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The perceptions of ronald reagan on the american government

Presidency Of Ronald Reagan By giving Ronald Reagan an overwhelming election victory, the American public had expressed a desire for change in the style of the nation's leadership. Crises such as the taking of American hostages by Iran-and the failure of an attempt to rescue them-had contributed to a general perception that the Carter Administration was caught by events rather than directing them. In July 1979 President Carter failed to dispel that perception when he spoke to the nation about its "crisis of confidence" concerning the future.

By contrast, Reagan--as a campaigner and as President--exuded full-speed-ahead confidence in the United States, himself and his own the perceptions of ronald reagan on the american government world view. Throughout his Presidency, he demonstrated the ability to instill in Americans pride for their country and a sense of optimism about the future. Several dramatic events during the first few months of the Reagan Presidency seemed to validate this new spirit.

Within minutes of his taking the oath of office on January 21, 1981, following arduous negotiations by the outgoing Carter Administration, the remaining 52 American hostages in Iran were released and returned to a tumultuous national welcome.

In March, Reagan survived an assassination attempt, and a month later, the United States successfully launched the first orbital flight of the reusable space shuttle Columbia, initiating a new era in space operations. But if there was a central theme to Reagan's national agenda, it was his belief that the federal government had become too big.

Government is the problem," Reagan declared in his First Inaugural Address. Within a month of taking office, Reagan began a drastic reshaping of the federal budget, directed largely at domestic-spending programs.

Although the President insisted that the cuts were directed at "waste" rather than social "safety-net" programs, critics accused him of being insensitive to the needs of the less fortunate. The President argued, however, that individual initiative and hard work were the keys to a better life for Americans. At the same time, the President launched an offensive on what he considered the excessive regulation of business. His supporters claimed that unnecessary regulations decreased the competitiveness of U.

His critics argued that regulations were needed to ensure safety, and to protect the consumer and the environment. Reagan's domestic program was rooted in his belief that the nation would grow the perceptions of ronald reagan on the american government prosper if the power of the private economic sector were unleashed.

A proponent of"supply-side" economics, a theory which holds that a greater supply of goods and services will lead to economic growth, Reagan sought large tax cuts to promote greater consumer spending, saving and investment. Supply-side economists argued that a tax cut would lead to increased business investment, increased earnings, and --through taxes on these earning--increased government revenues. Despite a slim Republican majority in the Senate, and a House of Representatives controlled by the Democrats, President Reagan succeeded during his first year in office in enacting the major components of his economic program, including a 25-percent tax cut for individuals to be phased in over three years.

The Reagan Administration also sought and won significant increases in defense spending to modernize the nation's military. Even with cuts in social spending, however, the increased military budget--combined with a tax cut--resulted in the federal government spending more than it received in revenues each year. But in 1981 the administration's immediate problem was stagnant economic growth, high inflation and soaring interest rates. The nation endured a deep recession throughout 1982.

Presidency Of Ronald Reagan

This, combined with falling oil prices, helped to curb the runaway inflation. The annual inflation rate remained between three and five percent from 1983 through 1987, except in 1986 when it fell to just under 2 percent --the lowest level in decades. President Reagan's unflagging optimism, his quick wit and his ability to celebrate the achievements and aspirations of the American people, remained a sustaining element throughout his two terms in office.

He was a figure of reassurance and stability for many Americans. Despite his propensity for misstatements, Reagan was known as the "Great Communicator," primarily for his mastery of television. Although Reagan rose to political prominence in the turbulent 60s, he had long been a familiar figure as a Hollywood actor in scores of motion pictures, and later, in television.

For many, he embodied the remembered prosperity and relative social tranquility of the 1950s-an era dominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose genial public personality also evoked widespread popularity. Presiding, like Eisenhower, over a period of relative peace and prosperity at the end of his first term, President Reagan and Vice President George Bush overwhelmingly won reelection in 1984, carrying 49 of 50 states in defeating the Democratic Party ticket of Walter MondaleVice President under Jimmy Carter, and Geraldine Ferraroa member of the House of Representatives from New York.

Economic trends were by no means uniformly positive in the I980s, however. Like most other nations, the United States was increasingly tied to the global economy. Huge federal deficits meant increased government borrowing at unusually high interest rates. High interest rates kept international demand for dollars strong and the dollar's foreign exchange value high.

