Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

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Ronald Wilson Reagan (ˈrɒnld ˈwɪlsn ˈreɪɡən; February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 (1981–1989), the 33rd Governor of California
Governor of California
The Governor of California is the chief executive of the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual State of the State addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced...

 (1967–1975) and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor.

Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois
Tampico, Illinois
Tampico is a village located in Tampico Township, Whiteside County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census the village had a total population of 790, up from 772 at the 2000 census. U.S. President Ronald Reagan was born there and lived there for two brief periods of his...

 and raised in Dixon
Dixon, Illinois
Dixon is a city in Lee County, Illinois, United States. The population was 15,733 as of the 2010 census, down from 15,941 at the 2000 census. Named for its founder, John Dixon , it is the county seat of Lee County. Located on the Rock River, Dixon was the boyhood home of former U.S...

. He was educated at Eureka College
Eureka College
Eureka College is a liberal arts college in Eureka, Illinois related by covenant to the Christian Church and founded in 1855. It has a strong focus on the mutual development of intellect and character. Stated core values are learning, service and leadership...

, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

. Upon his graduation, Reagan first moved to Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

 to work as a radio broadcaster and then in 1937 to Los Angeles, where he began a career as an actor, first in films and later television. Some of his most notable films are in Knute Rockne, All American
Knute Rockne, All American
Knute Rockne, All American is a 1940 biographical film which tells the story of Knute Rockne, Notre Dame football coach. It stars Pat O'Brien, Ronald Reagan, Gale Page, Donald Crisp, Albert Bassermann, Owen Davis, Jr., Nick Lukats, Kane Richmond, William Marshall and William Byrne. It also...

, Kings Row
Kings Row
Kings Row is a 1942 film starring Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings, and Ronald Reagan that tells a story of young people growing up in a small American town at the turn of the twentieth century, beset by social pressure, dark secrets, and the challenges and tragedies one must face as a result of these...

, and Bedtime for Bonzo
Bedtime for Bonzo
Bedtime for Bonzo is a 1951 comedy film directed by Fred de Cordova, starring future U.S. President Ronald Reagan. It revolves around the attempts of the central character, Professor Peter Boyd , to teach human morals to a chimpanzee, hoping to solve the "nature versus nurture" question...

. Reagan served as president of the Screen Actors Guild
Screen Actors Guild
The Screen Actors Guild is an American labor union representing over 200,000 film and television principal performers and background performers worldwide...

, and later spokesman for General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

; his start in politics occurred during his work for GE.

Originally a member of the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, he ceased supporting or endorsing Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 candidates for political office around 1952, and eventually switched officially to the Republican Party
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 in 1962. After delivering a rousing speech
A Time for Choosing
A Time for Choosing, also known as The Speech, was a speech presented during the 1964 U.S. presidential election campaign by future president Ronald Reagan on behalf of Republican candidate Barry Goldwater....

 in support of Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

's presidential candidacy in 1964, he was persuaded to seek the California governorship, winning two years later
California gubernatorial election, 1966
The California gubernatorial election, 1966 was held on November 8, 1966. The election was a contest between incumbent Governor Pat Brown, the Democratic candidate, and actor Ronald Reagan, the Republican candidate. Reagan mobilized conservative voters and defeated Brown in a...

 and again in 1970
California gubernatorial election, 1970
The California gubernatorial election, 1970 was held on November 3, 1970. The incumbent, Republican Ronald Reagan, won re-election over Democrat and Speaker of the Assembly Jesse "Big Daddy" Unruh...

. He was defeated in his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968
United States presidential election, 1968
The United States presidential election of 1968 was the 46th quadrennial United States presidential election. Coming four years after Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won in a historic landslide, it saw Johnson forced out of the race and Republican Richard Nixon elected...

 as well as 1976
United States presidential election, 1976
The United States presidential election of 1976 followed the resignation of President Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal. It pitted incumbent President Gerald Ford, the Republican candidate, against the relatively unknown former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, the Democratic...

, but won both the nomination and election in 1980
United States presidential election, 1980
The United States presidential election of 1980 featured a contest between incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter and his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, as well as Republican Congressman John B. Anderson, who ran as an independent...

, defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

.

As president, Reagan implemented sweeping new political and economic initiatives. His supply-side economic
Supply-side economics
Supply-side economics is a school of macroeconomic thought that argues that economic growth can be most effectively created by lowering barriers for people to produce goods and services, such as lowering income tax and capital gains tax rates, and by allowing greater flexibility by reducing...

 policies, dubbed "Reaganomics
Reaganomics
Reaganomics refers to the economic policies promoted by the U.S. President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s, also known as supply-side economics and called trickle-down economics, particularly by critics...

", advocated reducing tax rates to spur economic growth, controlling the money supply to reduce inflation, deregulation of the economy, and reducing government spending. In his first term he survived an assassination attempt
Reagan assassination attempt
The Reagan assassination attempt occurred on Monday, March 30, 1981, just 69 days into the presidency of Ronald Reagan. While leaving a speaking engagement at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., President Reagan and three others were shot and wounded by John Hinckley, Jr...

, took a hard line against labor unions, and ordered an invasion of Grenada
Invasion of Grenada
The Invasion of Grenada, codenamed Operation Urgent Fury, was a 1983 United States-led invasion of Grenada, a Caribbean island nation with a population of about 100,000 located north of Venezuela. Triggered by a military coup which had ousted a four-year revolutionary government, the invasion...

. He was reelected in a landslide in 1984
United States presidential election, 1984
The United States presidential election of 1984 was a contest between the incumbent President Ronald Reagan, the Republican candidate, and former Vice President Walter Mondale, the Democratic candidate. Reagan was helped by a strong economic recovery from the deep recession of 1981–1982...

, proclaiming that it was "Morning in America
Morning in America
"Morning in America" is the common name of an effective political campaign television commercial formally titled "Prouder, Stronger, Better" and featuring the opening line "It's morning again in America." The ad was part of the 1984 U.S. presidential campaign of Republican Party candidate Ronald...

". His second term was primarily marked by foreign matters, such as the ending of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, the 1986 bombing of Libya, and the revelation of the Iran-Contra affair
Iran-Contra Affair
The Iran–Contra affair , also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or Iran-Contra-Gate, was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior Reagan administration officials and President Reagan secretly facilitated the sale of...

. Publicly describing the Soviet Union as an "evil empire
Evil empire
The phrase evil empire was applied to the Soviet Union especially by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who took an aggressive, hard-line stance that favored matching and exceeding the Soviet Union's strategic and global military capabilities, in calling for a rollback strategy that would, in his words,...

", he supported anti-communist movements worldwide and spent his first term forgoing the strategy of détente
Détente
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War...

 by ordering a massive military buildup in an arms race
Arms race
The term arms race, in its original usage, describes a competition between two or more parties for the best armed forces. Each party competes to produce larger numbers of weapons, greater armies, or superior military technology in a technological escalation...

 with the USSR. Reagan negotiated with General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the title given to the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. With some exceptions, the office was synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union...

 Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

, culminating in the INF Treaty and the decrease of both countries' nuclear arsenals.

Reagan left office in 1989. In 1994, the former president disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

 earlier in the year; he died ten years later
Death and state funeral of Ronald Reagan
On June 5, 2004, Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, died after having suffered from Alzheimer's disease for nearly a decade. His seven-day state funeral followed, spanning June 5–11...

 at the age of 93. He ranks highly in public opinion polls of U.S. Presidents and is credited for generating an ideological renaissance on the American political right.

Early life




Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in an apartment on the second floor of a commercial building in Tampico, Illinois on February 6, 1911, to Jack Reagan
Jack Reagan
John Edward “Jack” Reagan was the father of United States President Ronald Reagan and his older brother Neil "Moon" Reagan .-Early life:...

 and Nelle Wilson Reagan
Nelle Wilson Reagan
Nelle Clyde Wilson Reagan was the mother of United States President Ronald Reagan and his older brother Neil "Moon" Reagan .-Early life:...

. Reagan's father was a salesman and a storyteller, the grandson of Irish Catholic
Irish Catholic
Irish Catholic is a term used to describe people who are both Roman Catholic and Irish .Note: the term is not used to describe a variant of Catholicism. More particularly, it is not a separate creed or sect in the sense that "Anglo-Catholic", "Old Catholic", "Eastern Orthodox Catholic" might be...

 immigrants from County Tipperary
County Tipperary
County Tipperary is a county of Ireland. It is located in the province of Munster and is named after the town of Tipperary. The area of the county does not have a single local authority; local government is split between two authorities. In North Tipperary, part of the Mid-West Region, local...

 while his mother had Scots
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

-English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 ancestors. Reagan had one sibling, his older brother, Neil
Neil Reagan
John Neil Reagan was a radio station manager, CBS senior producer and senior vice president of McCann Erickson. He is the older brother of Ronald Reagan....


(1908–1996), who became an advertising executive. As a boy, Reagan's father nicknamed his son "Dutch", due to his "fat little Dutchman"-like appearance, and his "Dutchboy" haircut; the nickname stuck with him throughout his youth. Reagan's family briefly lived in several towns and cities in Illinois, including Monmouth
Monmouth, Illinois
Monmouth is a city in and the county seat of Warren County in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the home of Monmouth College and contains Monmouth Park, Harmon Park, North Park, Warfield Park, West Park, South Park, Garwood Park, Buster White Park and the Citizens Lake & Campground. It is the host...

, Galesburg
Galesburg, Illinois
Galesburg is a city in Knox County, Illinois, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 32,195. It is the county seat of Knox County....

 and Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, until 1919, when they returned to Tampico and lived above the H.C. Pitney Variety Store. After his election as president, residing in the upstairs White House private quarters, Reagan would quip that he was "living above the store again".

According to Paul Kengor
Paul Kengor
Paul Kengor is a professor of political sciences at Grove City College and the executive director of the College's Center for Vision and Values....

, author of God and Ronald Reagan, Reagan had a particularly strong faith in the goodness of people, which stemmed from the optimistic faith of his mother, Nelle, and the Disciples of Christ faith, which he was baptized into in 1922. For the time, Reagan was unusual in his opposition to racial discrimination, and recalled a time in Dixon
Dixon, Illinois
Dixon is a city in Lee County, Illinois, United States. The population was 15,733 as of the 2010 census, down from 15,941 at the 2000 census. Named for its founder, John Dixon , it is the county seat of Lee County. Located on the Rock River, Dixon was the boyhood home of former U.S...

 when the local inn would not allow black people
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

 to stay there. Reagan brought them back to his house, where his mother invited them to stay the night and have breakfast the next morning.

Following the closure of the Pitney Store in late 1920, the Reagans moved to Dixon; the midwestern "small universe" had a lasting impression on Reagan. He attended Dixon High School
Dixon High School (Illinois)
Dixon High School is a high school located on Lincoln Statue Drive and Peoria Avenue on the northern side of Dixon, Illinois. In 1918 the north and south districts were consolidated into one district and it was decided that a new, larger high school was needed...

, where he developed interests in acting, sports, and storytelling. His first job was as a lifeguard at the Rock River in Lowell Park, near Dixon, in 1927. Reagan performed 77 rescues as a lifeguard, noting that he notched a mark on a wooden log for every life he saved. Reagan attended Eureka College
Eureka College
Eureka College is a liberal arts college in Eureka, Illinois related by covenant to the Christian Church and founded in 1855. It has a strong focus on the mutual development of intellect and character. Stated core values are learning, service and leadership...

, where he became a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon
Tau Kappa Epsilon
Tau Kappa Epsilon is a college fraternity founded on January 10, 1899 at Illinois Wesleyan University with chapters in the United States, and Canada, and affiliation with a German fraternity system known as the Corps of the Weinheimer Senioren Convent...

 fraternity, and majored in economics and sociology. He developed a reputation as a jack of all trades, excelling in campus politics, sports and theater. He was a member of the football team, captain of the swim team and was elected student body president. As student president, Reagan notably led a student revolt against the college president after he tried to cut back the faculty.

Military service


After completing fourteen home-study Army Extension Courses, Reagan enlisted in the Army Enlisted Reserve on April 29, 1937, as a private assigned to Troop B, 322nd Cavalry
United States Cavalry
The United States Cavalry, or U.S. Cavalry, is the designation of the mounted force of the United States Army. The role of the U.S. Cavalry is reconnaissance, security and mounted assault. Cavalry has served as a part of the Army forces in every war in which the United States has participated...

 at Des Moines
Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines is the capital and the most populous city in the US state of Iowa. It is also the county seat of Polk County. A small portion of the city extends into Warren County. It was incorporated on September 22, 1851, as Fort Des Moines which was shortened to "Des Moines" in 1857...

, Iowa. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps of the Cavalry on May 25, 1937.

Reagan was ordered to active duty for the first time on April 18, 1942. Due to his nearsightedness, he was classified for limited service only, which excluded him from serving overseas. His first assignment was at the San Francisco Port of Embarkation at Fort Mason
Fort Mason
Fort Mason, once known as San Francisco Port of Embarkation, US Army, in San Francisco, California, is a former United States Army post located in the northern Marina District, alongside San Francisco Bay. Fort Mason served as an Army post for more than 100 years, initially as a coastal defense...

, California, as a liaison officer of the Port and Transportation Office. Upon the approval of the Army Air Force (AAF), he applied for a transfer from the Cavalry to the AAF on May 15, 1942, and was assigned to AAF Public Relations and subsequently to the First Motion Picture Unit
First Motion Picture Unit
The First Motion Picture Unit was the first unit of the United States Military to be made up entirely of motion picture personnel. It was also the title of a 1943 documentary about the unit.-Organization:...

 (officially, the "18th AAF Base Unit") in Culver City
Culver City, California
Culver City is a city in western Los Angeles County, California. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 38,883, up from 38,816 at the 2000 census. It is mostly surrounded by the city of Los Angeles, but also shares a border with unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. Culver...

, California. On January 14, 1943 he was promoted to First Lieutenant and was sent to the Provisional Task Force Show Unit of This Is The Army at Burbank
Burbank, California
Burbank is a city in Los Angeles County in Southern California, United States, north of downtown Los Angeles. The estimated population in 2010 was 103,340....

, California. He returned to the First Motion Picture Unit after completing this duty and was promoted to Captain on July 22, 1943.

In January 1944, Captain Reagan was ordered to temporary duty in New York City to participate in the opening of the sixth War Loan Drive. He was re-assigned to the First Motion Picture Unit on November 14, 1944, where he remained until the end of World War II. He was recommended for promotion to Major on February 2, 1945, but this recommendation was disapproved on July 17 of that year. He returned to Fort MacArthur
Fort MacArthur
Fort MacArthur is a former United States Army installation in San Pedro, Los Angeles, California . The fort is named in honor of Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur...

, California, where he was separated from active duty on December 9, 1945. By the end of the war, his units had produced some 400 training films for the AAF.

Radio and film



After graduating from Eureka in 1932, Reagan drove himself to Iowa, where he auditioned for a job at many small-town radio stations. The University of Iowa
University of Iowa
The University of Iowa is a public state-supported research university located in Iowa City, Iowa, United States. It is the oldest public university in the state. The university is organized into eleven colleges granting undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees...

 hired him to broadcast home football games for the Hawkeyes
Iowa Hawkeyes football
The Iowa Hawkeyes football team is the interscholastic football team at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. The Hawkeyes have competed in the Big Ten Conference since 1900, and are currently a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association...

