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Humanities Libertexts

29.12: Primary Sources

  • Page ID
    10636
  • First Inaugural Address of Ronald Reagan (1981)

    Ronald Reagan, a former actor, corporate spokesperson, and California governor, won the presidency in 1980 with a potent mix of personal charisma and conservative politics. In his first inaugural address, Reagan famously declared that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

    Jerry Falwell on the “Homosexual Revolution” (1981)

    “Letter from Jerry Falwell on his opposition to homosexuality and asking for support in keeping his “Old-Time Gospel Hour” television program on the air. Falwell writes that the Old Time Gospel Hour “is one of the few major ministries in America crying out against militant homosexuals” (p. 1). The letter is printed on what appears to be lined yellow notepad paper.”

    Statements of AIDS Patients (1983)

    HIV/AIDS confronted Americans in the 1980s. The disease was first associated with gay men (it was initially called Gay-Related Immune Disease, or GRID) and AIDS sufferers fought for recognition of the disease’s magnitude, petitioned for research funds, and battled against popular stigma associated with the disease.

    Statements from The Parents Music Resource Center (1985)

    In 1985, the Senate held hearings on explicit music. The Parents Music Resource Center (1985), founded by the wives of prominent politicians in Washington D.C., publicly denounced lyrics, album covers, and music videos dealing with sex, violence, and drug use. The PRMC pressured music publishers and retailers and singled out artists such as Judas Priest, Prince, AC/DC, Madonna, and Black Sabbath, and Cyndi Lauper. The following is extracted from statements by Susan Baker, the wife of then-Treasury Secretary James Baker, and Tipper Gore, wife of Senator and later Vice President Al Gore, in support of warning labels on music packaging.

    Pat Buchanan on the Culture War (1992)

    Pat Buchanan was a conservative journalist who worked in the Nixon and Reagan administrations before running for the Republican presidential nomination in 1992. Although he lost the nomination to George H.W. Bush, he was invited to speak at that year’s Republican National Convention, where he delivered a fiery address criticizing liberals and declaring a “culture war” at the heart of American life.

    Satellites Imagined in Orbit (1981)

    While Cold War fears still preyed upon Americans, satellite technology and advancements in telecommunications inspired hopes for an interconnected future. Here, an artist in 1981 depicts various satellites in orbit around the Earth.

    Ronald Reagan and the American Flag (1982)

    President Ronald Reagan, a master of the “photo op,” appears here with a row of American flags at his back at a 1982 rally for Senator David Durenberger in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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