A.P. U.S. History Notes
Chapter 43: “The Resurgence of Conservatism”
~ 1980 – 1996 ~
The Triumph of Conservatism
’s administration seemed to be befuddled and bungling, since it
could not control the rampant double-digit inflation or handle foreign affairs and would
not remove regulatory controls from major industries such as airlines.
Late in 1979,
(“Ted”) declared his candidacy for the
Democratic nomination for 1980, but he was hurt by his suspicious 1969 accident
in which a young female passenger drowned.
As the Democrats duked it out, the Republicans chose conservative and former actor
, signaling the return of conservatism, since the average American was
older than that during the stormy sixties and was more likely to favor the right.
New groups that spearheaded the “new right” movement included
and other conservative Christian groups.
Race was a burning issue, and in the 1974
Milliken vs. Bradley
case, the Supreme Court
ruled that desegregation plans could not require students to move across school-district
This reinforced the “
” that pitted the poorest whites and blacks against
each other, often with explosively violent results.
was another burning issue, but some whites used this to argue
“reverse discrimination” and gain advantages that way.
case of 1978 saw the Supreme Court barely rule that
not been admitted into U.C. Davis because the university preferred minority races
only and ordered the college to admit Bakke.
The Supreme Court’s only black justice,
, warned that the denial of
racial preferences might sweep away the progress gained by the civil rights movement.
The Election of Ronald Reagan, 1980
Ronald Reagan was a man whose values had been formed before the turbulent sixties, and
in a style resembling his early political hero,
Franklin D. Roosevelt
, Reagan adopted a
stance that depicted “big government” as bad, federal intervention in local affairs as
condemnable, and favoritism for minorities as negative.
He drew on the ideas of a group called the “
,” a group that
, editor of
, editor of
, two men who championed free-market
Reagan had grown up in an impoverished family, become a B-movie actor in Hollywood I
the 1940s, become president of the
Screen Actors Guild
, purged suspected “reds” in the
McCarthy era, acted as spokesperson for
, and become Californian
Reagan’s photogenic personality and good looks on televised debates, as well as his
attacks on President Carter’s problems, helped him win the election of 1980 by a landslide
(489 – 49).