In turn, the strong U. As the perceptions of ronald reagan on the american government result, the United States registered an ominously large and growing trade deficit.

In 1980 the annual U. In one sense, the imbalance in imports over exports marked the success of an open postwar trading system, championed by the United States, that had progressively lowered tariffs and other trading barriers. However, American industry, long dominant in the world economy, suddenly found itself in the position of competing for markets at home and abroad in basic products such as grain and steel, as well as in advanced technology such as electronics and computers.

Farmers were especially hard hit by depressed crop prices and loss of export markets, the perceptions of ronald reagan on the american government left them unable to pay off the high-interest loans that they had incurred in the 1970s when incomes were higher.

As a result, the rural economies of many midwestern farm states were severely depressed. In 1985, the federal government enacted a farm law aimed at improving the international competitiveness of U. The nation's response to the overall trade issue was more ambivalent.

Many Democrats, with strong support from labor unions, called for legislation establishing quotas and higher tariffs to protect domestic manufacturing jobs being lost to foreign competition. The Reagan Administration, philosophically committed to the principle of free trade, resisted such broad-scale protectionist responses, and resorted instead to informal restrictions to help individual industries hurt by an influx of imports.

Some of these restrictions, such as voluntary import restraints on Japanese cars, were particularly controversial because the protection was not tied to any adjustment plan on the part of American producers.

At the same time, the United States signed a historic free-trade agreement with Canada in 1988, which will eliminate all tariffs and most other trade barriers over 10 years.

Government and business leaders alike called for renewed efforts to make American industry more efficient and competitive, and aided by a declining dollar, U. In 1988, Congress approved and President Reagan signed a comprehensive trade bill aimed at opening foreign markets to U. Its provisions expanded the administration's authority to negotiate bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, and required that an industry seeking relief from imports prove that assistance would enable it to make "positive adjustment" by becoming more competitive or shifting into a more productive business.

The trade deficit, the overvalued dollar and the federal budget deficit transformed the domestic political debate during Reagan's second term and the new Bush Administration: Few political leaders, even liberals, advocated major new domestic-spending programs. Instead, Congress enacted the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act in 1985 to require by law a progressive reduction in the federal deficit. A year later, Congress passed a far-reaching tax reform program designed to make the tax system simpler and fairer by eliminating most tax benefits for special interests.

President Bush, who had pledged "no new taxes" during his campaign, could propose only modest funding increases for his highest priority domestic initiatives to combat drug abuse, clean up the environment and upgrade American education. In foreign policy, President Reagan sought a more assertive role for the nation, and Central America provided an early test. The United States confronted a guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador that threatened to topple the government, and a Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, which the administration believed to be intent on establishing a Marxist dictatorship to replace the rightwing Somoza dictatorship.

In El Salvador, the administration responded with a program of economic aid and military training to help the government in stemming guerrilla attacks. The United States also backed democratic forces in El Salvador intent on reducing killings and other human rights violations by rightwing death squads, and actively encouraged the transition the perceptions of ronald reagan on the american government an elected democratic government under Napoleon Duarte.

In November 1989, guerrilla forces launched massive attacks in the capital of San Salvador and other cities throughout the country; murders linked to alleged right-wing death squads increased as well. Regional peace efforts under the auspices of other Latin American nations the "Contadora process" ended in failure, and the focus of administration efforts shifted to support for the anti-Sandinista resistance, known as the contras.

Following intense political debate over this policy, the Congress ended all military aid to the contras in October 1984, but continued humanitarian assistance. However, a relative lack of success on the battlefield, charges of human rights abuses, and the revelation that funds from secret Iranian arms sales had been diverted to the contras undercut political support in Congress for continuing military aid to the anti-Sandinista guerrillas. With its Nicaraguan policy at an impasse, the Reagan Administration declared its support for the 1987 Central American peace plan.

The plan, proposed by President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica, called for amnesty for anti-government insurgents, an end to outside support for guerrilla forces,and democratization throughout the region.

The perceptions of ronald reagan on the american government Bush Administration abandoned any effort to secure military aid for the contras, although it pushed for non-military assistance that would keep the contras intact until democratic elections scheduled for February 1990. The Bush Administration also sought funding from Congress for the opposition political coalition contesting the election against the Sandinistas.