. He was paid $10 per game. Soon after, a staff announcer's job opened at radio station WOC in Davenport
Davenport, Iowa
Davenport is a city located along the Mississippi River in Scott County, Iowa, United States. Davenport is the county seat of and largest city in Scott County. Davenport was founded on May 14, 1836 by Antoine LeClaire and was named for his friend, George Davenport, a colonel during the Black Hawk...

, and Reagan was hired, now earning $100 per month. Aided by his persuasive voice, he moved to WHO
WHO (AM)
WHO is a clear channel radio station broadcasting 50,000 watts on 1040 AM with a news/talk format. The station is owned by Clear Channel Communications and is located in Des Moines, Iowa. The station can be heard over most of the continental United States during nighttime hours...

 radio in Des Moines as an announcer for Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs are a professional baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League. They are one of two Major League clubs based in Chicago . The Cubs are also one of the two remaining charter members of the National...

 baseball games. His specialty was creating play-by-play accounts of games that the station received by wire.

While traveling with the Cubs in California, Reagan took a screen test in 1937 that led to a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 studios. He spent the first few years of his Hollywood career in the "B film
B movie
A B movie is a low-budget commercial motion picture that is not definitively an arthouse or pornographic film. In its original usage, during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the term more precisely identified a film intended for distribution as the less-publicized, bottom half of a double feature....

" unit, where, Reagan joked, the producers "didn't want them good, they wanted them Thursday". While sometimes overshadowed by other actors, Reagan's screen performances did receive many good reviews.


His first screen credit was the starring role in the 1937 movie Love Is on the Air
Love Is on the Air
Love is on the Air is a 1937 film directed by Nick Grinde. The film stars Ronald Reagan, Eddie Acuff, supported by Robert Barrat, Raymond Hatton, and Willard Parker. This was Reagan's screen debut....

, and by the end of 1939 he had already appeared in 19 films, including Dark Victory
Dark Victory
Dark Victory is a 1939 American drama film directed by Edmund Goulding and starring Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart, and Ronald Reagan...

. Before the film Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe Trail (film)
Santa Fe Trail is a 1940 western film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. The film was one of the top-grossing films of the year, being the seventh Flynn-de Havilland collaboration. The film also has nothing to do with its namesake, the famed Santa Fe Trail...

in 1940, he played the role of George "The Gipper" Gipp
George Gipp
George "The Gipper" Gipp was a college football player who played for the University of Notre Dame. Gipp was selected as Notre Dame's first All-American and is Notre Dame's second consensus All-American , after Gus Dorais. Gipp played multiple positions, most notably halfback, quarterback, and...

 in the film Knute Rockne, All American
Knute Rockne, All American
Knute Rockne, All American is a 1940 biographical film which tells the story of Knute Rockne, Notre Dame football coach. It stars Pat O'Brien, Ronald Reagan, Gale Page, Donald Crisp, Albert Bassermann, Owen Davis, Jr., Nick Lukats, Kane Richmond, William Marshall and William Byrne. It also...

; from it, he acquired the lifelong nickname "the Gipper". Reagan's favorite acting role was as a double amputee in 1942's Kings Row
Kings Row
Kings Row is a 1942 film starring Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings, and Ronald Reagan that tells a story of young people growing up in a small American town at the turn of the twentieth century, beset by social pressure, dark secrets, and the challenges and tragedies one must face as a result of these...

, in which he recites the line, "Where's the rest of me?", later used as the title of his 1965 autobiography. Many film critics considered Kings Row to be his best movie, though the film was condemned by New York Times critic Bosley Crowther
Bosley Crowther
Bosley Crowther was a journalist and author who was film critic for The New York Times for 27 years. His reviews and articles helped shape the careers of actors, directors and screenwriters, though his reviews, at times, were unnecessarily mean...

.

Reagan called Kings Row the film that "made me a star". However, he was unable to capitalize on his success because he was ordered to active duty with the U.S. Army at San Francisco two months after its release, and never regained "star" status in motion pictures. In the post-war era, after being separated from almost four years of World War II stateside service with the 1st Motion Picture Unit in December 1945, Reagan co-starred in such films as, The Voice of the Turtle, John Loves Mary
John Loves Mary
John Loves Mary is a 1949 film directed by David Butler. It stars Ronald Reagan and Jack Carson.-Cast:*Ronald Reagan as John Lawrence*Jack Carson as Fred Taylor*Wayne Morris as Lt. Victor O'Leary*Edward Arnold as Sen. James McKinley...

, The Hasty Heart
The Hasty Heart
The Hasty Heart is a 1949 British-American co-production film based on the play of the same name by John Patrick. It tells the story of a group of wounded Allied soldiers in a mobile surgery unit at the end of World War II who, after initial resentment and ostracism, rally around a loner, a...

, Bedtime for Bonzo
Bedtime for Bonzo
Bedtime for Bonzo is a 1951 comedy film directed by Fred de Cordova, starring future U.S. President Ronald Reagan. It revolves around the attempts of the central character, Professor Peter Boyd , to teach human morals to a chimpanzee, hoping to solve the "nature versus nurture" question...

, Cattle Queen of Montana
Cattle Queen of Montana
Cattle Queen of Montana is a 1954 American Western film starring Barbara Stanwyck and Ronald Reagan. The supporting cast includes Jack Elam, Chubby Johnson, and Morris Ankrum, and the movie was directed by Allan Dwan.-Plot:...

, Tennessee's Partner
Tennessee's Partner
Tennessee's Partner is a Western film starring Ronald Reagan in what Peter Bogdanovich calls his "most likeable performance." It co-starred John Payne as Tennessee....

, Hellcats of the Navy
Hellcats of the Navy
Hellcats of the Navy is a World War II submarine movie starring Ronald Reagan and his wife, billed as Nancy Davis, her then professional name...

and The Killers
The Killers (1964 film)
The Killers, sometimes marketed as Ernest Hemingway's The Killers, is a 1964 crime film released by Universal Studios. It is the second Hollywood adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's short story of the same name, following a version made in 1946 starring Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner. It was directed...

(his final film) in a 1964 remake.

Fan mail


While he worked at Warner Bros., Reagan enlisted his mother Nelle Wilson Reagan
Nelle Wilson Reagan
Nelle Clyde Wilson Reagan was the mother of United States President Ronald Reagan and his older brother Neil "Moon" Reagan .-Early life:...

 to answer his fan mail. She would hand-write letters and sign his name as if he had written the letters himself. Mrs. Reagan would sign her actor-son's name on photographs and even on membership cards in the Ronald Reagan Fan Club. The article "Devoted Mother, Devoted Son" in the January/February 1985 issue of The Pen & Quill
The Pen & Quill
The Pen & Quill is an American publication about collectible autographs and manuscripts. It was created by the Universal Autograph Collectors Club - UACC[1], and emphasizes historical figures, events, autographs and manuscripts. The worldwide members of the UACC include key historical institutions,...

, journal of the Universal Autograph Collectors Club, compares the handwriting of mother and son, pointing out the differences, and also reveals that Reagan was paying his mother $75.00 a week.

SAG president and television



Reagan was first elected to the Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild
Screen Actors Guild
The Screen Actors Guild is an American labor union representing over 200,000 film and television principal performers and background performers worldwide...

 in 1941, serving as an alternate. Following World War II, he resumed service and became 3rd vice-president in 1946. The adoption of conflict-of-interest bylaws in 1947 led the SAG president and six board members to resign; Reagan was nominated in a special election for the position of president and subsequently elected. He would subsequently be chosen by the membership to seven additional one-year terms, from 1947 to 1952 and in 1959. Reagan led SAG through eventful years that were marked by labor-management disputes, the Taft-Hartley Act
Taft-Hartley Act
The Labor–Management Relations Act is a United States federal law that monitors the activities and power of labor unions. The act, still effective, was sponsored by Senator Robert Taft and Representative Fred A. Hartley, Jr. and became law by overriding U.S. President Harry S...

, House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) hearings and the Hollywood blacklist
Hollywood blacklist
The Hollywood blacklist—as the broader entertainment industry blacklist is generally known—was the mid-twentieth-century list of screenwriters, actors, directors, musicians, and other U.S. entertainment professionals who were denied employment in the field because of their political beliefs or...

 era.

Amid the Red Scare
McCarthyism
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s and characterized by...

 in the late 1940s, Reagan provided the FBI with names of actors whom he believed to be communist sympathizers within the motion picture industry. Reagan testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee on the subject as well. A fervent anti-communist, he reaffirmed his commitment to democratic principles, stating, "I never as a citizen want to see our country become urged, by either fear or resentment of this group, that we ever compromise with any of our democratic principles through that fear or resentment."

Though an early critic of television, Reagan landed fewer film roles in the late 1950s and decided to join the medium. He was hired as the host of General Electric Theater
General Electric Theater
General Electric Theater is an American anthology series hosted by Ronald W. Reagan that was broadcast on CBS radio and television. The series was sponsored by General Electric's Department of Public Relations.-Radio:...

, a series of weekly dramas that became very popular. His contract required him to tour GE plants sixteen weeks out of the year, often demanding of him fourteen speeches per day. He earned approximately $125,000 per year (about $1.07 million in 2010 dollars) in this role. His final work as a professional actor was as host and performer from 1964 to 1965 on the television series Death Valley Days
Death Valley Days
Death Valley Days is an American radio and television anthology series featuring true stories of the old American West, particularly the Death Valley area. Created in 1930 by Ruth Woodman, the program was broadcast on radio until 1945. It continued from 1952 to 1975 as a syndicated television series...

. Reagan and Nancy Davis appeared together several times, including an episode of GE Theater in 1958 called A Turkey for the President.

Marriages and children


In 1938, Reagan co-starred in the film Brother Rat
Brother Rat
Brother Rat is a 1938 film about cadets at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, directed by William Keighley and starring Priscilla Lane and Wayne Morris....

with actress Jane Wyman
Jane Wyman
Jane Wyman was an American singer, dancer, and character actress of film and television. She began her film career in the 1930s, and was a prolific performer for two decades...

 (1917–2007). They were engaged at the Chicago Theatre
Chicago Theatre
The Chicago Theatre, originally known as the Balaban and Katz Chicago Theatre, is a landmark theater located on North State Street in the Loop area of Chicago, Illinois. Built in 1921, the Chicago Theatre was the flagship for the Balaban and Katz group of theaters run by A. J. Balaban, his brother...

, and married on January 26, 1940, at the Wee Kirk o' the Heather church
Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale
Forest Lawn Memorial Park is a privately owned cemetery in Glendale, California. It is the original location of Forest Lawn, a chain of cemeteries in Southern California. The land was formerly part of Providencia Ranch.-History:...

 in Glendale
Glendale, California
Glendale is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the city population is 191,719, down from 194,973 at the 2000 census. making it the third largest city in Los Angeles County and the 22nd largest city in the state of California...

, California. Together they had two biological children, Maureen
Maureen Reagan
Maureen Elizabeth Reagan was the first child of former President Ronald Reagan and his first wife, Jane Wyman...

 (1941–2001) and Christine (who was born in 1947 but only lived one day), and adopted a third, Michael
Michael Reagan
Michael Edward Reagan is a former American radio host and Republican strategist. His nationally syndicated radio show, The Michael Reagan Talk Show, aired on stations throughout the United States on the Premiere Radio Networks before being dropped, after which it moved to Radio America...

 (born 1945). Following arguments about Reagan's political ambitions, Wyman filed for divorce in 1948, citing a distraction due to her husband's Screen Actors Guild union duties; the divorce was finalized in 1949. He is the only US president to have been divorced.


Reagan met actress Nancy Davis
Nancy Reagan
Nancy Davis Reagan is the widow of former United States President Ronald Reagan and was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989....

 (born 1921) in 1949 after she contacted him in his capacity as president of the Screen Actors Guild to help her with issues regarding her name appearing on a communist blacklist in Hollywood (she had been mistaken for another Nancy Davis). She described their meeting by saying, "I don't know if it was exactly love at first sight, but it was pretty close." They were engaged at Chasen's
Chasen's
Chasen's was a restaurant in West Hollywood, California that was a hangout for entertainment luminaries. Located at 9039 Beverly Boulevard near Beverly Hills, it was the site of the Academy Awards party for many years and was also known for its chili. In 1962 Liz Taylor had several orders of...

 restaurant in Los Angeles and were married on March 4, 1952, at the Little Brown Church in the San Fernando Valley
San Fernando Valley
The San Fernando Valley is an urbanized valley located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area of southern California, United States, defined by the dramatic mountains of the Transverse Ranges circling it...

. Actor William Holden
William Holden
William Holden was an American actor. Holden won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1954 and the Emmy Award for Best Actor in 1974...

 served as best man at the ceremony. They had two children: Patti
Patti Davis
Patti Davis is an American actress and author. She is the daughter of former President of the United States Ronald Reagan and Reagan's second wife, First Lady Nancy Reagan...

 (born October 21, 1952) and Ron
Ron Reagan
Ronald Prescott "Ron" Reagan sometimes known as Ronald Reagan, Jr., is a former talk radio host and chief political analyst for KIRO radio in Seattle until his show was canceled on August 8, 2007...

 (born May 20, 1958).

Observers described the Reagans' relationship as close, real and intimate. During his presidency they were reported as frequently displaying their affection for one another; one press secretary said, "They never took each other for granted. They never stopped courting." He often called her "Mommy" she called him "Ronnie". He once wrote to her, "Whatever I treasure and enjoy ... all would be without meaning if I didn’t have you." When he was in the hospital in 1981, she slept with one of his shirts to be comforted by his scent. In a letter to U.S. citizens written in 1994, Reagan wrote "I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

.... I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience," and in 1998, while Reagan was stricken by Alzheimer's, Nancy told Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair (magazine)
Vanity Fair is a magazine of pop culture, fashion, and current affairs published by Condé Nast. The present Vanity Fair has been published since 1983 and there have been editions for four European countries as well as the U.S. edition. This revived the title which had ceased publication in 1935...

, "Our relationship is very special. We were very much in love and still are. When I say my life began with Ronnie, well, it's true. It did. I can't imagine life without him."

Early political career


Reagan began his political career as a liberal Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, admirer of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

, and an active supporter of New Deal policies
New Deal coalition
The New Deal Coalition was the alignment of interest groups and voting blocs that supported the New Deal and voted for Democratic presidential candidates from 1932 until the late 1960s. It made the Democratic Party the majority party during that period, losing only to Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952...

. In the early 1950s, as his relationship with Republican actress Nancy Davis grew, he shifted to the right and, while remaining a Democrat, endorsed the presidential candidacies of Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 in 1952 and 1956 as well as Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 in 1960. The last time Reagan actively supported a Democratic candidate was in 1950 when he helped Helen Gahagan Douglas in her unsuccessful Senate campaign against Richard Nixon. After being hired in 1954 to host the General Electric Theater, a TV drama series, Reagan soon began to embrace the conservative views of the sponsoring company's officials. His many GE speeches—which he wrote himself—were non-partisan but carried a conservative, pro-business message; he was influenced by Lemuel Boulware
Lemuel Boulware
Lemuel Ricketts Boulware was General Electric’s vice president of labor and community relations from 1956 until 1961...

, a senior GE executive. Boulware, known for his tough stance against unions and his innovative strategies to win over workers, championed the core tenets of modern American conservatism: free markets, anticommunism, lower taxes, and limited government. Eventually, the ratings for Reagan's show fell off and GE dropped Reagan in 1962. In August of that year Reagan formally switched to the Republican Party
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

, stating, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me."

