The 1982 recession during the Reagan Administration resulted in high interest rates, homelessness, and unemployment. "We are really in trouble," Reagan confided to his diary.
Narrator: As the recession deepened through 1982, its effects were felt across America. Farmers were driven off their land by high interest rates. In the cities, homelessness became a scandal. Thousands of businesses failed. Unemployment reached its highest level since the Great Depression.
"I prayed a lot during this period," Reagan wrote. "Not only for the people in the country who are out of work, but for help and guidance in doing the right thing."
Pressure on Reagan to change course mounted. His program, now derided as Reaganomics, had not only failed to produce growth, but was leading the nation into fiscal disaster. "We are really in trouble," Reagan confided to his diary. "Our projections are out the window. We look at $200 billion deficits if we can't pull off some miracles."
Even true believers were disillusioned. David Stockman, tired of urging for cuts, now urged the President to raise taxes. Reagan, wrote columnists Evans and Novack, was having to fight two-thirds of his administration to save his economic program.
Richard Norton Smith, Former Director, Reagan Library: There are very few conventional politicians who would have stuck it out, as he did. But he came to office imbued with a conviction that less government and lower taxes would resolve the pervasive sickness of the American economy. And what he saw 1982 as was the fever that was about to break.
Narrator: Reagan stayed the course. "I believed the economic recovery would work," he wrote, "because I had faith in those tax cuts and faith in the American people."
But the American people were losing faith in Ronald Reagan.
Legendary bank robber John Dillinger garnered the admiration of many struggling Americans, but FBI took him down with a message: crime doesn't pay.
Founding father Alexander Hamilton went up against political rival and former vice president Aaron Burr in one of history's most famous duels.
A great playwright's turbulent story, from childhood through the years of his Nobel Prize-winning career to his lonely, painful death.
The acquittal of the murderers of Chicago teen Emmett Till mobilized the civil rights movement.
Lyndon Johnson pushed progressive programs before the Vietnam War eroded his support. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
Murderer, martyr, hero - John Brown's violent crusade against slavery would divide the nation and spark the Civil War.
The life of the legendary photographer, known best for his black and white images of the wilderness of the American West.
The influential musical pioneers from Appalachia whose recordings lifted spirits during the Great Depression.