Following the passage of the 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act, the United States experienced what came to be known as the Reagan Recession—worse than the economic crisis of the Carter years and in fact the worst recession since the Great Depression. Unemployment peaked at nine million and 17,000 businesses failed. The economy began to recover in 1983.
Reagan’s presidential re-election campaign introduced its “Morning in America” theme, promoting an image of America as hopeful and moving toward a better future. One of the campaign’s advertisements asserted, “It’s morning again in America, and under the leadership of President Reagan, our country is prouder and stronger and better. Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago?”
Republican Ronald Reagan defeated incumbent Jimmy Carter for the presidency. Reagan’s campaign was aided by the poor economy and Carter’s failure to successfully put an end to the Iranian hostage crisis.