Reagan opposed certain civil rights legislation, saying "If an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes or others in selling or renting his house, it is his right to do so". He later reversed his opposition to voting rights and fair housing laws. He strongly denied having racist motives. When legislation that would become Medicare
Medicare (United States)
Medicare is a social insurance program administered by the United States government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are aged 65 and over; to those who are under 65 and are permanently physically disabled or who have a congenital physical disability; or to those who meet other...

 was introduced in 1961, Reagan created a recording for the American Medical Association
American Medical Association
The American Medical Association , founded in 1847 and incorporated in 1897, is the largest association of medical doctors and medical students in the United States.-Scope and operations:...

 warning that such legislation would mean the end of freedom in America. Reagan said that if his listeners did not write letters to prevent it, "we will awake to find that we have so­cialism. And if you don't do this, and if I don't do it, one of these days, you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children's children, what it once was like in America when men were free."

Reagan endorsed the campaign of conservative presidential contender Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

 in 1964. Speaking for Goldwater, Reagan stressed his belief in the importance of smaller government. He revealed his ideological motivation in a famed speech delivered on October 27, 1964: "The Founding Fathers
Founding Fathers of the United States
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were political leaders and statesmen who participated in the American Revolution by signing the United States Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American Revolutionary War, establishing the United States Constitution, or by some...

 knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing." This "Time for Choosing
A Time for Choosing
A Time for Choosing, also known as The Speech, was a speech presented during the 1964 U.S. presidential election campaign by future president Ronald Reagan on behalf of Republican candidate Barry Goldwater....

" speech raised $1 million for Goldwater's campaign and is considered the event that launched Reagan's political career.

Reagan was a Life Member of the National Rifle Association
National Rifle Association
The National Rifle Association of America is an American non-profit 501 civil rights organization which advocates for the protection of the Second Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights and the promotion of firearm ownership rights as well as marksmanship, firearm safety, and the protection...

.

Governor of California, 1967–1975




California Republicans were impressed with Reagan's political views and charisma after his "Time for Choosing" speech, and nominated him for Governor of California
Governor of California
The Governor of California is the chief executive of the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual State of the State addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced...

 in 1966. In Reagan's campaign, he emphasized two main themes: "to send the welfare bums back to work," and, in reference to burgeoning anti-war and anti-establishment student protests
Free Speech Movement
The Free Speech Movement was a student protest which took place during the 1964–1965 academic year on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley under the informal leadership of students Mario Savio, Brian Turner, Bettina Aptheker, Steve Weissman, Art Goldberg, Jackie Goldberg, and...

 at the University of California at Berkeley, "to clean up the mess at Berkeley." He was elected, defeating two-term governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown
Pat Brown
Edmund Gerald "Pat" Brown, Sr. was the 32nd Governor of California, serving from 1959 to 1967, and the father of current Governor of California Jerry Brown.-Background:...

, and was sworn in on January 2, 1967. In his first term, he froze government hiring and approved tax hikes to balance the budget.

Shortly after the beginning of his term, Reagan tested the presidential waters in 1968
United States presidential election, 1968
The United States presidential election of 1968 was the 46th quadrennial United States presidential election. Coming four years after Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won in a historic landslide, it saw Johnson forced out of the race and Republican Richard Nixon elected...

 as part of a "Stop Nixon" movement, hoping to cut into Nixon's Southern support and be a compromise candidate if neither Nixon nor second-place Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was the 41st Vice President of the United States , serving under President Gerald Ford, and the 49th Governor of New York , as well as serving the Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower administrations in a variety of positions...

 received enough delegates to win on the first ballot at the Republican convention
1968 Republican National Convention
The 1968 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held in at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Dade County, Florida, from August 5 to August 8, 1968....

. However, by the time of the convention Nixon had 692 delegate votes, 25 more than he needed to secure the nomination, followed by Rockefeller with Reagan in third place.

Reagan was involved in high-profile conflicts with the protest movements of the era. On May 15, 1969, during the People's Park protests at UC Berkeley, Reagan sent the California Highway Patrol
California Highway Patrol
The California Highway Patrol is a law enforcement agency of the U.S. state of California. The CHP has patrol jurisdiction over all California highways and also acts as the state police....

 and other officers to quell the protests, in an incident that became known as "Bloody Thursday", resulting in the death of student James Rector and the blinding of carpenter Alan Blanchard. Reagan then called out 2,200 state National Guard
United States National Guard
The National Guard of the United States is a reserve military force composed of state National Guard militia members or units under federally recognized active or inactive armed force service for the United States. Militia members are citizen soldiers, meaning they work part time for the National...

 troops to occupy the city of Berkeley for two weeks in order to crack down on the protesters. A year after "Bloody Thursday", Reagan responded to questions about campus protest movements saying, "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with. No more appeasement." When the Symbionese Liberation Army
Symbionese Liberation Army
The Symbionese Liberation Army was an American self-styled left-wing urban militant group active between 1973 and 1975 that considered itself a revolutionary vanguard army...

 kidnapped Patty Hearst
Patty Hearst
Patricia Campbell Hearst , now known as Patricia Campbell Hearst Shaw, is an American newspaper heiress, socialite, actress, kidnap victim, and convicted bank robber....

 in Berkeley and demanded the distribution of food to the poor, Reagan joked, "It's just too bad we can't have an epidemic of botulism
Botulism
Botulism also known as botulinus intoxication is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by botulinum toxin which is metabolic waste produced under anaerobic conditions by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, and affecting a wide range of mammals, birds and fish...

."


Early in 1967, the national debate on abortion was beginning. Democratic California state senator Anthony Beilenson introduced the "Therapeutic Abortion Act," in an effort to reduce the number of "back-room abortions" performed in California. The State Legislature sent the bill to Reagan's desk where, after many days of indecision, he signed it. About two million abortions would be performed as a result, most because of a provision in the bill allowing abortions for the well-being of the mother. Reagan had been in office for only four months when he signed the bill, and stated that had he been more experienced as governor, it would not have been signed. After he recognized what he called the "consequences" of the bill, he announced that he was pro-life
Pro-life
Opposition to the legalization of abortion is centered around the pro-life, or anti-abortion, movement, a social and political movement opposing elective abortion on moral grounds and supporting its legal prohibition or restriction...

. He maintained that position later in his political career, writing extensively about abortion.

Despite an unsuccessful attempt to recall him in 1968, Reagan was re-elected in 1970, defeating "Big Daddy" Jesse Unruh. He chose not to seek a third term in the following election cycle. One of Reagan's greatest frustrations in office concerned capital punishment, which he strongly supported. His efforts to enforce the state's laws in this area were thwarted when the Supreme Court of California
Supreme Court of California
The Supreme Court of California is the highest state court in California. It is headquartered in San Francisco and regularly holds sessions in Los Angeles and Sacramento. Its decisions are binding on all other California state courts.-Composition:...

 issued its People v. Anderson
California v. Anderson
The People of the State of California v. Robert Page Anderson, 493 P.2d 880, 6 Cal. 3d 628 , was a landmark case in the state of California that outlawed the use of capital punishment...

decision, which invalidated all death sentences issued in California prior to 1972, though the decision was later overturned by a constitutional amendment. The only execution during Reagan's governorship was on April 12, 1967, when Aaron Mitchell's sentence was carried out by the state in San Quentin's gas chamber.

In 1969, Reagan, as Governor, signed the Family Law Act which was the first no fault divorce legislation in the United States.

Reagan's terms as governor helped to shape the policies he would pursue in his later political career as president. By campaigning on a platform of sending "the welfare bums back to work," he spoke out against the idea of the welfare state. He also strongly advocated the Republican ideal of less government regulation of the economy, including that of undue federal taxation.

Reagan did not seek re-election to a third term as governor in 1974 and was succeeded by Democratic California Secretary of State
California Secretary of State
The Secretary of State of California is the chief elections officer of that U.S. state. The Secretary of State is also responsible for the California State Archives, as well as chartering corporations. The Secretary of State is elected to four year terms, concurrent with the other constitutional...

 Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown
Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown, Jr. is an American politician. Brown served as the 34th Governor of California , and is currently serving as the 39th California Governor...

 on January 6, 1975.

1976 presidential campaign



In 1976, Reagan challenged incumbent President Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 in a bid to become the Republican Party's candidate for president. Reagan soon established himself as the conservative candidate with the support of like-minded organizations such as the American Conservative Union
American Conservative Union
The American Conservative Union is an American political organization advocating conservative policies, and is the oldest such conservative lobbying organization in the country.-Organization:...

 which became key components of his political base, while President Ford was considered a more moderate Republican.

Reagan's campaign relied on a strategy crafted by campaign manager John Sears of winning a few primaries early to damage the inevitability of Ford's likely nomination. Reagan won North Carolina, Texas, and California, but the strategy failed, as he ended up losing New Hampshire, Florida, and his native Illinois. The Texas campaign lent renewed hope to Reagan, when he swept all ninety-six delegates chosen in the May 1 primary, with four more awaiting at the state convention. Much of the credit for that victory came from the work of three co-chairmen, including Ernest Angelo
Ernest Angelo
Ernest Angelo, Jr., known as Ernie Angelo , is a Texas oilman and Republican politician who served from 1972–1980 as mayor of the West Texas city of Midland and was in 1976 the co-manager of the Ronald W...

, the mayor of Midland
Midland, Texas
Midland is a city in and the county seat of Midland County, Texas, United States, on the Southern Plains of the state's western area. A small portion of the city extends into Martin County. As of 2010, the population of Midland was 111,147. It is the principal city of the Midland, Texas...

, and Ray Barnhart
Ray Barnhart
Ray Anderson Barnhart is a retired businessman and Republican politician, formerly from Pasadena in Harris County, Texas.From 1981–1987, Barnhart was director of the Federal Highway Administration under U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan...

 of Houston, whom President Reagan tapped in 1981 as director of the Federal Highway Administration
Federal Highway Administration
The Federal Highway Administration is a division of the United States Department of Transportation that specializes in highway transportation. The agency's major activities are grouped into two "programs," the Federal-aid Highway Program and the Federal Lands Highway Program...

.

However, as the GOP convention
1976 Republican National Convention
The 1976 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States met at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri, from August 16 to August 19, 1976. The convention nominated incumbent Gerald Ford for President, but only after narrowly defeating a strong challenge from former California...

 neared, Ford appeared close to victory. Acknowledging his party's moderate wing, Reagan chose moderate Senator Richard Schweiker
Richard Schweiker
Richard Schultz Schweiker is a former U.S. Congressman and Senator representing the state of Pennsylvania. He later was Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Cabinet of President Ronald Reagan.-Early life:...

 of Pennsylvania as his running mate
Running mate
A running mate is a person running together with another person on a joint ticket during an election. The term is most often used in reference to the person in the subordinate position but can also properly be used when referring to both candidates, such as "Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen were...

 if nominated. Nonetheless, Ford prevailed with 1,187 delegates to Reagan's 1,070. Ford would go on to lose the 1976 Presidential election
United States presidential election, 1976
The United States presidential election of 1976 followed the resignation of President Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal. It pitted incumbent President Gerald Ford, the Republican candidate, against the relatively unknown former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, the Democratic...

 to the Democrat Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

.

Reagan's concession speech emphasized the dangers of nuclear war and the threat posed by the Soviet Union. Though he lost the nomination, he received 307 write-in votes in New Hampshire, 388 votes as an Independent on Wyoming's ballot, and a single electoral vote from a faithless elector
Faithless elector
In United States presidential elections, a faithless elector is a member of the Electoral College who does not vote for the candidate they have pledged to vote for...

 in the November election from the state of Washington, which Ford had won over Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

.

1980 presidential campaign





The 1980 presidential campaign between Reagan and incumbent President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 was conducted during domestic concerns and the ongoing Iran hostage crisis
Iran hostage crisis
The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran in support of the Iranian...

. His campaign stressed some of his fundamental principles: lower taxes to stimulate the economy, less government interference in people's lives, states' rights
States' rights
States' rights in U.S. politics refers to political powers reserved for the U.S. state governments rather than the federal government. It is often considered a loaded term because of its use in opposition to federally mandated racial desegregation...

, a strong national defense, and restoring the U.S. Dollar to a gold standard
Gold standard
The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed mass of gold. There are distinct kinds of gold standard...

.

Reagan launched his campaign by declaring "I believe in states' rights," in Philadelphia, Mississippi
Philadelphia, Mississippi
Philadelphia is a city in and the county seat of Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 7,303 at the 2000 census.- History :...

, known at the time for the murder of three civil rights workers who had been trying to register African-Americans to vote during the civil rights movement. After receiving the Republican nomination, Reagan selected one of his primary opponents, George H.W. Bush, to be his running mate. His showing in the October televised debate
United States presidential election debates
During presidential elections in the United States, it has become customary for the main candidates to engage in a debate...

 boosted his campaign. Reagan won the election, carrying 44 states with 489 electoral votes to 49 electoral votes for Carter (representing six states and Washington, D.C.). Reagan received 50.7% of the popular vote while Carter took 41%, and Independent John B. Anderson
John B. Anderson
John Bayard Anderson is a former United States Congressman and Presidential candidate from Illinois. He was a U.S. Representative from the 16th Congressional District of Illinois for ten terms from 1961 through 1981 and an Independent candidate in the 1980 presidential election. He was previously...

 (a liberal Republican) received 6.7%. Republicans captured the Senate
United States Senate elections, 1980
The 1980 U.S. Senate elections coincided with Ronald Reagan's election to the Presidency. Reagan's large margin of victory over incumbent Jimmy Carter pulled in many Democratic voters and gave a huge boost to Republican senate candidates....

 for the first time since 1952, and gained 34 House seats
United States House elections, 1980
The U.S. House election, 1980 was an election for the United States House of Representatives in 1980 which coincided with the election of Ronald Reagan as President. Reagan's victory also allowed many Republican House candidates to secure election, and the Republicans gained a net of 35 seats from...

, but the Democrats retained a majority.

During the presidential campaign, questions were raised by reporters on Reagan's stance on the Briggs Initiative, also known as Proposition 6, a ballot initiative in Reagan's home state of California where he was governor, which would have banned gays, lesbians, and supporters of LGBT rights from working in public schools in California. His opposition to the initiative was instrumental in its landslide defeat by Californian voters. Reagan published an editorial in which he stated "homosexuality is not a contagious disease like the measles..." and that prevailing scientific opinion was that a child's sexual orientation cannot be influenced by someone else.

Presidency, 1981–1989


During his Presidency, Reagan pursued policies that reflected his personal belief in individual freedom, brought changes domestically, both to the U.S. economy and expanded military, and contributed to the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. Termed the Reagan Revolution, his presidency would reinvigorate American morale and reduce the people's reliance upon government. As president, Reagan kept a series of diaries in which he commented on daily occurrences of his presidency and his views on the issues of the day. The diaries were published in May 2007 in the bestselling book, The Reagan Diaries
The Reagan Diaries
The Reagan Diaries is an edited version of diaries written by President Ronald Reagan while in the White House. The book is edited by Douglas Brinkley, while the full, unedited diaries were published in 2009...

.

First term, 1981–1985



To date, Reagan is the oldest man elected to the office of the presidency (at 69). In his first inaugural address on January 20, 1981, which Reagan himself wrote, he addressed the country's economic malaise arguing: "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem."