Meanwhile, a new foreign policy impasse arose in Panama, where the United States refused to recognize the regime of General Manuel Noriegawho ousted the elected president. Complicating the issue was Noriega's indictment by a U. Despite intensive diplomatic efforts, the Reagan Administration failed to find a way of removing Noriega from power.

In the first year of the Bush Administration, the United States refrained from providing military support for a coup aimed at ousting Noriega, choosing instead to seek a solution through diplomacy, economic pressure, and the collective efforts of the Organization of American States.

The Reagan Administration was more fortunate in witnessing a return to democracy throughout Latin America, in nations from Guatemala to Argentina. The emergence of democratically elected governments was not limited to Latin America, however; in Asia, the "people power" campaign of Corazon Aquino overthrew the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcosand elections in Korea ended decades of military rule.

By contrast, South Africa remained intransigent in the face of the administration's efforts to encourage an end to racial apartheid through the controversial policy of "constructive engagement.

Congress overrode Reagan's veto and imposed a set of economic sanctions on South Africa. A number of U.

Presidency Of Ronald Reagan

Only in December 1988, in the last weeks of the Reagan Administration, did years of patient U. The agreements, signed by South Africa, Angola and Cuba, called for the phased withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola, democratic elections held in November 1989the withdrawal of all South African troops, and independence for Namibia.

Despite its outspoken anti-communist rhetoric, the Reagan Administration's direct use of U. On October 25, 1983, U. The action followed the assassination of Grenada's leftist Prime Minister by members of his own Marxist-oriented party.

After a brief period of fighting, U. In December 1983, the last American combat troops left Grenada, which held democratic elections a year later. By contrast, military efforts in Lebanon, where the United States was attempting to bolster a moderate, pro-Western government, ended tragically, when 241 American Marines were killed in a terrorist bombing.

In April 1986, U. Initially, the United States had responded to a request from Kuwait for protection of its tanker fleet; but eventually the United States, along with naval vessels from Western Europe, escorted convoys of tankers and other neutral vessels traveling up and down the Gulf.

  • However, it is worth considering how Babbitt believed that the idyllic notions of sentimental humanitarians became manifest in foreign policy thought and practice;
  • He believed the rest of the world was counting on the U.

The convoys succeeded in keeping the sea lanes open. However, a number of lives were lost through tragic errors. Thirty-seven American sailors died aboard the Navy frigate Stark in May 1987, for example, after the ship was struck by missiles fired in error by an Iraqi jet.

Secretary of State George Shultz attemped intensive diplomacy during the final year of the Reagan Administration. Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, recognition of Israel's right to exist and a renunciation of terrorism.

  1. Although the President insisted that the cuts were directed at "waste" rather than social "safety-net" programs, critics accused him of being insensitive to the needs of the less fortunate.
  2. In March, Reagan survived an assassination attempt, and a month later, the United States successfully launched the first orbital flight of the reusable space shuttle Columbia, initiating a new era in space operations. Bush modeled many of his presidential policies and vision on Reagan.
  3. Following intense political debate over this policy, the Congress ended all military aid to the contras in October 1984, but continued humanitarian assistance. Scholars and journalists have also adopted aspects of his worldview and have used them to advocate an interventionist and indeed rather aggressive foreign policy.
  4. He explained that surrounding countries simply did not have the capacity to restore liberty to Grenada, and thus the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and other nations appealed to the U. In April 1986, U.
  5. It can find ways perhaps never before considered for advancing the ethical life of society.

In addition, Secretary of State James Baker attempted to revitalize American diplomacy in the Middle East with proposals to initiate Israeli-Palestinian talks on Palestinian elections leading to negotiations, an interim period of self-rule for Palestinians, and eventually final status negotiations for the West Bank and Gaza.

Two events increased U. The United States also condemned the continuing Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and provided aid to the mujahidin resistance there. Despite protests by a vocal anti-nuclear movement on both sides of the Atlantic, the United States, implementing a 1979 NATO decision, began deploying single-warhead Pershing II and ground-launched cruise missiles in Western Europe at the end of 1983 to counter Soviet triple-warhead SS-20 missiles capable of striking Western Europe from the Soviet Union.

And on March 23, 1983, in one of the most hotly debated policy decisions of his Presidency, Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative SDI research program to explore advanced technologies, such as lasers and high-energy projectiles, that could defend against nuclear ballistic missiles.