The Evaluation of Ronald Reagan
Presidents throughout history have equipped society with the means to believe and thrive in the hope of a better America. As the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan’s legacy showed what it means to be both a responsible leader as well as being compassionate and understanding to the common man. Although there were many good aspects of his character and presidency, there were many incidents that caught the attention of the American people that altered their perception of him. No president is perfect, but through the legacy they leave, we’re able to see the pavement they created for the many generations of America to come. This is the evaluation of our former president, Ronald Reagan.
The Great Communicator
Known as “The Great Communicator”, Reagan had a humorous and charismatic approach to almost anything. Throughout his political career he used humor to win over voters, create friendships and alliances, and deflect negativity from opposing individuals. Reagan knew how to make his humor seem effortless from his past in the spotlight from acting. An admirable attribute that Reagan possessed was having the capability to connect with the average person/common man. On the other hand, he knew when it was necessary to be able to connect with world leaders or those of a higher authority. He was able to restore the faith in the American people of their president in office through his confident and promising speeches. People would describe Reagan as someone who brought back spirit and optimism in the hearts of the public. He contained something that was contagious to anyone, and that was his courage. His courage empowered the idea and need for change. He had a drive in him that made it apparent that he knew where he was going and where he wanted to bring America. He had a vision in his mind of what the country was destined to be and decided to chase it, bringing along the hopes of many that chose to support him.
His 1989 Farewell Address addressed what he thought about people describing him as a natural and great communicator by saying, “I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things”. Reagan had the capability of capturing his audience by knowing exactly what to say, he knew what he needed to tell the people in the most honest and empowering way. By recognizing that the majority of people who listened and followed his speeches and campaigns were considered the common man, he understood his wording needed to be easily interpreted and take into account the audience’s mood, dreams, and passions. He showed how personable he was when, “..a reporter asked Reagan what he thought other Americans saw in him, he replied: “Would you laugh if I told you that I think maybe, they see themselves and that I’m one of them.” And he added: “I’ve never been able to detach myself or think that I, somehow, am apart from them.” where he went on explaining the he too is just an average person differing only from his position in society.
The Cold War
When the Cold War was first started over the butting heads of the Soviet Union and the U.S., this left Reagan with the need to find a way to resolve their problems in hopes to regain peace, a word that he stressed about often. Reagan had to work strategically and carefully with Soviet Leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. During this period of time he was known for being totally against communism, giving him the name of a cold warrior. Instead of coming guns blazing towards the leader, when Reagan and Gorbachev met in Geneva in November of 1982, his tactic was to find common interests between one another and even cautioned his members “not to rub Gorbachev’s nose in any concessions he might make”. Reagan’s main goal was to establish a relationship in order to create an easier gateway to manage conflicts. They agreed to reduce their stockpile of nuclear missiles and later giving his famous speech at the Berlin Wall, ‘Mr. Chairman, tear down this wall’ being one of his most memorable lines. The Cold War was over. The American people, including those working for/with him, admired his will to keep the peace between the two former rivals.
Reagan was able to see the national economic mess his country was in. To try and regain stability within his economy again, Reagan decided to push through with the idea he had that will pull them out of this rut, Reaganomics. He unveiled his new tax program, labeling it with ‘a second American Revolution for hope and opportunity’. He based this economic idea on supply-side economics, using increased production to stimulate economic growth. Along with this, he tried to implement a more laid back economy (laissez-faire). With this and Reaganomics, it was dramatically different from what they American people were used to based on the past presidents’ legacy. Congress wasn’t on board with the idea in the beginning especially because Reagan was wanting to do tax cuts, making a strain in the relationship between him and Congress as well as a rocky beginning. Although that was the case, Reagan assured Congress and society that this plan would be effective and beneficial. Reagan knew that there needed to be cuts in areas of government spending, capital gain taxes and income taxes, business regulations, and money supply expansion. Most of the cut would be focused on the upper level, and this relief would push them to spend more and invest more. This spending caused the stimulation of the economy and the birth or new opportunities and jobs. The results varied, sparking a period of recession from 1981-1982. Because of the high interest rates, the value of the dollar increased, impacting the the amount of exports and imports. In 1983, the economy stabilized and continued years on to show national growth.
There are many economists that argue over the success of Reaganomics. The tax cuts increased the amount of money spent on the military, which would cost the government trillions of dollars. Reagan wanted to slash certain government programs in order to compensate for these expenses. Congress approved of his tax cuts and ideas for defense but did not want to make any cuts to the welfare state.
Ronald Reagan: a Transformational President
Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives” (Ronald Reagan Quotes). This quote proves that Ronald Reagan wasn’t a power hungry president, he was only there for the good of the people. I feel Reagan’s quote has a meaning to everyone; especially middle class families. The government enforces the rules it, doesn’t mean they have control to take our lives over. Ronald Reagan did everything in his power to make sure that the government did not interfere in people’s lives. Ronald Reagan was an important and influential figure in history that had a positive impact on the world because he was a transformational president.
Ronald Reagan’s early life had a tremendous impact on the man he would later become. His full name was Ronald Wilson Reagan, and he was born on February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois, to Edward “Jack” Reagan and Nelle Wilson Reagan. He also has an older brother named Neil Regan. According to ” Ronald Reagan” published on History.com, in 1928, Reagan graduated from Dixon High School. While in high school he was an athlete, student body president, and performed in school plays. During summer vacations, he worked as a lifeguard in Dixon. Reagan went on to attend Eureka College in Illinois, where he played football, ran track, and he captained the swim team. He also served as student council president and acted in school productions. After graduating in 1932, he worked as a radio sports announcer in Iowa.
Ronald Reagan was an accomplished actor and Hollywood idol. Reagan’s movie career started when he was contacted by Warner Brothers Productions and did a screen test. He signed a seven year contract with the company. Aside from his absence while serving in the military during World War II, Reagan made most of his movies with Warner Bros. He starred in films such as Dark Victory, Knute Rockne, All American, and Kings Row, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1943. He worked in the movie industry for 27 years before he movie career began to plateau.
At the top of Reagan’s political career he got a job at The General Electric Theatre. His job there as host was to travel the United States as a public relations representative for the show. It was while he was traveling that his political standing shifted from liberal to conservative. He led pro-business discussions, about regulations, rules and unnecessary government spending, witch are a center of his future political career. Reagan spoke on the matter saying, ¨Eventually what happened to me was, because I did my own speeches and did the research for them, I just woke up to the realization one day that I had been going out and helping to elect the people who had been causing the things I had been criticizing. So it wasn’t any case of some mentor coming in and talking me out of it. I did it in my own speeches¨ (The Heritage Foundation article titled Ronald Reagan: Conservative Statesman). This quote says that nothing really influenced the change Reagan’s political standing except for himself and the requirements of his job. It was not a big political event or the church or his parents it was just him. This change in political views is what influenced him to get into politics and eventually run for President.
When Reagan first got into politics he was famous for helping Nixon campaign while running for governor of California. He also supported the presidential candidate of conservative Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964. He served as co chairman of California Republicans for Goldwater. Unfortunately Goldwater did not win the Election losing to Lyndon B. Johnson. “Near the end of the campaign, he delivered a 30-minute nationally televised address, ‘A Time for Choosing,’ that The Washington Post described as, ‘the most successful political debut since William Jennings Bryan electrified the 1896 Democratic convention with his ‘Cross of Gold’ speech. Reagan’s speech, which resulted in $1 million in campaign contributions for Republican candidates, the most attributable to any political speech in history,” catapulted him onto the national political stage and made him an instant hero of the Republican right” (Britannica). Reagan announced that he was running for governor of California in 1966. Many people said Reagan was not qualified for the job because of his lack of experience because while the other dididates were part of the politics he was a movie star. Reagan turned these concerns and hardships into assets by using them to show that he was an ordinary citizen who was tired of a state government that had become inefficient and unaccountable. The public also reacted well to Reagan’s personality, mostly to his apparent genuineness, friendliness, and ability to laugh at himself.
One of Reagan’s major accomplishments is his Strategic Defence Initiative. Ronald reagan took office during the middle of the cold war when communist countries were trying to spread communism worldwide. The United states was working relentlessly to stop the spread of communism around the world. According to the article Top 10 Reagan Achievements on the website Human Events.com, “Reagan reversed the policy of detente and stood firm against the Soviet Union, calling it the Evil Empire and telling Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” in Berlin.” Reagan worked very hard to pass this initiative and to help rebels fighting communism. The efforts made by Reagan and the rest of the United States were important in the collapse of the Soviet Union, forming Russia, thus ended the Cold War.
One of Reagan’s major accomplishments is his Tax Reform Act and Reaganomics. Reagan’s combination of overall tax cuts, deregulation, and national spending cap helped cause an economic uprising that lasted twenty years. According to the article Top 10 Reagan Achievements on the website Human Events.com, “Reagan inherited a misery index, the sum of the inflation and unemployment rates, of 19.99%, and when he left office it had dropped to 9.72%. Under Reaganomics, 16 million new jobs were created.” Not only did he cut tax rates and create jobs under Reaganomics, but in 1964 the Tax Reform Act simplified the income-tax code by eliminating many requirements such as shelters and brackets involved in filing for income taxes. Reagan once had a dream that tax returns would fit on a postcard which is no longer possible as Congress has regressed and continued to make the tax code more complex.
The Republican Party was at its rock-bottom after Watergate, but Reagan was able to form a winning party of conservatives that had a similar political agenda and set the stage for future Republican electoral gains. According to the article Top 10 Reagan Achievements on the website Human Events.com, “His free-market, small-government, pro-liberty conservatism and a strong military helped to revitalize the Republican Party and his influence echos today as conservative candidates still see Reagan as their standard-bearer.” Along with fixing the image of the republican party he also demonstrated peace through strength. The military was at an all time low while Carter was president, but Reagan reversed that by rebuilding the armed forces. Those efforts ensured that America remained a military superpower and the Republican party would stay a major party.
