The Role of a Lifetime: The Presidency of Ronald Reagan
S 2018


Government is not the solution, it is the problem; stimulate the economy by cutting taxes on the wealthy; increase freedom by reducing the size of the federal government and its role in the lives of Americans; and characterize America's adversary, the Soviet Union, as the Evil Empire. These were the slogans and sound bites of the Reagan presidency.But taxes were raised, the federal government grew larger, arms treaties were concluded with the Soviets and the "Cold War" ended. 

These contradictions and achievements were all part of the iconic presidency of Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States. Characterized both as an 'amiable dunce' and as a transformative president, this SDG, by examining the events during Reagan's presidency, will try to determine his proper role in the pantheon of American presidents.         

Weekly Topics

  1. Who was Ronald Reagan
  2. The 1980 election and the forces within American society that resulted in Reagan's victory
  3. The Reagan White House, its management style and leaders; Nancy's role
  4. The role of Cabinet members and other government officials in effecting Reagan's policies.
  5. Hinckley's assassination attempt and its impact
  6. The American economy, Reaganomics, the budgets
  7. Other domestic issues-civil rights, the environment, welfare and the rise of AIDS
  8. The 1984 election 
  9.  The Reagan doctrine-war in Granada
  10. Reagan in the Middle East
  11. Iran-Contra
  12. Regan and the Soviet Union
  13. Reagan's role in ending the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
  14. Assessing Reagan as head of state and as head of government 


 Core Book: Cannon, Lou  President Reagan: The role of a Lifetime 

 Supplementary Readings 

  1. Johnson, Haynes  Sleepwalking Through History 
  2. Morris, Edmund  Dutch
  3. Patterson, James  Restless Giant 
  4.  Wilentz, Sean The Age of Reagan
  5. Wills, Gary Reagan's America