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Ronald Reagan born

Ronald Reagan born


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As the 40th president of the United States, the former movie star was called the “Great Communicator” for his ability to get through to ordinary Americans and give them hope and optimism for their own future and that of their country. Despite his lifelong opposition to “big” government, he was credited with restoring faith in the U.S. government and the presidency after a long era of disillusionment in the wake of Nixon, Vietnam and economic hardship under Carter. But before his years of Hollywood stardom, and long before Washington, Ronald Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, in Tampico, a small town in northwestern Illinois.

Though his family was poor, Reagan later remembered his as an idyllic childhood. After playing football in high school and college (at Eureka College), he graduated during the Great Depression with few job prospects. He soon began working in radio in Iowa, broadcasting for football and other sports. While on a spring training trip with the Chicago Cubs in Los Angeles, Reagan got in touch with a former colleague at WHO in Des Moines, who connected him with a Hollywood agent, and in 1937 Warner Brothers offered Reagan a seven-year contract starting at $200 per week. His first role was far from a stretch: He played a radio reporter in the 1937 B-movie Love Is on the Air, and the Hollywood Reporter called him “a natural.”

After a few years as what he later called “the Errol Flynn of the B pictures,” Reagan won the role he would become known for, the football player George Gipp of Notre Dame University in Knute Rockne – All-American. The film told the story of the legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne (played by Pat O’Brien), who died in a plane crash in 1931. Gipp was the walk-on who became Rockne’s star player and died of a throat infection two weeks after his final game.

In addition to making more than 50 films, Reagan became heavily involved in the Screen Actors Guild during his years in Hollywood, serving six terms as its president and leading the union through some of the most volatile years in the movie industry. In 1947, when accusations of Communism were running rampant in Hollywood, Reagan testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and refused to name names of suspected Communist sympathizers (although an FBI file later revealed that he had in fact named people in secret). Around this same time, Reagan’s personal life was in turmoil: His wife, the actress Jane Wyman, divorced him in 1948; his increasing involvement in the Screen Actors Guild was reportedly mentioned as a factor in the divorce. Reagan married Nancy Davis, also an actress, in 1952; they had two children, Patricia and Ronald. (Reagan and Wyman also had a daughter, Maureen, and adopted a son, Michael.) Nancy Reagan would become her husband’s closest confidante and adviser during his future political career.

READ MORE: Ronald and Nancy Reagan's Timeless Love Story

In the early 1950s, Reagan became familiar to a much wider audience when he began hosting the television program General Electric Theater; he also traveled the country giving speeches as the GE company spokesman. Though he was a registered Democrat during his years in Hollywood, he changed his political affiliation to Republican in 1962. Two years later, Reagan made his grand entrance on the political stage with a much-publicized speech at a fundraiser for Barry Goldwater, that year’s Republican presidential candidate. In Kings Row (1941), Reagan had played a small-town hero whose legs are amputated. He considered it his finest film and took a line from it—”Where’s the rest of me?”—for the title of his first autobiography, published in 1965, before his run for governor of California. The following year, Reagan defeated the incumbent governor of California, Pat Brown, by close to a million votes, taking the next step on the road to the White House.

After two terms as governor of California, he made a bid for the Republican presidential ticket in 1976, losing to President Gerald Ford. In 1980, he gained the nomination and beat out embattled Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter to become president, ushering in a new era of conservatism in American politics.

At 69, Reagan was at the time the oldest man in history to take office as U.S. president. His career in Hollywood, thought to be a weakness at the beginning of his life in politics, turned out to be arguably one of his biggest assets. As president, he projected optimism and weathered setbacks with such success that he became known as the “Teflon president.” His foreign policy legacy, tarnished after the Iran-Contra affair, was redeemed in the eyes of many by the end of the Cold War and the opening of relations with the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. The long-term success of his sweeping tax cuts and “Reaganomics” may have been debatable, but he managed to maintain his popularity throughout, leaving the White House in the hands of his loyal vice president, George H.W. Bush, in 1988 and maintaining a high approval rating. Six years later, Reagan made the sobering announcement that he had Alzheimer’s disease, which would end his public career. He died on June 5, 2004, at the age of 93.


What Was Ronald Reagan Remembered For ?

Ronald Reagan, the 40th US President, will always be remembered for mitigating the Cold War. He will always be considered as the American president who did not feel afraid to stare at the Soviet Union and not blink. He changed the way the American administration looked at the communism.

When Reagan came to power, his first priority was to improve the economic condition of the country and enhance the military might of the nation. He managed to do both and did not care about the huge budget deficit that resulted. However, when he was leaving office, the budget deficit was at manageable. So, ultimately he ended up proving what he had always maintained that a deficit was no cause for concern as it would manage itself.

The world over, leaders regard him as a man of his word and an optimist. He managed to convince Mikhail Gorbachev to sign a treaty to destroy intermediate nuclear warheads. This was in itself a huge success for Reagan because all previous General Secretaries of the Communist Party refused to even talk or consider such a proposal.

