growing tension with Libyan leader, Muammar al-Gaddafi.During Reagan’s second term, he developed a diplomatic relationship with the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. In 1987, an agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States was signed to eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles. Later that same year, Reagan challenged Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall in Germany. Two years and five months later, the wall was dismantled, ending the Soviet Union rule over Germany. 1984 Re-election
In November 1984, Ronald Reagan was re-elected president. He defeated Democrat Walter Mondale and received 525 of the 538 electoral votes. His second term was tainted by the Iran-Contra affair. The Iran Contra affair is the act of trading weapons for American hostages without the approval of Congress. This was a deal with Iran to funnel money toward anti-communist insurgencies in Central America. Reagan initially denied any knowledge but later admitted it was a mistake. Later years and DeathAfter completing his second term in office in 1989, Reagan and Nancy returned to their home in Los Angeles, California. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum was opened in Simi Valley, California in 1991. In November 1994, Reagan wrote a letter to the American people disclosing his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. On June 5, 2004 Ronald Wilson Reagan died at his Los Angeles home atthe age of 93. A state funeral was held in Washington, D.C., and Reagan was later buried on the grounds of his presidential library in California.ConclusionU.S. involvement in Central America created the great scandal of Reagan’s presidency, the Iran-Contra affair. In 1984, Congress banned military aid to the Contras, those in Nicaragua fighting the Sandinistas who in 1979 had ousted the U.S.-backed dictator, Anastasio Somoza. In 1985, Reagan secretly authorized the sale of arms to Iran (then engaged in a war with Iraq) in order to get the release of American hostages held by Islamic groups in the Middle East. But the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council diverted funds from the arms sales to buy military supplies for the Contras, in defiance of Congress. In 1986, the scheme was exposed in the media, and Congress held televised hearings which showed lying and violations of the law that recalled the Nixon era. Eleven members of Reagan’s administration were convicted of perjury or destroying documents or plead guilty before they were tried. Reagan denied knowledge of the scheme, but the affair undermined the public’s confidence in him.
Surprisingly, Reagan in his second term softened his anti-communism and established good relations with Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev had come to power in 1985 and wanted to reform the Soviet Union’s political system (glasnost) and reinvigorate its economy (perestroika). The USSR had fallen far behind the United States in producing and distributing consumer goods and relied more and more on food imports to feed itself. Gorbachev realized the reforms he wanted required cuts in military
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- Fall '16
- Ronald Wilson Reagan