The Iran–Contra affair (Persian: ایران-کنترا, Spanish: caso Irán-Contra), also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or the Iran–Contra scandal, was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an arms embargo. Some U.S. officials also hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress.
The scandal began as an operation to free seven American hostages being held by a group with Iranian ties connected to the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution. It was planned that Israel would ship weapons to Iran, and then the United States would resupply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The Iranian recipients promised to do everything in their power to achieve the release of the U.S. hostages. The plan deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages scheme, in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of the American hostages. Large modifications to the plan were devised by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council in late 1985, in which a portion of the proceeds from the weapon sales was diverted to fund anti-Sandinista and anti-communist rebels, or Contras, in Nicaragua.
Ronald Wilson Reagan (/ /; February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989). Prior to his presidency, he served as the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975), and was a radio, film and television actor.
Born in Tampico, Illinois, and raised in Dixon, Reagan was educated at Eureka College, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and sociology. After graduating, Reagan moved first to Iowa to work as a radio broadcaster and then, in 1937, to Los Angeles where he began a career as an actor, first in films and later television. Some of his most notable films include Knute Rockne, All American (1940), Kings Row (1942), and Bedtime for Bonzo (1951). Reagan served as President of the Screen Actors Guild and later as a spokesman for General Electric (GE); his start in politics occurred during his work for GE. Originally a member of the Democratic Party, his positions began shifting rightward in the 1950s, and he switched to the Republican Party in 1962.
The United States presidency of Ronald Reagan, also known as the Reagan administration, was a Republican administration headed by Ronald Reagan from January 20, 1981, to January 20, 1989.
In domestic affairs, the administration set out to revitalize the economy, reduce taxes, balance the federal budget, and reduce the size and scope of the federal government. Under the administration, America witnessed the largest tax cut in the Nation's history; 20 million new jobs were created, GDP rose 26%, inflation dropped from 13.5% to 4.1%, and unemployment fell from 7.6% to 5.5%. At the end of Reagan administration, the United States was enjoying its longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity without recession or depression.
Nancy Davis Reagan (born Anne Frances Robbins; July 6, 1921) is the widow of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, and was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989.
Born in New York City, her parents divorced soon after her birth and she grew up in Maryland, living with an aunt and uncle while her mother pursued acting jobs. As Nancy Davis, she was an actress in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s, starring in films such as Donovan's Brain, Night into Morning, and Hellcats of the Navy. In 1952, she married Ronald Reagan, who was then president of the Screen Actors Guild, and they had two children. Reagan was the First Lady of California when her husband was Governor from 1967 to 1975. In that capacity, she began work with the Foster Grandparents Program.
The United States of America (USA), commonly referred to as the United States (US), America, or simply the States, is a federal republic consisting of 50 states, 16 territories, a federal district, and various overseas extraterritorial jurisdictions. The 48 contiguous states and the federal district of Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) in total and with around 316 million people, the United States is the fourth-largest country by total area and third largest by population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The geography and climate of the United States is also extremely diverse, and it is home to a wide variety of wildlife.
Paleo-indians migrated from Asia to what is now the US mainland around 15,000 years ago, with European colonization beginning in the 16th century. The United States emerged from 13 British colonies located along the Atlantic seaboard. Disputes between Great Britain and these colonies led to the American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies unanimously issued the Declaration of Independence. The ensuing war ended in 1783 with the recognition of independence of the United States from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and was the first successful war of independence against a European colonial empire. The current Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. The first 10 amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and guarantee many fundamental civil rights and freedoms.
Historian Gregory Schneider identifies several constants in American conservatism: respect for tradition, support of republicanism, "the rule of law and the Christian religion," and a defense of "Western civilization from the challenges of modernist culture and totalitarian governments."
While the conservative tradition has played a major role in American politics and culture since the American Revolution, the organized conservative movement has played a key role in politics only since the 1950s, especially among Republicans and Southern Democrats.