Born: 1911. Died: 2004.
On February 6, 1911, Ronald Wilson Reagan was born to Nelle and John Reagan in Tampico, Illinois. He attended high school in nearby Dixon and then worked his way through Eureka College. There, he studied economics and sociology, played on the football team, and acted in school plays. Upon graduation, he became a radio sports announcer. A screen test in 1937 won him a contract in Hollywood. During the next two decades he appeared in 53 films.
From his first marriage to actress Jane Wyman, he had two children, Maureen and Michael.
In 1952 he married Nancy Davis, who was also an actress, and they had two children, Patricia Ann and Ronald Prescott.
As president of the Screen Actors Guild, Reagan became embroiled in disputes over the issue of Communism in the film industry; his political views shifted from liberal to conservative. He toured the country as a television host, becoming a spokesman for conservatism. In 1966 he was elected Governor of California by a margin of a million votes; he was re-elected in 1970.
Ronald Reagan won the Republican Presidential nomination in 1980 and chose as his running mate former Texas Congressman and United Nations Ambassador George Bush. Voters troubled by inflation and by the year-long confinement of Americans in Iran swept the Republican ticket into office. Reagan won 489 electoral votes to 49 for President Jimmy Carter.
On January 20, 1981, Reagan took office. Only 69 days later he was shot by a would-be assassin, but quickly recovered and returned to duty. His grace and wit during the dangerous incident caused his popularity to soar.
Dealing skillfully with Congress, Reagan obtained legislation to stimulate economic growth, curb inflation, increase employment, and strengthen national defense. He embarked upon a course of cutting taxes and Government expenditures, refusing to deviate from it when the strengthening of defense forces led to a large deficit.
A renewal of national self-confidence by 1984 helped Reagan and Bush win a second term with an unprecedented number of electoral votes. Their victory turned away Democratic challengers Walter F. Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro.
In 1986 Reagan obtained an overhaul of the income tax code, which eliminated many deductions and exempted millions of people with low incomes. At the end of his administration, the Nation was enjoying its longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity without recession or depression.
In foreign policy, Reagan sought to achieve "peace through strength." During his two terms he increased defense spending 35 percent, but sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union. In dramatic meetings with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, he negotiated a treaty that would eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles. Reagan declared war against international terrorism, sending American bombers against Libya after evidence came out that Libya was involved in an attack on American soldiers in a West Berlin nightclub.
By ordering naval escorts in the Persian Gulf, he maintained the free flow of oil during the Iran-Iraq war. In keeping with the Reagan Doctrine, he gave support to anti-Communist insurgencies in Central America, Asia, and Africa.
Ronald Reagan utilized an economic program, known as Reaganomics during his administration. Reaganomics emphasized low taxes, low social services spending, and high military spending. Reaganomics contributed to low interest rates, low inflation, and large budget deficits.
Reaganomics was partially based on the principles of supply side economics and the trickle down theory. These theories are based on the view that decreases in taxes, especially to corporations, is the best way to stimulate economic growth. The idea being that by reducing the expenses of corporations the savings will "trickle down" to the rest of the economy, spurring economic growth.
Prior to becoming Vice President Reagan's successor, George Bush, coined the phrase, voodoo economics, as a proposed synonym for Reaganomics.
In 1994, five years after leaving office, Reagan disclosed that he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The handwritten note concludes, "I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead."
Ronald Reagan died at the age of 93 after a long bout with Alzheimer's on June 05, 2004.
- The Greatest Speeches of Ronald Reagan, 2003
- I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan, with Nancy Reagan, 2002
- Reagan, In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan That Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America, with Annelise Anderson, George P. Shultz, Kiron K. Skinner, Martin Anderson, Annelise Graebner Anderson, 2001
- Reagan In His Own Voice, with Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson, Martin Anderson, George P. Shultz, Annelise Graebner Anderson, 2001
- Ronald Reagan: An American Life, 1999
- Speaking My Mind: Selected Speeches, with Personal Reflections, 2004
- Stories in His Own Hand: The Everyday Wisdom of Ronald Reagan, Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson, Martin Anderson, 2001
- 1983, For Liberty and Progress, Everywhere!, American Journal of Economics Sociology
- 1985, Peace and National Security, Daedalus
- 1986, The Push for Contra Aid and the "Terrorist Connection", Journal of Palestine Studies
- "Reporter: What kind of governor will you be?
