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The Conservative Tide, 1980-1992
Guide: The New Conservatives

These resources describe the factors that led to the emergence of the particular conservative political beliefs of the 1980s. Use these resources to support your students' inquiry into the conservatism of the 1980s. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Time Period Key Understandings

  • Historical events can shape political institutions
  • Legislative policy changes are often a result of events that led to demands for change
  • A nation's economic policy is tied closely to its foreign policy
  • Popular sentiments often change from left to right and can be represented on a pendulum
  • Conflicts resolution is not always intentional, conflicts can resolve naturally and over time
  • A nation's foreign policy actions have legacies that impact future foreign policy
  • A democratic nation's social and cultural norms and practices are likely to change

Key Questions

  • President Ronald Reagan's economic policy, also known as Reaganomics, was based on supply-side economic policy. What is the intention behind supply-side economic policy? What were some of the effects of Reagan's supply-side economic policy?
  • What cuts did Reagan make to social welfare and entitlement programs? Do you think those cuts were justified? Why or why not?
  • What was the Strategic Defense Initiative? How did the Strategic Defense Initiative impact the Cold War?
  • What was the Iran Contra Scandal? How did the Iran Contra Scandal impact Reagan's administration?


  1. Overview: The New Conservatives
  2. Topic Center Overview: The Conservative Tide, 1980–1992
  3. Visuals: The New Conservatives (Visual)
  4. Outline: Outline
  5. Lesson: Introduction
  6. Photos & Illustrations: Reagan, Ronald: assassination attempt
  7. Photos & Illustrations: Reagan, Ronald: campaigning (1984)
  8. Reference Articles: Air Traffic Controllers Strike of 1981
  9. Reference Articles: Black Monday
  10. Reference Articles: federal budget deficit
  11. Reference Articles: Iran-contra scandal
  12. Reference Articles: Reagan Revolution
  13. Political, Government & Court Documents: Iran-contra scandal: Report of the Independent Counsel (1993)
  14. Speeches: Reagan, Ronald: Inaugural Address (1981)
  15. Speeches: Reagan, Ronald: Inaugural Address (1985)
  16. Video: Reagan, Ronald: Star Wars speech

MLA Citation

"The New Conservatives." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Display/2153103?cid=256. Accessed 6 Dec. 2019.

Entry ID: 2153103

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