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Ronald Wilson Reagan (pron.

: /rnld wlsn ren/; February 6, 1911 June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (19811989). Prior to that, he was the 33rd Governor of California (19671975), and a radio, film and television actor. Born in Tampico, Illinois, and raised in Dixon, Reagan was educated at Eureka College, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics andsociology. After graduating, Reagan moved first to Iowa to work as a radio broadcaster and then, in 1937, to Los Angeles where he began a career as an actor, first in films and later television. Some of his most notable films include Knute Rockne, All American (1940), Kings Row (1942), and Bedtime for Bonzo (1951). Reagan served as President of the Screen Actors Guild and later as a spokesman for General Electric (GE); his start in politics occurred during his work for GE. Originally a member of the Democratic Party, his positions began shifting rightward in the 1950s, and he switched to the Republican Party in 1962.[1] After delivering a rousing speech in support of Barry Goldwater's presidential candidacy in 1964, he was persuaded to seek the California governorship, winning two years later and again in 1970. He was defeated in his run for the Republican presidential nomination in1968 and in 1976, but won both the nomination and general election in 1980, defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter.[1] As president, Reagan implemented sweeping new political and economic initiatives. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics", advocated reducing tax rates to spur economic growth, controlling the money supply to reduce inflation, deregulation of the economy, and reducing government spending. In his first term he survived an assassination attempt, took a hard line against labor unions, and ordered an invasion of Grenada. He was re-elected in a landslide in 1984, proclaiming that it was "Morning in America". His second term was primarily marked by foreign matters, such as the ending of the Cold War, the 1986 bombing of Libya, and the revelation of the Iran-Contra affair. Publicly describing the Soviet Union as an "evil empire",[2] he supported anti-communist movements worldwide and spent his first term forgoing the strategy of dtente by ordering a massive military buildup in an arms race with the USSR. Reagan negotiated with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev,

culminating in the INF Treatyand the decrease of both countries' nuclear arsenals. Reagan left office in 1989. In 1994, the former president disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease earlier in the year; he died ten years later at the age of 93. A conservative icon, he ranks highly in public opinion polls of U.S. Presidents and is credited for generating an ideological renaissance on the American political right.

Early life
Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in an apartment on the second floor of a commercial building in Tampico, Illinois on February 6, 1911, to Jack Reagan andNelle (Wilson) Reagan. Reagan's father was a salesman and a storyteller, the grandson of Irish Catholic immigrants from County Tipperary while his mother had Scots and English ancestors. Reagan had one sibling, his older brother, Neil (19081996), who became an advertising executive. As a boy, Reagan's father nicknamed his son "Dutch", due to his "fat little Dutchman"-like appearance, and his "Dutchboy" haircut; the nickname stuck with him throughout his youth. Reagan's family briefly lived in several towns and cities in Illinois, including Monmouth, Galesburg and Chicago, until 1919, when they returned to Tampico and lived above the H. C. Pitney Variety Store. After his election as president, residing in the upstairs White House private quarters, Reagan would quip that he was "living above the store again". According to Paul Kengor, author of God and Ronald Reagan, Reagan had a particularly strong faith in the goodness of people, which stemmed from the optimistic faith of his mother, Nelle, and the Disciples of Christ faith, which he was baptized into in 1922. For the time, Reagan was unusual in his opposition to racial discrimination, and recalled a time in Dixon when the local inn would not allow black people to stay there. Reagan brought them back to his house, where his mother invited them to stay the night and have breakfast the next morning. Following the closure of the Pitney Store in late 1920, the Reagans moved to Dixon; the midwestern "small universe" had a lasting impression on Reagan.He attended Dixon High School, where

he developed interests in acting, sports, and storytelling. His first job was as a lifeguard at the Rock River in Lowell Park, near Dixon, in 1927. Reagan performed 77 rescues as a lifeguard, noting that he notched a mark on a wooden log for every life he saved. Reagan attended Eureka College, where he became a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, a cheerleader, and majored in economics and sociology. He developed a reputation as a jack of all trades, excelling in campus politics, sports and theater. He was a member of the football team, captain of the swim team and was elected student body president. As student president, Reagan led a student revolt against the college president after he tried to cut back the faculty.