By strengthening the US military might, Reagan single-handedly managed to ruin the Soviet economy. Of course, there were other intrinsic and extrinsic factors that ultimately brought the downfall of the Soviet bloc, but Reagan definitely had a hand in this.

His famous speech at the Berlin Wall in June 1987 challenging Gorbachev to tear down the Wall was appreciated by everyone. No expected Reagan to make a speech like that. And, no expected it to be the harbinger of things to come not even Ronald Reagan himself.

But when communism collapsed in the Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries in the late 1980s, a lot of credit was given to Ronald Reagan. This is why he will always be remembered as the man who was instrumental in ending the Cold War.

There are number of reasons why a politician or an elected politician suddenly decides to switch parties. However, the main reason is often that the person feels that his views are no longer the same that the party's views. Sometimes, the switch is done to gain power. This brings us to why did Ronald Reagan join the Republican Party after being a Democrat for so many years. More..


Ronald Reagan Birthplace

President Ronald Reagan was born in Tampico on Feb. 6, 1911 in this apartment which was located above a bakery. The bakery was purchased by the First National Bank in 1919 and continued as a Bank until the 1930's. The apartment where he was born has been refinished to look as it did when he was born there. The bank has been restored to again look like a working bank of the early 1900's. The store located to the South of the Bank originally was a grocery store and now houses the gift shop for the Reagan Museum. Adjoining gift shop and museum. Donations accepted.

A Ronald Reagan Birthday Celebration Open House is held every Feb. 6 honoring the birth date of the 40th president. Visitors are invited to join them from 10 AM to 4 PM for cake and coffee at the Tampico Area Historical Society Museum.

Information

Visit the apartment where Ronald Reagan was born which has been restored and decorated using furnishings similar to those used by the Reagan's in the early 1900's.

President Ronald Reagan was born in Tampico on Feb. 6, 1911 in this apartment which was located above a bakery. The bakery was purchased by the First National Bank in 1919 and continued as a Bank until the 1930's. The apartment where he was born has been refinished to look as it did when he was born there. The bank has been restored to again look like a working bank of the early 1900's. The store located to the South of the Bank originally was a grocery store and now houses the gift shop for the Reagan Museum. Adjoining gift shop and museum. Donations accepted.

A Ronald Reagan Birthday Celebration Open House is held every Feb. 6 honoring the birth date of the 40th president. Visitors are invited to join them from 10 AM to 4 PM for cake and coffee at the Tampico Area Historical Society Museum.


On This Day: Ronald Reagan born – HISTORY

As the 40th president of the United States, the former movie star was called the “Great Communicator” for his ability to get through to ordinary Americans and give them hope and optimism for their own future and that of their country. Despite his lifelong opposition to “big” government, he was credited with restoring faith in the U.S. government and the presidency after a long era of disillusionment in the wake of Nixon, Vietnam and economic hardship under Carter. But before his years of Hollywood stardom, and long before Washington, Ronald Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, in Tampico, a small town in northwestern Illinois.

Though his family was poor, Reagan later remembered his as an idyllic childhood. After playing football in high school and college (at Eureka College), he graduated during the Great Depression with few job prospects. He soon began working in radio in Iowa, broadcasting for football and other sports. While on a spring training trip with the Chicago Cubs in Los Angeles, Reagan got in touch with a former colleague at WHO in Des Moines, who connected him with a Hollywood agent, and in 1937 Warner Brothers offered Reagan a seven-year contract starting at $200 per week. His first role was far from a stretch: He played a radio reporter in the 1937 B-movie Love Is on the Air, and the Hollywood Reporter called him “a natural.”

After a few years as what he later called “the Errol Flynn of the B pictures,” Reagan won the role he would become known for, the football player George Gipp of Notre Dame University in Knute Rockne – All-American. The film told the story of the legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne (played by Pat O’Brien), who died in a plane crash in 1931. Gipp was the walk-on who became Rockne’s star player and died of a throat infection two weeks after his final game.

In addition to making more than 50 films, Reagan became heavily involved in the Screen Actors Guild during his years in Hollywood, serving six terms as its president and leading the union through some of the most volatile years in the movie industry. In 1947, when accusations of Communism were running rampant in Hollywood, Reagan testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and refused to name names of suspected Communist sympathizers (although an FBI file later revealed that he had in fact named people in secret). Around this same time, Reagan’s personal life was in turmoil: His wife, the actress Jane Wyman, divorced him in 1948 his increasing involvement in the Screen Actors Guild was reportedly mentioned as a factor in the divorce. Reagan married Nancy Davis, also an actress, in 1952 they had two children, Patricia and Ronald. (Reagan and Wyman also had a daughter, Maureen, and adopted a son, Michael.) Nancy Reagan would become her husband’s closest confidante and adviser during his future political career.