The Reagan Presidency began in a dramatic manner; as Reagan was giving his inaugural address, 52 U.S. hostages, held by Iran for 444 days
Iran hostage crisis
The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran in support of the Iranian...

 were set free.

Assassination attempt



On March 30, 1981, only 69 days into the new administration, Reagan, his press secretary James Brady
James Brady
James Scott "Jim" Brady is a former Assistant to the President and White House Press Secretary under U.S. President Ronald Reagan...

, Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty, and Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy were struck by gunfire from would-be assassin John Hinckley, Jr.
John Hinckley, Jr.
John Warnock Hinckley, Jr., attempted to assassinate U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C., on March 30, 1981, as the culmination of an effort to impress teen actress Jodie Foster. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and has remained under institutional psychiatric care since...

 outside the Washington Hilton Hotel
Hilton Washington
The Hilton Washington is a hotel in Washington, D.C. It is located at 1919 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., roughly at the boundaries of the Kalorama, Dupont Circle, and Adams Morgan neighborhoods.Developed by Uris Brothers and built in 1965 in a double-arched design, the hotel long sported the largest...

. Although "close to death" during surgery, Reagan recovered and was released from the hospital on April 11, becoming the first serving U.S. President to survive being shot in an assassination attempt. The attempt had great influence on Reagan's popularity; polls indicated his approval rating to be around 73%. Reagan believed that God had spared his life so that he might go on to fulfill a greater purpose.

Establishing full U.S. diplomatic relations with the Vatican


Within months of President Reagan's inaugural in 1981, one of the first steps taken by Reagan was to successfully repeal an 1868 federal law which prohibited the expenditure of funds for a U.S. Embassy to the Vatican. He announced on January 10, 1984 that full diplomatic relations between the United States and the Vatican had been established. He did this despite opposition from the office of the Secretary of State.

Air traffic controllers' strike


In summer 1981 PATCO, the union of federal air traffic controllers went on strike, violating a federal law prohibiting government unions from striking. Declaring the situation an emergency as described in the 1947 Taft Hartley Act, Reagan stated that if the air traffic controllers "do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated." They did not return and on August 5, Reagan fired 11,345 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored his order, and used supervisors and military controllers to handle the nation's commercial air traffic until new controllers could be hired and trained. As a leading reference work on public administration concluded, "The firing of PATCO employees not only demonstrated a clear resolve by the president to take control of the bureaucracy, but it also sent a clear message to the private sector that unions no longer needed to be feared."

"Reaganomics" and the economy



During Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

's last year in office (1980), inflation averaged 12.5%, compared to 4.4% during Reagan's last year in office (1988). During Reagan's administration, the unemployment rate declined from 7.1% to 5.5%, with the average annual rate hitting highs of 9.7% in 1982 and 9.6% in 1983, averaging 7.5% over the eight years.

Reagan implemented policies based on supply-side economics
Supply-side economics
Supply-side economics is a school of macroeconomic thought that argues that economic growth can be most effectively created by lowering barriers for people to produce goods and services, such as lowering income tax and capital gains tax rates, and by allowing greater flexibility by reducing...

 and advocated a classical liberal
Classical liberalism
Classical liberalism is the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets....

 and laissez-faire
Laissez-faire
In economics, laissez-faire describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies....

philosophy, seeking to stimulate the economy with large, across-the-board tax cuts. He also supported returning the U.S. to some sort of gold standard
Gold standard
The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed mass of gold. There are distinct kinds of gold standard...

, and successfully urged Congress to establish the U.S. Gold Commission to study how one could be implemented. Citing the economic theories of Arthur Laffer
Arthur Laffer
Arthur Betz Laffer is an American economist who first gained prominence during the Reagan administration as a member of Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board . Laffer is best known for the Laffer curve, an illustration of the theory that there exists some tax rate between 0% and 100% that will...

, Reagan promoted the proposed tax cuts as potentially stimulating the economy enough to expand the tax base, offsetting the revenue loss due to reduced rates of taxation, a theory that entered political discussion as the Laffer curve
Laffer curve
In economics, the Laffer curve is a theoretical representation of the relationship between government revenue raised by taxation and all possible rates of taxation. It is used to illustrate the concept of taxable income elasticity . The curve is constructed by thought experiment...

. Reaganomics was the subject of debate with supporters pointing to improvements in certain key economic indicators as evidence of success, and critics pointing to large increases in federal budget deficits and the national debt. His policy of "peace through strength
Peace through strength
"Peace through strength" is a conservative slogan supporting military strength for the purpose of creating peaceful international relations.For supporters of the MX missile in the 1970s, the missile symbolized "peace through strength." The phrase was popular in political rallies during 1988...

" (also described as "firm but fair") resulted in a record peacetime defense buildup including a 40% real increase in defense spending between 1981 and 1985.

During Reagan's presidency, federal income tax rates were lowered significantly with the signing of the bipartisan Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 which lowered the top marginal tax bracket from 70% to 50% and the lowest bracket from 14% to 11%, however other tax increases signed by Reagan ensured that tax revenues over his two terms were 18.2% of GDP as compared to 18.1% over the past 40 years. Then, in 1982 the Job Training Partnership Act of 1982
Job Training Partnership Act of 1982
The Job Training Partnership Act of 1982 was a United States federal law passed October 13, 1982, by the United States Department of Labor during the Reagan administration. The law was the successor to the previous federal job training legisltion, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act...

 was signed into law, initiating one of the nation's first public/private partnerships and a major part of the president's job creation program. Reagan's Assistant Secretary of Labor and Chief of Staff, Al Angrisani
Al Angrisani
Albert Angrisani, also known as Al Angrisani is the former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Labor and Chief of Staff under President Ronald Reagan, as well as an author and business media personality...

, was a primary architect of the bill. The Tax Reform Act of 1986
Tax Reform Act of 1986
The U.S. Congress passed the Tax Reform Act of 1986 to simplify the income tax code, broaden the tax base and eliminate many tax shelters and other preferences...

, another bipartisan effort championed by Reagan, reduced the top rate further to 28% while raising the bottom bracket from 11% to 15% and reducing the quantity of brackets to 4. Conversely, Congress passed and Reagan signed into law tax increases of some nature in every year from 1981 to 1987 to continue funding such government programs as TEFRA, Social Security, and the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984. Despite the fact that TEFRA was the "largest peacetime tax increase in American history," Reagan is better known for his tax cuts and lower-taxes philosophy. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth recovered strongly after the early 1980s recession
Early 1980s recession
The early 1980s recession describes the severe global economic recession affecting much of the developed world in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The United States and Japan exited recession relatively early, but high unemployment would continue to affect other OECD nations through at least 1985...

 ended in 1982, and grew during his eight years in office at an annual rate of 3.85% per year. Unemployment peaked at 10.8% monthly rate in December 1982—higher than any time since the Great Depression—then dropped during the rest of Reagan's presidency. Sixteen million new jobs were created, while inflation significantly decreased. The net effect of all Reagan-era tax bills was a 1% decrease in government revenues when compared to Treasury Department revenue estimates from the Administration's first post-enactment January budgets. However, federal Income Tax receipts increased from 1980 to 1989, rising from $308.7Bn to $549.0Bn.

During the Reagan Administration, federal receipts grew at an average rate of 8.2% (2.5% attributed to higher Social Security receipts), and federal outlays grew at an annual rate of 7.1%. Reagan also revised the tax code
Tax code
In the UK, every person paid under the PAYE scheme is allocated a tax code by HM Revenue and Customs. This is usually in the form of a number followed by a letter suffix, though other 'non-standard' codes are also used. This code describes to employers how much tax to deduct from an employee. The...

 with the bipartisan Tax Reform Act of 1986
Tax Reform Act of 1986
The U.S. Congress passed the Tax Reform Act of 1986 to simplify the income tax code, broaden the tax base and eliminate many tax shelters and other preferences...

.
Reagan's policies proposed that economic growth would occur when marginal tax rates were low enough to spur investment, which would then lead to increased economic growth, higher employment and wages. Critics labeled this "trickle-down economics
Trickle-down economics
"Trickle-down economics" and "the trickle-down theory" are terms used in United States politics to refer to the idea that tax breaks or other economic benefits provided by government to businesses and the wealthy will benefit poorer members of society by improving the economy as a whole...

"—the belief that tax policies that benefit the wealthy will create a "trickle-down" effect to the poor. Questions arose whether Reagan's policies benefited the wealthy more than those living in poverty, and many poor and minority citizens viewed Reagan as indifferent to their struggles. These views were exacerbated by the fact that Reagan's economic regimen included freezing the minimum wage
Minimum wage in the United States
, the federal minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour. Some states and municipalities have set minimum wages higher than the federal level , with the highest state minimum wage being $8.67 in Washington. Some U.S. territories are exempt...

 at $3.35 an hour, slashing federal assistance to local governments by 60 percent, cutting the budget for public housing
Public housing in the United States
Public housing in the United States has been administered by federal, state and local agencies to provide subsidized assistance for low-income and people living in poverty. Now increasingly provided in a variety of settings and formats, originally public housing in the U.S...

 and Section 8 rent subsidies
Section 8 (housing)
Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 , as repeatedly amended, authorizes the payment of rental housing assistance to private landlords on behalf of approximately 3.1 million low-income households...

 in half, and eliminating the antipoverty Community Development Block Grant
Community Development Block Grant
The Community Development Block Grant , one of the longest-running programs of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, funds local community development activities such as affordable housing, anti-poverty programs, and infrastructure development...

 program.

Further following his less-government intervention views, Reagan cut the budgets of non-military programs including Medicaid
Medicaid
Medicaid is the United States health program for certain people and families with low incomes and resources. It is a means-tested program that is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and is managed by the states. People served by Medicaid are U.S. citizens or legal permanent...

, food stamps, federal education programs and the EPA
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

. While he protected entitlement programs, such as Social Security
Social Security (United States)
In the United States, Social Security refers to the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program.The original Social Security Act and the current version of the Act, as amended encompass several social welfare and social insurance programs...

 and Medicare
Medicare (United States)
Medicare is a social insurance program administered by the United States government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are aged 65 and over; to those who are under 65 and are permanently physically disabled or who have a congenital physical disability; or to those who meet other...

, his administration attempted to purge many people with disabilities from the Social Security disability rolls.

The administration's stance toward the Savings and Loan industry contributed to the Savings and loan crisis
Savings and Loan crisis
The savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and 1990s was the failure of about 747 out of the 3,234 savings and loan associations in the United States...

. It is also suggested, by a minority of Reaganomics critics, that the policies partially influenced the stock market crash of 1987
Black Monday (1987)
In finance, Black Monday refers to Monday October 19, 1987, when stock markets around the world crashed, shedding a huge value in a very short time. The crash began in Hong Kong and spread west to Europe, hitting the United States after other markets had already declined by a significant margin...

, but there is no consensus regarding a single source for the crash. In order to cover newly spawned federal budget deficits, the United States borrowed heavily both domestically and abroad, raising the national debt from $997 billion to $2.85 trillion. Reagan described the new debt as the "greatest disappointment" of his presidency.

He reappointed Paul Volcker
Paul Volcker
Paul Adolph Volcker, Jr. is an American economist. He was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve under United States Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan from August 1979 to August 1987. He is widely credited with ending the high levels of inflation seen in the United States in the 1970s and...

 as Chairman of the Federal Reserve
Chairman of the Federal Reserve
The Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is the head of the central banking system of the United States. Known colloquially as "Chairman of the Fed," or in market circles "Fed Chairman" or "Fed Chief"...

, and in 1987 he appointed monetarist Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan is an American economist who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006. He currently works as a private advisor and provides consulting for firms through his company, Greenspan Associates LLC...

 to succeed him. Reagan ended the price controls
Price controls
Price controls are governmental impositions on the prices charged for goods and services in a market, usually intended to maintain the affordability of staple foods and goods, and to prevent price gouging during shortages, or, alternatively, to insure an income for providers of certain goods...

 on domestic oil which had contributed to energy crises in the early 1970s. The price of oil subsequently dropped, and the 1980s did not see the fuel shortages that the 1970s had. Reagan also fulfilled a 1980 campaign promise to repeal the Windfall profit tax in 1988, which had previously increased dependence on foreign oil. Some economists, such as Nobel Prize winners Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades...

 and Robert A. Mundell, argue that Reagan's tax policies invigorated America's economy and contributed to the economic boom of the 1990s. Other economists, such as Nobel Prize winner Robert Solow
Robert Solow
Robert Merton Solow is an American economist particularly known for his work on the theory of economic growth that culminated in the exogenous growth model named after him...

, argue that the deficits were a major reason why Reagan's successor, George H. W. Bush, reneged on a campaign promise
Read my lips: no new taxes
"Read my lips: no new taxes" is a now-famous phrase spoken by then presidential candidate George H. W. Bush at the 1988 Republican National Convention as he accepted the nomination on August 18. Written by speechwriter Peggy Noonan, the line was the most prominent sound bite from the speech...

 and raised taxes.

During Reagan's presidency, a program was initiated within the US intelligence community to ensure America's economic strength. The program, Project Socrates
Project Socrates
Project Socrates was a US Defense Intelligence Agency program established in 1983 within the Reagan administration. This classified program, founded and directed by physicist Michael Sekora, was designed for the purpose of identifying the root cause of the United States' declining ability to...

, developed and demonstrated the means required for the US to generate and lead the next evolutionary leap in technology acquisition and utilization for a competitive advantage—automated innovation. To ensure that the US acquired the maximum benefit from automated innovation, President Reagan, during his second term, had an executive order drafted to create a new Federal agency to implement the Project Socrates results on a nation-wide basis. However, President Reagan's term came to end before the executive order could be coordinated and signed, and the incoming Bush administration, labeling Project Socrates as "industrial policy", had it terminated.

Lebanon and Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada), 1983



American peacekeeping forces in Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

, a part of a multinational force
Multinational Force in Lebanon
The Multinational Force in Lebanon was an international peacekeeping force created in 1982 and sent to Lebanon to oversee the withdrawal of the Palestine Liberation Organization...

 during the Lebanese Civil War
Lebanese Civil War
The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus of...

 who had been earlier deployed by Reagan, were attacked on October 23, 1983. The Beirut barracks bombing
1983 Beirut barracks bombing
The Beirut Barracks Bombing occurred during the Lebanese Civil War, when two truck bombs struck separate buildings housing United States and French military forces—members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon—killing 299 American and French servicemen...

 resulted in the deaths of 241 American servicemen and the wounding of more than 60 others by a suicide truck bomber. Reagan sent a White House team to the site four days later, led by his Vice President, George H.W. Bush. Reagan called the attack "despicable," pledged to keep a military force in Lebanon, and planned to target the Sheik Abdullah barracks in Baalbek
Baalbek
Baalbek is a town in the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon, altitude , situated east of the Litani River. It is famous for its exquisitely detailed yet monumentally scaled temple ruins of the Roman period, when Baalbek, then known as Heliopolis, was one of the largest sanctuaries in the Empire...

, Lebanon, training ground for Hezbollah fighters, but the mission was later aborted. On February 7, 1984, President Reagan ordered the Marines to begin withdrawal from Lebanon. In April 1984, as his keynote address to the 20,000 attendees of the Rev. Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell
Jerry Lamon Falwell, Sr. was an evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and a conservative commentator from the United States. He was the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia...

