This chapter covers the Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations and their attempts to respond to changing conditions. Americans finally became painfully aware of the high price of cold war military defenses, and in the aftermath of Watergate had little confidence in the federal government’s ability to act effectively or honestly. Grassroots political activity increased but did not expand nationally. Foreign policy under Ford and Carter experienced highs and lows. A new conservatism, driven by a revived religious right, was energetic and contributed to the election of Ronald Reagan. Reagan energized the nation but his domestic efforts and foreign policies had mixed results. A major achievement was better relations with the Soviet Union.
After reading this chapter you should be able to:
Summarize the process involved in the rise of the new conservatism, using Orange County, California, as an example.
Explain “stagflation,” the problems that perpetuated it, and the federal government response during the administrations of Ford and Carter.
Discuss the basis of the “new poverty” of the 1970s.
Summarize the activities of grassroots politics and the politics of the “New Right.”
Outline the various foreign policy problems of the Ford and Carter administrations and how they responded to them.
Analyze how all of above items led to the Republican victory in the 1980 election.
Explain the successes and limitations of the “Reagan Revolution” through the Reagan and Bush administrations.
Trace the policy of President Reagan toward the “evil empire” (Soviet Russia) as well as the changes and continuing issues under Reagan and Bush.