The complex historical and ideological themes which formed the basis for Reaganism in the 1980s are based on economic individualism, traditionalism and authoritarian populism. By creating an ideological formation which appealed to a wide constituency, right-wing activists sought to reverse the centrist consensus liberalism of the New Deal. These ideas also informed the Reagan administration’s social policies and, although not implemented as intended, have had a major impact on the American welfare state.

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