Entertainment career
Radio and film Trailer from Love is on the Air starring Reagan, 1937 After graduating from Eureka in 1932, Reagan drove himself to Iowa, where he auditioned for a job at many small-town radio stations.The University of Iowa hired him to broadcast home football games for the Hawkeyes. He was paid $10 per game. Soon after, a staff announcer's job opened at radio station WOC in Davenport, and Reagan was hired, now earning $100 per month. Aided by his persuasive voice, he moved to WHO radio in Des Moines as an announcer for Chicago Cubs baseball games. His specialty was creating play-by-play accounts of games that the station received by wire. While traveling with the Cubs in California, Reagan took a screen test in 1937 that led to a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers studios. He spent the first few years of his Hollywood career in the "B film" unit, where, Reagan joked, the producers "didn't want them good, they wanted them Thursday". While sometimes overshadowed by other actors, Reagan's screen performances did receive many good reviews. His first screen credit was the starring role in the 1937 movie Love Is on the Air, and by the end of 1939 he had already appeared in 19 films, including Dark Victory with Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart. Before the film Santa Fe Trail with Errol Flynn in 1940, he

played the role of George "The Gipper" Gipp in the film Knute Rockne, All American; from it, he acquired the lifelong nickname "the Gipper". In 1941 exhibitors voted him the fifth most popular star from the younger generation in Hollywood. Reagan's favorite acting role was as a double amputee in 1942's Kings Row, in which he recites the line, "Where's the rest of me?", later used as the title of his 1965 autobiography. Many film critics considered Kings Row to be his best movie, though the film was condemned by New York Times critic Bosley Crowther. Although Reagan called Kings Row the film that "made me a star",he was unable to capitalize on his success because he was ordered to active duty with the U.S. Army at San Francisco two months after its release, and never regained "star" status in motion pictures. In the post-war era, after being separated from almost four years of World War II stateside service with the 1st Motion Picture Unit in December 1945, Reagan costarred in such films as, The Voice of the Turtle, John Loves Mary, The Hasty Heart, Bedtime for Bonzo, Cattle Queen of Montana, Tennessee's Partner, Hellcats of the Navy and The Killers (his final film) in a 1964 remake. Throughout his film career, his mother often answered much of his fan mail. Military service After completing fourteen home-study Army Extension Courses, Reagan enlisted in the Army Enlisted Reserve on April 29, 1937, as a private assigned to Troop B, 322nd Cavalry at Des Moines, Iowa. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps of the cavalry on May 25, 1937. Reagan was ordered to active duty for the first time on April 18, 1942. Due to his nearsightedness, he was classified for limited service only, which excluded him from serving overseas. His first assignment was at the San Francisco Port of Embarkation at Fort Mason, California, as a liaison officer of the Port and Transportation Office. Upon the approval of the Army Air Force (AAF), he applied for a transfer from the cavalry to the AAF on May 15, 1942, and was assigned to AAF Public Relations and subsequently to the First Motion Picture Unit (officially, the "18th Army Air Force Base Unit") in Culver City, California. On January 14, 1943, he was promoted to first

lieutenant and was sent to the Provisional Task Force Show Unit of This Is The Army at Burbank, California. He returned to the First Motion Picture Unit after completing this duty and was promoted to captain on July 22, 1943. In January 1944, Reagan was ordered to temporary duty in New York City to participate in the opening of the Sixth War Loan Drive. He was re-assigned to the First Motion Picture Unit on November 14, 1944, where he remained until the end of World War II. He was recommended for promotion to major on February 2, 1945, but this recommendation was disapproved on July 17 of that year. While with the First Motion Picture Unit in 1945, he was indirectly involved in discovering actress Marilyn Monroe. He returned to Fort MacArthur, California, where he was separated from active duty on December 9, 1945. By the end of the war, his units had produced some 400 training films for the AAF. Reagan never left the United States during the war, though he kept a film reel, obtained while in the service, depicting the liberation of Auschwitz, as he believed that someday doubts would arise as to whether the Holocaust had occurred. It has been alleged that he was overheard telling Israeli foreign minister Yitzhak Shamir in 1983 that he had filmed that footage himself and helped liberate Auschwitz, though this purported conversation was disputed by Secretary of State George Shultz. SAG president Television star Ronald Reagan as the host of General Electric Theater Reagan was first elected to the Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild in 1941, serving as an alternate. Following World War II, he resumed service and became 3rd vice-president in 1946. The adoption of conflict-of-interest bylaws in 1947 led the SAG president and six board members to resign; Reagan was nominated in a special election for the position of president and subsequently elected. He was subsequently chosen by the membership to serve seven additional oneyear terms, from 1947 to 1952 and in 1959. Reagan led SAG through eventful years that were marked by labor-management disputes, the Taft-Hartley Act, House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) hearings and the Hollywood blacklist era.

