Explain the Regan Revolution.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Reagan Revolution consisted of the zealous support of limited government and fostered an optimism in American Exceptionalism.  The Reagan Revolution was rooted in the idea that government was not part of the problem in American society, but rather it was "the problem" in American society.  Reagan and his brand of conservative thought advocated a brand of politics that compelled the American people to "reduce their reliance on government" and "reinvigorate the American people."  The hopes of the Reagan Revolution was to "restore the great, confident roar of American progress and growth and optimism."

For the Reagan Revolution to take place, it had to define itself in stark and oppositional terms to what preceded it.  Reagan ran under the premise that the positions of then President Jimmy Carter were ones that did not assert American hopes of progress and identity.  Excessive regulation, fostering citizen dependency on government, as well as a bloated apparatus of bureaucracy were all cast as impediments to the spirit of greatness that Reagan argued was intrinsic to America.  Reagan and his fellow Republicans made the argument that American innovation and uniqueness of character were so strong that they alone could remedy the "malaise" of the Carter Administration.  In this, the revolution that accompanied Reagan's Presidency was driven by an optimistic and exceptionalist approach to the challenges that faced America of the time.

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