The most challenging professional obstacle that Ronald Reagan had to overcome while running for President was a lack of experience in politics. Reagan announced that he was running for governor of California in 1966. Many people said Reagan was not qualified for the job because of his lack of experience because while the other dididates were part of the politics he was a movie star. Reagan turned these concerns and hardships into assets by using them to show that he was an ordinary citizen who was tired of a state government that had become inefficient and unaccountable. The most challenging personal obstacle the Reagan faced was that he had many assassination attempts. One attempt in particular was almost successful. According to the article Ronald Reagan key events on millercenter.org “On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot by John W. Hinckley, Jr., while leaving the Washington Hilton Hotel after giving a speech. The President was hit under his left arm by a bullet that ricocheted off his limousine.” Ronald Reagan survived the gunshot that landed a bullet 1 inch from his heart and lived for many years after.
America is different because Ronald Reagan changed the Way the Republican party operates and he made filing for taxes easier. According to the article Ronald Reagan: Impact and Legacy on millercenter.org “His leadership and the symbiotic relationship he forged with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during their four summit meetings set the stage for a peaceful resolution of the Cold War.”Another way that Reagan changed America is by ending the Cold war. Reagan changed politics by making taxes simpler and and changing the way the Republican party operates. The Republican Party still uses Reagan as the basis of the way the party platform is structured.
Ronald Reagan was strong minded and independent. He was a leader who put others before himself when making political decisions. You can apply the lessons taught to us by the things the Reagan did by using them to make yourself a better person and to stand up for what you believe in. Reagan changed the way government was allowed to things the will run the peoples lives such at taxes. Reagan did many great things such as end the Cold War and repair the military.
The Biography of Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan was born on the 6th of February 1911, in an apartment on the second floor of a commercial building in Tampico, Illinois. His father was a man named Jack Reagan and the mother of Reagan was Nelle Clyde. Reagan was the youngest son of the two. His father was a salesman and a storyteller. Reagan was bestowed the nickname Dutch because according to his father he had a “Fat Little Dutchman” appearance. His family was Christian, a religion that Ronald Reagan would follow for the rest of his lifetime. Due to Jack Reagan’s belief in Christianity he did not endorse groups such as the KKK because their actions clashed with his Catholic views and beliefs. Ronald Reagan’s beliefs closely aligned with his father’s and he continued to be a devoted Christian. (wikipedia, 2019)
Ronald Reagan attended Dixon High School. He was very active in sports, storytelling, and acting clubs. While he was doing high school he got his first job as a life guard and preformed 77 rescues during his employment (wikipedia, 2019). Ronald Reagan stated that even though his family was not living in comfortable conditions it was the happiest time of his life (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2019). After graduating from Dixon High School he attended Eureka College in Illinois. He soon became a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, a cheerleading group, and studied economics and sociology. While he was still part of the Miller Center of public affairs he acquired a reputation of being a “Jack of All Trades”. He was also a member of the football team and the captain of the swimming team. He was also heavily involved in the politics of his university and even led a student revolt against the college president after threatening to lessen faculty. (wikipedia, 2019)
After graduating from Eureka University he drove to become a radio commentator for the Chicago Cub baseball team in 1932. He was chosen for this role because of the way he quickly and simply described the events of the game while they were happening. In 1937 while he went to California with the Cubs he decided to take a screen test at the Warner Bros studios. He continued acting until the US entered the Second World War. Reagan enlisted into the Army’s Enlisted Reserves and was commission as second lieutenant in the Officers’ Reserve Corps of the Cavalry on May 25, 1937. He started to create training films and by the end of his service he and his unit made 400 training films. After his service he became a secrete FBI informer in Hollywood in the late 1940s. During the rise of the cold war he was assigned with the task of determining who communist sympathizers were and who was not. Even though Reagan had his reservations he continued with his task. But in the 1950s he was hired as the host of General Electric Theatre and he was making a fortune. The show was very popular and it resulted in his name becoming a household name. (wikipedia, 2019)
Entrance into Politics
At the beginning of his political career he entered as a “Hollywood Democrat” and was very fond of Franklin Roosevelt. But then later moved to the right-wing in the 1950s before becoming a full-fledged republican. He was known to be very against nuclear armament, he was also known for attending and leading protest against it but nuclear weapons the production of them would later become the main point of his presidency. He became the governor of California in 1965-1975. He won the Californian vote after his “Time for Choosing” speech. In 1980 he ran for the Oval Office against Jimmie Carter. Reagan won with his main points being about the government should have less interference with people’s lives and lowering taxes. (wikipedia, 2019)
Political Impact. Cold War: Arms Race and the Collapse of the Soviet Union
In between 1981 and 1989 Ronald Reagan instilled a strategy of “Peace by Strength”. His plan was to stockpile weapons to scare the Soviet Union out of the arms race. Ronald Reagan hated communism and his foreign policies were mainly focused on interventions on countries that had communism lurking to take leadership. He was determined to extinguish the national feeling of sadness after American defeat in Vietnam. He called it the Vietnam Syndrome and he was determined to get rid of it. Together with the British Prime Minister Margarete Thatcher he denounced communist ideologies in the Royal Gallery of the Palace of Westminster on June 8 1982. And under the Reagan doctrine he showed how serious he was about the spread of communism. Under the doctrine, he authorized and provided overt and covert resistances that were anti-communist in Africa, South America, the Middle East, and Asia. He also developed special CIA Special Activities Division to be sent to Afghanistan and Pakistan to train, equip and lead mujahidin against the Soviet Army. These actions would get him credit for defeating the Soviet Army in Afghanistan and ending Soviet occupation there too. On 23 October 1983, American peacekeeping forces were attacked by Hezbollah forces (a radical Shi’ite organization) in Beirut. This resulted in 241 servicemen dead and another 60 wounded and it was later known as the Beirut Barack Bombings. Afterwards a truck bomb that killed 80 civilians exploded in Beirut and it is widely believed to be an American led retaliation for the Beirut Barrack Bombings. Meanwhile in Libya, tensions between Reagan and Muammar Gadhafi continued to rise and in 1982 the US proclaimed that Gadhafi with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, were the “Unholy Trinity”. In early April of 1986 a bomb exploded in Berlin causing 63 American Personals to be injured and the death of one serviceman. Reagan stated that there was irrefutable proof that Libya was behind the bombings and authorized military action in Libya even though that was going against the UN’s and the rest of the worlds wishes. This resulted in bombing in Libya which ended with ground targets being successfully destroyed. With all this military action the military budget was on the rise and using the arms race as fuel to the fire of Reagan’s hunger for weapons. The Soviet Union just could not compete and slowly and slowly the union was shrinking. The end of the cold war came about with summit meetings between Gorbachev and Reagan in 1982 and they mutually agreed to cease nuclear armament. (Reagan’s Foreign Policy and the End of the Cold War)
Economic Impact. Reaganomics
The word “Reaganomics” refers to Ronald Reagans approach to the US’s economic problems. Some of which being a high unemployment rate and high inflation. His main promises were that he would make the market freer and remove more regulations and that he would reduce taxes. This is seems like the perfect recipe to allow the private sector of America to grow. And it did. The amount of entrepreneurs were more than ever but with tax lessened and the cold war escalating and the arms race rising Reagan was forced to put the country in an increasing debt line with an increases greater than any presidency since WW2. But the GDP grew by 21.4% compared to the average 19.1%. He lowered the federal income tax from 70% to 50% in the top marginal tax and 14% to 11% in the lowest marginal tax by signing the Economic Recovery Act in 1981. The unemployment rate rose from 3.1% under Jimmie Carter to 5.5% the month Reagan left office. At the beginning of his presidency the percentage of people living under poverty was 13% and then it rose to 15.2% in 1983 then declined in back to 13% at the end of his presidency. Most of his critics argued that he widened the wage gap and he was mostly looking out for the rich but his supporters said that the economic stage he set was perfect for entrepreneurs. (Reaganomics, 2019)
Social Impacts. War on Drugs
Before Ronald Reagans war on drugs, fighting drug abuse was a small part of law enforcement. But in June 1971 Richard Nixon declared drug abuse as public enemy number 1 and increased funding to drug-control agencies and drug treatment facilities. But Reagan bumped up the penalties for drug abuse and the entire War on Drugs. Before his presidency there were 50,000 people being detained for nonviolent drug crimes but by 1997 there were 400,000. Even his wife, Nancy, started her campaign against drugs by educating children about the effects of drugs and what would happen if they did take illegal drugs in 1984. She called it the “Just Say No” campaign. The war on drugs was also amplified by the media during the crack epidemic of the 1980s. Crack was mainly targeted and we can see this by the minimum sentence given to drug offenders. If someone was found with 5 grams of crack it would be an automatic 5 years while it took at least 500 grams of cocaine to even trigger a sentence. And since 80% of crack users at the time were African American it led to a lot of claims that the War on Drugs was purely a racist war. This left a lot of households without fathers and mothers. And since in the constitution it states people held in penitentiaries can be subject to involuntary work it can be said this was a ply made by Ronald Reagan to exploit crack addicts to do free labor of the American government. (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2018)
Ronald Reagan lived a full life from acting to protesting to being heavily involved in politics. His efforts for the private business sector to grow were understandable but it instead led to a huge class gap and higher unemployment rates. I did not understand how he would plan continue the arms race without racing taxes but he decided to increase the national debt and leave that problem to his successor. His war on drugs should have been a more rehabilitation effort than incarsarating a huge amount of drug addicts, people who are sick and need treatment, and making them work. I am surprised that the influences that he took from his father did not advise him to treat them like people who need help. He did end the cold war but at a huge cost for both the USSR and the US but at least it did not end in mutual atomic annihilation
- Reagan’s Foreign Policy and the End of the Cold War. (n.d.). Retrieved from courses.lumenlearning.com: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-ushistory/chapter/reagans-foreign-policy-and-the-end-of-the-cold-war/
- Reaganomics. (2019, May 9). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reaganomics
- The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2018, December 5). War on Drugs. Retrieved from www.britannica.com: https://www.britannica.com/topic/war-on-drugs
- The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2019, June 1). Ronald Reagan. Retrieved from www.britannica.com: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ronald-Reagan
- Wikipedia. (2019, May 30). Ronald Reagan. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Reagan/wiki/Ronald_Reagan</li></ul>
Life and Career of Ronald Reagan
Do you love the 80s? Spunky hair, neon clothes, leg warmers, and Coca-Cola? Well, Ronald Reagan was President of the United States for most of the 1980s; 1981-89 to be exact. He did many things in the office during his presidency and outside being president. Some things that he did was developed a new strategy for the economy (also known as Reaganomics), he was a movie star for most of his career life and so many more!