Secret FBI informant in Hollywood During the late 1940s, Reagan and his wife provided the FBI with names of actors within the motion picture industry whom they believed to be communist sympathizers, though he expressed reservations; he said "Do they expect us to constitute ourselves as a little FBI of our own and determine just who is a Commie and who isn't?". Reagan testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee on the subject as well. A fervent anti-communist, he reaffirmed his commitment to democratic principles, stating, "I never as a citizen want to see our country become urged, by either fear or resentment of this group, that we ever compromise with any of our democratic principles through that fear or resentment." Television Though an early critic of television, Reagan landed fewer film roles in the late 1950s and decided to join the medium. He was hired as the host ofGeneral Electric Theater, a series of weekly dramas that became very popular. His contract required him to tour GE plants sixteen weeks out of the year, often demanding of him fourteen speeches per day. He earned approximately $125,000 per year (about $1.07 million in 2010 dollars) in this role. His final work as a professional actor was as host and performer from 1964 to 1965 on the television series Death Valley Days. Reagan and Nancy Davis appeared together several times, including an episode of GE Theater in 1958 called A Turkey for the President. Marriages and children In 1938, Reagan co-starred in the film Brother Rat with actress Jane Wyman (19172007). They were engaged at the Chicago Theatre, and married on January 26, 1940, at the Wee Kirk o' the Heather church in Glendale, California. Together they had two biological children, Maureen (19412001) and Christine (who was born in 1947 but only lived one day), and adopted a third, Michael (born 1945). Following arguments about Reagan's political ambitions, Wyman filed for divorce in 1948, citing a distraction due to her

husband's Screen Actors Guild union duties; the divorce was finalized in 1949. He is the only US president to have been divorced. Ronald and Nancy Reagan aboard a boat in California in 1964 Reagan met actress Nancy Davis (born 1921) in 1949 after she contacted him in his capacity as president of the Screen Actors Guild to help her with issues regarding her name appearing on a communist blacklist in Hollywood (she had been mistaken for another Nancy Davis). She described their meeting by saying, "I don't know if it was exactly love at first sight, but it was pretty close." They were engaged atChasen's restaurant in Los Angeles and were married on March 4, 1952, at the Little Brown Church in theSan Fernando Valley. Actor William Holden served as best man at the ceremony. They had two children:Patti (born October 21, 1952) and Ron (born May 20, 1958). Observers described the Reagans' relationship as close, authentic and intimate. During his presidency they were reported to frequently display their affection for one another; one press secretary said, "They never took each other for granted. They never stopped courting." He often called her "Mommy" she called him "Ronnie". He once wrote to her, "Whatever I treasure and enjoy ... all would be without meaning if I didn't have you." When he was in the hospital in 1981, she slept with one of his shirts to be comforted by his scent. In a letter to U.S. citizens written in 1994, Reagan wrote "I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer's disease.... I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience", and in 1998, while Reagan was stricken by Alzheimer's, Nancy told Vanity Fair, "Our relationship is very special. We were very much in love and still are. When I say my life began with Ronnie, well, it's true. It did. I can't imagine life without him." Early political career
Reagan began his political career as a Democrat and, in December 1945, was only prevented from leading an anti-nuclear rally in Hollywood by pressure from the Warner Brothers studio. He would later make his crusade against nuclear weapons a key point of his Presidency, building on previous efforts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons to a new focus to reduce the numbers and types of them. However, in the early 1950s, as his relationship with

Republican actress Nancy Davis grew, he shifted to the right and, while remaining a Democrat, endorsed the presidential candidacies of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956 as well as Richard Nixon in 1960. The last time Reagan actively supported a Democratic candidate was in 1950 when he helped Helen Gahagan Douglas in her unsuccessful Senate campaign against Richard Nixon. After being hired in 1954 to host the General Electric Theater, a TV drama series, Reagan soon began to embrace the conservative views of the sponsoring company's officials. His many GE speecheswhich he wrote himselfwere non-partisan but carried a conservative, pro-business message; he was influenced by Lemuel Boulware, a senior GE executive. Boulware, known for his tough stance against unions and his innovative strategies to win over workers, championed the core tenets of modern American conservatism: free markets, anticommunism, lower taxes, and limited government. Eventually, the ratings for Reagan's show fell off and GE dropped Reagan in 1962. In August of that year, Reagan formally switched to the Republican Party, stating, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me". In the early 1960s Reagan opposed certain civil rights legislation, saying that "if an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes or others in selling or renting his house, it is his right to do so." In his rationale, he cited his opposition to government intrusion into personal freedoms, as opposed to racism; he strongly denied having racist motives and later reversed his opposition to voting rights and fair housing laws. When legislation that would become Medicare was introduced in 1961, Reagan created a recording for the American Medical Association warning that such legislation would mean the end of freedom in America. Reagan said that if his listeners did not write letters to prevent it, "we will awake to find that we have socialism. And if you don't do this, and if I don't do it, one of these days, you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children's children, what it once was like in America when men were free." He also joined the National Rifle Association and would become a lifetime member. Reagan endorsed the campaign of conservative presidential contender Barry Goldwater in 1964. Speaking for Goldwater, Reagan stressed his belief in the importance of smaller government. He revealed his ideological motivation in a