's "Baptist Fundamentalism '84" convention in Washington, D.C., he read a first hand account of the bombing, written by Navy Chaplain (Rabbi) Arnold Resnicoff
Arnold Resnicoff
Arnold E. Resnicoff is an American Conservative rabbi, a decorated retired military officer and military chaplain, and a consultant on leadership, values, and interreligious affairs to military and civilian leaders...

, who had been asked to write the report by Bush and his team. Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 would later cite Reagan's withdrawal of forces as a sign of American weakness.

On October 25, 1983, only two days later, Reagan ordered U.S. forces to invade Grenada, code named Operation Urgent Fury, where a 1979 coup d'état had established an independent non-aligned
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

 Marxist-Leninist
Marxism-Leninism
Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology, officially based upon the theories of Marxism and Vladimir Lenin, that promotes the development and creation of a international communist society through the leadership of a vanguard party over a revolutionary socialist state that represents a dictatorship...

 government. A formal appeal from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) led to the intervention of U.S. forces; President Reagan also cited an allegedly regional threat posed by a Soviet-Cuban military build-up in the Caribbean and concern for the safety of several hundred American medical students at St. George's University as adequate reasons to invade. Operation Urgent Fury was the first major military operation conducted by U.S. forces since the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, several days of fighting commenced, resulting in a U.S. victory, with 19 American fatalities and 116 wounded American soldiers. In mid-December, after a new government was appointed by the Governor-General, U.S. forces withdrew.

Escalation of the Cold War



Reagan escalated the Cold War, accelerating a reversal from the policy of détente
Détente
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War...

 which began in 1979 following the Soviet war in Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

. Reagan ordered a massive buildup of the United States Armed Forces
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 and implemented new policies towards the Soviet Union: reviving the B-1 Lancer
B-1 Lancer
The Rockwell B-1 LancerThe name "Lancer" is only applied to the B-1B version, after the program was revived. is a four-engine variable-sweep wing strategic bomber used by the United States Air Force...

 program that had been canceled by the Carter administration, and producing the MX missile. In response to Soviet deployment of the SS-20, Reagan oversaw NATO's deployment of the Pershing missile
Pershing missile
Pershing was a family of solid-fueled two-stage medium-range ballistic missiles designed and built by Martin Marietta to replace the PGM-11 Redstone missile as the United States Army's primary nuclear-capable theater-level weapon. The Pershing systems lasted over 30 years from the first test...

 in West Germany.
Together with the United Kingdom's prime minister Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

, Reagan denounced the Soviet Union in ideological terms. In a famous address on June 8, 1982 to the British Parliament in the Royal Gallery of the Palace of Westminster
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons...

, Reagan said, "the forward march of freedom and democracy will leave Marxism-Leninism
Marxism-Leninism
Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology, officially based upon the theories of Marxism and Vladimir Lenin, that promotes the development and creation of a international communist society through the leadership of a vanguard party over a revolutionary socialist state that represents a dictatorship...

 on the ash-heap of history." On March 3, 1983, he predicted that communism would collapse, stating, "Communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written." In a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals
National Association of Evangelicals
The National Association of Evangelicals is a fellowship of member denominations, churches, organizations, and individuals. Its goal is to honor God by connecting and representing evangelicals in the United States. Today it works in four main areas: Church & Faith Partners, Government Relations,...

 on March 8, 1983, Reagan called the Soviet Union "an evil empire
Evil empire
The phrase evil empire was applied to the Soviet Union especially by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who took an aggressive, hard-line stance that favored matching and exceeding the Soviet Union's strategic and global military capabilities, in calling for a rollback strategy that would, in his words,...

".

After Soviet fighters downed Korean Air Lines Flight 007 near Moneron Island
Moneron Island
Moneron Island, is a Russian possession located off Sakhalin Island.-Description:Moneron has an area of about and a highest point of . It is approximately long by wide, and is located from Sakhalin's port of Nevelsk and about directly southwest of Sakhalin Island itself at the northeastern...

 on September 1, 1983, carrying 269 people, including Georgia congressman Larry McDonald
Larry McDonald
Lawrence Patton McDonald, M.D. was an American politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the seventh congressional district of Georgia as a Democrat...

, Reagan labeled the act a "massacre" and declared that the Soviets had turned "against the world and the moral precepts which guide human relations among people everywhere". The Reagan administration responded to the incident by suspending all Soviet passenger air service to the United States, and dropped several agreements being negotiated with the Soviets, wounding them financially. As result of the shootdown, and the cause of KAL 007's going astray thought to be inadequacies related to its navigational system, Reagan announced on September 16, 1983 that the Global Positioning System
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

 would be made available for civilian use, free of charge, once completed in order to avert similar navigational errors in future.

Under a policy that came to be known as the Reagan Doctrine
Reagan Doctrine
The Reagan Doctrine was a strategy orchestrated and implemented by the United States under the Reagan Administration to oppose the global influence of the Soviet Union during the final years of the Cold War...

, Reagan and his administration also provided overt and covert aid
Covert U.S. regime change actions
The United States government has been involved in and assisted in the overthrow of foreign governments without the overt use of U.S. military force. Often, such operations are tasked to the Central Intelligence Agency . Many of the governments targeted by the U.S...

 to anti-communist resistance movements
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 in an effort to "rollback
Rollback
In political science, rollback is the strategy of forcing change in the major policies of a state, usually by replacing its ruling regime. It contrasts with containment, which means preventing the expansion of that state; and with détente, which means a working relationship with that state...

" Soviet-backed communist governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Reagan deployed the CIA's Special Activities Division
Special Activities Division
The Special Activities Division is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency's National Clandestine Service responsible for covert operations known as "special activities"...

 to Afghanistan and Pakistan. They were instrumental in training, equipping and leading Mujaheddin forces against the Soviet Army
Soviet Army
The Soviet Army is the name given to the main part of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1992. Previously, it had been known as the Red Army. Informally, Армия referred to all the MOD armed forces, except, in some cases, the Soviet Navy.This article covers the Soviet Ground...

. President Reagan's Covert Action program has been given credit for assisting in ending the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, though the US funded armaments introduced then would later pose a threat to US troops in the 2000s war in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

. However, in a break from the Carter policy of arming Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act
Taiwan Relations Act
The Taiwan Relations Act is an act of the United States Congress passed in 1979 after the establishment of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China and the breaking of relations between the United States and the Republic of China on the island of Taiwan by President Jimmy Carter...

. Reagan also agreed with the communist government in China to reduce the sale of arms to Taiwan
Three Communiques
The Three Communiqué or The Three Joint Communiqués are a collection of three joint statements made by the governments of the United States and the People's Republic of China. The communiqué played a crucial role in the normalization of relations between the U.S. and the P.R.C...

.

In March 1983, Reagan introduced the Strategic Defense Initiative
Strategic Defense Initiative
The Strategic Defense Initiative was proposed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983 to use ground and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. The initiative focused on strategic defense rather than the prior strategic...

, a defense project that would have used ground and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. Reagan believed that this defense shield could make nuclear war impossible, but disbelief that the technology could ever work led opponents to dub SDI "Star Wars" and argue that the technological objective was unattainable. The Soviets became concerned about the possible effects SDI would have; leader Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

 said it would put "the entire world in jeopardy". For those reasons, David Gergen
David Gergen
David Richmond Gergen is an American political consultant and former presidential advisor who served during the administrations of Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton. He is currently Director of the Center for Public Leadership and a professor of public service at Harvard Kennedy School. Gergen is...

, former aide to President Reagan, believes that in retrospect, SDI hastened the end of the Cold War.

Critics labeled Reagan's foreign policies as aggressive, imperialistic, and chided them as "warmongering," though they were supported by leading American conservatives who argued that they were necessary to protect U.S. security interests. A reformer, Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

, would later rise to power in the Soviet Union in 1985, implementing new policies for openness and reform that were called glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

and perestroika
Perestroika
Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev...

.

1984 presidential campaign



Reagan accepted the Republican nomination in Dallas, Texas, on a wave of positive feeling. He proclaimed that it was "morning again in America
Morning in America
"Morning in America" is the common name of an effective political campaign television commercial formally titled "Prouder, Stronger, Better" and featuring the opening line "It's morning again in America." The ad was part of the 1984 U.S. presidential campaign of Republican Party candidate Ronald...

," regarding the recovering economy and the dominating performance by the U.S. athletes at the 1984 Summer Olympics
1984 Summer Olympics
The 1984 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held in Los Angeles, California, United States in 1984...

, among other things. He became the first American president to open an Olympic Games held in the United States.

Reagan's opponent in the 1984 presidential election was former Vice President Walter Mondale
Walter Mondale
Walter Frederick "Fritz" Mondale is an American Democratic Party politician, who served as the 42nd Vice President of the United States , under President Jimmy Carter, and as a United States Senator for Minnesota...

. With questions about Reagan's age, and a weak performance in the first presidential debate, his ability to perform the duties of president for another term was questioned. His apparent confused and forgetful behavior was evident to his supporters; they had previously known him clever and witty. Rumors began to circulate that he had Alzheimer's disease. Reagan rebounded in the second debate, and confronted questions about his age, quipping, "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience," which generated applause and laughter, even from Mondale himself.

That November, Reagan was re-elected, winning 49 of 50 states. The president's overwhelming victory saw Mondale carry only his home state of Minnesota (by 3800 votes) and the District of Columbia. Reagan won a record 525 electoral votes, the most of any candidate in United States history, and received 58.8% of the popular vote to Mondale's 40.6%.

Second term, 1985–1989


Reagan was sworn in as president for the second time on January 20, 1985, in a private ceremony at the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

. Because January 20 fell on a Sunday, a public celebration was not held but took place in the Capitol Rotunda the following day. January 21 was one of the coldest days on record
January 1985 Arctic outbreak
The 1985 Arctic outbreak was a meteorological event, the result of the shifting of the polar vortex further south than is normally seen. Blocked from its normal movement, polar air from the north pushed into nearly every section of the eastern half of the United States and Canada, shattering record...

 in Washington, D.C.; due to poor weather, inaugural celebrations were held inside the Capitol.

In the summer of 1982, several conservative activists, including Howard Phillips of The Conservative Caucus
The Conservative Caucus
The Conservative Caucus, or TCC, is an American public policy organization and lobbying group emphasizing grassroots citizen activism and headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1974 by Howard Phillips, who continues to lead it today...

 and Clymer Wright
Clymer Wright
Clymer Lewis Wright. Jr. , was a Texas conservative political activist and a crusading journalist later credited with bringing term limits to Houston municipal government and encouraging Ronald W...

 of Houston, Texas, had urged Reagan to remove his White House chief of staff
White House Chief of Staff
The White House Chief of Staff is the highest ranking member of the Executive Office of the President of the United States and a senior aide to the President.The current White House Chief of Staff is Bill Daley.-History:...

 James Baker
James Baker
James Addison Baker, III is an American attorney, politician and political advisor.Baker served as the Chief of Staff in President Ronald Reagan's first administration and in the final year of the administration of President George H. W. Bush...

, also of Houston, on grounds that Baker, a political intimate of George H. W. Bush, was undercutting conservative initiatives in the administration. Not only did Reagan reject the Wright-Phillips request, but in 1985, after his reelection, he named Baker as United States Secretary of the Treasury
United States Secretary of the Treasury
The Secretary of the Treasury of the United States is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, which is concerned with financial and monetary matters, and, until 2003, also with some issues of national security and defense. This position in the Federal Government of the United...

, at Baker's request in a job-swap with then Secretary Donald T. Regan, a former Merrill Lynch
Merrill Lynch
Merrill Lynch is the wealth management division of Bank of America. With over 15,000 financial advisors and $2.2 trillion in client assets it is the world's largest brokerage. Formerly known as Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., prior to 2009 the firm was publicly owned and traded on the New York...

 officer who became chief of staff. Reagan also rebuked Wright and Phillips for having waged a "campaign of sabotage" against Baker.

In 1985, Reagan visited a German military cemetery in Bitburg
Bitburg
Bitburg It is situated approx. 25 km north-west of Trier, and 50 km north-east of Luxembourg . One American airbase, Spangdahlem Air Base, is located nearby.-History:...

 to lay a wreath with West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Helmut Kohl
Helmut Josef Michael Kohl is a German conservative politician and statesman. He was Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 and the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union from 1973 to 1998...

. It was determined that the cemetery held the graves of forty-nine members of the Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
The Waffen-SS was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. It constituted the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside...

. Reagan issued a statement that called the Nazi soldiers buried in that cemetery as themselves "victims," a designation which ignited a stir over whether Reagan had equated the SS men to victims of the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

; Patrick J. Buchanan, Reagan's Director of Communications, argued that the president did not equate the SS members with the actual Holocaust. Now strongly urged to cancel the visit, the president responded that it would be wrong to back down on a promise he had made to Chancellor Kohl. He ultimately attended the ceremony where two military generals laid a wreath.

The disintegration of the Space Shuttle Challenger
Space Shuttle Challenger
Space Shuttle Challenger was NASA's second Space Shuttle orbiter to be put into service, Columbia having been the first. The shuttle was built by Rockwell International's Space Transportation Systems Division in Downey, California...

 on January 28, 1986 proved a pivotal moment in Reagan's presidency. All seven astronaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

s aboard were killed. On the night of the disaster, Reagan delivered a speech written by Peggy Noonan
Peggy Noonan
Peggy Noonan is an American author of seven books on politics, religion, and culture and a weekly columnist for The Wall Street Journal...

 in which he said (quoting the first and last lines of John Gillespie Magee's 1941 poem High Flight):

War on Drugs



Midway into his second term, Reagan declared more militant policies in the War on Drugs. He said that "drugs were menacing our society" and promised to fight for drug-free schools and workplaces, expanded drug treatment, stronger law enforcement and drug interdiction efforts, and greater public awareness.

In 1986, Reagan signed a drug enforcement bill that budgeted $1.7 billion to fund the War on Drugs and specified a mandatory minimum penalty for drug offenses. The bill was criticized for promoting significant racial disparities in the prison population and critics also charged that the policies did little to reduce the availability of drugs on the street, while resulting in a great financial burden for America. Defenders of the effort point to success in reducing rates of adolescent drug use. First Lady
First Lady of the United States
First Lady of the United States is the title of the hostess of the White House. Because this position is traditionally filled by the wife of the president of the United States, the title is most often applied to the wife of a sitting president. The current first lady is Michelle Obama.-Current:The...

 Nancy Reagan
Nancy Reagan
Nancy Davis Reagan is the widow of former United States President Ronald Reagan and was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989....

 made the War on Drugs her main priority by founding the "Just Say No
Just Say No
"Just Say No" was an advertising campaign, part of the U.S. "War on Drugs", prevalent during the 1980s and early 1990s, to discourage children from engaging in recreational drug use by offering various ways of saying no. Eventually, this also expanded the realm of "Just Say No" to violence and...

" drug awareness campaign, which aimed to discourage children and teenagers from engaging in recreational drug use
Recreational drug use
Recreational drug use is the use of a drug, usually psychoactive, with the intention of creating or enhancing recreational experience. Such use is controversial, however, often being considered to be also drug abuse, and it is often illegal...

 by offering various ways of saying "no". Mrs. Reagan traveled to 65 cities in 33 states, raising awareness about the dangers of drugs including alcohol.

