Reagan's Second Term



1984, Reagan was re-elected with a landslide victory with Reps retained control of Senate. However Dems still had control of HOR

Lame-Duck Syndrome- Congress knew it was his last term so didn't have to support him, Dems thus becoming more confident about opposing him on certain issues. Especially after regaining the Senate- making it harder for him to work with them

No Movement to Right- Congress believed that the public was on the presidents side thus did not disagree on fear of losing seats after the elections, an no right shift they were more willing to oppose him

'It's Morning again in America', No Clear Policies- Reagan tried to offer a new direction, yet his campaign had no specific proposals, it was more of a feel good camapaign. Reagan claimed 'you ain't seen nothing yet' but in reality they already had. No clear policies became hard work

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Congress Continued...

Bitburg Affair- The German Chancellor asked Reagan to attend a wreath laying ceremony at a military cemetary, Bitburg- May 1985. Outrage when it became clear that 49 of those buried there were Nazi's and Hitler's police. Reagan still went

President's Dream Team 1980- Meese- made sure lower level political positions went to candidates who symathised Reaganomics- ensure no opossition. 
James Baker- Chief of Staff- Ensure Press and Congress were friendly.
Michael Deaver- Great image creator. (effectiveness essential)

Second Term Staffing (Weakened team)- Meese wanted Attorney General, Deaver left administration and Baker exchanged jobs with Donald Regan. Meese not a good choice for AG, Deputy resigned due to his appointment, Regan as chief of staff was inexperienced refuese to seek favour from Congress or the media. 

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Congress Continued... 2

Balancing Budgets and Emergency deficits Control Act- The Federal Budget soared, Congress passed the Balancing Budgets and and Emergency deficit Control Act- December 1985. Enforcing spending cuts

Congress takes Control- demanded a more active environmental policy, Reagan vetoed the renewal of the Clean Water Act as it was too expensive at $18 Billion 

However Congress overrode the veto of the Water Quality Control Act, which was pretty much the same

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Iran Contra Affair 1986

What? In Nicaragua, Contra guerrillas were fighting against the Marxist Sandista government, Congress refused to support them, but Reagan wanted to help. 
November 1986 rumoured then revealed that Reagan's administration had been illegally shipping arms to Iran in the attempt to release hostages from Lebanon. the profits from this were given to the Contras

Why? This shocked many Americans, especially as Iran was supposed to be the enemy after the Hostage Crisis under Carter. Reagan had not told Congress about this, going against the law which states that the president could not make any weapons sale without the congressional knowledge

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Results/ significance of Iran Contra Affair

Triggered uproar in Congress and Reagan's approval ratings to drop from 64% to 44% due to the investigations in the media, these investgations were highly critical of Reagan's FP. 

The Tower Commission said it violated it ban on arms sales to Iran, raising questions as to whether US policy statementscould be relied apon and rewarded a regime that clearly supported terrorism and hostage taking.

It also critisised Reagan's delegatory management in which he ignored experienced professionals, giving general guidance and leaving out details. 

Concluded Reagan did not have prior knowledge about the diversion of fund until it was revealed in the Oliver North trial in 1989 that he both knew and authorised the funds. If known about soon he would probably been impeached. 

Reagan's actions achieved little, the Iranians decided to take more hostages, and the pro-soviet governement stayed in charge in Nicaragua

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Tax Reform 1986

Reagan did not like the Tax system, felt it was too complex, unfair and full of loop holes. helped certian individuals at the expense of others

Reform seem difficult, voters and big buisnesses feared it would lead to tax increases

Dems in HOR encouraged support as it would be good for the working class

Some Reps liked it as it ensured that the wealthy were not being taxed as high as 50%

Passed in December 1985, with a great struggle, after it was passed Reagan said, 'What's that i heard about lame duckery?'

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Reagan's power to nominate to the federal judicary was important, nominations to the Supreme Court mattered most

Conservative SC, rule in line with Reagan 

June 1987, SC justice resigned- previously a swing voter. Reagan appointed a conservative, Bork in the hope that things would swing in favour of conservatives

However he was hated by liberals, as he defended the connecticut law to denied contraception to married couples, opposed abortion and criticised women's right not part of 14th ammendement

NAACP and NOW started an aggressive lobby to get rid of him

The Ssenate rejected him, 58 to 42, due to the successful lobbying of liberals, the public responce, and if he had been supported by all republicans and some democrats

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Significance of Bork

Rejection of Bork was a set back for Reagan's administration, probably an unwise choice to start with

Reagan and Meese overestimated themselves and underestimated the opposition from both the public and Congress Bork had

However defeat was not unusual for SC nomiations- 20% failed 

Rejection of Bork was one example- Reagan had many other successful appointments

Overall Reagan was successful, chose many conservative judges, 3 assoicate judges, a chief justice, 168 appeal court judges and 211 federal district court judges

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Foreign Policy

Reagan once referred to the Soviet Union as the 'Evil Empire', thus the media was amazed when he had a several friendly summits with the Soviet Leader at the time, Gorbachev

Reagan commented on this saying, 'My 'Evil Empire' phrase was 'another time, another era''

Ending Cold War?- March 1983 Reagan launched 'Star Wars'- SDI. While few Americans believed this would work , the Soviets took it seriously

Some beieve that along with Reagan's massive defence expenditure, SDI forced the Soviets into bankruptcy trying to keep up, forcing them into talks with Reagan

This facilitated important arms treaties and end of the cold war

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Foreign Policy Continued...

INF-Intermediate Nuclear Force Treaty- Signed 8th December 1987, USA and Soviet Union

First agreement to eliminate an entire class of nuclear weapons

Both Gorbachev and Reagan wanted to end the nuclear arms race, their relationship worked well, effectively ending the Cold War

Made Americans feel more secure

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