famed speech delivered on October 27, 1964: "The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing." He also said, "You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism." This "A Time for Choosing" speech, which later became known as "The Speech", raised $1 million for Goldwater's campaign and is considered the event that launched Reagan's political career.

Governor of California, 19671975


California Republicans were impressed with Reagan's political views and charisma after his "Time for Choosing" speech, and nominated him for Governor of California in 1966. In Reagan's campaign, he emphasized two main themes: "to send the welfare bums back to work", and, in reference to burgeoning anti-war and anti-establishment student protests at the University of California at Berkeley, "to clean up the mess at Berkeley". He was elected, defeating two-term governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, and was sworn in on January 2, 1967. In his first term, he froze government hiring and approved tax hikes to balance the budget. Shortly after the beginning of his term, Reagan tested the presidential waters in 1968 as part of a "Stop Nixon" movement, hoping to cut into Nixon's Southern support and be a compromise candidate if neither Nixon nor secondplace Nelson Rockefeller received enough delegates to win on the first ballot at the Republican convention. However, by the time of the convention Nixon had 692 delegate votes, 25 more than he needed to secure the nomination, followed by Rockefeller with Reagan in third place. Reagan was involved in high-profile conflicts with the protest movements of the era. On May 15, 1969, during the People's Park protests at UC Berkeley, Reagan sent the California Highway Patrol and other officers to quell the protests, in an incident that became known as "Bloody Thursday", resulting in the death of student James Rector and the blinding of carpenter Alan Blanchard. Reagan then called out 2,200 state National Guard troops to

occupy the city of Berkeley for two weeks to crack down on the protesters. A year after "Bloody Thursday", Reagan responded to questions about campus protest movements saying, "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with. No more appeasement." When the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped Patty Hearst in Berkeley and demanded the distribution of food to the poor, Reagan joked, "It's just too bad we can't have an epidemic of botulism." Early in 1967, the national debate on abortion was beginning. Democratic California state senator Anthony Beilensonintroduced the "Therapeutic Abortion Act", in an effort to reduce the number of "back-room abortions" performed in California. The State Legislature sent the bill to Reagan's desk where, after many days of indecision, he signed it. About two million abortions would be performed as a result, most because of a provision in the bill allowing abortions for the well-being of the mother. Reagan had been in office for only four months when he signed the bill, and stated that had he been more experienced as governor, it would not have been signed. After he recognized what he called the "consequences" of the bill, he announced that he was pro-life. He maintained that position later in his political career, writing extensively about abortion. Despite an unsuccessful attempt to recall him in 1968, Reagan was re-elected in 1970, defeating "Big Daddy" Jesse Unruh. He chose not to seek a third term in the following election cycle. One of Reagan's greatest frustrations in office concerned capital punishment, which he strongly supported. His efforts to enforce the state's laws in this area were thwarted when the Supreme Court of California issued its People v. Anderson decision, which invalidated all death sentences issued in California prior to 1972, though the decision was later overturned by a constitutional amendment. The only execution during Reagan's governorship was on April 12, 1967, when Aaron Mitchell's sentence was carried out by the state in San Quentin's gas chamber. In 1969, Reagan, as Governor, signed the Family Law Act which was the first no fault divorce legislation in the United States. Reagan's terms as governor helped to shape the policies he would pursue in his later political career as president. By campaigning on a platform of sending "the welfare bums back to work", he spoke out against the idea of the welfare

state. He also strongly advocated the Republican ideal of less government regulation of the economy, including that of undue federal taxation. Reagan did not seek re-election to a third term as governor in 1974 and was succeeded by Democratic California Secretary of State Jerry Brown on January 6, 1975.