In the early 1950s, Reagan became familiar to a much wider audience when he began hosting the television program General Electric Theater he also traveled the country giving speeches as the GE company spokesman. Though he was a registered Democrat during his years in Hollywood, he changed his political affiliation to Republican in 1962. Two years later, Reagan made his grand entrance on the political stage with a much-publicized speech at a fundraiser for Barry Goldwater, that year’s Republican presidential candidate. In Kings Row (1941), Reagan had played a small-town hero whose legs are amputated. He considered it his finest film and took a line from it—”Where’s the rest of me?”—for the title of his first autobiography, published in 1965, before his run for governor of California. The following year, Reagan defeated the incumbent governor of California, Pat Brown, by close to a million votes, taking the next step on the road to the White House.

After two terms as governor of California, he made a bid for the Republican presidential ticket in 1976, losing to President Gerald Ford. In 1980, he gained the nomination and beat out embattled Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter to become president, ushering in a new era of conservatism in American politics.


Ronald said he was &aposlost&apos before he met Nancy

When Nancy Davis met Ronald in Los Angeles in 1949, it was as a working actress reaching out to the president of the Screen Actors Guild. An actress of the same name had appeared on the McCarthy-era Hollywood blacklist of Communist sympathizers, and it was impacting Nancy&aposs ability to secure roles. Already a successful Hollywood leading man and ensemble player since signing with Warner Bros. Studios in 1937, Ronald had become Guild president in 1947, a year prior to divorcing his first wife, actress Jane Wyman.

Both said they were attracted to the other from the very beginning, but it would be three years before Ronald proposed. According to Nancy, in the years preceding their marriage Ronald had felt “lost,” and that life as one of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors had been for her new husband like “wandering in the dark.”

“My life didn’t really begin until I met Ronnie,” Nancy wrote in her memoirs. Both ardent letter writers over the course of their lives, a correspondence from Ronald to his wife marking their twenty-ninth wedding anniversary showcases how deeply he felt about her. �ginning in 1951, Nancy Davis seeing the plight of a lonely man who didn’t know how lonely he really was, determined to rescue him from a completely empty life,” Ronald wrote. “Refusing to be rebuffed by a certain amount of stupidity on his part she ignored his somewhat slow response. With patience and tenderness she gradually brought the light of understanding to his darkened, obtuse mind and he discovered the joy of loving someone with all his heart.”

Married in a low-key ceremony on March 4, 1952, their daughter Patricia (Patti) was born the following October and son Ronald (Ron) would arrive in 1958, joining Ronald’s daughter Maureen and adopted son Michael from his previous marriage to Wyman. Though they had acted together onscreen in Hellcats in the Navy (1957), by the mid-1960s, Nancy had retired from acting as Ronaldਏocused on a life of public service following a nearly decade-long stint as company representative and host of the TV drama series The General Electric Theater.

Ronald and Nancy Reagan cutting the cake at their wedding on March 4, 1952

Photo: © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images


1981 Inauguration and Assassination Attempt

In his inaugural speech on January 20, 1981, Reagan rhetorically announced that "government is not the solution to our problems government is the problem." He called for an era of national renewal and hoped that America would again be "a beacon of hope for those who do not have freedom." He and Nancy Reagan also ushered in a new era of glamour to the White House, with designer fashions and a controversial redecoration of the executive mansion.

On March 30, 1981, as President Reagan was exiting the Washington Hilton Hotel with several of his advisers, shots rang out and quick-thinking Secret Service agents thrust the president into his limousine. Once in the car, aides discovered that he had been hit. His would-be assassin, John Hinckley Jr., also shot three other people, none of them fatally. At the hospital, doctors determined that the gunman&aposs bullet had pierced one of the president&aposs lungs and narrowly missed his heart. Reagan, known for his good-natured humor, later told his wife, "Honey, I forgot to duck." Within several weeks of the shooting,  Reagan was back at work.


1981-1985: The Decline of Mental Health Treatment

In 1980, soon before he left Office, President Carter signed the Mental Health Systems Act, which sought to improve the quality of care of people in mental health institutions by increasing funding and research. In 1981, Reagan repealed it, and signed in its place the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA). Reagan's 1980 Campaign consisted of three things: Cut domestic spending, cut taxes, increase military. OBRA did that. Some of the rationale for this policy was to decrease the national debt. After it went into law, ironically, the debt almost doubled and the US went into a Recession. Part of the domestic spending cuts included a reduction in federal funding for mental health institutions. Federal spending for mental health dropped by 30 percent in 1981. By 1985, Federal spending for mental health was capped at 11 percent. It was almost exclusively on the States to support mental health institutions and research.

Because of this, many states closed down facilities and the ones that stayed open saw dramatic increases in population and dramatic decreases in quality of treatment and maintenance. This decrease in funding for mental health facilities and research also led to a subsequent spike in the rate of people with mental health issues being incarcerated.

Today: The lingering effects of the cut spending on mental health institutions saw an increase in arrests, as well as an increase in the belief that the mentally ill patients who are now no longer in treatment facilities are threats to the general public. In effect, it became easier to have people who might be dangerous (in the eyes of "good American citizens"), or otherwise just antisocial, imprisoned under that pretense. Today, awareness and funding for mental health issues have significantly improved, no thanks to Reagan or his admirers. Rhetorically, however, Conservatives today tend to treat mental health (and federal spending on it) as a stigma.


