Private Lies Historical Context

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Ronald Reagan was elected president of the United States in 1980, defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter, just three years before the story "Private Lies" appeared in The Atlantic. Carter's presidency was marred by the taking of hostages in Iran, an event that led to an oil embargo and caused shortages in gasoline as well as skyrocketing gas prices.

During the early years of the Reagan administration, the country suffered from inflation, that is, rapidly rising prices, and stagnation in the growth of new jobs. Journalists quickly dubbed this situation "stagflation." It was a new phenomenon in American history, and the combination of little work and rising prices was particularly difficult for the lower middle classes who came to be called the "working poor." Like Tina and Mickey Hargrove, these people struggled to make ends meet, often while one of the couple is out of work.

Reagan's response...

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This section contains 515 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Private Lies Study Guide
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Gale
Private Lies from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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