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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP U.S. History
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The Conservative Resurgence and The 1980s

  • The conservative movement addressed anticommunism, free-market economics, & religious moralism
  • Reagan set out to roll back federal taxes, social welfare spending, & the regulatory bureaucracy; his economic policy became known as “Reaganomics”--Supply-side or “Voodoo” Economics (by Bush) and the “trickle down” theory
  • Reagan instead rearmed U.S. to force the Soviets into a prolonged arms race that would damage their economy; supported CIA initiatives in Angola, Mozambique, Afghanistan, and Central America; aided repressive, right-wing regimes in blocking Soviet influence but at great costs.
  • Beginning in 1985, Soviet leader Gorbachev introduced policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (economic restructuring) in Soviet Union; met Reagan in 1985; within two years, the two nations were negotiating the elimination of intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe
  • Iran-Contra Scandal exposed and tarnished his admin: when Reagan administration sold arms to Iran in an effort to gain assistance in negotiating hostage releases in Lebanon; did so without congressional approval; used the profits to overthrow democratically elected government in Nicaragua (Sandinistas) without congressional support/knowledge
  • AIDS epidemic--first appeared in 1981—and gay men were among the earliest carriers of the disease; a hundred thousand Americans died
  • Conservative movement hampered the gov from declaring AIDS a national health emergency
  • More about Ronald Reagan:

The Conservative Resurgence and The 1980s

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Overview 0:07
  • Free-Market Economics and Religious Conservatism 1:13
    • Anticommunism, Free-Market Economics and Religious Moralism
    • Regulatory Bureaucracy
    • PATCO Strikers
  • Supply-Side Economics 6:34
    • Reaganomics
    • Reducing Taxes and More Spending
    • Economic Recovery Act
    • Lowered Taxes
    • Images of Supply-Side Economics
  • Trickle Down Economics 9:57
  • Reaganomics 10:32
    • Reduced Income Tax Rates
    • Drop of the Highest Marginal Tax Rate
    • The Federal Deficit Increased
  • The Annual Federal Budget Deficit (or Surplus), 1940-2005 12:33
  • Presidential Landscaping 13:11
    • Budget Deficit
    • National Debt
    • The Savings and Loan
  • Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) 14:49
  • Relations with the USSR Improve 16:33
    • Perestroika
    • Glasnost
    • Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall
  • The Wall Comes Down in 1989 18:57
  • Reagan Aids Anticommunists and Israelis 20:36
    • A Right-Wing Government in El Salvador
    • Setbacks in the Middle East
  • Involvement in Latin America and Caribbean 23:11
  • Iran-Contra Affair and Scandal 23:38
    • Banned Sending Funds to the Contras
    • Oliver North
  • Iran-Contra 25:08
  • Foreign Policy After the Cold War 26:26
    • New World Order
    • War on Drugs
    • Disintegration of Yugoslavia
  • Social Issues 28:01
    • Sandra Day O'Connor
    • William Rehnquist
    • Roe v. Wade
  • Economic Changes 29:46
    • Service Oriented
    • Trade Imbalance
    • Widened Gap Between Rich and Poor
    • Apple Computers and Microsoft
  • The Income of Two-Wage Families Graph 31:43
  • Other Themes in the 1980s 33:15
    • Materialistic Values
    • AIDS Epidemic
    • Just Say No
    • Challenger Explodes
  • 1987 March On Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights 37:15
  • Example 1 37:53
  • Example 2 40:57
  • Example 3 43:41