by Gil Troy
Ronald Reagan, 1987

The Reagan Revolution of the 1980s sought to change Americans’ attitudes toward their country, their government, and the world, as the United States emerged from the 1970s. Ronald Reagan entered the White House in January 1981 promising to restore Americans’ faith in their nation and themselves, to shrink “Big Government,” and to defend America more aggressively, especially against the Soviet Union. During his two terms in office, President Reagan continued his decades-long battle against Great Society liberalism, the activities and ideas of the 1960s’ student rebels and 1970s’ defeatists, and the spread of Communism. Reagan’s American restoration delivered patriotism, prosperity, and peace. American pride revived as the economy soared and the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe collapsed. “All in all,” Reagan said in his 1989 farewell address, “not bad, not bad at all.”More »

Featured Primary Sources

Ronald Reagan, official White House photograph, 1981 (Library of Congress Prints

President Reagan’s First Inaugural Address, 1981

Creator: Ronald Reagan Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Piece of the Berlin Wall displayed at the Newseum museum, Arlington, Virginia (L

Reagan Speech: “Tear down this wall,” 1987

Creator: Ronald Reagan Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Ronald Reagan to Harold Ward, May 26, 1962. (GLC00782.17)

Ronald Reagan on economics and political parties, 1962

Creator: Ronald Reagan Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
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Teaching Resources

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The End of the Cold War

Speaker(s): Thomas Blanton
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