Libya bombing



Relations between Libya and the U.S. under President Reagan were continually contentious, beginning with the Gulf of Sidra incident
Gulf of Sidra incident (1981)
In the first Gulf of Sidra incident, 19 August 1981, two Libyan Su-22 Fitter attack aircraft were shot down by two American F-14 Tomcats off of the Libyan coast.-Background:...

 in 1981; by 1982, Gaddafi was considered by the CIA to be, along with USSR leader Leonid Brezhnev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, part of a group known as the "unholy trinity" and was also labeled as "our international public enemy number one" by a CIA official. These tensions were later revived in early April 1986, when a bomb exploded in a Berlin discothèque, resulting in the injury of 63 American military personnel and death of one serviceman. Stating that there was "irrefutable proof" that Libya had directed the "terrorist bombing", Reagan authorized the use of force against the country. In the late evening of April 15, 1986, the U.S. launched a series of air strikes on ground targets in Libya. The UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 allowed the US Air Force to use Britain's air bases to launch the attack, on the justification that the UK was supporting America's right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The attack was designed to halt Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

's "ability to export terrorism", offering him "incentives and reasons to alter his criminal behavior". The president addressed the nation from the Oval Office
Oval Office
The Oval Office, located in the West Wing of the White House, is the official office of the President of the United States.The room features three large south-facing windows behind the president's desk, and a fireplace at the north end...

 after the attacks had commenced, stating, "When our citizens are attacked or abused anywhere in the world on the direct orders of hostile regimes, we will respond so long as I'm in this office." As early as 1981, Reagan had referred to Gaddafi as "the mad dog of the Middle East" and considered him to be public enemy number one.

Immigration


Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act
Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
The Immigration Reform and Control Act , , also Simpson-Mazzoli Act, is an Act of Congress which reformed United States immigration law.In brief the act:* required employers to attest to their employees' immigration status....

 in 1986. The act made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit illegal immigrants, required employers to attest to their employees' immigration status, and granted amnesty
Amnesty
Amnesty is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people, without changing the laws defining the offense. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the...

 to approximately 3 million illegal immigrants who entered the United States prior to January 1, 1982, and had lived in the country continuously. Critics argue that the employer sanctions were without teeth and failed to stem illegal immigration. Upon signing the act at a ceremony held beside the newly refurbished Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886...

, Reagan said, "The legalization provisions in this act will go far to improve the lives of a class of individuals who now must hide in the shadows, without access to many of the benefits of a free and open society. Very soon many of these men and women will be able to step into the sunlight and, ultimately, if they choose, they may become Americans." Reagan also said, "The employer sanctions program is the keystone and major element. It will remove the incentive for illegal immigration by eliminating the job opportunities which draw illegal aliens here."

Iran-Contra affair


In 1986, a scandal shook the administration stemming from the use of proceeds from covert arms sales to Iran to fund the Contras
Contras
The contras is a label given to the various rebel groups opposing Nicaragua's FSLN Sandinista Junta of National Reconstruction government following the July 1979 overthrow of Anastasio Somoza Debayle's dictatorship...

 in Nicaragua, which had been specifically outlawed by an act of Congress. The Iran-Contra affair
Iran-Contra Affair
The Iran–Contra affair , also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or Iran-Contra-Gate, was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior Reagan administration officials and President Reagan secretly facilitated the sale of...

 became the largest political scandal in the United States during the 1980s. The International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

, whose jurisdiction to decide the case was disputed, ruled that the U.S. had violated international law in Nicaragua due to its obligations not to intervene in the affairs of other states.

President Reagan professed ignorance of the plot's existence. He appointed two Republicans and one Democrat (John Tower
John Tower
John Goodwin Tower was the first Republican United States senator from Texas since Reconstruction. He served from 1961 until his retirement in January 1985, after which time he was the chairman of the Reagan-appointed Tower Commission that investigated the Iran-Contra Affair. He was George H. W...

, Brent Scowcroft
Brent Scowcroft
Brent Scowcroft, KBE was the United States National Security Advisor under Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush and a Lieutenant General in the United States Air Force. He also served as Military Assistant to President Richard Nixon and as Deputy Assistant to the President for National...

 and Edmund Muskie
Edmund Muskie
Edmund Sixtus "Ed" Muskie was an American politician from Rumford, Maine. He served as Governor of Maine from 1955 to 1959, as a member of the United States Senate from 1959 to 1980, and as Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter from 1980 to 1981...

, known as the "Tower Commission") to investigate the scandal. The commission could not find direct evidence that Reagan had prior knowledge of the program, but criticized him heavily for his disengagement from managing his staff, making the diversion of funds possible. A separate report by Congress concluded that "If the president did not know what his national security advisers were doing, he should have." Reagan's popularity declined from 67 percent to 46 percent in less than a week, the greatest and quickest decline ever for a president. The scandal resulted in fourteen indictments within Reagan's staff, and eleven convictions.

Many Central Americans criticize Reagan for his support of the Contras, calling him an anti-communist zealot, blinded to human rights abuses, while others say he "saved Central America". Daniel Ortega
Daniel Ortega
José Daniel Ortega Saavedra is a Nicaraguan politician and revolutionary, currently serving as the 83rd President of Nicaragua, a position that he has held since 2007. He previously served as the 79th President, between 1985 and 1990, and for much of his life, has been a leader in the Sandinista...

, Sandinistan
Sandinista National Liberation Front
The Sandinista National Liberation Front is a socialist political party in Nicaragua. Its members are called Sandinistas in both English and Spanish...

 and current president of Nicaragua, said that he hoped God would forgive Reagan for his "dirty war against Nicaragua". In 1986 the USA was found guilty by the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 (World Court) of war crimes against Nicaragua.

End of the Cold War




By the early 1980s, the USSR had built up a military arsenal and army surpassing that of the United States. Previously, the U.S. had relied on the qualitative superiority of its weapons to essentially frighten the Soviets, but the gap had been narrowed. After President Reagan's military buildup, the Soviet Union did not further dramatically build up its military; the enormous military expenses, in combination with collectivized agriculture and inefficient planned manufacturing
Planned economy
A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

, were a heavy burden for the Soviet economy
Economy of the Soviet Union
The economy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was based on a system of state ownership of the means of production, collective farming, industrial manufacturing and centralized administrative planning...

. At the same time, the Reagan Administration persuaded Saudi Arabia to increase oil production, which resulted in a drop of oil prices in 1985 to one-third of the previous level; oil was the main source of Soviet export revenues. These factors gradually brought the Soviet economy to a stagnant state during Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

's tenure.

Reagan recognized the change in the direction of the Soviet leadership with Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

, and shifted to diplomacy, with a view to encourage the Soviet leader to pursue substantial arms agreements. Reagan's personal mission was to achieve "a world free of nuclear weapons," which he regarded as "totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization." He was able to start discussions on nuclear disarmament with General Secretary Gorbachev. Gorbachev and Reagan held four summit conferences between 1985 and 1988: the first
Geneva Summit (1985)
The Geneva Summit of 1985 was a Cold War-era meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. It was held on November 19 and 20, 1985, between U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev...

 in Geneva, Switzerland, the second
Reykjavik Summit
The Reykjavík Summit was a summit meeting between U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Secretary-General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, held in the famous house of Höfði in Reykjavík, the capital city of Iceland, on October 11–12, 1986...

 in Reykjavík
Reykjavík
Reykjavík is the capital and largest city in Iceland.Its latitude at 64°08' N makes it the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói Bay...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, the third in Washington, D.C., and the fourth in Moscow. Reagan believed that if he could persuade the Soviets to allow for more democracy and free speech, this would lead to reform and the end of Communism.

Speaking at the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

 on June 12, 1987, Reagan challenged Gorbachev to go further, saying:

Prior to Gorbachev visiting Washington, D.C., for the third summit in 1987, the Soviet leader announced his intention to pursue significant arms agreements. The timing of the announcement led Western diplomats to contend that Gorbachev was offering major concessions to the U.S. on the levels of conventional forces, nuclear weapons, and policy in Eastern Europe. He and Reagan signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty at the White House, which eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons. The two leaders laid the framework for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START I
START I
START was a bilateral treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. The treaty was signed on 31 July 1991 and entered into force on 5 December 1994...

; Reagan insisted that the name of the treaty be changed from Strategic Arms Limitation Talks to Strategic Arms Reduction Talks.

When Reagan visited Moscow for the fourth summit in 1988, he was viewed as a celebrity by the Soviets. A journalist asked the president if he still considered the Soviet Union the evil empire. "No," he replied, "I was talking about another time, another era." At Gorbachev's request, Reagan gave a speech on free markets at the Moscow State University
Moscow State University
Lomonosov Moscow State University , previously known as Lomonosov University or MSU , is the largest university in Russia. Founded in 1755, it also claims to be one of the oldest university in Russia and to have the tallest educational building in the world. Its current rector is Viktor Sadovnichiy...

. In his autobiography, An American Life
An American Life
An American Life is the 1990 autobiography authored by former American President Ronald Reagan. Released almost two years after President Reagan left office, the book reached number eight on The New York Times bestsellers list.-Content:...

, Reagan expressed his optimism about the new direction that they charted and his warm feelings for Gorbachev. In November 1989, the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

 was torn down, the Cold War was officially declared over at a Malta Summit on December 3, 1989 and two years later, the Soviet Union collapsed.

Health


Early in his presidency, Reagan started wearing a custom, technologically advanced hearing aid
Hearing aid
A hearing aid is an electroacoustic device which typically fits in or behind the wearer's ear, and is designed to amplify and modulate sound for the wearer. Earlier devices, known as "ear trumpets" or "ear horns", were passive funnel-like amplification cones designed to gather sound energy and...

, first in his right ear and later in his left as well. His decision to go public in 1983 regarding his wearing the small, audio-amplifying device boosted their sales.

On July 13, 1985, Reagan underwent surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital to remove cancerous polyps from his colon. He relinquished presidential power to the Vice President for eight hours in a similar procedure as outlined in the 25th Amendment
Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution deals with succession to the Presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, as well as responding to Presidential disabilities...

, which he specifically avoided invoking. The surgery lasted just under three hours and was successful. Reagan resumed the powers of the presidency later that day. In August of that year, he underwent an operation to remove skin cancer cells from his nose. In October, additional skin cancer cells were detected on his nose and removed.

In January 1987, Reagan underwent surgery for an enlarged prostate
Prostate
The prostate is a compound tubuloalveolar exocrine gland of the male reproductive system in most mammals....

 which caused further worries about his health. No cancerous growths were found, however, and he was not sedated during the operation. In July of that year, aged 76, he underwent a third skin cancer operation on his nose.

Judiciary



During his 1980 campaign, Reagan pledged that, if given the opportunity, he would appoint the first female Supreme Court Justice. That opportunity came in his first year in office when he nominated Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O'Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981...

 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Potter Stewart
Potter Stewart
Potter Stewart was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. During his tenure, he made, among other areas, major contributions to criminal justice reform, civil rights, access to the courts, and Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.-Education:Stewart was born in Jackson, Michigan,...

. In his second term, Reagan elevated William Rehnquist
William Rehnquist
William Hubbs Rehnquist was an American lawyer, jurist, and political figure who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the 16th Chief Justice of the United States...

 to succeed Warren Burger as Chief Justice
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

, and named Antonin Scalia
Antonin Scalia
Antonin Gregory Scalia is an American jurist who serves as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. As the longest-serving justice on the Court, Scalia is the Senior Associate Justice...

 to fill the vacant seat. Reagan nominated conservative jurist Robert Bork
Robert Bork
Robert Heron Bork is an American legal scholar who has advocated the judicial philosophy of originalism. Bork formerly served as Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit...

 to the high court in 1987. Senator Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

, a Democrat of Massachusetts, strongly condemned Bork, and great controversy ensued. Bork's nomination was rejected 58–42. Reagan then nominated Douglas Ginsburg
Douglas H. Ginsburg
Douglas Howard Ginsburg is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was appointed to this court in October 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. He served as its Chief Judge from July 16, 2001 until February 10, 2008...

, but Ginsburg withdrew his name from consideration after coming under fire for his cannabis
Cannabis (drug)
Cannabis, also known as marijuana among many other names, refers to any number of preparations of the Cannabis plant intended for use as a psychoactive drug or for medicinal purposes. The English term marijuana comes from the Mexican Spanish word marihuana...

 use. Anthony Kennedy
Anthony Kennedy
Anthony McLeod Kennedy is an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, having been appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Since the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor, Kennedy has often been the swing vote on many of the Court's politically charged 5–4 decisions...

 was eventually confirmed in his place. Along with his three Supreme Court appointments, Reagan appointed 83 judges to the United States Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals
The United States courts of appeals are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system...

, and 290 judges to the United States district courts.

Reagan also nominated Vaughn R. Walker
Vaughn R. Walker
Vaughn R. Walker served as a district judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California from 1989 to 2011.-Biography:Walker was born in Watseka, Illinois, in 1944...

, who would later be revealed to be the earliest known gay federal judge, to the United States District Court for the Central District of California
United States District Court for the Central District of California
The United States District Court for the Central District of California serves over 18 million people in southern and central California, making it the largest federal judicial district by population...

. However, the nomination stalled in the Senate, and Walker was not confirmed until he was renominated by Reagan's successor, George H. W. Bush.

Post-presidential years, 1989–2004



After leaving office in 1989, the Reagans purchased a home in Bel Air, Los Angeles in addition to the Reagan Ranch
Rancho del Cielo
Rancho del Cielo, or "Sky's or Heaven's Ranch," is a ranch located on the top of the Santa Ynez Mountain range northwest of Santa Barbara, California...

 in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County, California, United States. Situated on an east-west trending section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, the city lies between the steeply-rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean...

. They regularly attended Bel Air Presbyterian Church
Bel Air Presbyterian Church
Bel Air Presbyterian Church is a Christian megachurch located in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. The church is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church currently averages more than 3,000 in attendance each weekend.-History:...

 and occasionally made appearances on behalf of the Republican Party; Reagan delivered a well-received speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention. Previously on November 4, 1991, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs is the presidential library and final resting place of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. Designed by Hugh Stubbins and Associates, the library is located in Simi Valley, California, about northwest of...

 was dedicated and opened to the public. At the dedication ceremonies, five presidents were in attendance, as well as six first ladies, marking the first time five presidents were gathered in the same location. Reagan continued publicly to speak in favor of a line-item veto
Line-item veto
In United States government, the line-item veto, or partial veto, is the power of an executive authority to nullify or cancel specific provisions of a bill, usually a budget appropriations bill, without vetoing the entire legislative package...

; the Brady Bill; a constitutional amendment
Constitutional amendment
A constitutional amendment is a formal change to the text of the written constitution of a nation or state.Most constitutions require that amendments cannot be enacted unless they have passed a special procedure that is more stringent than that required of ordinary legislation...

 requiring a balanced budget
Balanced budget
A balanced budget is when there is neither a budget deficit or a budget surplus – when revenues equal expenditure – particularly by a government. More generally, it refers to when there is no deficit, but possibly a surplus...

; and the repeal of the 22nd Amendment, which prohibits anyone from serving more than two terms as president. In 1992 Reagan established the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award
Ronald Reagan Freedom Award
The Ronald Reagan Freedom Award is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the private Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. The award is given to "those who have made monumental and lasting contributions to the cause of freedom worldwide."...

 with the newly formed Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. His final public speech was on February 3, 1994 during a tribute to him in Washington, D.C., and his last major public appearance was at the funeral
Death and funeral of Richard Nixon
On April 22, 1994, Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, died after suffering a stroke four days earlier. His public funeral followed five days later at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in his hometown of Yorba Linda, California...

 of Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 on April 27, 1994.