For starters, Ronald Wilson Reagan was born February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois by Nelle and Jack Reagan. He also had one older brother, Neil Reagan. When Reagan was a baby his father gave him the nickname Dutch because he resembled “a fat little Dutchman.” Also, his father was a shoe salesman because of that his family and he had to move around a lot for new sales jobs before settling down in Dixon, Illinois. Reagan went to Dixon High School where he was athlete and student council president. During summers, he was a lifeguard and saved up to 77 people from drowning. Once high school was over he decided to go to Eureka College and continued to be a very active student. He did many extracurricular activities such as being captain of the swim team, playing football, running track, was student council president and acted in school performances. After, graduating college he found a job in Iowa being a sports announcer.
Acting Career and Love Life
The beginning his acting career Ronald went to a screen test for Warner Brothers Studio and had him signed to the studio. That same year he was in his first movie called “Love is on the Air.” He would go on to in more than 50 other movies such as, “Bedtime for Bonzo,” “Cattle Queen of Montana,” and “Dark Victory.” Ronald Reagan’s most notable roles were George Gripp (a Notre Dame football player) in “Knute Rockne All American” and an accident victim that gets all his limbs amputated in “Kings Row.”
During this time he got married to an actress named Jane Wyman from 1940-48 and had two children, Maureen and Michael. Then got remarried to another actress named, Nancy Davis in 1952 and then had another two children, Patricia and Ronald. Nancy and he were married until he died.
Towards the end of his acting career he hosted in a TV series called “The General Electric Theater” and in this show, he gives business advice, gave a tour of The White House, and talked about the government’s economy. This show was a spark for him to get into politics.
Getting into Politics
When Reagan was younger he was a part of the Democratic Party but, as he grew old he became more conservative along with his age and by the early 1960s, he joined the Republican Party. His first televised political speech was for Barry Goldwater, a Republican presidential candidate. Many people liked his views that he decided to run for governor in California in, 1966 and won against the Democrat, Edmund Brown Sr. by about one million votes. After, being governor for two terms he wanted to be president. He ran for president in 1968 and 1976 but did not get elected.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected to be president and was inaugurated president on January 20, 1981. On March 30, 1981, John Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan but, lucky Reagan survived the attempt and had a quick recovery.
Some major things that he did during his 1st term, he nominated the first woman to the Supreme Court. Another thing is that he did was that he grew the military with troops and weapons because of the Cold War and created a plan to design space-based weapons to protect Americans from the Soviet Union. Reagan sent out about 800 Marines to Lebanon to keep peace in Israel, then suicide bombers attacked the Marines and killed 241 US citizens. Another thing is that Reagan invaded Grenada because rebels take over the Grenadan government.
Reagan got reelected for a second term along with his vice president George H. W. Bush. Reagan created a relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev, who was the leader of the Soviet Union at the time. With that relationship, he was able to eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles. Reagan also spoke about the Berlin Wall and said that it was the symbol of communism.
Reagan cared for the economy with a great deal before, Reagan was in office the economy was very unstable and he wanted to make it be strong and reliable. Reagan came up with this plan where he would first cut taxes down, slow down spending growth for the government, reduce regulations for companies, and then tame inflation. This plan would be called Reaganomics by the press and news outlets. He cut taxes because he wanted companies to have more money to grow, buy investments and make new jobs. His spending growth was 2.5% per year compared to 4% annual government spending increase. He did this because he didn’t more money he just needed to re-organize where the money went. The reason Reagan reduced regulations is that he realized supply and demand was an essential part of growing the economy and those regulations were in the way of that. He did not, however, reduce regulations on health, safety, and environment. Taming inflation was also along with reducing regulations because he wanted to save money. Inflation is the increase in prices of goods and it overwhelms the economy making your money cost less.
After Being President
After he left the office he moved back to Los Angles, California. Reagan has a library/museum named the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in his honor in California. Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in November of 1994. Ronald Reagan died on June 5, 2004, at age of 93. Reagan one of the longest-lived president. He was buried at his presidential library but, had his funeral in D.C. Ronald Reagan had a very full life, he did many good things during a presidency and is considered of one the greatest presidents.
- Editors, History.com. “Ronald Reagan.” HISTORY, A&E Television Networks, 9 Nov. 2009, www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/ronald-reagan
- Writers, Whitehouse.gov. “Ronald Reagan.” The White House, The United States Government, www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/ronald-reagan/
- Writers, Millercenter.org. “Ronald Reagan – Key Events.” Miller Center, The University of Virginia, 8 Sept. 2017, www.millercenter.org/president/ronald-reagan/key-events
- Amadeo, Kimberly. “Would Reaganomics Work Today?” The Balance Small Business, The Balance, www.thebalance.com/reaganomics-did-it-work-would-it-today-3305569
- Educational Videos for Students (Cartoons on Bullying, Leadership & More). YouTube, 9 Oct. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdhE080FSns
Ronald Wilson Reagan Biography
Our 40th president, Ronald Wilson Reagan once said, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets credit,” (“A Quote by Ronald Reagan”). He showed true pride in his country when he was enlisted, later became governor of California, and after that lead the United States for eight years. He was not only a son, a brother, a husband, a father, and a friend; he was also a leader.
Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 to his loving mother and father, Nelle Clyde, who was Scottish and English, and Edward “Jack” Reagan, who was Irish. He grew up with one older brother, Neil Reagan. Throughout Ronald’s childhood his father was a salesman and storyteller. His father also called him Dutch throughout his life, due to his small dutch-boy appearance.
He was born in a small town in Illinois called Tampic. Throughout his childhood he ended up moving multiple times in Illinois. In 1919 the family returned to Tampico. Shortly after his family settled back in Tampico they packed up again and moved to Dixon, Illinois in 1920.
He attended Dixon High School where he participated in many sports, including football and swim, and was elected the student-body president. Reagan also found his love for acting at Dixon High School while participating in many drama productions. In 1927 he got his first job as a lifeguard at a local pool for the summer before his senior year. He then graduated with his class in 1928.
After high school he moved onto college and attended Eureka College in central Illinois. He had a sports scholarship to continue playing football. In college he joined a fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon. He was also a member of the cheerleading team, captain of the swim team, a member of the football team and student council president. While in college he studied economics and sociology. In 1932 he graduated with his major in sociology and economics.
After college he moved to Iowa and got a job as a radio announcer. He later moved and became a Chicago Cubs game announcer in Des Moines. While working in Southern California for the Cubs baseball team, he did a screen test with Warner Brother Studios and there he signed a seven year contract. His debut movie was, Love is in the Air where he played a radio news reporter. Within three decades, Reagan was in over fifty movies.
Reagan enlisted in the army on May 25, 1937 and on April 18, 1942 he was reported to duty for the very first time. Because of his bad eyesight, he was restricted from serving overseas. His first assignment was at Fort Mason, California, where he worked as a liaison officer where he worked in the Port and Transportation Office. Later in his military career he returned to Fort MacArthur, California where he left his active duty on December 9, 1945.
In 1940 he married Jane Wyman whom he met while filming Brother Rat. Wyman was born with the name Sarah Jane Mayfield on January 5, 1917. Jane was an actress, a singer, a dancer and many more things. The two got engaged in Chicago and were married on January 26, 1940 in California. The couple had two children and adopted one. Their first born was Maureen Reagan, born on January 4, 1941 and their second born was Christine Reagan who was born in 1947, but died at birth. They adopted Michael shortly after his birth in 1945. Wyman filed for a divorce in 1948, and it was finalized in 1949.Maureen was raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated in 1958 from Marymount Secondary School in Tarrytown in New York. After graduating she attended Marymount University. She had a short lived acting career as a child, but did not continue in the rest of her life. In her life she married three times and had one daughter in her last marriage. She passed away on August 8, 2001.
Michael was born on March 18, 1945 with the name John Flaugher out of wedlock to Irene Flaugher, an unmarried lady from Kentucky. She became pregnant from a U.S. Army corporal. Through his childhood he was expelled from Loyola High School and then went to Judson High School, a boarding school in Arizona, where he graduated in 1964. HE never graduated from college. In his lifetime he was a salesman, actor, radio show host and an author. In 1971 he married the daughter of Duane Putman, Gail Putman and the two divorced in 1972. He then married Colleen Sterns in 1975 and the two of them had two children, Cameron and Ashley.
Soon after his divorce Reagan met Nancy Davis (“Ronald Reagan”). Nancy’s birth name was Anne Francis Robin. She was born on July 6, 1921 in Manhattan. She was born to a farmer turned salesman named Kenneth Robbins and an actress, Edith Luckett. Her parents separated after her birth but the divorce was not finalized till 1928. After the split she lived with her aunt and awaited her mothers return to New York, and when her mother did return for an acting job, her aunt would take her to see. After graduating from college she pursued her career in acting and volunteered to help raise money for the fight against polio. During her days of acting in Hollywood she dated a number of actors. But on November 15, 1949 she met her future husband, Ronald Reagan.