Ronald Reagan born - HISTORY

Known for the “Reaganomics policies” and the “Reagan Revolution”, the 40th President of the United States of America, Ronald Reagan was one of the greatest statesmen that has graced the influential assembly of the U.S congress.

Early Life

Born on Feb. 6, 1911, Ronald Wilson Reagan was raised in Tampico, Illinois where he attended Eureka College, taking up Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Sociology. His appearance at a game of the College’s Cubs as an announcer launched his already brightening future in the field of media.

On April 1937, Reagan enlisted for the Army Reserve, determined to prove himself as a private for the 322nd cavalry he had his valor recognized when he became the second lieutenant for the Army Reserve Corps of cavalry in 1937. Due to some vision-related difficulty, Reagan was only submitted for limited duty, and after a few years he was again promoted as Captain in July 1942. Along with Reagan’s promotion, he was also assigned to work on duty in New York City. Then he was reassigned again to join his former troops until the end of the World War.

After his years of service Reagan went home and finished his studies, graduating, he moved to Iowa and pursued a career there as a radio broadcaster and right after moved to Los Angeles and became an actor for televisions and films. These talents sustained him even before the call of politics finally succeeded in reaching him.

With his career careening off to the world of Hollywood Ronald Reagan finally met his fated wife, Jane Wyman, during the filming of the “Brother Rat”. In their union the eldest Maureen was born, and then a few years later came Christine. In the process of their marriage Reagan and Jane adopted a baby named Michael. Their three children however, didn’t stop Jane Wyman from filing a divorce in 1948 there was no choice but to concede so after a year the divorce of Reagan and Jane was finalized in 1949.

Right after the sad ending of his ill-fated marriage, Reagan met, wooed and married actress Nancy Reagan, which proved to be his real and everlasting love. In their union, their daughter Patti finally made an entrance to the world and in 1958, their youngest son Ron was born. “Ronnie” and Nancy celebrated for their devotion and untainted affection for each other through the long years ahead.

Reagan’s Life Before Becoming a Politician

In the 1950’s, long before the call of politics, Reagan signed to work with General Electric and began on the stepping stones that would lead him to the life of a politician. American conservatism was the word those days known for the ideals of a free market economy, low taxes, limited government, and anti-communism. With the slacking on what we could consider his formal job, G.E. finally cut the strings between the company and Ronald Reagan. During these years too, Reagan a known Democrat and an avid supporter of former President Franklin Roosevelt’s principle became a Republican, due to his wife being a Republican and also of his admission that at the time of G.E. lay-off, the Democrat party abandoned him.

When Reagan found his real party in the Republicans, these same people who were impressed by his conduct and charisma nominated him as the Governor of California, emphasizing on his ideals of welfare and clean-up of the student protest infested Berkeley. He was elected and was sworn in January 1967 approving tax hikes and freezing government hiring in the first years of his service. Far from the coveted Presidency, Reagan decided to try out his luck for the highest position in the State merely as a compromise candidate if ever Nixon or Rockefeller failed to achieve the needed delegates for their candidacy. Reagan found himself third in line.

Bloody Thursday and Responding to Protests

As the terms of Reagan’s service progressed, his strength was truly tested with protest movements, a series of incidents now remembered as “Bloody Thursday”. Calling on military troops, Reagan planned on dispersing the crowds of angry protesters that only angered them more, leading to the kidnapping Patti Hearst and of the demands of food supply for the poor. As the protesters became more violent, the ongoing debate for the approval of abortion was already taking place in the Congress. Reagan battled indecision, if he signed the approval there will be more abortions but there will be an assurance for the welfare of the mother, and if he does not it will only lead to more illegal back-room abortions that would put the mother’s life in jeopardy. After the inner debate, Reagan finally signed the abortion approval, launching a howl of angry protests from the populace. Realizing the consequences of his actions, he maintained that he was a pro-life and has owned up to that advocacy throughout his whole political run. And after whole sets of trial and conflict, Reagan was reelected again for his third term as Governor of California in 1974.

After the failure of his attempt for the presidency, Reagan again tried his luck against the President Gerald Ford. Owing to a not so planned strategy, Reagan lost as the confidence of Florida, New Hampshire and his own native town Illinois. However Ford actually prevailed with 1187 votes over Reagan’s 1070. And it was again, another loss for the aspiring president. However, with determination and pride paving his way, Reagan again decided to run for the Presidency in 1980, with President Jimmy Carter as his incumbent Reagan again promoted his fundamentals of low taxes, strong national defense, and less government interference with the public. With this principles strongly at hand, Ronald Wilson Reagan, finally got elected as the 4oth president of the United States of America in 1981.

President Reagan

During his first term, Reagan was buffeted with national and international conflicts, the end of the Cold war, military expansions, and the U.S. economy. But political expertise and support has always preceded him, and so his greatest contributions in that political arena were slowly revealed.