Announcement and reaction


In August 1994, at the age of 83, Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

, an incurable neurological disorder which destroys brain cells and ultimately causes death. In November he informed the nation through a handwritten letter, writing in part:
After his diagnosis, letters of support from well-wishers poured into his California home, but there was also speculation over how long Reagan had demonstrated symptoms of mental degeneration. In her memoirs, former CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 White House correspondent Lesley Stahl
Lesley Stahl
Lesley Rene Stahl is an American television journalist. Since 1991, she has reported for CBS on 60 Minutes.-Personal life:...

 recounts her final meeting with the president, in 1986: "Reagan didn't seem to know who I was. ... Oh, my, he's gonzo, I thought. I have to go out on the lawn tonight and tell my countrymen that the president of the United States is a doddering space cadet." But then, at the end, he regained his alertness. As she described it, "I had come that close to reporting that Reagan was senile." However, Dr. Lawrence K. Altman, a physician employed as a reporter for the New York Times, noted that "the line between mere forgetfulness and the beginning of Alzheimer's can be fuzzy" and all four of Reagan's White House doctors said that they saw no evidence of Alzheimer's while he was president. Dr. John E. Hutton, Reagan's primary physician from 1984 to 1989, said the president "absolutely" did not "show any signs of dementia or Alzheimer's". Reagan did experience occasional memory lapses, though, especially with names. Once, while meeting with Japanese Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Japan
The is the head of government of Japan. He is appointed by the Emperor of Japan after being designated by the Diet from among its members, and must enjoy the confidence of the House of Representatives to remain in office...

 Yasuhiro Nakasone
Yasuhiro Nakasone
is a Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from November 27, 1982 to November 6, 1987. A contemporary of Brian Mulroney, Ronald Reagan, Helmut Kohl, François Mitterrand, Margaret Thatcher, and Mikhail Gorbachev, he is best known for pushing through the privatization of...

, he repeatedly referred to Vice President Bush as "Prime Minister Bush". Reagan's doctors, however, note that he only began exhibiting overt symptoms of the illness in late 1992 or 1993, several years after he had left office. His former Chief of Staff James Baker
James Baker
James Addison Baker, III is an American attorney, politician and political advisor.Baker served as the Chief of Staff in President Ronald Reagan's first administration and in the final year of the administration of President George H. W. Bush...

 considered "ludicrous" the idea of Reagan sleeping during cabinet meetings. Other staff members, former aides, and friends said they saw no indication of Alzheimer's while he was President. In contrast, Reagan's son, Ron Reagan
Ron Reagan
Ronald Prescott "Ron" Reagan sometimes known as Ronald Reagan, Jr., is a former talk radio host and chief political analyst for KIRO radio in Seattle until his show was canceled on August 8, 2007...

, wrote in his 2011 memoir that he had noticed evidence of dementia as early as Reagan's first Presidential term, and that by 1986 Reagan was unable to recall the names of previously familiar landmarks near Los Angeles.


Complicating the picture, Reagan suffered an episode of head trauma in July 1989, five years prior to his diagnosis. After being thrown from a horse in Mexico, a subdural hematoma
Subdural hematoma
A subdural hematoma or subdural haematoma , also known as a subdural haemorrhage , is a type of haematoma, a form of traumatic brain injury. Blood gathers within the outermost meningeal layer, between the dura mater, which adheres to the skull, and the arachnoid mater, which envelops the brain...

 was found and surgically treated later in the year. Nancy Reagan asserts that her husband's 1989 fall hastened the onset of Alzheimer's disease, citing what doctors told her, although acute brain injury has not been conclusively proven to accelerate Alzheimer's or dementia. Reagan's one-time physician Dr. Daniel Ruge has said it is possible, but not certain, that the horse accident affected the course of Reagan's memory.

Progression


As the years went on, the disease slowly destroyed Reagan's mental capacity. He was only able to recognize a few people, including his wife, Nancy. He remained active, however; he took walks through parks near his home and on beaches, played golf regularly, and until 1999 he often went to his office in nearby Century City.

Reagan suffered a fall at his Bel Air home on January 13, 2001, resulting in a broken hip. The fracture was repaired the following day and the 89 year old Reagan returned home later that week, although he faced difficult physical therapy at home. On February 6, 2001, Reagan reached the age of 90, becoming the third former president to do so (the other two being John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

 and Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

, with Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 later reaching 90). Reagan's public appearances became much less frequent with the progression of the disease, and as a result, his family decided that he would live in quiet isolation. Nancy Reagan told CNN's Larry King
Larry King
Lawrence Harvey "Larry" King is an American television and radio host whose work has been recognized with awards including two Peabodys and ten Cable ACE Awards....

 in 2001 that very few visitors were allowed to see her husband because she felt that "Ronnie would want people to remember him as he was." Following her husband's diagnosis and death, Mrs. Reagan became a stem-cell research advocate, urging Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 and President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 to support federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, something Bush opposed. In 2009, she praised President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 for lifting restrictions on such research. Mrs. Reagan has said that she believes that it could lead to a cure for Alzheimer's.

Death




Reagan died of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 at his home in Bel Air, California on the afternoon of June 5, 2004. A short time after his death, Nancy Reagan
Nancy Reagan
Nancy Davis Reagan is the widow of former United States President Ronald Reagan and was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989....

 released a statement saying: "My family and I would like the world to know that President Ronald Reagan has died after 10 years of Alzheimer's Disease at 93 years of age. We appreciate everyone's prayers." President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 declared June 11 a National Day of Mourning
National Day of Mourning
For general information on symbolic observances see: National day of mourning.Specific, annual ritual National Days of Mourning may refer to:...

, and international tributes came in from around the world. Reagan's body was taken to the Kingsley and Gates Funeral Home in Santa Monica, California later in the day, where well-wishers paid tribute by laying flowers and American flags in the grass. On June 7, his body was removed and taken to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs is the presidential library and final resting place of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. Designed by Hugh Stubbins and Associates, the library is located in Simi Valley, California, about northwest of...

, where a brief family funeral was held conducted by Pastor Michael Wenning
Michael Wenning
Michael H. Wenning was an American Presbyterian minister of South African birth.Born in Cape Town, Wenning was educated at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas and New York University . From 1969-77 he was pastor of a Presbyterian church in Durban, South Africa...

. His body lay in repose in the Library lobby until June 9; over 100,000 people viewed the coffin.

On June 9, Reagan's body was flown to Washington, D.C. where he became the tenth United States president to lie in state; in thirty-four hours, 104,684 people filed past the coffin.

On June 11, a state funeral
Death and state funeral of Ronald Reagan
On June 5, 2004, Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, died after having suffered from Alzheimer's disease for nearly a decade. His seven-day state funeral followed, spanning June 5–11...

 was conducted in the Washington National Cathedral
Washington National Cathedral
The Washington National Cathedral, officially named the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, is a cathedral of the Episcopal Church located in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. Of neogothic design, it is the sixth-largest cathedral in the world, the second-largest in...

, and presided over by President George W. Bush. Eulogies were given by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney
Brian Mulroney
Martin Brian Mulroney, was the 18th Prime Minister of Canada from September 17, 1984, to June 25, 1993 and was leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada from 1983 to 1993. His tenure as Prime Minister was marked by the introduction of major economic reforms, such as the Canada-U.S...

, and both Presidents Bush. Also in attendance were Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

, and many world leaders, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder
Gerhard Schröder
Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder is a German politician, and was Chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany , he led a coalition government of the SPD and the Greens. Before becoming a full-time politician, he was a lawyer, and before becoming Chancellor...

, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi , also known as Il Cavaliere – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the...

, and interim presidents Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001...

 of Afghanistan, and Ghazi al-Yawer
Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer
Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawar is an Iraqi political figure. He was a Vice President of Iraq under the Iraqi Transitional Government from 2005 to 2006, and was Acting President of Iraq under the Iraqi Interim Government from 2004 to 2005....

 of Iraq.

After the funeral, the Reagan entourage was flown back to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, where another service was held, and President Reagan was interred. At the time of his death, Reagan was the longest-lived president in U.S. history, having lived 93 years and 120 days (2 years, 8 months, and 23 days longer than John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

, whose record he surpassed). He is now the second longest-lived president, just 45 days fewer than Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

. He was the first United States president to die in the 21st century, and his was the first state funeral in the United States since that of President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 in 1973.

His burial site is inscribed with the words he delivered at the opening of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs is the presidential library and final resting place of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. Designed by Hugh Stubbins and Associates, the library is located in Simi Valley, California, about northwest of...

: "I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph and that there is purpose and worth to each and every life."

Legacy



Howard Kurtz
Howard Kurtz
Howard "Howie" Alan Kurtz is an American journalist and author with a special focus on the media. He is host of CNN's Reliable Sources program, and Washington bureau chief for The Daily Beast. He is the former media writer for The Washington Post. He has written five books about the media...

 of The Washington Post has opined that Reagan was "a far more controversial figure in his time than the largely gushing obits on television would suggest." As Kurtz' assertion suggests, there remains substantial and often broadly polarized debate surrounding Reagan and his legacy. Supporters have pointed to a more efficient and prosperous economy, and a peaceful end to the Cold War, while critics contend that Reagan's policies caused huge budget deficits that quadrupled the United States national debt, and lowered American credibility in wake of the Iran-Contra affair. Reagan was also criticized for initially failing to address the AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 crisis. Regardless of the debates, Reagan has generally ranked among the most popular of all modern U.S. presidents in public opinion polls.

Edwin Feulner
Edwin Feulner
Edwin John Feulner Jr. is President of the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, a position he has held since 1977....

, President of The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is a conservative American think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong...

, said that Reagan "helped create a safer, freer world" and said of his economic policies: "He took an America suffering from 'malaise'... and made its citizens believe again in their destiny." However, Mark Weisbrot
Mark Weisbrot
Mark Weisbrot is an American economist, columnist and co-director, with Dean Baker, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. As a commentator, he contributes to publications such as New York Times, the UK's The Guardian, and Brazil's largest newspaper, Folha de S...

, co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research
Center for Economic and Policy Research
The Center for Economic and Policy Research is a progressive economic policy think-tank based in Washington, DC, founded in 1999. CEPR works on Social Security, the US housing bubble, developing country economies , and gaps in the social policy fabric of the US economy.According to its own...

, said that Reagan's "economic policies were mostly a failure"; with Reagan's detractors accusing him of creating a range of fiscal calamities such as widening the wealth inequality
Wealth inequality in the United States
Wealth inequality in the United States, also known as the "wealth gap", refers to the unequal distribution of financial assets among residents of the United States. Wealth includes the values of homes, automobiles, businesses, savings, and investments. Those who acquire a great deal of financial...

 to the point where the richest 1% of Americans held 39% of the nation's wealth, a rise in the poverty population from 26.1 million in 1979 to 32.7 million in 1988, and an increase in homelessness
Homelessness
Homelessness describes the condition of people without a regular dwelling. People who are homeless are unable or unwilling to acquire and maintain regular, safe, and adequate housing, or lack "fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence." The legal definition of "homeless" varies from country...

 to 600,000 Americans on any given night.

According to economist and author Jeffery Sachs, Reagan's approach to governance was not all that it seemed on the surface. Sachs states that Reagan's core diagnosis of an overreaching, dysfunctional government "was a fateful misdiagnosis" that caused him to overlook what Sachs asserts should have been the actual core issue during his presidency: "the rise of global competition in the information age." Reagan's oversight, according to Sachs, left America in a state he described as "singularly unprepared to face the global economic, energy and environmental challenges" as the dawn of a new century approached. As a result, according to Sachs, Reagan's presidency had the ironic affect of planting the seeds for a later era of broad-scale Progressivism
Progressivism
Progressivism is an umbrella term for a political ideology advocating or favoring social, political, and economic reform or changes. Progressivism is often viewed by some conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians to be in opposition to conservative or reactionary ideologies.The...

, as those seeds have sought full fruition during what Sachs summarized as the discontented era that followed the Reagan era.

Despite the continuing debate surrounding his legacy, many conservative and liberal scholars agree that Reagan has been the most influential president since Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

, leaving his imprint on American politics, diplomacy, culture, and economics. Since he left office, historians have reached a consensus, as summarized by British historian M. J. Heale, who finds that scholars now concur that Reagan rehabilitated conservatism, turned the nation to the right, practiced a considerably pragmatic conservatism that balanced ideology and the constraints of politics, revived faith in the presidency and in American self-respect, and, as seemed a major preoccupation of his, contributed to victory in the Cold War.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs is the presidential library and final resting place of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. Designed by Hugh Stubbins and Associates, the library is located in Simi Valley, California, about northwest of...

 was dedicated on November 4, 1991.

Cold War


The Cold War was a major political and economic endeavor for over four decades, but the confrontation between the two superpowers had decreased dramatically by the end of Reagan's presidency. The significance of Reagan's role in ending the Cold War has spurred contentious and opinionated debate. That Reagan had some role in contributing to the downfall of the Soviet Union is collectively agreed, but the extent of this role is continuously debated, with many believing that Reagan's defense policies, hard line rhetoric against the Soviet Union and Communism, as well as summits with General Secretary Gorbachev played a significant part in ending the War.


He was notable amongst post–World War II presidents as being convinced that the Soviet Union could be defeated rather than simply negotiated with, a conviction that was vindicated by Gennadi Gerasimov
Gennadi Gerasimov
Gennadi Ivanovich Gerasimov Gennadi (or Gennady) Ivanovich Gerasimov Gennadi (or Gennady) Ivanovich Gerasimov (Russian, Геннадий Иванович Герасимов, (1930, Yelabuga – 14 September 2010, Moscow) was the Russian ambassador to Portugal from 1990 to 1995. Previously he was foreign affairs spokesman...

, the Foreign Ministry spokesman under Gorbachev, who said that Star Wars was "very successful blackmail. ... The Soviet economy couldn't endure such competition." Reagan's strong rhetoric toward the nation had mixed effects; Jeffery W. Knopf, PhD observes that being labeled "evil" probably made no difference to the Soviets but gave encouragement to the East-European citizens opposed to communism. That Reagan had little or no effect in ending the Cold War is argued with equal weight; that Communism's internal weakness had become apparent, and the Soviet Union would have collapsed in the end regardless of who was in power. President Harry Truman's policy of containment is also regarded as a force behind the fall of the U.S.S.R., and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

 undermined the Soviet system itself.

General Secretary Gorbachev said of his former rival's Cold War role: "[He was] a man who was instrumental in bringing about the end of the Cold War," and deemed him "a great President." Gorbachev does not acknowledge a win or loss in the war, but rather a peaceful end; he said he was not intimidated by Reagan's harsh rhetoric. Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

, said of Reagan, "he warned that the Soviet Union had an insatiable drive for military power... but he also sensed it was being eaten away by systemic failures impossible to reform." She later said, "Ronald Reagan had a higher claim than any other leader to have won the Cold War for liberty and he did it without a shot being fired." Said Brian Mulroney
Brian Mulroney
Martin Brian Mulroney, was the 18th Prime Minister of Canada from September 17, 1984, to June 25, 1993 and was leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada from 1983 to 1993. His tenure as Prime Minister was marked by the introduction of major economic reforms, such as the Canada-U.S...

, former Prime Minister of Canada
Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...