Reagan: I don't know; I've never played a governor." (from a news reports, 1967)
- "Once you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all." (from "The Good Life" by Ted Morgan, 1976)
- "All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk." (from a newspaper article, 1980)
- "Approximately 80 percent of air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation , so let's not go overboard in setting and enforcing tough emission standards from man-made sources." (from "The Candidates and the Issues" by Carl Pope, 1980)
- "I've noticed that everyday that is for abortion has already been born." (from a televised presidential campaign debate on September 21, 1980)
- "[Nuclear power is] the cleanest, the most efficient and the most economical [energy source], with no environmental problems." (from "Ronald Reagan: A Case of Misunderstanding?", 1980)
- "In this [economic] crisis, government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem." (from "First Inaugural Address", 1981)
- "No arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women." (from "First Inaugural Address", 1981)
- "The District of Columbia is [sometimes] one gigantic ear" (from a news conference, 1981)
- "The taxing power of government must be used to provide revenues for legitimate government purposes. It must not be used to regulate the economy or bring about social change. We've tried that, and surely we must be able to see it doesn't work." (from the State of the Union Message, 1981)
- "In your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride ... and the aggresive impulses of evil empire." (from a speech before the National Association of Evancelicas, Orlando, 1983)
- "My belief has always been ... that wherever in this land any individual's Constitutional rights are being unjustly denied, it is the obligation of the federal government -at point of bayonet if necessary- to restore that individual's Constitutional rights." (from a news conference, 1983)
- "I will not make an issue. ... I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience." (from a televised presidential campaign debate on October 21, 1984)
- "[A] shield that missiles could not penetrate - a shield that could protect us from nuclear missiles just as a roof protects a family from rain." (from a speech before the graduation class of Glassboro High School, 1986)
- "There's a tendency to throw aside old values as belonging to an earlier generation. Don't discard those values that have proven over the period of time, their value, Just believe in those values that made our nation great and keep them: faith, family, hard work, and, above all, freedom." (from a spech before junior livestock competition, 1986)
- "Nations do not mistrust each other because they are armed; thay are armed because they mistrust each other." (from the United Nations address, 1986)
- "The American people believe that a stranger is a friend they have yet to meet." (from the speech at welcoming ceremonies for Premier Mikhail S. Gorbachev, 1987)
- "What should happen when you make a mistake is this: you take you knocks, you learn your lesson, and then you move on." (from a television broadcast, 1987)
- "What we have found in this country, and maybe we're more aware of it now, is one problem that we've had, even in the best of times, and that is the people who are sleeping on the grates, the homeless who are homeless who are homelesss, you might say, by choice." (from "A Deficit of Economics", 1987)
- "Facts are stupid things, uh, stubborn things, I should say." (from the farewell address at the Republican National Convention, 1988)
- "I always throw my golf club in the direction I'm going." (from "Hardball: How Politics is Played" by C. Matthews, 1988)
- "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." (from "First Inaugural Address", 1989)
- "Before I refuse to take your question, I have an opening statement." (from "Thanks for the Reaganisms" by L. Cannon, 1989)
- "I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts." (from the farewell address, 1989)
- "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal lfe we'll ever see on this earth!" (from "Speaking My Mind", 1989)
- "[This bill is] the most important legislation for financial institutions in 50 years. All in all, I think we've hit the jackpot." (from "Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans" by S. Pizzo, M. Fricker and P. Muolo, 1989)
- "I don't pay much attention to critics. The world is divided into two kinds of people: those who can, and those who criticize." (from a newspaper article, 1997)