1976 presidential campaign


In 1976, Reagan challenged incumbent President Gerald Ford in a bid to become the Republican Party's candidate for president. Reagan soon established himself as the conservative candidate with the support of likeminded organizations such as the American Conservative Union which became key components of his political base, while President Ford was [93] considered a more moderate Republican. Reagan's campaign relied on a strategy crafted by campaign manager John Sears of winning a few primaries early to damage the inevitability of Ford's likely nomination. Reagan won North Carolina, Texas, and California, but the [94] strategy failed, as he ended up losing New Hampshire, Florida, and his [95] native Illinois. The Texas campaign lent renewed hope to Reagan, when he swept all ninety-six delegates chosen in the May 1 primary, with four more awaiting at the state convention. Much of the credit for that victory came from the work of three co-chairmen, including Ernest Angelo, the mayor of Midland, and Ray Barnhart of Houston, whom President Reagan tapped in 1981 as [96] director of the Federal Highway Administration. However, as the GOP convention neared, Ford appeared close to victory. Acknowledging his party's moderate wing, Reagan chose moderate SenatorRichard Schweiker of Pennsylvania as his running mate if nominated. [95] Nonetheless, Ford prevailed with 1,187 delegates to Reagan's 1,070. Ford would go on to lose the 1976 Presidential election to the Democrat Jimmy Carter. Reagan's concession speech emphasized the dangers of nuclear war and the threat posed by the Soviet Union. Though he lost the nomination, he received 307 write-in votes in New Hampshire, 388 votes as an Independent on Wyoming's ballot, and a single electoral vote from a faithless elector in the

November election from the state of Washington, Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter.

[97]

which Ford had won over

Following the campaign, Reagan remained in the public debate with the Ronald Reagan Radio Commentary series.

1980 presidential campaign


The 1980 presidential campaign between Reagan and incumbent President Jimmy Carter was conducted during domestic concerns and the ongoingIran hostage crisis. His campaign stressed some of his fundamental principles: lower taxes to stimulate the economy, less government interference in people's lives, states' rights, a strong national defense, and restoring the U.S. Dollar to a gold standard. Reagan launched his campaign by declaring "I believe in states' rights", in Philadelphia, Mississippi, known at the time for the murder of three civil rights workers who had been trying to register African-Americans to vote during the civil rights movement. After receiving the Republican nomination, Reagan selected one of his primary opponents, George H.W. Bush, to be his running mate. His showing in the October televised debateboosted his campaign. Reagan won the election, carrying 44 states with 489 electoral votes to 49 electoral votes for Carter (representing six states and Washington, D.C.). Reagan received 50.7% of the popular vote while Carter took 41%, and Independent John B. Anderson (a liberal Republican) received 6.7%. Republicans captured the Senate for the first time since 1952, and gained 34 House seats, but the Democrats retained a majority. During the presidential campaign, questions were raised by reporters on Reagan's stance on the Briggs Initiative, also known as Proposition 6, a ballot initiative in Reagan's home state of California where he was governor, which would have banned gays, lesbians, and supporters of LGBT rights from working in public schools in California. His opposition to the initiative was instrumental in its landslide defeat by Californian voters. Reagan published an editorial in which he stated "homosexuality is not a contagious disease like the measles", and that prevailing scientific opinion was that a child's sexual orientation cannot be influenced by someone else.

Presidency, 19811989
During his Presidency, Reagan pursued policies that reflected his personal belief in individual freedom, brought changes domestically, both to the U.S. economy and expanded military, and contributed to the end of the Cold War. Termed the Reagan Revolution, his presidency would reinvigorate American morale and reduce the people's reliance upon government As president, Reagan kept a series of diaries in which he commented on daily occurrences of his presidency and his views on the issues of the day. The diaries were published in May 2007 in the bestselling book, The Reagan Diaries.

First term, 19811985


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

Assassination attempt
Main article: Reagan assassination attempt On March 30, 1981, only 69 days into the new administration, Reagan, his press secretary James Brady, Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty, and Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy were struck by gunfire from would-be assassin John Hinckley, Jr. outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. Although "close to death" upon arrival at George Washington University Hospital, Reagan was stabilized in the emergency room, then underwent emergency exploratory surgery. He recovered and was released from the hospital on April 11, becoming the first serving U.S. President to survive being shot in an assassination attempt. The attempt had great influence on Reagan's popularity; polls indicated his approval rating to be around 73%. Reagan believed that God had spared his life so that he might go on to fulfill a greater purpose.

