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Ben Monsma

Professors Keeley and Rooks


Education 302/303
Unit Plan Topic/Theme Statement
April 25, 2016
The Reagan Era
Modern history such as the 1980s and 1990s rarely get the coverage
they deserve in terms of time allotted in the curriculum. This is a truly
unfortunate situation because so much of what has happened during that era
(specifically the 1980s, and the so called Reagan Revolution) has such a
direct impact on America today. When Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, it
marked a dramatic political shift in the way Americans thought about politics
and policies. As the United States pulls out of Vietnam in the mid-1970s a
rising conservative tide began to swell, turning away from liberal ideas of
free love and other dominant values of the 1960s and 1970s, which people
began to see as responsible for the moral decay of American society. To
these people, Reagan represented a revival of the American values and
prominence of the 1950s (an idea strikingly similar to the strategy employed
by Donald Trump in the 2016 election, pledging to Make America Great
Again).
Throughout this unit, the driving question is What lessons can be
learned from the Reagan presidency? In answering this question, a
reoccurring point that will be hammered home is the incredible relevancy
this era still has on us today. The Reagan Revolution serves as almost a link
between past (the good old days of America) and present day. Reagans

decisions to curb the governments spending at home and flip the


governments involvement economic activity from New Deal and Great
Society spending, to supply-side economics (putting more money in the
hands of the private sector through tax cuts) changed the political
conversation. No longer was the question How can the government expand
to help? but instead What are the most essential parts of government? In
terms of foreign policy, Reagans policies and involvement in various
scandals awaken echoes of past American Imperialism, yet another way the
Reagan Era works as link between present and past.