A Brief History of the President’s First 100 Days

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The Reagan Presidency Starts With a Bang

Literally minutes after the first inauguration of Ronald Reagan as the 40th president of the United States on Tuesday, January 20, 1981, fifty-two American diplomats and citizens who had been held hostage by a group of militarized Iranian college students belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line, who supported the Iranian Revolution, were released after being held for 444 days.

The timing of the release of the hostages gave rise to the October Surprise conspiracy theory. The theory refers to an alleged plot to influence the outcome of the 1980 United States presidential election, the allegation being that representatives of Reagan’s presidential campaign had conspired with Iran to delay the release until after the election to thwart President Jimmy Carter from pulling off an “October surprise.”

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