Reagan's First Term

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Context

 Before Reagan became president all of the 52 hostages in the Iran crisis were released even thoguh it had nothing to do with Reagan he was still prasied for it

Unemployment was at 7.5% in May 1980
Inflation was at 13.5% 

The House of Representatives was held by the Democrats, this meant it was unlikely for any bills to be passed under Reagan that would be unchanged

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Economy

Reaganomics- Reagan's economic philosophy, emphasising lower taxes and deregulation, thought to stimulate the economy

Reagan's aims- To revive the economy by lowering taxes to encouraging people to spend more, Reduce the size and the role of the government by cutting public spending and welfare. 

Supply-side economics- this focused on supply rather than demandin the economy hoping to, allow the government to focus on achieving inflation-free growth rather than umemployment and welfare. 

Reagan has stressed that the previous economic policies had lead to budget deficits anf stagflation (high unemployement and high inflation rates) and that it needed to focus on Supply-side economics

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Economy Continued...

The implication of Reaganomics- it was highly dependent on the departments in which it was implimented in, such as departments of state and federal agencies
Reagan used his powers to ensure that that bodies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration made decisons in favour of business not labour

Deregulation did however lead to problems, in that the number of personnel in Consumer Product Safety Commission was cut by 38%. This led to 50% fall in prosecutions for illegal disposal of hazardous waste. 
Reagan's administration was successful in maintaining control, working well with Congress to pass a budget similar to that originally proposed. He pushed for co-operation between the two regularly refering to them as 'partners' in decison making. 

However it reduced 212 federal programmes , mosty aiding the working poor e.g. food stamps and student loans. The Ecomonic Recovery Act cut individual and corporate tax

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The Budget

The first two years of the budget remained worrying, with unemployment at 10% and inflation in double figures, businesses were beginnig to crash and more and more were becoming homeless. 

Prosperity did return but not due to Reaganoimcs but instead by the tight money policies of Paul Volker at the Federal Reserve Board

External factors such as the new oil sources found which caused the price to drop and the massive increase in defence spending brought prosperity to US regions with defence and aerospace industries e.g. west coast. 

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Military Aggression

The Strategic Defence Initiative 1983, known as 'Star Wars', initiated on 23rd March 1983 by Reagan. It proposed the use of ground and space based systems to protect the USA from strategic nuclear missiles, this included space and ground based x-ray lazers and subatomic particle beams. 

The weapons were far-fetched and unrealistic, they would have needed large amounts of energy to run and would need to be centrally controlled by a super computer. 

Due to the lack of technology at the time and the 10 years of research needed to work out if it was really possible it was abandoned, having achieved nothing and investments of $30 billion into it.

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Military Aggression cont...

The invasion of Grenada, 1983- this was triggered by a military coup which ousted a four year revolutionary governement

American Medical students were trapped on the island, prior to the arrival of the troops arrival with many fearing a repeat of the Iran Hostages Crisis

Another reason for the attack was that it had soviet and cuban influence, which were both strongly communist 

Economics of War- Reagan increased defence spending by 30%, reducing infaltion rates by more than half, however it did also increase the deficit by 50% 

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Assassination Attempt

On the 30th March 1981 at 2:25pm- Reagan and three others were shot by John Hinckley Jr using a .22 caliber Rohm RG-14 revolver, as he left the Hilton Hotel in Washington DC

Reagan suffered a punctured lung and internal bleeding but prompt medical help allowed him to recover quickly.

Hinckley was not found guilty due to insanity, due to his obsession with the actress Jodie Foster got out of hand and his determination to impress her got to much.

However he remained under arrest in a psychiatric facility

En route to the operation room Reagan told his wife 'Honey, I forgot to duck' this attitude impresssed voters

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Social Conservatism

This political ideology that focuses on the presevation of traditional values

The devolution of the New Deal, Reagan cut funding for lunch programs, housing, AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) and the near dismantlement federally funded legal services for the poor.

The cut hit welfare spending impacting on community development programs created under the New Deal and reducing funding on public transport

Reagan felt the those who recieved welfare were actually cheats and fruads, saying that the homeless 'wanted to be that way' and women who recieved state money were 'welfare queens' 

Smoking decreased, with 40 states banning/restricting it in public places. Drugs had also become an issue with 40 million people having taken an illegal drug. 'crack' became popular as it was afforable for the poor, seen as a escape.

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Social Conservatism Continued...

There was around 12,000 drug related death annually

Reagan concerntrated on the dealers and and the takers rather than rehabilitation centres or the poverty that caused people to take those drugs.

However the government did spend $15 billion each year on the 'drugs war' 

The Aids Crisis- By Feb 1983, over 1025 cases had been reported and at least 394 men died, rising to 1801 by April 1984. Sufferers were attacked by the moral majority and the religious right claiming HIV was 'nature's revenge on gay men' 

Reagan refused to fund a cure and refused to discuss it publically, even after the Mobilisation Against AIDS march in San Francisco in 1984

Even after the death of his friend Rock Hudson to AIDS in 1985, he refused to speak out about condoms and funding a cure through Congress. By 1990, 100,000 people had died of AIDS

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New Federalism

New Federalism was a policy that tranfered certain powers from the United States federal government back to the states. This was a deregulation of the government by shifting responsibility onto seperate states

Block grants were given to states for general purposes and allowed states greater discretion over how the funds were spent, e.g. education or welfare- reducing the governments size and power

It was criticised as it created hazards to public health and safety

During his first term he shifted dozens of federal programs to state and local level, however this was disliked as many complianed that the federal aid that was promised was inadequate or not recieved

Reagan said that the previous government had 'over-spent, over-estimated and over-regulated'. The Office of Management and Budget carried out the deregulatory process via executive action rather than administration

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