Americans doubted that a former Hollywood "B" actor could manage the country.
Narrator: The Republicans did gain control of the Senate. Reagan beat Carter in a landslide, carrying 44 states. It was a great victory for Reagan and the conservative movement.
Reagan (archival): I, Ronald Reagan, do solemnly swear. That I will faithfully execute the office of the president of the United States.
Narrator: When Ronald Reagan took office in 1981 expectations were low. At a time when America faced an economic crisis and an escalating cold war, many wondered if anyone could manage the country. Least of all, a former Hollywood "B" actor. "Things could go very badly in the first year," Reagan's staff had warned, "resulting in an erosion of Republican momentum and public confidence." But Reagan projected great assurance. He believed, like Franklin Delano Roosevelt 50 years before him, that his mission was to restore America's trust in itself.
Reagan (archival): It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We're not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.
Forever enshrined in myth by an assassin's bullet, Kennedy's presidency long defied objective appraisal. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
The Last Stand, the final act of General George Custer's larger-than-life career, played out on a grand stage with a spellbound public engrossed in the drama. Part of the Wild West collection.
Politics, culture, race relations, and technology in a year of change.
John Scopes' free speech trial pitted science against religion after the teacher presented Charles Darwin's theory of evolution in a Tennessee school.
The first man to fly across the Atlantic, Charles Lindbergh was unprepared for the attention, particularly after his son was kidnapped.
John Wesley Powell's epic journey into the unknown Grand Canyon was filled with adventure as his team mapped the Colorado River for the first time.
Robert Moses fueled some of the most ambitious -- and controversial -- public works projects ever conceived.
William "Buffalo Bill" Cody's legendary exploits helped create the myth of the American West that still endures today.