A failed assassination attempt was made on President Reagan on March 30, 1981 by Robert Hinckley Jr., gunshots tore through Reagan’s secretary, an agent, and a police officer. Luckily after a major surgery, Reagan proved himself tough to kill. On April 11, he was released from the hospital and continued his campaign. But why would someone want Reagan killed? Is it because of the escalation of his policies so-called “Reaganomics”? What is Reaganomics?

Reaganomics

Over Reagan’s first term he implemented the use of his own advocacy called Reaganomics, which is composed of different policies concerning political and economic expenditures of the government. Its major goals were to reduce tax rates, control over the money supply of the state and even the rate of government spending. Its implementation was for America’s economic growth, deregulation and inflation. Inflation considerably decreased during Reagan’s term but unemployment soared and left the U.S. economy wrecked.

As Reaganomics continued to progress, word-wide problems began to occur within Reagan’s service. The Cold War that had since plagued the world escalated again, and the rising turmoil that was left in its wake became a major concern of the U.S. President. The Soviet Union was denounced by Reagan as an “evil empire” due to its practice of Communism. The Soviet Union finally agreed to a negotiation with President Reagan, major communications bridged the matters as the Soviet sent Mikhail Gorbachev himself, preventing or at least delaying a universal conflict that might have peaked between the two countries.

Because of their different views, not all the demands were met, and only a partnership for military arsenal concluded the negotiation. For a time, this prevented another explosion between two powerful nations and opening a new kind of rule in the Soviet Union. When the matter with the Soviet was settled, critics announced that Reagan’s foreign policies were aggressive and imperialistic. Some even considered that it was a kind of “warmongering”. For better or worse, it maintained peace for Americans.

Re-election

As the negotiations ended, a pending reelection was being supported by Reagan’s party. Ronald Reagan once again campaigned for reelection in 1984. In one of his speeches, he declared that it was “morning again in America”, even contributing to an athlete’s foundation. During one of the campaign addresses, presidential candidate Walter Mondale mentioned that Reagan was not himself that day, finding his speech delivery weaker than usual. It was very far below what his supporters knew he could do. They never suspected that the President’s behavior was the onset of an already creeping disease. Supporters became anxious when they saw that Reagan may not get through the election some thought that a second term as President would be beyond the ailing President’s capabilities. Surprisingly, Reagan won the election and served for his second term in 1985.

An event that marred Reagan’s second term was that of the disintegration of Space Shuttle Challenger, killing all the astronauts aboard and destroying over millions of dollars. Conservative activists also made a show at the White House, but little attention was given to them. Their requests for removal of Chief of Staff Baker were not only met disapproval but also an ironic turnabout when Reagan appointed Baker as Secretary for the United States Treasury. Another event that stirred further disapproval from the public was when the President decided to visit a cemetery and considered the SS members buried there as victims of the holocaust. His staff and supporters strongly disagreed with Reagan.

A bill was signed in Reagan’s second term, which was the “No to Drugs.” His wife, First lady Nancy Reagan made the bill her top priority right after its approval she built a foundation for the “Just Say No” drug awareness campaign that promoted the use of drugs only for medical necessity rather than for recreational enjoyment that young people tended toward. The bill became a top advocacy for the First lady and has earned the approval of not only the First family’s constituents but also of the general public.

Along with the “No to Drugs bill”, America also gave a hand in various problems across the globe, including the bombing in Libya, the immigration law at the time, and the Iran Contra Affair. One of the most celebrated successes during Reagan’s second term was the end of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union’s Gorbachev decided to sign a peace treaty with the United States. Reagan realized that Gorbachev indeed formed a new kind of diplomacy that would also influence to other Communist countries.


Ronald Reagan biography

Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States, serving from Jan 1981 to 1989. He was a Republican and was credited with a resurgence of American conservatism. He pursued a policy of neo-liberal economics – seeking tax cuts, reduced government spending, and privatisation. Towards the end of his presidency, he was involved in negotiations with Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, which led to treaties reducing the nuclear capabilities of both countries and the ending of the Cold War. He also took an activist approach to protecting US interests abroad – including controversial decisions, such as the bombing of Libya, and the invasion of Grenada to reverse a Communist coup.

Early Life

Ronald Reagan was born 6 February 1911 in Tampico, Illinois. He attended Dixon High School where he gained an interest in acting and sports. He then attended Eureka College where he was elected president of the student body.

In the 1930s, Reagan gained work as a radio presenter commenting on baseball games. He made a strong impact because of his clear presentation and engaging voice. In 1937, Regan moved to Hollywood where he gained a contract with Warner Brothers. He was a prolific actor appearing in nineteen films by the end of 1939. Reagan later commented that with many films he worked on, directors were keen to get the movie finished as quickly as possible.

In 1942 he starred in ‘Kings Row’ – a film about a double amputee. His performance received critical acclaim, and it made him quite famous as a Hollywood actor. But, shortly after, he was drafted into active service in the U.S. Army. During the war, poor eyesight meant he was excluded from serving overseas. He worked in public relations and made several propaganda films, and helped in the War Loan drive to raise money for the cost of the war.

