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.
Joseph Goebbels, the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany, was the mastermind behind Adolf Hitler's success.
America came apart in 1964 and has since been reborn.
Lyndon Johnson pushed progressive programs before the Vietnam War eroded his support. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
Two days in 1967 revealed a nation divided over a war that continues to haunt us.
Eleanor Roosevelt supported the President's New Deal and advocated for civil rights, becoming one of the 20th century's most influential women.
President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger initiated a secret diplomatic breakthrough with Mao Tse-tung that shocked and changed the world.
At the height of segregation, an unlikely alliance between a black medical genius and a white surgeon led to a pioneering medical breakthrough.
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.