Reagan helped her with the issue of having her name on the Communist Blacklist in Hollywood since she shared her name with another actress. They got engaged at Chasen’s Restaurant in Los Angeles. They were married on March 4, 1952 at Little Brown Church in The Valley with a small wedding party. Nancy later said, “I don’t know if it was love at first sight, but it was pretty close.”
Reagan and Davis had two children to add to the family. Their first born was Patricia Reagan, born only seven and a half months after the wedding on October 21, 1952. Then their second was born on May 20, 1958 and his name is Ronald “Ron” Reagan.
Patricia became better known as Patti Davis and pursued a life in acting and writing. In college, at Orme School of Arizona, she studied creative writing and drama. Patti acted in multiple television shows before getting her first publishing offer. She published her first book, Home Front, in 1986. To this day she run a program at UCLA called “Beyond Alzheimer’s.”
Ronald, also known as Ron, is a former radio host for KIRO radio and Air American Radio. He is known for his political beliefs that are opposite of what his father’s political beliefs were. He lived in Seattle, Washington with his wife Doria Palmieri who was a psychologist up to when she died in 2014 to a neuromuscular disease. After his wife’s death he admitted to being an atheist.
From 1967 to 1975, Reagan was the governor of The Golden State, California. The republicans of California were astonished by his political views, especially after his famous speech, “Time for Choosing.” In his campaign while running for governor he had two main ideas, the first being that those who aren’t working should get back to work and the second being that they needed to, “clean up the mess at Berkeley.” Reagan was sworn in a governor of California on January 2, 1967. During his term as governor he paused government hiring and raised taxes to help with the budget. After two terms, Reagan did not continue running as governor of California. For he had a bigger plan.
In 1976, Reagan put up a challenge with the current president Gerald Ford to become the United States Republican party nominee for the next election. Reagan’s campaign was run by his campaign manager John Sears. With Smith’s help he was able to win North Carolina, California and Texas, Unfortunately he lost to Ford in New Hampshire, Florida and his home state, Illinois. But his win in Texas gave him a lot of hope since he got all the delegates votes. As the final convention for the Republican party came, it seemed as if Ford had it, and he did. Winning with only 117 more votes, Ford ran against Democrat Jimmy Carter and lost.
In the 1980 election, Reagan ran against current president Jimmy Carter. Reagan won by a landslide due to concerns about Carter’s view on the Iran Hostage Crisis. Reagan’s main ideas were to lower taxes, have government stay out of people’s lives, allow states rights, and provide a strong national defense system. He remained president all the way from 1981-1989.
Shortly after his presidency began Reagan, James Brady, Thomas Delhanty, and Tim McCarthy were shot at by the assassin John Hinckley Jr. They were right outside Washington Hilton hotel when the shot was fired. It is said that Reagan was close to death whilst arriving to George Washington University Hospital. The president, while in the emergency room, was stabilized and later had an emergency exploratory surgery. After recovering, Reagan was released from the hospital on April 11. Ronald Reagan became the first president in history to survive an assassination.
On August 23, 1992 Reagan was assaulted by a protestor. He was giving an acceptance speech in Las Vegas, Nevada. 41-year-old Richard Paul Springer smashed a two foot high crystal statue that weighed nearly thirty pounds. Pieces of the statue hit Reagan, but luckily he went uninjured. Springer was planning to announce plans that the government had been making to test nuclear weapons underground. Shortly after he was arrested and pleaded guilty saying his intentions were not to hurt Reagan.
In August of 1994 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This is a disease that destroys brain cells, causing death. He informed the nation four months later in November, where he wrote a letter about everything. The disease slowly destroyed his mental capacity. In the end he was only able to recognize very few people, one being his wife, Nancy.
He died on the afternoon of June 5, 2004 in Los Angeles, California from pneumonia which was complicated by his alzheimer’s. Later that day at Kingsley and Gates Funeral Home in Santa Monica people laid flowers and flags in the grass to show their respects. On June 7, there was a small funeral held for close family and friends then two days later on the ninth he was taken to Washington D.C. where 104,184 people gathered to mourn the loss of their American leader. On the 11th the funeral was held, and later that day another service was held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California this is also where President Reagan was buried.
Ronald W. Reagan left an impact on many Americans and even more. He showed that it is truly possible that you can do what you love. He was always a leader through high school, college and later in life when he became president of the United States. He went from a small town in Illinois, to acting in California for the Warner Brothers all the way to the Oval Office in Washington D.C. He accomplished very much, and made many proud.
United States After Civil War
The 1960s are often looked at as a time of great change in American culture. Many issues were at play, Consumer advocacy, environmental reform, organic foods, the sexual revolution, personal growth groups, feminism, gay rights, the antiwar crusade, and dozens of other issues clamored urgently for attention (Cobbs, 378). While many persons were looking to make changes in their own lives, inspiration from leaders inspired many to work to improve the lives of large groups of people.
President Kennedy called for Americans to help others. He said, Ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country (Cobbs, 378).
Other leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Kennedy and Malcom X sought social changes so that the lives of many downtrodden people could be improved. Gay rights became a new hot topic. From out of the closet, their voices were being heard, We have pretended everything is OK, because we havent been able to see how to change it weve been afraid (Cobbs, 390). Now they were making headlines. The individual pursuit of fulfillment and happiness also occurred alongside social reform. Particularly in California, the Human Potential Movement asked Americans not what they could do for their country, but what they should do for themselves (Cobbs, 378). Both social responsibility and pursuit of individual happiness were occurring simultaneously in the 1960s. Demonstrations against racial bias, the Vietnam War, feminism, gay rights and other causes saw substantial support as thousands turned out in protest or support.
When President Johnson entered his presidency, American presence in South Vietnam had been long established by administrations preceding his. He was faced with a choice of either finding a way out of the South Vietnam conflict or to escalate the U.S. presence there in the hopes of victory and independence for South Vietnam. Many believe that Johnson could have chosen either path, he had the opportunity to make a choice, it seems undeniable that Johnson, fated to be president when the key Vietnam decisions had to be made, could have chosen differently. He could have avoided this war… (Cobbs, 403). In addition to stopping the domino effect of communism, some persons in the foreign service thought that the U.S. could improve Vietnam Or, as LBJ put it, I want to leave the footprints of America in Vietnam… (Cobbs, 405).
President Johnson had other reasons to escalate the conflict in Vietnam that may have been more compelling. Johnson worried about the harm that failure in Vietnam could do to his domestic agenda; even more, he feared the personal humiliation he imagined would inevitably accompany a defeat (and for him, a negotiated withdrawal constituted defeat) (Cobbs, 405). Advisers closest to him also had their own reasons to support the war, Top aides, meanwhile, feared for their reputations and careers should they abandon their previous support for a staunch commitment to South Vietnams survival (Cobbs, 405). Johnsons approach was to quietly intensify the war efforts without involving Congress or the American people. [Nevertheless, Johnson] … opted, as George C. Herring has put it, to wage war in cold blood. There would be no national debate on Vietnam, no call- up of the reserves, no declared state of emergency. The United States would go to war on the sly (Cobbs, 404). And Johnson did escalate the war, sending more troops and equipment to the region with the loss of tens of thousands of American lives, unfortunately he was not deterred, it was a war that he had committed to and he felt that he would be viewed as a failing leader if he accepted any outcome other than victory.
In the 1970s and into the 1980s, Americans went from trusting the government and embracing liberal reform to distrust of the government and a renewed interest in conservatism, the New Right. The liberalism that began with the New Deal ended following the Cold War. In modern America, liberalism was a consequence of the Cold War, a side effect of the national security state. The Cold War was now dead and buried, and Americans had reverted to their historic skepticism of big government…. (Cobbs, 432). The tragedies of the Vietnam War and the lies by President Richard Nixon furthered their distrust of big government. Americans who discovered that their leaders had been tragically wrong about Vietnam began to wonder whether those same leaders could have been right about anything (Cobbs, 425). With distrust of the government by Americans also came a disliking of the government and the bigger the government, the worse it was. Spending on New Deal programs such as Social Security for dependents had increased government spending on welfare programs and had now become a target of the New Right. Nearly everyone Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives shook their heads at the runaway deficits. Democrats blamed Republicans for bloating defense and coddling capital; Republicans blamed Democrats for winking at wasteful social programs (Cobbs, 430).
Each side blamed the other for the deficit but the American instinct was that it was big government that was to blame and so the conservatives appeared to be in the right. Ironically, while speaking against big government, Reagan greatly increased the spending on the military. Between 1981 and 1985, American spending on defense leaped a third, from $179 billion in fiscal 1981 to $229 billion in 1985 (in constant 1982 dollars) (Cobbs, 430). At the same time, Reagan helped pass tax cuts, particularly for those in the highest tax brackets. This resulted in the need to borrow money to pay for government expenditures. Even while the Reaganites ridiculed Keynesianism as liberal looniness, they practiced the Keynesian formula of deficit spending (Cobbs, 430). In a relatively short time, liberal reform died when distrust of the government began following the end of the Cold War a New Right developed, bringing in a conservative movement to reduce the size of government and usher in President Ronald Reagan. Reagans massive build-up of the military and tax reforms led to an ever larger government budget with a resultant deficit spending. Americans however, continued to support the New Right as their ire against the government ruled above all else.