Reagan married for the first time in 1940, to actress Jane Wyman, having two children. Wyman later filed for divorce in 1948, not wishing to support Reagan’s political ambitions.

After the war, Reagan became president of the Screen Actors Guild. This involved representing actors in labour disputes he also gave information to the FBI about actors with potential Communist sympathies.

It was as president of SAG that he met Nancy Reagan – ironically because Nancy had been mistakenly put on the list of ‘Communist sympathisers’. They married in 1952 and had two children – Patti and Ron.

Political career

Reagan began his political career as a Democrat. He supported Harry Truman in the 1948 election. However, his wife Nancy was a Republican, and in the 1950s, he drifted towards the Republican party. He supported the Presidential campaigns of Eisenhower (󈧸 and 󈧼) and Richard Nixon (1960)

In 1962, he formally joined the Republican party, stating that he didn’t leave the Democrat party, but the party left him.

Conservative beliefs

His political profile within the Republican movement rose sharply in 1964 when delivering a speech “Time for Choosing” for Presidential hopeful Barry Goldwater. Reagan stressed his philosophy which would characterise his political views. Reagan believed that government needed to be limited to prevent intrusion into individual liberties. Reagan was espousing a conservatism that would become popular in America. He was a member of the National Rifle Association and in the 1960s opposed some civil rights legislation because people should have the freedom to discriminate in housing if they wanted to. However, he claimed it was not from racist motives, and when growing up in the segregated South, he had offered accommodation to black people who were unable to stay at a hotel.

Ronald Reagan later paid credit to Martin Luther King for the peaceful civil rights movement of the 1960s.

“Abraham Lincoln freed the black man. In many ways, Dr. King freed the white man. How did he accomplish this tremendous feat? Where others — white and black — preached hatred, he taught the principles of love and nonviolence.” (15 January 1983)

Libertarianism and Conservatism

Reagan promoted a form of conservatism that in many regards had parallels to libertarianism – a very limited form of government. Or as Regan joke in 1965

“Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.”

A typical summary of his ideology for limited government is expressed in this interview.

“The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom…But again, I stand on my statement that I think that libertarianism and conservatism are traveling the same path.” (Interview published in Reason (1 July 1975).

In the 1960s, Reagan spoke against ‘socialised healthcare’ and favoured reducing the welfare state.

“Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.” Interview, Los Angeles Times (7 January 1970).

Governor of California

In 1966, he was elected governor of California. His main policy planks were to reduce government spending, in particular, cut welfare spending, and to tackle the student anti-war/anti-establishment protests which were springing up in response to the Vietnam war.

As Governor Reagan was quick to send troops into Berkeley and other universities to crack down on protests. When quizzed about ‘Bloody Thursday’ – where a protester was killed by police. Reagan was unapologetic. “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with. No more appeasement.” Cannon, Lou (2003), p. 295. Reagan was supportive of the Vietnam war.

In 1976, his standing within the conservative movement encouraged him to stand for the Republican nomination. He lost to the more moderate Gerald Ford, but his campaign gave an impressive display of conservative strength, and in 1980 he gained the Republican nomination to fight Jimmy Carter.

President 1981-89

Against a backdrop of high inflation, low growth and the Iran hostage crisis. Reagan offered a radical agenda of economic neo-liberalism, a hard-line stance against Communism, state rights and strong national defence.

Reagan won a convincing electoral victory in 1981 making him the oldest person to be elected president, at the age of 69.

Reagan was viewed as an excellent communicator people warmed to his personal, no-nonsense style. He came across as something of a Washington outsider, more at home on the farm. This engagement with ordinary people played a pivotal role in his electoral success and long-term popularity.

Within three months of his Presidency, Reagan was shot in an attempted assassination attempt. He narrowly survived and made a full recovery.

Social values

Reagan promoted conservative social values. This included trying to push a constitutional amendment to allow school prayer. He opposed abortion (though ironically as a new governor of California he signed a bill allowing abortion. Reagan later said he regretted the decision.) He also launched a renewed ‘war on drugs’ which took a hard-line approach to drug use. It led to more prison terms, (especially for Afro-Americans, the biggest users of Crack). For example, sentencing guidelines that meant that someone 5 grams (two sugar packets) worth of crack received an automatic five years in prison. The prison population soared during Reagan’s term. (And continued to rises after Reagan’s presidency.

More successful was the “Just say no” drug awareness campaign which sought to encourage young people to reject recreational drugs. First Lady Nancy Reagan was active in raising its profile across America.

On immigration Reagan was relatively liberal in 1982, he allowed 3 million existing illegal immigrants to claim US citizenship. To stem further illegal immigrants, he passed a law to make it illegal to employ illegal immigrants.

Economic policy

In economics, he took a hard-line against trades unions, he implemented income tax cuts and attempted to reduce government spending.