Air traffic controllers' strike


Main article: Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (1968)

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

"Reaganomics" and the economy


Main article: Reaganomics During Jimmy Carter's last year in office (1980), inflation averaged 12.5%, compared with 4.4% during Reagan's last year in office (1988). During Reagan's administration, the unemployment rate declined from 7.5% to 5.4%, with the rate reaching highs of 10.8% in 1982 and 10.4% in 1983, averaging 7.5% over the eight years. Reagan implemented policies based on supply-side economics and advocated a classical liberal and laissez-faire philosophy, seeking to stimulate the economy with large, across-the-board tax cuts. He also supported returning the U.S. to some sort of gold standard, and successfully urged Congress to establish the U.S. Gold Commission to study how one could be implemented. Citing the economic theories of Arthur Laffer, Reagan promoted the proposed tax cuts as potentially stimulating the economy enough to expand the tax base, offsetting the revenue loss due to reduced rates of taxation, a theory that entered political discussion as the Laffer curve. Reaganomics was the subject of debate with supporters pointing to improvements in certain key economic indicators as evidence of success, and critics pointing to large increases in federal budget deficits and the national debt. His policy of "peace through strength" (also described as "firm but fair") resulted in a record

peacetime defense buildup including a 40% real increase in defense spending between 1981 and 1985. During Reagan's presidency, federal income tax rates were lowered significantly with the signing of the bipartisan Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 which lowered the top marginal tax bracket from 70% to 50% and the lowest bracket from 14% to 11%, however other tax increases passed by Congress and signed by Reagan, ensured that tax revenues over his two terms were 18.2% of GDP as compared to 18.1% over the 40-year period 1970-2010. Then, in 1982 the Job Training Partnership Act of 1982 was signed into law, initiating one of the nation's first public/private partnerships and a major part of the president's job creation program. Reagan's Assistant Secretary of Labor and Chief of Staff, Al Angrisani, was a primary architect of the bill. The Tax Reform Act of 1986, another bipartisan effort championed by Reagan, further reduced the top rate to 28%, raised the bottom bracket from 11% to 15%, and, cut the number of tax brackets to 4. Conversely, Congress passed and Reagan signed into law tax increases of some nature in every year from 1981 to 1987 to continue funding such government programs as Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA), Social Security, and the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 (DEFRA). Despite the fact that TEFRA was the "largest peacetime tax increase in American history", Reagan is better known for his tax cuts and lower-taxes philosophy. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth recovered strongly after the early 1980s recession ended in 1982, and grew during his eight years in office at an annual rate of 3.85% per year. Unemployment peaked at 10.8% monthly rate in December 1982higher than any time since the Great Depressionthen dropped during the rest of Reagan's presidency. Sixteen million new jobs were created, while inflation significantly decreased. The net effect of all Reagan-era tax bills was a 1% decrease in government revenues when compared to Treasury Department revenue estimates from the Administration's first post-enactment January budgets. However, federal income tax receipts increased from 1980 to 1989, rising from $308.7 billion to $549 billion. During the Reagan Administration, federal receipts grew at an average rate of 8.2% (2.5% attributed to higher Social Security receipts), and federal outlays

grew at an annual rate of 7.1%.Reagan also revised the tax code with the bipartisan Tax Reform Act of 1986. Reagan's policies proposed that economic growth would occur when marginal tax rates were low enough to spur investment, which would then lead to increased economic growth, higher employment and wages. Critics labeled this "trickle-down economics"the belief that tax policies that benefit the wealthy will create a "trickle-down" effect to the poor. Questions arose whether Reagan's policies benefited the wealthy more than those living in poverty, and many poor and minority citizens viewed Reagan as indifferent to their struggles. These views were exacerbated by the fact that Reagan's economic regimen included freezing the minimum wage at $3.35 an hour, slashing federal assistance to local governments by 60%, cutting the budget for public housing and Section 8 rent subsidies in half, and eliminating the antipoverty Community Development Block Grant program. The widening gap between the rich and poor had already begun during the 1970s before Reagan's economic policies took effect. Along with Reagan's 1981 cut in the top regular tax rate on unearned income, he reduced the maximum capital gains rate to only 20%. Reagan later set tax rates on capital gains at the same level as the rates on ordinary income like salaries and wages, with both topping out at 28%. Reagan is viewed as an antitax hero despite raising taxes eleven times over the course of his presidency, all in the name of fiscal responsibility. According to Paul Krugman, "Over all, the 1982 tax increase undid about a third of the 1981 cut; as a share of G.D.P., the increase was substantially larger than Mr. Clinton's 1993 tax increase." According to historian and domestic policy adviser Bruce Bartlett, Reagan's tax increases over the course of his presidency took back half of the 1981 tax cut. Further following his less-government intervention views, Reagan cut the budgets of non-military programs including Medicaid, food stamps, federal education programs and the EPA. While he protected entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, his administration attempted to purge many people with disabilities from the Social Security disability rolls. The administration's stance toward the Savings and Loan industry contributed to the savings and loan crisis. It is also suggested, by a minority of Reaganomics critics, that the policies partially influenced the stock market crash of 1987 but there is no consensus regarding a single source for the