: "He enters history as a strong and dramatic player [in the Cold War]." Former President Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa is a Polish politician, trade-union organizer, and human-rights activist. A charismatic leader, he co-founded Solidarity , the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland between 1990 and 95.Wałęsa was an electrician...

 of Poland acknowledged, "Reagan was one of the world leaders who made a major contribution to communism's collapse."

Domestic and political legacy


Ronald Reagan reshaped the Republican party, led the modern conservative movement, and altered the political dynamic of the United States. More men voted Republican under Reagan, and Reagan tapped into religious voters. The so-called "Reagan Democrat
Reagan Democrat
Reagan Democrat is an American political term used by analysts to denote traditionally Democratic voters, especially white working-class Northerners, who defected from their party to support Republican President Ronald Reagan in both the 1980 and 1984 elections. It is also used to refer to the...

s" were a result of his presidency.

Since leaving office, Reagan has become an iconic influence within the Republican party. His policies and beliefs have been frequently invoked by Republican presidential candidates since 1989. The 2008 Republican presidential candidates were no exception, for they aimed to liken themselves to him during the primary debates, even imitating his campaign strategies. Republican nominee John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 frequently stated that he came to office as "a foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution". Lastly, Reagan's most famous statement that "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem", has become the unofficial slogan for the rise of conservative commentators like Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck
Glenn Edward Lee Beck is an American conservative radio host, vlogger, author, entrepreneur, political commentator and former television host. He hosts the Glenn Beck Program, a nationally syndicated talk-radio show that airs throughout the United States on Premiere Radio Networks...

 and Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh
Rush Hudson Limbaugh III is an American radio talk show host, conservative political commentator, and an opinion leader in American conservatism. He hosts The Rush Limbaugh Show which is aired throughout the U.S. on Premiere Radio Networks and is the highest-rated talk-radio program in the United...

; as well as the emergence of the Tea Party Movement
Tea Party movement
The Tea Party movement is an American populist political movement that is generally recognized as conservative and libertarian, and has sponsored protests and supported political candidates since 2009...

.

Cultural and political image


According to columnist Chuck Raasch, "Reagan transformed the American presidency in ways that only a few have been able to." He redefined the political agenda of the times, advocating lower taxes, a conservative economic philosophy
Reaganomics
Reaganomics refers to the economic policies promoted by the U.S. President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s, also known as supply-side economics and called trickle-down economics, particularly by critics...

, and a stronger military. His role in the Cold War further enhanced his image as a different kind of leader. Reagan's "avuncular style, optimism, and plain-folks demeanor" also helped him turn "government-bashing into an art form."
Ronald Reagan's approval rating
Approval rating
In the United States, presidential job approval ratings were introduced by George Gallup in the late 1930s to gauge public support for the President of the United States during his term. An approval rating is a percentage determined by a polling which indicates the percentage of respondents to an...

s
Date Event Approval (%) Disapproval (%)
March 30, 1981 Shot by Hinckley 73 19
January 22, 1983 High unemployment 42 54
April 26, 1986 Libya bombing 70 26
February 26, 1987 Iran-Contra affair 44 51
January 20, 1989 End of presidency 64
n/a Career Average 57 39
July 30, 2001 (Retrospective) 64 27


As a sitting president, Reagan did not have the highest approval ratings, but his popularity has increased since 1989. Gallup polls in 2001 and 2007 ranked him number one or number two when correspondents were asked for the greatest president in history, and third of post–World War II presidents in a 2007 Rasmussen Reports
Rasmussen Reports
Rasmussen Reports is an American media company that publishes and distributes information based on public opinion polling. Founded by pollster Scott Rasmussen in 2003, the company updates daily indexes including the President's job approval rating, and provides public opinion data, analysis, and...

 poll, fifth in an ABC 2000 poll, ninth in another 2007 Rasmussen poll, and eighth in a late 2008 poll by United Kingdom newspaper The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

. In a Siena College
Siena College
Siena College is an independent Roman Catholic liberal arts college in Loudonville, in the town of Colonie, New York, United States. Siena is a four-year, coeducational, independent college in the Franciscan tradition, founded by the Franciscan Friars in 1937. It has 3,000 full-time students and...

 survey of over 200 historians, however, Reagan ranked sixteenth out of 42. While the debate about Reagan's legacy is ongoing, the 2009 Annual C-SPAN
C-SPAN
C-SPAN , an acronym for Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, is an American cable television network that offers coverage of federal government proceedings and other public affairs programming via its three television channels , one radio station and a group of websites that provide streaming...

 Survey of Presidential Leaders
ranked Reagan the 10th greatest president. The survey of leading historians rated Reagan number 11 in 2000.
In 2011, the Institute for the Study of the Americas released the first ever U.K. academic survey to rate U.S. presidents. This poll of U.K. specialists in U.S. history and politics placed Reagan as the 8th greatest U.S. president.

Reagan's ability to connect with the American people earned him the laudatory moniker "The Great Communicator". Of it, Reagan said, "I won the nickname the great communicator. But I never thought it was my style that made a difference—it was the content. I wasn't a great communicator, but I communicated great things." His age and soft-spoken speech gave him a warm grandfatherly image.

Reagan also earned the nickname "the Teflon President," in that public perceptions of him were not tarnished by the controversies that arose during his administration. According to Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder
Patricia Schroeder
Patricia Nell Scott Schroeder , American politician, was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Colorado, serving from 1973 to 1997. She was the first woman elected to Congress from Colorado.- Early years :...

, who coined the phrase, and reporter Howard Kurtz, the epithet referred to Reagan's ability to "do almost anything wrong and not get blamed for it."

Public reaction to Reagan was always mixed; the oldest president was supported by young voters, and began an alliance that shifted many of them to the Republican party. Reagan did not fare well with minority groups, especially African-Americans. This was largely due to his opposition to affirmative action policies. However, his support of Israel throughout his presidency earned him support from many Jews, and he became the first Republican ever to win the Jewish vote. He emphasized family values
Family values
Family values are political and social beliefs that hold the nuclear family to be the essential ethical and moral unit of society. Familialism is the ideology that promotes the family and its values as an institution....

 in his campaigns and during his presidency, although he was the first president to have been divorced. The combination of Reagan's speaking style, unabashed patriotism, negotiation skills, as well as his savvy use of the media, played an important role in defining the 1980s and his future legacy.

Reagan was known to gibe frequently during his lifetime, displayed humor throughout his presidency, and was famous for his storytelling
Storytelling
Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, images and sounds, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and in order to instill moral values...

. His numerous jokes and one-liners
There you go again (Reagan)
"There you go again" was a phrase spoken during the 1980 United States presidential election debate by Republican presidential candidate Governor Ronald Reagan to his Democratic opponent, incumbent President Jimmy Carter...

 have been labeled "classic quips" and "legendary". Among the most notable of his jokes was one regarding the Cold War. As a sound check prior to his weekly radio address in August 1984, Reagan made the following joke as a way to test the microphone: "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." Former aide David Gergen
David Gergen
David Richmond Gergen is an American political consultant and former presidential advisor who served during the administrations of Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton. He is currently Director of the Center for Public Leadership and a professor of public service at Harvard Kennedy School. Gergen is...

 commented, "It was that humor... that I think endeared people to Reagan."

Honors



Reagan received a number of awards in his pre- and post-presidential years. Following his election as president, Reagan received a lifetime gold membership in the Screen Actors Guild, was inducted into the National Speakers Association
National Speakers Association
The National Speakers Association is a professional speakers' organization that supports the pursuit of Public Speaking as a business. NSA is the oldest and largest of 11 international associations comprising the Global Speakers Federation.- Founder :...

 Speaker Hall of Fame and received the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

's Sylvanus Thayer Award
Sylvanus Thayer Award
The Sylvanus Thayer Award is an award that is given each year by the United States Military Academy at West Point. Sylvanus Thayer was the fifth superintendent of that academy and in honor of his achievements, the award was created...

.

In 1989, Reagan was made an Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

, one of the highest British orders (this entitled him to the use of the post-nominal letters "GCB" but, by not being the citizen of a Commonwealth realm
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

, not to be known as "Sir Ronald Reagan"); only two American presidents have received this honor, Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Reagan was also named an honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford
Keble College, Oxford
Keble College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Its main buildings are on Parks Road, opposite the University Museum and the University Parks. The college is bordered to the north by Keble Road, to the south by Museum Road, and to the west by Blackhall...

. Japan awarded him the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum
Order of the Chrysanthemum
is Japan's highest order. The Grand Cordon of the Order was established in 1876 by Emperor Meiji of Japan; the collar of the Order was added on January 4, 1888. Although technically the order has only one class, it can either be awarded with collar , or with grand cordon...

 in 1989; he was the second American president to receive the order and the first to have it given to him for personal reasons (Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 received it as a commemoration of U.S.-Japanese relations).


On January 18, 1993, Reagan's former Vice-President and sitting President George H. W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

, the highest honor that the United States can bestow. Reagan was also awarded the Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestowed by Republican members of the Senate.

On Reagan's 87th birthday, in 1998, Washington National Airport was renamed Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is a public airport located south of downtown Washington, D.C., in Arlington County, Virginia. It is the commercial airport nearest to Washington, D.C. For many decades, it was called Washington National Airport, but this airport was renamed in 1998 to...

 by a bill signed into law by President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

. That year, the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Ronald Reagan Building
The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, named after former United States President Ronald Reagan, is the first federal building in Washington, D.C. designed for both governmental and private sector purposes....

 was dedicated in Washington, D.C. He was among 18 included in Gallup's List of Widely Admired People of the 20th Century
Gallup's List of Widely Admired People
Gallup's List of People that Americans Most Widely Admired in the 20th Century is a poll published in December 1999 by The Gallup Organization to determine which people around the world Americans most admired for what they did in the 20th century....

, from a poll conducted of the American people in 1999; two years later, was christened by Nancy Reagan and the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

. It is one of few Navy ships christened in honor of a living person and the first aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

 to be named in honor of a living former president.

Congress authorized the creation of the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site
Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site
The Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home is the house located at 816 South Hennepin Street, Dixon, Illinois, in which the late former President of the United States Ronald Reagan lived as a youth beginning in 1920...

 in Dixon, Illinois in 2002, pending federal purchase of the property. On May 16 of that year, Nancy Reagan accepted the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress, on behalf of the president and herself.

Following Reagan's death, the United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

 issued a President Ronald Reagan commemorative postage stamp in 2005. Later in the year, CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

, along with the editors of TIME magazine, named him the "most fascinating person" of the network's first 25 years; Time listed Reagan one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th century as well. The Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is an American satellite and cable specialty channel , founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav...

 asked its viewers to vote for The Greatest American
The Greatest American
The Greatest American was a four-part American television series hosted by Matt Lauer in 2005. The show featured biographies and lists of influential persons in U.S. history, and culminated in a contest in which millions in the audience nominated and voted for the person they felt was the "greatest...

 in an unscientific poll on June 26, 2005; Reagan received the honorary title.

In 2006, Reagan was inducted into the California Hall of Fame
California Hall of Fame
Conceived by First Lady Maria Shriver, the California Hall of Fame was established at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts to honor individuals and families who embody California’s innovative spirit and have made their mark on history...

, located at The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts. Every year since 2002, California Governors Gray Davis
Gray Davis
Joseph Graham "Gray" Davis, Jr. is an American Democratic politician who served as California's 37th Governor from 1999 until being recalled in 2003...

 and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American former professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, investor, and politician. Schwarzenegger served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011....

 have proclaimed February 6 "Ronald Reagan Day" in the state of California in honor of their most famous predecessor. In 2010, Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 944, authored by Senator George Runner
George Runner
George C. Runner, Jr. is the Republican Board Member for District 2 of the five-member California Board of Equalization ....

, to make every February 6 Ronald Reagan Day
Ronald Reagan Day
Ronald Reagan Day is a day of recognition that occurs every February 6, starting in 2011, in the state of California for Ronald Reagan, who was that state's Governor from 1967–1975 and President of the United States from 1981–1989...

 in California.

In 2007, Polish President Lech Kaczyński
Lech Kaczynski
Lech Aleksander Kaczyński was Polish lawyer and politician who served as the President of Poland from 2005 until 2010 and as Mayor of Warsaw from 2002 until 22 December 2005. Before he became a president, he was also a member of the party Prawo i Sprawiedliwość...

 posthumously conferred on Reagan the highest Polish distinction, the Order of the White Eagle, saying that Reagan had inspired the Polish people to work for change and helped to unseat the repressive communist regime; Kaczyński said it "would not have been possible if it was not for the tough-mindedness, determination, and feeling of mission of President Ronald Reagan". Reagan backed the nation of Poland throughout his presidency, supporting the anti-communist Solidarity movement, along with Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

.

On June 3, 2009, Nancy Reagan unveiled a statue of her late husband in the United States Capitol rotunda
United States Capitol Rotunda
The United States Capitol rotunda is the central rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Located below the Capitol dome, it is the tallest part of the Capitol and has been described as its "symbolic and physical heart."...

. The statue represents the state of California in the National Statuary Hall Collection
National Statuary Hall Collection
The National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol comprises statues donated by individual states to honor persons notable in their history...

. Following Reagan's death, both major American political parties agreed to erect a statue of Reagan in the place of that of Thomas Starr King
Thomas Starr King
Thomas Starr King was an American Unitarian and Universalist minister, influential in California politics during the American Civil War. Starr King spoke zealously in favor of the Union and was credited by Abraham Lincoln with preventing California from becoming a separate republic...

. The day before, President Obama signed the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act into law, establishing a commission to plan activities to mark the upcoming centenary of Reagan's birth.

Independence Day 2011
Independence Day (United States)
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain...

 saw the unveiling of another statue to Reagan this time in the British capital of London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, outside the American Embassy, Grosvenor Square. The unveiling was supposed to be attended by Reagan's wife Nancy, but she did not attend; former Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

 took her place and read a statement on her behalf; further to the former First Lady's absence President Reagan's friend and the British Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 during Reagan's presidency Baroness Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 was also unable to attend due to frail health.

See also


  • List of Presidents of the United States
  • Political positions of Ronald Reagan
    Political positions of Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States and the 33rd Governor of California .-Cold War:Reagan served as president during the latter part of the Cold War, an era of political and ideological disagreement between the United States and Soviet Union...

  • US Presidents on US postage stamps

Official sites

  • Ronald Reagan (1981–1989) at WhiteHouse.gov
    Whitehouse.gov
    Whitehouse.gov is the official website of the White House and is owned by the United States government. Launched in October 1994, it contains general American history information, as well as current news pertaining to the President, press briefings, proclamations, executive orders, and any speeches...

  • Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
  • Ronald Reagan's major speeches
  • Ronald Reagan at Eureka College
    Eureka College
    Eureka College is a liberal arts college in Eureka, Illinois related by covenant to the Christian Church and founded in 1855. It has a strong focus on the mutual development of intellect and character. Stated core values are learning, service and leadership...


Media


News coverage

  • Ronald Reagan from The Washington Post
    The Washington Post
    The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

  • Ronald Reagan at TIME magazine
  • Ronald Reagan at CNN
    CNN
    Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

  • Ronald ReaganBBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

     biography
  • An hour remembrance of Ronald Reagan with Charlie Rose
    Charlie Rose
    Charles Peete "Charlie" Rose, Jr. is an American television talk show host and journalist. Since 1991 he has hosted Charlie Rose, an interview show distributed nationally by PBS since 1993...

    , June 8, 2004

Essays and historiographies


Site directories

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