“ In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem government is the problem. ” (1981 Inaugural address)

A plank of his economic policy was called ‘trickle down economics’. The idea that if the wealthy become better off, wealth and income will trickle down to all in society. Despite rhetoric to reduce government spending, overall government spending increased under Reagan, partly because of the expansion of military expenditure (40% increase between 1981 and 1985.

Also, although top rate income tax rates were cut from 70% to 50%, in 1981, other taxes were later raised. Tax as a % of GDP during his presidency was 18.2% – almost the same as the average tax rate 18.1% between 1970-2010. Despite a stance of fiscal responsibility, he presided over growing budget deficits, and overall national debt rose from $997 billion to $2.85 trillion, something Reagan described as his greatest disappointment. However, Reagan claimed strong economic growth during the 1980s was a vindication of his economic policies.

US Federal deficit

Reagan benefited from a fall in oil prices and the economic boom of the 1980s, which saw rising real incomes. But, the period also saw an increase rise in inequality with the gap between high earners and low earners increasing significantly.

Cold war rhetoric

Reagan was a fierce anti-communist all his life. On gaining the Presidency, he was criticised for escalated tensions with the Soviet Union, calling the Soviet Union ‘the evil empire’ (1983) and significantly building up the U.S. Military strength. However, while expanding the Star Wars programme, Reagan outlined his approach to foreign policy

“The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor.”

Reagan and Gorbachev, 1985.

Under the reforming Presidency of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union became more committed to arms reduction and liberalisation through Gorbachev’s policy of Perestroika and Glasnost. Several treaties were signed which reduced the nuclear arsenals of both sides. In 1988, Reagan visited the Soviet Union, where he was well received. When asked if he still considered the Soviet Union the evil empire, Reagan replied “No, I was talking about another time, another era” Reagan expressed optimism about the direction the Soviet Union were taking under Gorbachev.

Gorbachev later said of Reagan:

“[Reagan] a man who was instrumental in bringing about the end of the Cold War” and deemed him “a great President”

In 1987, Reagan challenged the Soviet Union to go further:

“General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Ten months after he left office, in 1989, the Berlin wall did come down and the cold-war was officially declared over at a conference in Malta

Covert Anti-Communist action

As President, Reagan also supported aiding anti-communist movements across the world. The aim was to overturn any regime allied to the Soviet Union. Some of these anti-communist movements were also accused of severe human rights violations. These campaigns were funded secretly and supported by the CIA this included supporting Afghan forces fighting the Soviet Union. Though ironically, these US weapons were later used by the Taliban against US forces who went to Afghanistan in the 2000s.

In 1983, Reagan sent troops to invade Grenada and overthrow the non-aligned Marxist government.

In 1986, the CIA was involved in clandestine activity in selling arms to Iran and using the proceeds to fund anti-Communist Contras in Nicaragua this was made public in the Iran-Contra scandal. This had been outlawed by an act of Congress, but CIA had undertaken it on its own initiative. Regan denied direct knowledge.

It was a rare case of a scandal hitting the approval ratings of Reagan. Usually, he had the ability to deflect attention from scandals.

In 1986, a bomb exploded in a Berlin nightclub killing one US servicemen. Citing Libyan involvement, Reagan ordered a series of air-strikes against Libya, citing the US right to self-defence. In response, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution which condemned the US attack. It was passed by a vote of 79 to 28.

A critical moment in Reagan’s second term was the Challenger disaster in 1986, where a US space shuttle exploded killing all seven astronauts on board.

After office, Reagan received much critical acclaim, and also much criticism. In August 1994, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease – which involves a slow and steady deterioration in the brain. After the diagnosis, Reagan retreated from public view. He died of pneumonia on 5 June 2004.


Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911-2004) Biography

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois (about 100 miles -160 kilometers- West of Chicago) on February 8th, 1911. He grew up in nearby Dixon. He was the son of Jack, a shoe salesman and Nelle Reagan. His mother was the one that interested Ronald, or "Dutch" (a nickname given to him by his father), in acting.

Ronald Reagan attended Eureka College from the fall of 1928 until his graduation in 1932. The religiously affiliated Eureka College granted Reagan a scholarship for needy students that provided for half the tuition and a job so he could pay for his meals. Reagan's first job after college was at WOC station in Davenport, Iowa as a radio announcer. He then went on to become a sports announcer at WHO station in Des Moines. In 1937 he did a screen test at Warner Brothers and for four years played in so called B-films. In 1940, Reagan married Jane Wyman, an actress.

He continued to play in movies until he joined the army shortly after the USA got involved in World War II. He served at the Army Air Corps film unit making army morale films. In 1949, when Jane Wyman's career was flourishing while Reagan's career had somewhat stagnated, Wyman divorced Reagan and got custody of the couples two young children Michael, their adopted son, and their daughter Maureen.

Meanwhile Reagan was involved in the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and was the organization's president from 1947 till 1952. In 1952 Reagan married again, this time to Nancy Davis. They had two children together, Patricia and Ronald Jr. Two years later, in 1954, General Electric offered Reagan a job hosting the company's weekly television series and delivering corporate speeches. In 1962 his employment at General Electric was abruptly ended by the company and Reagan returned to playing television and film roles.