crash. In order to cover newly spawned federal budget deficits, the United States borrowed heavily both domestically and abroad, raising thenational debt from $997 billion to $2.85 trillion. Reagan described the new debt as the "greatest disappointment" of his presidency. He reappointed Paul Volcker as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and in 1987 he appointed monetarist Alan Greenspan to succeed him. Reagan ended the price controls on domestic oil which had contributed to energy crises in the early 1970s. The price of oil subsequently dropped, and the 1980s did not see the fuel shortages that the 1970s had. Reagan also fulfilled a 1980 campaign promise to repeal the windfall profit tax in 1988, which had previously increased dependence on foreign oil. Some economists, such as Nobel Prize winners Milton Friedman and Robert A. Mundell, argue that Reagan's tax policies invigorated America's economy and contributed to the economic boom of the 1990s. Other economists, such as Nobel Prize winner Robert Solow, argue that the deficits were a major reason why Reagan's successor, George H. W. Bush, reneged on a campaign promise and raised taxes. During Reagan's presidency, a program was initiated within the US intelligence community to ensure America's economic strength. The program, Project Socrates, developed and demonstrated the means required for the US to generate and lead the next evolutionary leap in technology acquisition and utilization for a competitive advantage automated innovation. To ensure that the US acquired the maximum benefit from automated innovation, Reagan, during his second term, had an executive order drafted to create a new Federal agency to implement the Project Socrates results on a nation-wide basis. However, Reagan's term came to end before the executive order could be coordinated and signed, and the incoming Bush administration, labeling Project Socrates as "industrial policy", had it terminated.

Lebanon and Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada), 1983


American peacekeeping forces in Beirut, a part of a multinational force during the Lebanese Civil War who had been earlier deployed by Reagan, were attacked on October 23, 1983. The Beirut barracks bombing resulted in the deaths of 241 American servicemen and the wounding of more than 60 others by a suicide truck bomber. Reagan sent a White House team to the site four

days later, led by his Vice President, George H.W. Bush. Reagan called the attack "despicable", pledged to keep a military force in Lebanon, and planned to target the Sheik Abdullah barracks in Baalbek, Lebanon, training ground for Hezbollah fighters, but the mission was later aborted. On February 7, 1984, President Reagan ordered the Marines to begin withdrawal from Lebanon. In April 1984, as his keynote address to the 20,000 attendees of the Rev. Jerry Falwell's "Baptist Fundamentalism '84" convention in Washington, D.C., he read a first hand account of the bombing, written by Navy Chaplain (Rabbi) Arnold Resnicoff, who had been asked to write the report by Bush and his team. Osama bin Laden would later cite Reagan's withdrawal of forces as a sign of American weakness. On October 25, 1983, only two days later, Reagan ordered U.S. forces to invade Grenada, code named Operation Urgent Fury, where a 1979 coup d'tat had established an independent non-aligned MarxistLeninist government. A formal appeal from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States(OECS) led to the intervention of U.S. forces; President Reagan also cited an allegedly regional threat posed by a Soviet-Cuban military build-up in the Caribbean and concern for the safety of several hundred American medical students at St. George's University as adequate reasons to invade.Operation Urgent Fury was the first major military operation conducted by U.S. forces since the Vietnam War, several days of fighting commenced, resulting in a U.S. victory, with 19 American fatalities and 116 wounded American soldiers. In mid-December, after a new government was appointed by the Governor-General, U.S. forces withdrew.

Escalation of the Cold War


Reagan escalated the Cold War, accelerating a reversal from the policy of dtente which began in 1979 following the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Reagan ordered a massive buildup of the United States Armed Forces and implemented new policies towards the Soviet Union: reviving the B-1 Lancer program that had been canceled by the Carter administration, and producing the MX missile. In response to Soviet deployment of the SS-20, Reagan oversaw NATO's deployment of the Pershing missile in West Germany.

