electoral victories in 1980 and 1984 Reagan and his allies tried to reshape the

Electoral victories in 1980 and 1984 reagan and his

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electoral victories in 1980 and 1984, Reagan and his allies tried to reshape the polit-ical and social landscape of the nation along conservative lines and rolled back thefederal government’s support of women’s rights and civil rights (see Map 30-4).The Great CommunicatorRonald Reagan was born in 1911 and raised in the small town of Dixon,Illinois. His father, who worked in sales, was an alcoholic who had atough time holding a job. His mother was a fundamentalist Christianwho kept the family together despite frequent moves and encouragedher son to act in church plays and, later, in college productions.In 1937 Reagan embarked on a Hollywood acting career that wouldlast for a quarter-century. Although never a big star, on screen he appearedtall, handsome, and affable. In later years, he credited his political successto his acting experience. He told one interviewer: “An actor knows twoimportant things—to be honest in what he’s doing and to be in touch withthe audience. That’s not bad advice for a politician either.”While serving as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1947to 1952, Reagan began to distance himself from New Deal liberalism bybecoming a leader of the anti-Communist forces in Hollywood. In 1954he became the host of a new national television program, General ElectricTheater, and began a long stint as a national promoter for GE. In thisrole he made numerous speeches celebrating the achievements of cor-porate America and emphasizing the dangers of excessive liberalismand radical trade unions.Reagan switched his party affiliation to the Republicans and becamea successful fund-raiser and popular speaker for the California GOP.After playing a leading role in Republican Barry Goldwater’s 1964 pres-idential campaign, and with the financial backing of a group of wealthyconservatives, he entered the race for governor of California. In 1966 hedefeated Democratic governor Edmund G. Brown and won reelectionin 1970. As governor, Reagan cut the state welfare rolls, placed limitson the number of state employees, and funneled a large share of statetax revenues back to local governments. He vigorously attacked studentprotesters and black militants, thereby tapping into the conservativebacklash against the activism of the 1960s.When Reagan entered the White House in January 1981, his sup-porters confidently predicted that the “Reagan revolution” would usherin a new age in American political life. Despite his narrow margin ofvictory, they interpreted his election as a popular mandate for the con-servatism that had been growing since Nixon took office.WHAT WEREthe centralphilosophical assumptions behindReaganomics and the key policies by which it was implemented?Electoral Vote(%)Popular Vote(%)39996453443333344457778662610101213252710411444481712810112126178131264RONALD REAGAN489(91)43,201,220(50.9)(Republican)Jimmy Carter49(9)34,913,332(41.2)(Democrat)John B. Anderson5,581,379(6.6)(Independent)Other candidates921,299(1.1)(Libertarian)MAP 30-4The Election of 1980

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