Reagan for President

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Classe(s) : Tle ES - Tle L - Tle S | Thème(s) : The USA and the world since the "Fourteen Points"
Corpus Corpus 2
Reagan for President



Documents Analysis


Ronald Reagan campaign poster (1980)



[Kind of document] This document is the 1980 Ronald Reagan campaign poster. [Author] The Reagan for President Committee conceived this poster in 1979. Ronald Reagan was a B-movie actor from Hollywood, a right-winger and the 33rd Governor of California (1967-1975). He announced his candidacy for President of the United States in 1979.

[Public targeted and aim of the document] The aim of this poster is to gain new voters and ultimately to win the race for the presidency. [Historical background] Jimmy Carter, the incumbent candidate, was held responsible for soaring inflation, high unemployment, and the hostage-taking of fifty-two Americans in the US embassy in Tehran, Iran on November 4th, 1979.

Describe – analyze

At the top, the name of the candidate appears as in a movie poster. Actually, many Americans were already familiar with the actor from his frequent appearances in movies and on television.

In the background, a waving American flag (or star-spangled banner) emphasizes the grandeur of the country. It convices the electorate that this greatness is not just a myth.

In the middle ground, a depiction of the White House expresses the ambition of the candidate. A portrait of a smiling Reagan suggests a grandfatherly figure, reassuring Americans. However, he symbolizes the confidence and the superiority of the United States. He promises a restoration of the nation’s military strength and a balanced budget, at the same time.

In the foreground, this poster features the slogan: “Let’s make America great again.” It is a call to action, highlighting interventionism to protect some countries (Afghanistan, Angola and Nicaragua) from communism.

 This combination (slogan, depictions, colours) tried to convince the electorate that Reagan was the candidate that would lead the country back to glory.


Reagan defeated Carter in a landslide victory, winning 44 million votes, or 50.7%, and 489 electoral votes to Carter’s 35.5 million votes, or 41%, and only 44 electoral votes. Within hours of his inauguration, Iran released the American hostages. Reagan set a clear direction for the country: rollback communism and strengthen national defense (SDI).