From Nixon to Reagan

Essay by sdibUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 2004

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Every President has faced and inherited different historical situations which all have varying constraints and opportunities. Therefore, ranking and rating Presidents are not very practical and do not necessarily tell us about their personal qualities with administrative achievements. All we really want to know which President did the best job in office and how they stack up against each other taking the historical situations into a great deal of consideration.

The era from President Nixon to President Reagan could very well be the most significant era that shaped the United States existence; politically and economically, for many years to come.

President Nixon took office after eight years of Democratic rule. He was the Vice President under President Eisenhower before his unsuccessful run for the presidency in 1960. Nixon confronted a series of economic problems during his presidency. Factors beyond Nixon's control undermined his economic policies. In 1973, the war between Israel, Egypt and Syria prompted Saudi Arabia to impose an embargo on oil shipped to Israel's ally, the United States.

Other member nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quadrupled their prices. Americans faced both shortages and rapidly rising prices. Even when the embargo ended the next year, prices remained high. Higher energy prices affected all areas of American economic life causing disruptions that led to even higher unemployment rates. This era of recession and inflation brought an end to the unprecedented economic boom America had enjoyed since 1948.

While trying to manage the economy, Nixon also sought to restore "law and order." Rising crime rates in American cities, political protests, increased drug use and more permissive views about sex in U.S. universities offended many Americans. Seeking to strengthen his own political constituency, Nixon chose to use government power to counter disruption. He lashed out at demonstrators, attacked...