This year’s Commencement will mark the fourth anniversary of former President Ronald Reagan’s death from complications of pneumonia. But twenty-five years ago, he was the most powerful man in the world, and the frequent target of Crimson editorialists. 1983’s staff positions read like a rap sheet, chronicling the paper’s disapproval of Reagan’s supply-side economics and aggressive foreign policy.
Meanwhile, the practice of Apartheid persisted in South Africa and spilled into Cambridge, raising questions of divestment and inciting a hunger strike. While the oil shortages of the 70s had faded away, some prescient observers realized that stability was a fleeting phenomenon. Less presciently, many thought that the days of Ted Kennedy’s prominence on the American political scene were over after his 1984 presidential bid went afoul. At the same time, death sentences continued to be passed down after the Supreme Court removed its ban on the practice in the late 70s. And on February 28, America said goodbye to M*A*S*H, one of the most popular TV shows in its history.