Like Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan left a huge policy and ideological legacy. And like both of these presidents, this legacy is ardently debated. Did his supply side economic policies produce economic growth or widen the gap between the wealthiest and the poor? Did his old-school anticommunist attitudes finally bring the Cold War to an end? Or did they produce huge problems in Latin America and the Middle East that his successors had to address?
Helping your students sort out Reagan's legacy is one of the challenges you might address in this unit. But the task is more than academic. Ronald Reagan continues to cast an enormous shadow over contemporary politics. And to a certain extent, contemporary political engagement begins with a decision on where you stand on the Reagan legacy. Therefore you might begin this unit by giving your students the "Reagan quiz" to see where they stand.