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In what ways could the Reagan Administration (1981-89) be said to have radically altered the American political agenda?

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MICHAEL APPIAGYEI PP1070 American Politics. In what ways could the Reagan Administration (1981-89) be said to have radically altered the American political agenda? To understand why the Reagan presidency was so unique first one must understand transformation of the presidency. The post-1932 modern presidency differs from the modern presidency in three ways unique ways. The first reason is that the modern president have grown stronger, and thus expanded and developed independence to create policy. The second reason is that the president's role in shaping the annual legislative agenda and influencing congress has been institutionalised. The third reason is that in the modern presidency, there has been a large expansion in official presidential staff. In 1937 President Franklin D. Roosevelt employed 45 full-time staff when the number is compared to President Richard M. Nixon who employed 550 full-time staff we can see how much presidential staff has grown. The white house staff grew from a small informal group of advisors into a large management institution. Also the establishment of the executive office of the president, and the chief executive himself has come to be perceived by both the public and principal governmental actors as the central figure in the federal government. James P. Pfiffner suggests that the shape and role of the white house staff was a reflection of Donald Reagan's personality. ...read more.


Characteristically, Reagan agreed to the staff decision without asking any questions. When Regan came in to run the White House he had many personal priorities. He wanted to do away with the staffing arrangements of the first term that he felt led to staff conflict and leaks, and he was right, these things happened. He also wanted to make some personnel changes. Regan's personal style and career suggested that he would take a different approach to running the White House. Regan had been an officer in the Marines and was used to being CEO of Merrill Lynch. "When I was chief executive and I said, 'Jump,' people asked, 'How high?' As secretary of the treasury, when I said, 'Jump,' people said, 'What do you mean by jump? What do you mean by high'?"5 One of Regan's aides suggests that, "He considers the executive branch to be like a corporation. Cabinet members are vice presidents, the president is the chairman of the board, the chief of staff is the chief operating officer."6 Whereas Baker had brought strong subordinates to work with him, Regan would brook no rivals for influence. The staffers he brought from the Treasury Department were known around the White House as "the mice" because of their meek approach to their boss. ...read more.


It is maintained that the sale of arms to Iran and the diversion of profits from the sales to the 'Contras' occurred while the Boland prohibition was in effect. 1 Lou Cannon, President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime (New York: Simon & Schuster,1991), Chap. 10 and p. 181 2 Hedrick Smith, The Power Game (New York: Random House, 1988), p. 305. 3 Donald Reagan, For the record (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988), p. 272. 4 The Reagan Presidency an early assessment. (Edited by Fred I. Greenstein ,1983 the John Hopkins University press.) 5 William R. Doener, "For Rhyme and Reason", Time (January 21, 1985), p. 20. 6 Ed Magnuson, "Shake-up at the white house," Time (January 21, 1985), p. 10. 7 Bernard Weinraub, "How Don Regan Runs the White House" The New York Times (January 5, 1986), p. 33. 8 Quoted in Cannon, Role of a Lifetime, p. 563. 9 Stockman, The Triumph of politics, p. 18 - 19. 10 Quoted by Bob Schieffer and Gary Gates, The Acting President (New York: Dutton, 1989), p. 200. 11 Newsweek, 24 Nov. 1986, p. 27. 12 William Shawcross, 'The scandal breaks the Beltway', The Spectator (London), 20 - 27 Dec. 1986, p. 10. 13 The Economist (London), 29 Nov. 1986, p. 13. 14 James McCormick and Steven Smith, 'The Iran Arms Sale and the Intelligence Oversight Act of 1980', Political Studies, Vol. 20, no 1 15 Ibid., p 29. ...read more.

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