and Nancy Reagan also ushered in a new era of glamour to the White House, with designer fashions and a controversial redecoration of the executive mansion. On March 30, 1981, as President Reagan was exiting the Washington Hilton Hotel with several of his advisers, shots rang out and quick-thinking Secret Service agents thrust the president into his limousine. Once in the car, aides discovered that he had been hit. His would-be assassin, John Hinckley Jr., also shot three other people, none of them fatally. At the hospital, doctors determined that the gunman's bullet had pierced one of the president's lungs and narrowly missed his heart. Reagan, known for his good-natured humor, later told his wife, "Honey, I forgot to duck." Within several weeks of the shooting, President Reagan was back at work. Domestic Agenda
On the domestic front, President Reagan advanced a number of conservative policies. Tax cuts were implemented to stimulate the United States' economy. He also advocated for increases in military spending, reductions in certain social programs and measures to deregulate business. By 1983, the nation's economy had begun to recover and, according to many economists, entered a seven-year period of prosperity. Critics, however, charged that his policies had actually increased the deficit and hurt the middle class and poor. In 1981, Reagan once gain made history by appointing Judge Sandra Day O'Connor as the first woman to the U.S. Supreme Court. Foreign Affairs The most pressing foreign policy issue of Reagan's first term was the Cold War. Dubbing the Soviet Union "the evil empire," Reagan embarked on a massive buildup of U.S. weapons and troops. He implemented the Reagan Doctrine, which provided aid to anti-communist movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 1983, he announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, a plan aiming to develop space-based weapons to protect America from attacks by Soviet nuclear missiles. In the Middle East, Reagan sent 800 U.S. Marines to Lebanon as part of an international peacekeeping force, in June 1982. Nearly one year later, in October 1983, suicide bombers attacked the Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 Americans. That same month, Reagan ordered U.S. forces to invade the
Caribbean island of Granada after Marxist rebels overthrew the government.
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- Cold War, President Ronald Reagan