When Ronald Reagan was elected president, conservatives rejoiced. The so-called Reagan Revolution heartened conservatives who had railed against big government for several generations (Cobbs, 408). While campaigning, Reagan complained repeatedly about the government being too large and wasteful. Yet there was a curious discontinuity in Reagans message. The country was as great as ever, he said, but its government was awful. Government is not the solution to our problem he stated in his first inaugural. Government is the problem (Cobbs, 427). Americans, with their distrust of the government, embraced his message. The conservatives were willing to accept Reagans massive spending on defense and the resulting deficits, in exchange for tax cuts and anti-government rhetoric. They preferred to blame the deficits on liberal reform expenditures, too many New Deal reforms, including Social Security and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (welfare) (Cobbs, 408). Republicans blamed Democrats for winking at wasteful social programs (Cobbs, 430). The conservatives had wanted a smaller government for a long time and were finally hearing their president repeatedly share their views.
Many Americans, resentful of government actions, came to believe that the government was too large, too generous and taking too much of their money in taxes. President Reagans deficit spending could easily be blamed on his inherited big government and its welfare state but it was also his own doing, due to tax cuts and exorbitant military budgets.
Ronald Reagan: An American Hero
When it comes to presidency character is everything. In the early 1980’s Ronald Wilson Reagan never thought he would grow up to be one of the most famous icons in history that was known as a true American hero. Many people would have to say that Reagan was one of the greatest presidents of all time, while others might differ to this claim.
Regardless of peoples political views it was obvious that Reagan changed the world and will forever be remembered in history books. He was a strong president who cared dearly for his country and transformed the American spirit to make people feel more at ease with all the crises that the country was facing. Before his presidency he was a sports commentator and actor in Hollywood but shortly after that served two terms as governor of California.
Reagan dealt with many challenges that helped shape his legacy and why many people looked up to him.
Ronald Wilson Reagan he was born on February 6th 1911 in Tampico Illinois in a five room flat above H.C. Pitney General Store where his father worked. The nickname Dutch was given to Ronald as a kid by his father because he said he looked like a fat little Dutchman. He had an older brother named Neil and his parents were John Edward and Nelle Reagan who didn’t come from a lot of money and struggled throughout his childhood. His father was of Irish decent and worked as a shoe salesman while his mother was of Scottish- English decent and stayed at home as a homemaker.
Since Reagan’s father was alcoholic he could never keep a job, which meant they were constantly moving throughout Illinois searching for a new job. Once Ronald reached the age of nine they finally settled in Dixon Illinois but he didn’t really fit in since he never really had friends from always being on the move. He was boy who liked to be by himself and play with his tin soldiers but really enjoyed reading books about natural history. As a boy, Reagan’s life was filled with scrapes and adventures. He once narrowly escaped death while playing under a train that suddenly began moving. Reagan graduated from Dixon High School in 1928, where he played on the football and basketball teams, became president of the student body, acted in school plays, and wrote for the yearbook. Reagan, an accomplished swimmer since early boyhood, worked six summers as a lifeguard in Lowell Park in Dixon on the treacherous Rock River. According to newspaper reports of the time and later research, he saved 77 people from drowning (Lou Cannon).
After high school Reagan decided to enroll in Eureka College in Eureka, Illinois where he majored in economics but ended up graduating with only a C average. While attending Eureka he played football, cheered during basketball season, swam for the swim team and was apart of the drama club. Not only did he do all that but also joined the debate team, was a reporter for the school newspaper, worked on the college yearbook and was president of the student council. With all the activities he had going on in his life at such a young age he was very driven to participate in many things that made him happy. At home Jack Reagan’s fashion Booty Shop staggered under the depression and finally went out of business. Regan had to provide for himself, and in addition to washing dishes at the fraternity, he was the school’s swimming coach and teacher and worked in the kitchen of the girl’s dormitory (Bill Boyarsky 1981 pg. 40). He also had an early taste of politics: while still a freshman he made a dramatic oration on behalf of Eureka students who were striking to restore classes that the school administration had eliminated because of financial strains caused by the Great Depression. After the strike, the college president resigned (Cannon).
Once he graduated college he didn’t have any job opportunities he was very confident and optimistic that something would turn up. He believed that there was more to college than just books and felt that knowledge was associated with facts and stated what good is it to teach someone all the facts if they don’t know how to live and if they don’t use them for the solutions of the problems that people are going to deal with as life goes on. Eventually he decided to enter radio broadcasting and got turned down by many big stations but MacArthur at WOC in Davenport offered him a salary of $100 a week to be a staff announcer and his job was to play records and sometimes make public service announcements such as the weather or reading a commercial but he was later fired for making too many errors. Regan was given a chance to read out a play action between the Chicago cubs or White Socks game and had to give a brief description of the play going on and loved what he brought to announcing. After all of that Reagan moved to Des Moines, Iowa to start working at WHO studios where he began all his training, which eventually would lead him to Hollywood California. Working at this job also helped him perfect his speaking abilities and learned how to sell soap, cars and major- league baseball by the power of his voice. Ronald Reagan was one of the best play-by-play men in the Midwest, a nonstop talker who was so talkative that he wasn’t even nervous when the wire occasionally break down and would just improvise until it was repaired.
When it came to his acting career and how he became a Hollywood star all began when he went out to Los Angeles, California to follow the Chicago Cubs to their spring training camp while being out there he ended up reading for a casting director in Hollywood who offered him no hope in the acting industry. Later he met up with a friend who introduced him to an agent named Bill Meiklejohn who got him to meet with a casting director at Warner Brothers Studios. Warner Bros. gave him a screen test and was so impressed to offer him a contract starting at $200 a week since he resembled Robert Taylor an actor who died in a car accident and needed a replacement. The first film he appeared in was Love Is on the Air which ended up not being one of the best films ranging in the B average. In many of his roles Reagan was a victim of the poorly written movies grounded out by Hollywood’s film factories in the thirties, forties and fifties by useless writers, directors and producers. By 1938 he met a talented woman named Jane Wyman during the filming of Brother Rat about 2 years he was later married to Wyman on January 26 and had a daughter named Maureen by 1941 and just a few years later adopted a son name Michael in 1945. In 1948 Regan and Wyman’s marriage ended up in a divorce because she did not share the same interest and her acting career was taking off. The next four years were going to be the toughest years of his life especially with his movie career failing which made him start getting into politics.
Once he began seeing actress Nancy Davis he knew she was the one and wanted to share the rest of his life with. Reagan’s political view started to change once he married Nancy being that she came from a conservative family. Her father was a wealthy conservative surgeon who retired after his long career in Chicago. Shortly after their wedding in 1952 Nancy announced she was pregnant with a daughter who they named Patricia Ann Reagan. With all this going on Ronald needed to figure out how he was going to produce money being that his acting career was falling apart. In 1954 the General Electric Corporation was looking for a host for a new television series who could sell the products to build the company’s corporate image and visit G.E. plants to improve employee self-confidence by delivering inspirational speeches. In 1958 Nancy was in labor with a son who they named Ronald Prescott and Reagan was in relief that his wife survived. Reagan During those eight years of working for General Electric Company would be a very crucial part of his political development. To him it felt like a political campaign to him since he was meeting and shaking hands with these people but was very concerned with how these people felt. Many people were dissatisfied with the union, company and government. Eventually, however, his speeches became too controversial for the company’s taste, and he was fired as both spokesman and television host in 1962 (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica). He was more than ready to do something else with his life and felt that working for G.E. helped him sharpen his political philosophy.
In the year of 1962 Reagan changed his registration from democrat to republican and started to campaign actively for Richard Nixon delivering more than 200 speeches and a couple years later he was appointed state co-chairman of citizens for Goldwater- Miller. Shortly after in 1966 Ronald had the confidence to run for governor in California but had to go up against two- term, Democratic governor Edmud G. Brown of San Francisco who had plenty of experience. Brown wanted to go up against Reagan and leaked photos of the other republican opponent George Christopher that ended up backfiring on Brown. Christopher was angry he backed Reagan to unify the republicans. The Reagans heard the news of Ronnie’s victory over the radio on their way home from the Jorgensen’s’ to the Biltmore. In the end Reagan carried all three counties. The final tally: Reagan, 3,742,914; 2,749,174 (Bob Colacello 2004). Four years later he won a second term and became a successful governor that many liberal democrats didn’t expect but he showed compromise to the Republican Party. He made promises during his campaign that he would squeeze, cut, and trim the growth of state government. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to get much done during his first term but made sure to get things done during his second. Reagan knew his political problems would get better if he could get the tax increase approved by coming to terms with Unruh. His political skills improved and his administration was able to change the direction of the welfare policy through laws and regulations. During his two terms as governor (1967“1975), Reagan erased a substantial budget deficit inherited from the Brown administration (through the largest tax increase in the history of any state to that time) and instituted reforms in the state’s welfare programs (The Editors Encyclopedia Britannica). With all the risk he took to make the country a better one he would soon find himself interested in a presidency.
After leaving the governor’s office at the end of 1974, Reagan decided to write columns that appeared in 175 newspapers, recorded commentaries that aired on more than 200 radio stations and gave speeches. Fast-forward to the election of 1980, which was a big one for Reagan since he defeated Carter and John Anderson who both ran as independents. Ronald Reagan was elected the 40th president of the United States and inaugurated on January 21, 1981 and stated “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” There were many things he got done during his presidency such as advanced domestic policies that featured a reducing of federal government responsibility in solving social problems, reduced restrictions on businesses and implemented tax cuts also known as Reaganomics. Not only did he do all that but also during the cold war he challenged soviet Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall since it represented the repressive communist era. On November 9, 1989 East and West Germans broke down the wall, which meant an end to the Cold War. There was so much to admire about Reagan he had a funny personality and said what he felt no matter what others thought. A few years later after his presidency, Ronald Reagan developed Alzheimer’s disease and decided to breakaway from the public eye. Unfortunately Ronald Reagan passed away at the age of 93 at his home on June 5, 2004 in Bel-Air, California.
