Encyclopedia of the Reagan-Bush Years

Encyclopedia of the Reagan-Bush Years

Encyclopedia of the Reagan-Bush Years

Encyclopedia of the Reagan-Bush Years

Synopsis

"No More Taxes ... A Thousand Points of Light ... Reaganomics". The decade of the 80s in American politics is best characterized by these campaign catchphrases, for this was the Reagan-Bush era. For the first time, the social trends, world events, popular culture, and political climate of the Reagan-Bush administrations are presented in one ready-reference. The Encyclopedia of the Reagan-Bush Years takes a detailed look at the years 1980-1992 when Ronald Reagan and George Bush were elected to the Oval Office. The volume focuses on the individuals and events that directly relate to their administrations. Enhancing the descriptive entries are a chronology, statistical charts and tables, and photographs. As an added benefit for librarians and students using this source, the volume is thoroughly cross-referenced in boldface for ease-of-use. Favoring description over judgment while at the same time offering a sense of the controversy that surrounded, and in some cases still surrounds, the events and actions of the Reagan-Bush presidencies, The Encyclopedia presents a balanced account of this period in American history. This is the perfect first-stop for students and will fill a gap in public and high school library reference collections.

Excerpt

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." As we approach the end of the twentieth century, Charles Dickens' famous opening line to his novel A Tale of Two Cities seems as appropriate for the Reagan-Bush years, 1980-1992, as they were for Victorian England. The period was replete with contradictions and irony and remains an era for which no consensus or agreement has been reached yet by either the public or the scholarly community. For some, Ronald Reagan stands as one of the greatest presidents in American history; for others, he was one of the worst. George Bush left office repudiated, suffering from one of the worst showings by an incumbent ever, yet in the years to come, it may be difficult for students of history to understand why he was defeated or if the election of 1992 represented a repudiation of Bush alone. After all, no major scandals, like Watergate, occurred during Bush's presidency, while President Reagan experienced the Iran-contra affair. True, the nation endured a recession during Bush's four years in office, but it was relatively mild in comparison to the recession of Reagan's first term. Moreover, Bush presided over the most successful military expedition since World War II, the Persian Gulf War.

The era is even more difficult to understand if one considers Ronald Reagan's promises and ultimate legacy. Reagan promised to enact a "revolution" that would roll back the influence of the federal government, unleash economic growth, balance the budget, and make Americans proud again. He gained fervid support from conservatives who believed he would unleash a social and cultural counterrevolution and from Americans who saw him as a different sort of politician, one of the people bound by principle, not politics. If he had one weak spot, it was his lack of expertise on foreign policy. However, by the time he left office, his . . .

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