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.
As the star attraction of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Annie Oakley thrilled audiences around the world with her shooting feats. Part of the Wild West collection.
His stunning triumph at the 1936 Olympic Games captivated the world even as it infuriated the Nazis. Premiering May 1.
Marcus Garvey, a black nationalist leader from Jamaica, had great successes and failures before being jailed and deported from the US in 1927.
Forever enshrined in myth by an assassin's bullet, Kennedy's presidency long defied objective appraisal. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
The six-part story of a frontiersman farmer and a wealthy Confederate slave-owner's daughter.
A biography of the last outlaws of the American Wild West
Today one of the most-recognized figures in American literary history, poet Walt Whitman was denounced by critics in his own time.
Eleanor Roosevelt supported the President's New Deal and advocated for civil rights, becoming one of the 20th century's most influential women.