4)
4. What actions did the United States take abroad during
George H. W. Bush’s presidency?
 Took action to control the flow of drugs from the nation of
 Sent peacekeeping forces to Bosnia and Somalia.
 Suspended the sale of arms to China to protest human rights
 Initiated Operation Desert Storm to free Kuwait from the
“The Conservative Resurgence” (p. 4)
5. How did George H. W. Bush approach the war
against Iraq in 1991?
 Bush approached the war by creating a coalition of
many nations that opposed the Iraqi invasion of
 He created a limited military action that could be
carried out in a short time.