Renewing America: Reagan and the Cold War, 1981–5

  • John Dumbrell
Part of the American History in Depth book series (AHD)


Ronald Reagan was content to allow the 1980 Presidential election to take its course as a referendum on Jimmy Carter’s performance in office. The hostage crisis, the second oil shock (resulting after the Iranian revolution in four hour gasoline lines in the US), domestic inflation, unemployment, appearances of disarray in the White House, the ‘window of vulnerability’: Reagan scarcely lacked opportunities to assault Carter’s record. Reagan entered the immediate pre-election period with a clear lead on domestic issues. Yet on foreign policy issues, the signs were that the American public, though more assertive than previously, were alarmed by Reagan’s bellicosity. Gallup polls taken in September 1980 suggested that Carter was ahead on foreign issues, and far more trusted to keep the peace than Reagan. (A year later, nearly two-thirds of Gallup respondents actually thought a nuclear war ‘likely’.)1


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Copyright information

© John Dumbrell 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Dumbrell
    • 1
  1. 1.Keele UniversityUK

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