In 1967 Reagan became governor of California, he was re-elected in 1970 but decided not to run for a third term in 1975. Reagan had been in the speech circuit prior to being a governor and he returned there now until he became the republican presidential candidate in 1980. He tried earlier to become the republican candidate, but lost to Nixon and Ford. In 1980 however, he not only became the republican candidate, but also won the elections beating Jimmy Carter with only a 9% margin in the popular vote and 489 electoral votes against Carter's 49. In 1984 he was re-elected, this time beating Walter Mondale with a 18% margin in popular vote and 525 electoral votes against 13. In 1989 he was succeeded by George Bush.

On June 5th 2004 former president Ronald Reagan died of Alzheimer's disease. There was a state burial ceremony in Washington DC after which he was buried in California.


Ronald Reagan Timeline

Ronald Reagan was the fortieth president of the United States. He won the Republican Party nomination in 1980 by out-gunning other candidates like Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush. At 69, he became the oldest president to be elected.

Here is a timeline of Ronald Reagan:

1911: Ronald Reagan is born on February 6 in Tampico Illinois to Nelle Wilson Reagan and John Edward Reagan. He was the second son.

1920: The Reagan family finally settled down in Dixon, Illinois, which Reagan considered his hometown.

1926: Reagan started working as a lifeguard at Lowell Park. He worked there for 7 summers and saved around 77 people.

1928: Graduates from Dixon High School.

1928 to 1932: Reagan joins Eureka College where he majored in Economics and Sociology. It is during this time that he got interested in drama.

1932: Reagan becomes a sports broadcaster in a small radio station in Davenport, Iowa. It here that Reagan gets national exposure after the radio station collaborates with an NBC affiliate.

1937: Reagan joins the Army Reserve as a private, but gets promoted to Second Lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps of the Calvary. This is the time that a Warner Brothers agent sees Reagan and offers him a 7 year contract.

1940: After joining Hollywood, Reagan marries Jane Wyman. The two had met during the making of the movie Brother Rat.

1941: Reagan's daughter Maureen is born.

1942: Reagan gets called for active duty and is assigned to the First Motion Picture Unit. He ended up making 400 training films.

1945: Once the Second World War ended, Reagan returns to Hollywood to continue making films, which he does for the next 20 years.

1947: Reagan is elected the president of the Screen Actors Guild for the first time.

1949: Reagan and Jane Wyman divorce.

1952: Reagan marries Nancy Davis in March.

1962: Reagan changes his affiliations from Democratic to Republican by officially changing his party registration.

1966: Reagan becomes the governor of California by beating the incumbent governor Edmund G Brown.

1968: He tries to run for presidency but then ends up supporting Richard Nixon.

1970: Reagan is re-elected as the governor of California.

1975: He announces his nomination for presidency but loses it to Gerald Ford.

1979: Once again he announces his candidature for presidency and wins the Republican Party nomination. He chooses George H.W. Bush as his running mate.

1980: Has landslide victory over the incumbent president Jimmy Carter.

1981: He is sworn in as the 40th president of the United States on January 20. The same day Iran released 53 American hostages held from November 1979. In March, Reagan is shot in the chest in an assassination attempt. In June, the Congress passes Tax Bill. Taxes are reduced to 25 percent. In September, Reagan appoints Sandra Day O'Connor as the first female Supreme Court Justice.

1982: The country falls into deep depression, its worst since the Great Depression.

1983: In March, Reagan puts forth his proposal for a Strategic Defense Initiative, which later on gets termed as the Star Wars program. In October, US troops invade Grenada to oust the communist government and protect US medical students studying there.

1984: Reagan defeats Walter Mondale in the presidential election to win a second term in office.

1985: When Reagan is sworn in as the president, he is 75 years old.

1986: Reagan authorizes air strikes against Libya for bombing a disco in West Berlin where two US servicemen are killed and more than 200 people were injured. In November, the Iran-Contra affair is gradually coming out leading to the resignation of National Security Advisor John Poindexter. Colonel Oliver North, the National Security Aide, is fired.

1987: Reagan fires Chief of Staff Donald Regan under pressure from all quarters. In March, Reagan acknowledges the mistakes committed in the Iran-Contra affair. In December, Reagan and Gorbachev sign the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty and agree to eliminate 4 percent of the nuclear arsenal.

1988: Vice President George H. W. Bush defeats Michael Dukakis, the governor of Massachusetts, to become the 41st president of the United States.

1989: Reagan has a surgery to remove fluid from his brain. In November, the Berlin Wall is torn down allowing the unification of East and West Germany.

1994: Reagan finally tells the world that he is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

2004: On June 5, Ronald Reagan passes away at the age of 93.

Ronald Reagan was the fortieth president of the United States. Before becoming the president, he was the governor of California from 1967 until 1975. He also acted in movies and was the president of the Screen Actors Guild. More..


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