In conclusion Ronald Reagan was a man who was looked at as an American hero who was able to do so much in a short amount of time. He spoke his mind whenever he felt it was necessary. People were surprised that this man was able to accomplish a lot since they thought he was going to fail. Ronald Reagan once said, Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. This quote he stated is such an important part of history today especially with everything going on in the world. If people don’t change their ways and care about what’s more important for the future generation to come this country will fall apart. Reagan cared deeply for this country and fought for what he thought was right to help better this country and was by far one of the most influential presidents of all time.
A Life Of Ronald Reagan
To many, the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, is considered to be one of the greatest presidents who have ever lived. Many even suggested that his face be carved into Mount Rushmore. While most of the United States remembers Reagan as a tremendous leader, others are often skeptical of the amount of credit he has earned for his success while in office.
Critics may question the positive reception that has generally been affiliated with his name, very seldom deny the achievements garnered in both the social and political arena. The admiration and skepticism that Reagan has received could be due to a variety of similar sources. Reagan’s achieving 8 years in office is likely derived from his charismatic and likeable personality, his ability to affectively communicate, and simply being in the right place at the right time.
- 1 Early Life
- 2 The Charismatic Politician
- 3 The Great Communicator
- 4 Overrated or Effective?
Ronald Reagan was born on February 6th, 1911 in Tampico Illinois. At a young age, Reagan witnessed his family economically suffer through the 20th century recession, The Great Depression. Former President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, introduced an economic plan known as The New Deal, which supported Regan’s family through these those trying times. As a result of Reagan’s admiration for President Roosevelt and the poverty that he and his family had endured, he grew up with very progressive political views.
Reagan was raised by a caring mother and an alcoholic father, whose influence played a huge factor on shaping him into who he was as a leader. Due to the trauma that he experienced while growing up in a home with a neglectful and often abusive father; he always strived to maintain a positive outlook in life, even in the most stressful of times. He was very non-confrontational person and his emotional intelligence allowed him to easily get along with others.
Reagan utilized his charismatic personality in many occupational fields he was involved through out his early life. He served in the military during World War 2, but due to his poor eyesight, he spent most of his service acting in American propaganda films. Shortly after the War ended, Reagan was made president of the Screen Actor’s Guild, where he met his wife, Nancy. 3 years after dating, they got married in March of 1952.
He was also a popular actor in Hollywood and eventually signed a contract with Warner Brothers Studios. He played a part in over 50 films, which made his attractive personality highly notable throughout the nation. He was entrenched to the Hollywood lifestyle, which shifted his already progressive views even further left.
As Reagan began to distance himself from the celebrity culture that often accompanies the film industry, his interest in politics began to grow, and his political views seemed to gradually shift further right. Following World War 2, Communism was on the rise. Most conspicuous at the time was the Soviet Union and their adoption of the communist regimes. Theis led to the Cold War and consequently, Reagan developed very anti-communistic views. As the Cold War intensified, so did Reagan’s conservative values, both politically and socially, and officially became a registered Republican in 1962.
The Charismatic Politician
A few years later, Reagan was convinced to run as Governor of California by a few small business owners. He was elected as Governor in 1967 and served 2 terms. His time in state office helped him develop political experience and solidify his political beliefs.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States, defeating the unpopular incumbent, Jimmy Carter. Winning both the popular vote and the Electoral College, he took office in January of 1981. Reagan commenced his time in office with higher favorability ratings than his 3 most recent predecessors, and his go lucky, cheerful personality helped him get along with almost everyone in the White House. He was kind, humorous, inspirational and an eternal optimist. Although Reagan was elected as a Republican, due to his time as a democrat, his views were fairly bi-partisan, which assisted him in working well with Congress and passing his proposed legislation such as his economic plan which was coined the name Reaganonmics.
Reaganomics was President Reagan’s first inaugural domestic priority, where he cut taxes from major cooperations and the upper class, in order for wealth to be distributed down into the middle and lower class, essentially to boost the economy. Although the incorporation of this plan had a rocky start, the economy made a gradual improvement during his tenure in office.
Reagan’s commendable time in office eventually hit an obstacle when an executive political scandal was exposed to the general public. The scandal, known as the Iran-Contra Affair’, took place during Reagan’s 2nd term in office, which involved unelected officials of the Reagan Administration illegally dealing weapons to Iran in hope to release several of United States hostages. Reagan publically claimed that he was unaware of the events that were taken place; nevertheless, this took a toll on his general approval ratings, dropping it from 63% to 47%.
Although Reagan experienced some negative press during his presidency, it is plausible that the results could have been much worse for a president who was not as amiable or trustworthy as Reagan was.
Because of his bi-partisanship, his relationship with those of Congress and in the White House, and his sunny disposition, Reagan was able to receive success in the presidency, despite some unfortunate events that took place, which even may have been out of his spectrum of knowledge.
The Great Communicator
President Reagan was no rookie when it came to addressing the public. After he graduated college, he was a radio announcer for a few different stations and later on became a sports announcer for the Chicago Cubs baseball games. These occupations of course helped him develop an ability to effectively communicate, and his time in Hollywood only strengthened his abilities. Reagan also served as a conservative spokesman for the Barry Goldwater campaign in the 60s. Likewise, his time as Governor of California helped him develop his political communication skills and cognitive abilities.
On January 28th, 1986, 7 astronauts were killed in NASA’s failed space mission known as the Challenger Disaster. This traumatic event came as a shock to many Americans, as many mourned over the fatalities of the NASA crewmembers. For the sake of the unfortunate occurrence, President Reagan postponed his State of the Union address in order to publically reach out to the American people in regards to what had recently taken place. Some of his most impactful words were as stated:
For the families of the seven: we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we’re thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, “Give me a challenge, and I’ll meet it with joy.” They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us. We’ve grown used to wonders in this century. It’s hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years the United States space program has been doing just that. We’ve grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we’ve only just begun. We’re still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers (Ronald Reagan).
The words of Reagan struck the hearts of the American people, as he was able to council them in a time of need. His ability to mourn with the American people and provide them with hope created greater confidence between Reagan and his constituents.
Although Reagan was sympathetic towards the American people in many of his addresses, he also had the ability to be witty and humorous. In March of 1981, the newly elected President was shot in his side and wounded by John Hinckley Jr. Although Reagan suffered with a punctured lung and internal bleeding, he was able to maintain his humor during the recovery process, even telling the doctors who were treating him that he hoped they were all Republicans. His humor and optimism was appealing to the American people, and always seemed to know how to make someone laugh, even in the worst of times.
Reagan was also a firm and straight shooter when necessary. During his Presidency, he dealt with several serious issues such as homelessness, abortion, civil rights, and the Cold War. Reagan took a hard stance against the spread of communism and often publically expressed his concern of communist influence in the world. In the first few years of his presidency, he took a rather unyielding approach in attempt to end the Cold War, such as building up the military and even going as far to publically title the Soviet Union as an evil empire. On March of 1983, Reagan addresses the American people regarding the nuclear tension that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union. Some of his most impactful words were as follows:
I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last“last pages even now are being written. I believe this because the source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual. And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow man (Reagan, 1983).
Reagan did all that was in his political power to educate the citizens of the United States of the evils of communism and fight against the U.S.S.R. However, his aggressive approaches seemed to decrease when Mikail Gorbachev was put into power as the General Secretary of the Soviet Union. Due to the new communist leader, the endurance of the Cold War, and influence from the First Lady, Reagan decided to take a more subtle approach in handling the international contention. He was able to develop a strong and civil relationship with General Gorbachev, which relieved nuclear tension between the 2 countries. Many would argue that the relationship that Reagan and Gorbachev developed played a huge factor in setting the path to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.
Ronald Reagan is remembered was one of the greatest public communicators to take office in the history of the United States. His background as an actor, announcer, spokesperson and politician likely improved and developed his abilities to communicate both politically and casually. It is reasonable to assume that his verbal aptitude helped him push his political agenda as president, as played a crucial part in gaining the trust of the American people and setting a path to the end of the Cold War.
Overrated or Effective?
Reagan experienced an exceptional amount of success while in office. Regardless, many would argue that he has received a lot more credit for his major accomplishments than deserved, and that he is, simply put, and overrated president, and was just in the right place in the right time. So the question remains, is Reagan an overrated president or was he a truly effective and influential leader?
In 1976, shortly after Reagan decided he would not seek reelection as Governor of California, he ran for president against Gerald Ford in the primaries, however, Ford barely succeeded him and advanced to the general election. Jimmy Carter, a democrat from Plains, Georgia, then defeated Ford and became the 39th President of the United States. Jimmy Carter was a president known to have poor managerial skills and organizational capacity. Due to his unpopularity, a Conservative movement began to grow in the United States, and Carter left office with an average approval rating of 45.5%.
Due to the growth in the conservative movement and the low approval rating, this was the perfect opportunity for the highly favorable Reagan to seek reelection. For these reasons was Reagan able to win the general election by a landslide. Winning 489 electoral votes and 50.7% of the popular vote.
One of Reagan’s most crowning achievements was that he was very influential in bringing the Cold War to an end. However many political scientists and politicians would dispute this, arguing that the ending of the healing of United States’ relation with the U.S.S.R. is a result of hard work and diplomacy from the presidents and non-elected officials that proceeded Reagan’s administration.
Additionally, as mentioned previously, Reagan’s first approach to settle relations the Soviet Union was firm and somewhat confrontational, however, this approach did not seem to bring about any success. Within the first half of Reagan’s presidency, 3 of the General Secretaries of the Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko, had passed away consecutively. In March of 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev was made General Secretary of the Soviet Union. It was then that Reagan started to take a more subtle approach on handling the contentious relations between the 2 countries. The positive relationship that Reagan developed with Gorbachev, and Gorbachev’s belief that the U.S.S.R. needed a new political approach, lead to the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was a peace treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union, in which they would eliminate their intermediate range weapons and nuclear forces that served as a potential threat between the 2 countries. In December on 1991, shortly after Reagan left office, the Soviet Union collapsed, granting independence to its citizens.
