Race Relations during the Reagan Years

Ronald Reagan’s America presented African Americans with a series of contradictions. Black Americans achieved significant advances in politics, culture, and socioeconomic status. Indeed, income for the top fifth of African American households increased faster than that of white households for most of the decade. Middle-class African Americans found new doors open to them in the […]

Technology in the 1980s

Note that this discussion centers on the development of the desk-top individual computer (“PCs”), as compared to large, sophisticated “mainframe” computers used by industry. The “PC” was one of the most significant technological developments of the twentieth century. PCs had massive effects on the nature, quality, and structure of the work place, where they were […]

Summary of the Reagan Years

Ronald Reagan left office in 1988 with the Cold War waning and the economy booming. Unemployment had dipped to 5 percent by 1988. Between 1981 and 1986, gas prices fell from $1.38 per gallon to 95¢. The stock market recovered from the crash, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average—which stood at 950 in 1981—reached 2,239 by […]

1988 Presidential Election

Reagan and the Republicans dominated the national political scene during most of the 1980s; however, he could not run for another term in 1988. The natural Republican nominee in 1988 was Reagan’s Vice President, George H. W. Bush. Bush was a career politician, who held many important national positions before he became Reagan’s Vice President. […]

Sources for 1980s

What follows is a list of some of the literature used generally as resources for the topics in this section of the Songbook. Other citations sprinkled throughout the text relate more specifically to the topic being discussed there. A Brief History of the 1987 Stock Market Crash with a Discussion of the Federal Reserve Response, […]

Song Index for “The Eighties- The Reagan Years”

Another Day in Paradise – Phil Collins The Ballad of Jim and Tammy (to the tune of Harper Valley PTA) – Tammy Faye Bakker w/Tom T. Hall, The Bill Gates Song – David Pogue Central Park Five, The Opera – composer Anthony Davis and librettist Richard Wesley “Country Gentleman“- John Mellencamp The Executioner (Bernie Goetz […]


The Fifties: A Society in Transition: Cultural Change Battles Conformity History is studied topically, but topics do not cleanly divide themselves into neat and tidy, bright line time frames based on decades. So, although historians generally refer discussions in ten year periods, i.e. “The Twenties,” “The Sixties,” etc., (“decadal thinking”) that is more a matter […]

The 1952 Presidential Election

Truman decided not to seek the presidency in 1952. Given the passage of the Twenty-Second Amendment to the Constitution that limited a presidential candidate to two terms in the office, it was questionable whether Truman was qualified to run. The Democratic Party had to choose among three possible candidates: Adlai E. Stevenson, Governor of Illinois, […]

The 1956 Presidential Election

In the presidential election of 1956, Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon defeated Democratic former Governor Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois and his Vice-Presidential running mate Estes Kefauver in a re-match of the 1952 election. Supporters of the president focused on his “personal qualities … his sincerity, his integrity and sense of […]

The 1960 Presidential Election

In the 1960 Presidential election, Richard Nixon’s position as two-time Vice-President for Eisenhower led him to be largely unopposed among the Republicans. However, on the Democratic side, there were numerous candidates vying for the nomination. The most significant Democratic hopefuls were Stuart Symington, Senator from Missouri, Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ), Senator from Texas, John F. […]