Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan's presidential portrait, 1981
Official portrait, 1981
40th President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
Vice PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush
Preceded byJimmy Carter
Succeeded byGeorge H. W. Bush
33rd Governor of California
In office
January 2, 1967 – January 6, 1975
Preceded byPat Brown
Succeeded byJerry Brown[4]
9th and 13th President of the Screen Actors Guild
In office
November 16, 1959 – June 12, 1960
Preceded byHoward Keel
Succeeded byGeorge Chandler
In office
November 17, 1947 – November 9, 1952
Preceded byRobert Montgomery
Succeeded byWalter Pidgeon
Personal details
Ronald Wilson Reagan

(1911-02-06)February 6, 1911
Tampico, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJune 5, 2004(2004-06-05) (aged 93)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeRonald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
Political partyRepublican (from 1962)
Other political
Democratic (until 1962)
RelativesNeil Reagan (brother)
EducationEureka College (BA)
  • Politician
  • trade unionist
  • actor
  • author
  • broadcaster
SignatureCursive signature in ink
Military service
Years of service1942–1945
Unit18th AAF Base Unit

Ronald Wilson Reagan (/ˈrɡən/ RAY-gən; February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989 and became a highly influential voice of modern conservatism. Prior to his presidency, he was a Hollywood actor and union leader before serving as the 33rd governor of California from 1967 to 1975.

Reagan was raised in a low-income family in small towns of northern Illinois. He graduated from Eureka College in 1932 and worked as a radio sports commentator. After moving to California in 1937, he found work as an actor and starred in a few major productions. As president of the Screen Actors Guild, Reagan worked to root out alleged communist influence. In the 1950s, he moved into television and was a motivational speaker at General Electric factories. In 1964, his speech "A Time for Choosing" earned him national attention as a new conservative spokesman. Building a network of supporters, Reagan was elected governor of California in 1966. As governor, he raised taxes, turned a state budget deficit to a surplus, challenged the protesters at UC Berkeley, and ordered in National Guard troops during a period of protest movements.

In 1980, Reagan won the Republican presidential nomination and defeated the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter. At 69 years of age at the time of his first inauguration, Reagan was the oldest first-term U.S. president, a distinction he held until 2017 when Donald Trump was inaugurated at age 70. Reagan was re-elected in 1984, winning 58.8% of the national popular vote and losing only Washington, D.C. and his opponent Walter Mondale's home state of Minnesota, in one of the most lopsided victories in American history.

Immediately on taking office as president, Reagan began implementing sweeping new political and economic initiatives. Reagan won over enough conservative Democrats to pass his program through Congress. Economic conditions had deteriorated under Carter, with slow growth and high inflation. Reagan promised that his supply-side economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics", would turn around the economy with lower tax rates, economic deregulation, and reduction in government spending. Over his two terms, the economy saw a reduction of inflation from 12.5% to 4.4% and an average real GDP annual growth of 3.6%. His administration saw the longest period of economic growth in peacetime American history up to that point, lasting 92 months.[5][6] Reagan enacted cuts in domestic discretionary spending, cut taxes, and increased military spending, which contributed to increased federal debt overall. In his first term, he survived an assassination attempt, spurred the War on Drugs, and fought public sector labor unions.

In foreign affairs, he denounced communism and invaded the island country of Grenada after Communist elements took control; as a result a new government was appointed by the governor-general. With the economy booming again, foreign affair crises dominated his second term. Major concerns were the bombing of Libya, the Iran–Iraq War, the Iran–Contra affair, and the renewed Cold War. In June 1987, four years after he publicly described the Soviet Union as an "evil empire", Reagan challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!", during a speech at the Berlin Wall. He transitioned Cold War policy from détente to rollback by escalating an arms race with the USSR. He then engaged in talks with Gorbachev that culminated in the INF Treaty, which shrank both countries' nuclear arsenals.

When Reagan left office on January 20, 1989, he held an approval rating of 68%, matching those of Franklin D. Roosevelt and later Bill Clinton as the highest ratings for departing presidents in the 20th century.[7] Although he had planned an active post-presidency, Reagan disclosed in November 1994 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease earlier that year. Afterward, his informal public appearances became more infrequent as the disease progressed. He died at home on June 5, 2004. His tenure constituted a realignment toward conservative policies in the United States; he remains an icon among conservatives. Evaluations of his presidency among historians and the general public place him among the upper tier of U.S. presidents.

  1. ^ Oliver, Myrna (October 11, 1995). "Robert H. Finch, Lt. Gov. Under Reagan, Dies : Politics: Leader in California GOP was 70. He also served in Nixon's Cabinet and as President's special counselor and campaign manager". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  2. ^ Chang, Cindy (December 25, 2016). "Ed Reinecke, who resigned as California's lieutenant governor after a perjury conviction, dies at 92". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  3. ^ South, Garry (May 21, 2018). "California's lieutenant governors rarely move up to the top job". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  4. ^ Sullivan, Colin (October 8, 2010). "Jerry Brown's Environmental Record Runs Deep". The New York Times. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  5. ^ Sperry, Peter (March 1, 2001). "The Real Reagan Economic Record: Responsible and Successful Fiscal Policy". Washington, D.C.: The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  6. ^ Huddleston Jr., Tom (April 9, 2020). "How many recessions you've actually lived through and what happened in every one". Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: CNBC. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  7. ^ "A Look Back At The Polls". CBS News. Retrieved May 15, 2015.

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