Given the information provided, it is reasonable to assume that Reagan was just extremely fortunate on how the events played out during his presidency. Although he lost the Republican primaries in 1976, this could be considered an advantage to him. As a result of his defeat in 1976, he ran again in 1980 against an unpopular democratic president during a large Conservative movement, which provided him with populous advantage.
As President, his initial approaches to dissolve nuclear tension with the Soviet Union was unsuccessful, however 2 of their General Secretary’s died within the first half of his time in office. It wasn’t until Gorbachev was the Soviet Leader that Reagan was able to make progress with international relations. It almost is as if he had 3 chances to take the correct approach in handling these relations.
On the other hand, Reagan was a great leader. He was a man with vision, emotional intelligence and extremely effective political skill and ability to communicate. He was able to provide the American people with hope and optimism, while working with Congress to push forward his agenda. Although Reagan may have caught a few lucky breaks when handling the relation with the Soviet Union, he still was able to take the steps to acquire a positive relationship with Gorbachev and learn from his past mistakes.
It is no question that Reagan had several of advantages that helped him obtain success in his presidency, but he was able to take the steps to obtain his success. It is justifiable to believe that President Ronald Reagan receives too much credit for his accomplishments, and that he was simply in the right place at the right time, but it is illegitimate to assume that he was not a successful leader of our nation. With the hypothetical absence of President Regan, the United States would not be where it is today. He, a common man, was able to show the United States that success can be accumulated through our optimism, our methods of communication, and a little bit of luck.
Ronald Reagan’s Impact on American Politics
Ronald Reagan’s Impact on American Politics
Ronald Reagan was undoubtedly one of the most remembered presidents in United States history. Although much of his term in office controversial, Ronald Reagan redefined the purpose of government during the Reagan Revolution, which hardened the conservative agenda for years after he left office. His negotiations with Soviet Union’s Gorbachev at the Reykjavik Summit were the turning point for the Cold War.
Ronald Reagan’s term in office is commonly known as the Reagan Revolution. Within this revolution, the Reagan Boom occurred, which according to the Editors of Congressional Quarterly in U.S. Foreign Policy the Reagan Imprint resulted in 92 consecutive months of economic growth. The fruits of this boom included a 31% increase in gross national product and the creation of 18.4 million jobs by 1990. Reagan lowered taxes but increased the budget from 144 billion dollars in 1980, to the 290 billion dollars by 1988. (Presidents and their Decisions Ronald Reagan.) This raise in budget caused a deficit to the government. Reagan’s philosophy was known as supply-side economics. In theory, if he lowered taxes the American people would spend more as well as save and invest.
Although it is to be believed that Reagan’s policies created one million jobs in one month (https://www.businessinsider.com), that is far from the truth. September 1983 had a massive increase in hired employees, however, the bulk of these employees were returning members from striking against the American Telephone and Telegraph company. So, while Reagan’s policies did create thousands of jobs, it was not as impactful as many believe today. The combined jobs Reagan’s policies created, along with workers going back to work from being on strike, led to the unemployment rate falling from 7.6% to 5.5%. With the average American family’s net worth increasing by 27% annually, more money went back into the economy making it even stronger. Now many Americans could live by the supply-side economic philosophy. Reagan’s policies did not just affect the average white male American either, the employment of African Americans rose more than 25% as well as over half of the jobs created were filled by women. Much of Reagan’s policies, he believed, would be difficult for the economy in the beginning, then in the long run display ample development overall. Reagan’s belief was, by cutting taxes, reducing the size of government, reducing government expenditures equivalent to amounts of taxes being cut, was the best way to attain a stable budget. Though, during his term in office he failed to cut federal spending, he only increased it for his strong-arm maneuvers against the Soviet Union in an arms race.
During his first term, Reagan had one major goal in mind as far as foreign policy, that was to shift the Soviet Union from being a communist nation. Reagan wanted to stop the spread of communism and used the peace through strength strategy to attempt to do so. Reagan expanded the United States Military to the largest it had been in history in a time the United States was not actively in a war. He used the increased budget to enforce the increase in production drastically in nuclear missiles, and to deploy many of them across the West. Reagan also reinstituted the building of the B-1 Bomber and started the production of the MX peacekeeper missile.
Throughout his presidency, Reagan faced much opposition from Congress. For example, Reagan’s eight yearly budget proposals were deemed unworkable and rejected by Congress. Additionally, Congress rejected an amendment that in Reagan’s opinion would permanently prevent the government from accruing more debt. Perhaps stoking opposition, Reagan expressed strong beliefs about the type of people who should serve in Congress. Reagan thought that congressional seats should be filled by those who had to be convinced to serve, rather than people who sought a career in government. Reagan believed that Congress often acted outside the constraints of the U.S. Constitution, which further galvanized his assertion that it be free of career politicians.
Ronald Reagan although having many ideas for reforms and policy ideologies, failed to enact many of them during his presidency. One of which was the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (SART). It was founded in 1982 by Reagan himself, and quickly failed due to the proposition being that the Soviet Union would deplete their arms inventory while the United States continued building inventory. Conversely, a successful and very well-known negotiation between Reagan and Gorbachev involved the agreement that Gorbachev would withdraw most of his nuclear arsenal and troops from Soviet controlled states, while Reagan had to abandon his idea of Star Wars and a space defense program. Both nations would also be reducing the number of nuclear weapons. In 1985 Gorbachev stopped nuclear testing, and deployment of intermediate range missiles.
The few policies that Reagan did get passed by Congress had a lasting impact on the economy. The Economic Tax Recovery Act is a reform put in place by the Reagan administration which implemented a 25% reduction in income taxes over a period of three years. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 simplified the income tax code and provided an incentive for growth in the economy by reducing the maximum rate on an ordinary income while raising tax rates on long term capital gains. Together these two tax acts reduced the maximum federal incomed tax rate to less than half of what it was before Reagan began his term in office.
Another Controversial part of Reagan’s term in office was the fact that he proposed budget cuts for programs including Medicare, child nutrition programs, public service jobs, mental health subsidies, college education benefits, and unemployment compensation, while the First Lady Nancy Reagan bought china for their personal affairs at $2000 a setting. The Reagan’s wanted to cut federal funding for programs of those in need, while dining on luxurious plate ware, along with spending ample amounts of money on clothing accessories and redecorating the White House. The Reagan administration went so far as to declare ketchup as a vegetable for public schools to allow it to cut more funding.
Reagan believed he was helping other nations, as well as setting the United States above other countries by being involved in battles that involved fighting communism. Reagan also believed aid could be used in strengthen the United States relationship with allies. Reagan believed that dollar for dollar, our security assistance contributes as much to global security as our own defense budget. (US Foreign Policy) The Reagan Doctrine sent United States Military over to other countries which were thought to be committing human rights abuses, as well as to aid countries that rejected communism. Reagan’s actions regarding this doctrine are one of many reasons the United States has become an imperialistic nation today.
The Iran Contra affair was an incident that occurred under the Reagan Doctrine which caused much controversy against the Reagan administration. Reagan supplied aid to the anti-communist governments in Central America which were embroiled in civil war in order to gain freedom for the hostages being detained in Lebanon. This was an undisclosed trade agreement that caused pandemonium when it came to light because it appeared the President was assisting terrorists. Once Democrats gained control of Congress they passed the Boland Agreement, discontinuing any additional aid to the Contras in Nicaragua. Reagan’s administration was obligated to admit that it covertly funded the Contras by selling weapons. Not only was this an unlawful exchange, it was also a grave breach on the trade embargo against Nicaragua. Debate continues to this day about whether Reagan knew that he was indeed aiding a terrorist group. Although temporary, the United States lost much credibility because of this affair.
In learning in his second term that the only defensive strategy the US had against a nuclear attack was to retaliate with a nuclear attack, Reagan believed nuclear weapons should be abolished, if both nations being the Soviet Union and United States agreed. Arguably the United States had more technologically advanced and sophisticated weapons than the Soviet Union, even though the Soviet Union spent more money on their defense system. In discovery of the fact that the United States had no defense against nuclear attacks, Reagan created what he called my dream, which was later named the Strategic Defense Initiative. The Strategic Defense Initiative was an idea of a defense element that could take down nuclear missiles before ever reaching their target. This division of defense would be stationed from Space, which is how it got its nickname, Star Wars. Reagan gained confirmation that this was a realistic ideology from the joint chiefs of staff, and once he gained that reassurance that it was practical he preceded to start the funding for such program.
During the time of his leadership of the Soviet Union, Mikael Gorbachev sought out communications and negotiations with the United States. The first meeting was held in Geneva, and the two leaders were able to make a civil relationship unlike many leaders of the opposing countries before them. The Geneva Summit established rapport between the two leaders and allowed them to realize that they both were interested in the reduction of nuclear weapons. They could not reach an agreement during this summit because Reagan would not budge on his development of the Strategic Defense Initiative.
