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Ronald Reagan’s Vision of HopeZachary BaltyHIUS 445October 18, 2018The 1980s were a time of massive upheaval.The decade before had been filled with conflict.During the 1970s, gas prices had spiked as a result of the 1973 OPEC embargo1, with stagflation2coming alongside, and the failed idealism of Jimmy Carter left America searching for more in their next president.In a time of utter desperation, 1Amadeo, Kimberly. "The Truth About the 1973 Arab Oil Crisis." The Balance. .2Amadeo, Kimberly. "Can Stagflation Happen Now?" The Balance. .
1Americans were simply starving for hope: a message to cling to in a bloated economy.Ronald Reagan provided that hope.The sports reporter-turned-actor-turned-politician guided the American public through economic recession and global strife and ultimately left office having a booming economy and (relative) world peace.However, not all Americans took to him with open arms.For the first part of Reagan’s tenure as President, his economic policies were met with criticism.During the beginning of Reagan’s second term, his willingness to meet with Mikhail Gorbachev was disdained on both sides of the aisle.The Iran-Contra Affair was argued as an impeachable offense.3However, even as Reagan left office, he was lauded by newspapers as well asa 63% exit approval rating.4This essay will show, at a summarial level, Ronald Reagan’s constant ability to avoid trouble by juxtaposing the meeting of the needs of a broken economy and war-torn Europe with a constant doctrine of hope, and a devoted focus upon his constituents.Reagan’s focus upon the people that he was elected to serve did not come as a surprise.Reagan, born into a poor, Irish Catholic household was taught at a young age to treat others with the kindness that he would like to receive.One important factor in Reagan’s upbringing was his religion, which was seen in 1930s Illinois with much of the disdain as Islam might be viewed in the rural midwest today.As a result, Reagan’s 3Lozada, Carlos. “The Presidency Survived Watergate, Iran-contra, and the Clinton Scandals.” December 21, 2017. -presidency-survived-the-watergate-iran-contra-and-clinton-scandals-trump-will-exact-a-higher-toll/?utm_term=.ade0711f9c104University of California, Santa Barbara. “Presidential Job Approval.” ?pres=40&sort=pop&direct=DESC&Submit=DISPLAY.
2father and mother implored their children to look beyond race, religion, and socioeconomic background when making friends.Reagan speaks of this in his autobiography, An American Life:“When my brother and I were growing up, there were still ugly tumors of racial bigotry in much of America, including the corner of Illinois where we lived.