What If Reagan Was Assassinated Or Was Never President?

John Green of Crash Course US History offers a balanced assessment of the Reagan years. “Mainly, it covers the eight years during which a former actor who had also been governor of the state of California was president of the United States. John will teach you about Reagan’s election victory over the hapless Jimmy Carter, tax cuts, Reagan’s Economic Bill of Rights, union busting, and the Iran-Contra among other things. Learn about Reagan’s domestic and foreign policy initiatives, and even a little about Bonzo the Chimp.” Transcript.

Documents

CommonLit’s free collection of reading passages and curriculum resources to learn more about the events of this episode. Ronald Reagan signalled a shift to conservative values on the role of government, discussed in his “Time for Choosing” Speech: https://www.commonlit.org/texts/from-…

America turned to President Reagan for comfort in times of tragedy, including following the Challenger Disaster: https://www.commonlit.org/texts/ronal…

What if Ronald Reagan Was Never President? 

This video falls victim to the “great man theory” as if Reagan was a demigod who all by himself created a cultural shift and religious revival. In reality, the longer-term and deeper trends since the 1950s in America have been toward secularization and materialism. Contrary to what the video asserts, there was no “massive resurgence in mainstream religious conservatism” in the 1980s, no dramatically increased religious observance and church attendance. There was only an alliance between Reagan and the religious right, and they basically failed at their major agenda, to ban abortion, return prayer to public schools and provide tuition tax credits for religious schools.

Divine Providence?

What if John Hinkley’s attempt to assassinate Ronald Reagan in March 1981 was successful? Many religious supporters of Reagan viewed his survival as the result of divine providence. Discussion on Facebook, in alternate history group.

Reagan almost won the Republican nomination for president in 1976. If he beat Gerald Ford and then Jimmy Carter in 1976, ironically due to the poor economy and Iran hostage crisis during that period, he would have been perceived as a weak president and would probably have lost in 1980 to a Democrat like Edward Kennedy, Walter Mondale, or Gary Hart, and the 1980s would have been seen as a period of revival for liberalism.

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