The second meeting took place in Reykjavik, Iceland, on 11 October 1986. Many proposals were put on the table that day. Gorbachev proposed for the immediate elimination of half of each country’s supply of strategic nuclear weapons, as well as the complete abolition of all intermediate range missiles in Europe. Gorbachev also proposed the need of Reagan to eliminate the request of USSR removing all its missiles from Asian territory. Gorbachev wanted both sides to promise to follow all rules of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and was willing to agree to allow the United States to research and test on the ideology of anti-ballistic defense projects, if it took place within laboratories. Reagan himself knew these were better proposals then he could have ever hoped for, but standing his ground was a tactic used by Reagan in hopes to not have to make a compromise. Reagan showed no emotions towards these proposals and instead brought up several matters such as the USSR having the option to take the situation and turn it around by relocating Asian based intermediate range nuclear missiles and relocate them to western Europe. Reagan requested to follow a very vague perception of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty but gave his word to share any findings and success in the Strategic Defense Initiative, as well as promising that the United States would only deploy SDI once all nuclear weapons had been abolished. Reagan ensured that the United States would not make a first strike by nuclear missiles. The proposals are said to be The best Soviet Union offer in a quarter of a century. (213)
Despite agreements reached that half of the nuclear missiles were to be destroyed, there was much argument over the issues of SDI. On the second day in Reykjavik the proposals made by Gorbachev included asking for one hundred warheads to be left in Asia, requesting both countries follow the Anti-Missile Treaty for a period of ten years, and ensured the goodwill of the USSR by proposing that lab-based research on SDI was agreed upon. Reagan argued that fact and insisted that the entire purpose of SDI was to make the need for such treaty disappear. Reagan believed that the Strategic Defense Initiative was the best chance of ridding the world of those weapons.(RR) Both parties were set in their ways and could not reach a compromise. Reagan started bringing up irrelevant issues such as the long-term grain agreement and asked why the USSR had not fulfilled the purchase agreement.
The final proposal by Gorbachev showed that he indeed wanted to find a middle ground for agreement. He proposed the limitation of research, testing, and development of SDI meet the guidelines of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty for a minimum of five years. Gorbachev proposed the abolishment of half of each country’s nuclear weapons if it was done parallel to one another, with the understanding that all nuclear weapons be eliminated in ten years. Reagan came back to this proposal with the request that America, at the ten-year mark, would be allowed to deploy Strategic Defense Initiative. At this point it became a standstill and neither party was offering any more proposals. Reagan misunderstood Soviet’s rejection to SDI, and Gorbachev didn’t understand why America needed SDI after ridding the world of nuclear weapons. Gorbachev had ideas of the next president changing any treaties or agreements made between them, while Reagan warned that another leader could develop nuclear weapons. Although both parties agreed on nuclear missile abolishment, they could not agree on the SDI, and left under the impression they would not meet again. This was a turning point for the Cold War.
The directness of Gorbachev surprised Reagan but did not delay Reagan’s quick response time to such matters. There were numerous meetings between Gorbachev and Reagan, many of which caused controversy among the American people. The Soviet Union and the United States spent many years competing in an arms race against each other, the United States outspent the Soviet Union and ultimately won the race. This amount of spending caused much tension between Reagan and Congress throughout the bulk of his presidency. President Reagan, and Mikael Gorbachev met on many different occasions in attempt to put an end to such a race. During one of the meetings Ronald Reagan walked out without agreeing or signing any type of treaty due to Mikael Gorbachev insisting Reagan give up and stop all funding of the Strategic Defense Initiative. This put the American people in a turmoil and panic, with the thought that the Soviet Union were going to drop missiles, and atomic bombs on the United States.
While much controversy during his time in office as with any leader, Reagan overall made much progress in foreign affairs. In developing a relationship with Soviet Union’s Leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Reagan had a significant impact on the ending of the Cold War. The many negotiations held between Reagan and Gorbachev opened the communication door between the United States and the Soviet Union and led to the abolishment of many nuclear weapons held in both countries. Ronald Reagan redefined the purpose of government through his policies and tactics during his two-term presidency. Reagan’s negotiations with The Soviet Union’s leader Gorbachev at Geneva Summit were the turning point in the Cold War and opened the door for the reduction in nuclear arms.
The Presidency Of Ronald Reagan
From Hollywood actor to Governor and finally the 40th President of the United States Ronald Reagan was a Republican with a charismatic style that help both domestically and foreign. Reagan a Democrat in his young days was an admirer of President Franklin Roosevelt because his father had found work in the New Deal Office. Reagan took over office after defeating one term President Jimmy Carter who like Reagan was also a Washington outsider that became President.
In the 1980s going against Carter, Reagan ran on the ideas of increasing the military spending, cutting taxes, balancing the budget, and banning abortion. Reagan and his administration changed the presidency, set examples for future presidents, and became a dominant figure that presidents today talk about his footsteps. In this research I will be looking into the structure of the Reagan administration and how he used his powers to accomplish the things he had set forth in his agenda.
In the administration Reagan would allow the people working inside of it to do there job. Many called it the hands-off approach because Reagan wanted to delegate a lot and he did that with his Chief of Staff because he was only interested in the outcomes and did not want to be bothered with details. Reagan’s hands-off approach frustrated his administration because it didn’t give the staff the policy guidance. I don’t believe a chief executive should supervise every detail of what goes on in his organization. The chief executive should set broad policy and general ground rules, tell people what he or she wants them to do, then let them do it… Set clear goals and appoint good people to help you achieve them. As long as they are doing what you have in mind, don’t interfere, but if somebody drops the ball, intervene and make a change. The president had an agenda and many top advisors at this time, but the ones that were Reagan’s go to guys to really push the agenda were three men known as The Troika they were Edwin Meese, James Baker, and Michael Deaver. Reagan’s first counselor Meese was someone that had a lot of expectations to push Reagan’s agenda because they were so close from running his campaign, running the transition team and his governor’s office. Meese had power on foreign and domestic policy and fully joined and participated in cabinet meetings. In his first term with Reagan, Meese was highly relied on being given charge of coordination and supervision of the domestic policy staff and the National Security Council. Messe was seen as more conservative than Reagan and may have wanted to push some of his own agenda. It seems as Meese would be given the chief of staff title but there was a lot of distrust between his staff and Reagan’s’ other adviser Baker was given the Chief of Staff and like Meese had over the domestic policy, Baker had that power over the White House staff. Baker was the saler and he was able to get some of the agenda through congress. Deaver had also been with Reagan sine his governor days. He was seen as a son to the Reagan’s and was given the title deputy chief of staff because of his lack of charm that couldn’t get to the public. Deaver also had the closet office to Reagan and had easy access to him, Deaver says that I always felt it was my responsibility to tell Reagan when I thought he was wrong. As we know presidents have a busy job and we wonder how they get to spend time with their family, unlike Meese and Baker, Deaver had a close connection to the East Wing with the First Lady he would talk to Nancy about Ronald that was she could keep up with him. Collectively you could say the troika was Reagan’s chief of staff as a group. Dick Wirthlin, Reagan’s pollster and strategist had explained in his memoir that at sometimes Reagan didn’t know what was going on in the White House, he would tell the staff his agenda and he wanted the staff to get it done in the best way. In the administration’s first term Wirthlin did a poll and more than have of people who respond thought the troika made the big decisions in the White House.
Things wouldn’t stay the same for long. During Reagan’s second term he had a shift in his administration Donald Regan who was Reagan’s Treasury Secretary in his first term became his chief of staff and Baker the chief of staff became the Treasury Secretary. But this was not decided by Reagan but by the troika and Nancy Reagan. Regan wanted to change the style of the White House when he came into office, he wanted too reduce collegiality because he thought it should be a hierarchy. Regan didn’t allow access to Reagan and treated Reagan as the only person he would listen too. Regan was a Marine and CEO of Merrill Lynch, he used that training and style of his life into the White House. A former coworker of Regan had said His weakness is that his ego was so strong he did not pick good subordinates. Or if they were, he broke them. He couldn’t stand the competition. I’m a Marine so I know from that, that Regan was taught to have a strong ego and to think of being better than everyone else and that’s why he had a strong ego and didn’t want competition in his way. But his ego caused people to leave the White House, Regan wanted to be known when it was time for accomplishments and in big pictures and when it came to times of trouble he would push the blame on the president and this caused Reagan to ask for his resignation in 1987. Reagan gave the chief of staff job to Howard Baker who was a former senator in order to get back into good terms with congress that Regan had caused tensions with.
During most of Reagan’s administration he had shifts as who controlled the Senate between Democrats and Republicans but in the House side during his entire administration it was controlled by Democrats. Reagan would have to work with Congress in order to fulfill his agenda and get things passed. After defeating Jimmy Carter by a landslide in electoral votes and coming in with a hostage crisis, the Democrats were willing to work with Reagan. Reagan used his charm to work with Congress and people wouldn’t challenge to vote against him at this time either. Reagan used what Fred Greenstein called the hidden-hand leadership by having member’s constituents call first, then White House staff, and eventually the president himself to pressure them. The economy was in a mess at this time and Reagan had the Senate to back him he just needed the House which was controlled by Democrats to help him pass his economic plan. Southern Democrats known as the Boll Weevils were blocking these efforts, the president decide to go public to get to them by making formal addresses to the nation and informal remarks to the media. After lobbying by the Reagan administration they finally got to Democrats to vote with them and pass a new fiscal plan but it took efforts by the president himself to get them fully on board by direct phone call and telegraph. Reagan was able to push and get passed the largest spending cuts in history, largest tax cut, and largest military peacetime expansion. All this came early in the administration by efforts from the White House and the president himself but it would decline slowly after the shift in the administration and lack of relationship the second term of the administration had with congress. In the end they had seen Reagan as the lame-duck president and congress knew he wouldn’t be able to get much done.
Ronald Reagan came out as a very successful president mainly from his first term. He was able to rely on the Troika and a sometimes used the power of his office in order to really push his agenda. But the shift in his administration caused a downfall for him and his administration and decline in relationship with Congress caused a bump in his presidency that he tried to fix near the end by shift his administration back to one that could work with Congress and it ultimately helped a bit because it allowed his Vice President George H.W. Bush to follow in his steps and win the presidency after Reagan’s term came to an end.