Together with the United Kingdom's prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Reagan denounced the Soviet Union in ideological terms. In a famous address on June 8, 1982 to the British Parliament in the Royal Gallery of the Palace of Westminster, Reagan said, "the forward march of freedom and democracy will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history". On March 3, 1983, he predicted that communism would collapse, stating, "Communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written." In a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals on March 8, 1983, Reagan called the Soviet Union "an evil empire". After Soviet fighters downed Korean Air Lines Flight 007 near Moneron Island on September 1, 1983, carrying 269 people, including Georgia congressman Larry McDonald, Reagan labeled the act a "massacre" and declared that the Soviets had turned "against the world and the moral precepts which guide human relations among people everywhere". The Reagan administration responded to the incident by suspending all Soviet passenger air service to the United States, and dropped several agreements being negotiated with the Soviets, wounding them financially. As result of the shootdown, and the cause of KAL 007's going astray thought to be inadequacies related to its navigational system, Reagan announced on September 16, 1983 that the Global Positioning System would be made available for civilian use, free of charge, once completed in order to avert similar navigational errors in future. Under a policy that came to be known as the Reagan Doctrine, Reagan and his administration also provided overt and covert aid to anticommunist resistance movements in an effort to "rollback" Soviet-backed communist governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Reagan deployed the CIA's Special Activities Division to Afghanistan and Pakistan. They were instrumental in training, equipping and leading Mujaheddin forces against the Soviet Army. President Reagan's Covert Action program has been given credit for assisting in ending the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, though the US funded armaments introduced then would later pose a threat to US troops in the 2000s (decade)war in Afghanistan. However, in a break from the Carter policy of arming Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act, Reagan also agreed

with the communist government in China to reduce the sale of arms to Taiwan. In March 1983, Reagan introduced the Strategic Defense Initiative, a defense project that would have used ground and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. Reagan believed that this defense shield could make nuclear war impossible, but disbelief that the technology could ever work led opponents to dub SDI "Star Wars" and argue that the technological objective was unattainable. The Soviets became concerned about the possible effects SDI would have; leader Yuri Andropov said it would put "the entire world in jeopardy". For those reasons, David Gergen, former aide to President Reagan, believes that in retrospect, SDI hastened the end of the Cold War. Critics labeled Reagan's foreign policies as aggressive, imperialistic, and chided them as "warmongering", though they were supported by leading American conservatives who argued that they were necessary to protect U.S. security interests.

1984 presidential campaign


Reagan accepted the Republican nomination in Dallas, Texas. He proclaimed that it was "morning again in America", regarding the recovering economy and the dominating performance by the U.S. athletes at the 1984 Summer Olympics, among other things. He became the first American president to open an Olympic Games held in the United States. Reagan's opponent in the 1984 presidential election was former Vice President Walter Mondale. With questions about Reagan's age, and a weak performance in the first presidential debate, his ability to perform the duties of president for another term was questioned. His apparent confused and forgetful behavior was evident to his supporters; they had previously known him clever and witty. Rumors began to circulate that he had Alzheimer's disease. Reagan rebounded in the second debate, and confronted questions about his age, quipping, "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience", which generated applause and laughter, even from Mondale himself.

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

Second term, 19851989


Reagan was sworn in as president for the second time on January 20, 1985, in a private ceremony at the White House. Because January 20 fell on a Sunday, a public celebration was not held but took place in the Capitol Rotunda the following day. January 21 was one of the coldest days on record in Washington, D.C.; due to poor weather, inaugural celebrations were held inside the Capitol. In the coming weeks he shook up his staff somewhat, moving White House Chief of Staff James Baker to Secretary of the Treasury and naming Treasury Secretary Donald Regan, a former Merrill Lynchofficer, Chief of Staff. In 1985, Reagan visited a German military cemetery in Bitburg to lay a wreath with West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. It was determined that the cemetery held the graves of forty-nine members of the Waffen-SS. Reagan issued a statement that called the Nazi soldiers buried in that cemetery as themselves "victims", a designation which ignited a stir over whether Reagan had equated the SS men to victims of the Holocaust; Pat Buchanan, Reagan's Director of Communications, argued that the president did not equate the SS members with the actual Holocaust. Now strongly urged to cancel the visit, the president responded that it would be wrong to back down on a promise he had made to Chancellor Kohl. He ultimately attended the ceremony where two military generals laid a wreath. The disintegration of the Space Shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986, proved a pivotal moment in Reagan's presidency. All seven astronauts aboard were killed. On the night of the disaster, Reagan delivered a speech, written by Peggy Noonan, in which he said: The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave... We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they

prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of Earth' to 'touch the face of God.'

War on Drugs
Midway into his second term, Reagan declared more militant policies in the War on Drugs. He said that "drugs were menacing our society" and promised to fight for drug-free schools and workplaces, expanded drug treatment, stronger law enforcement and drug interdiction efforts, and greater public awareness. In 1986, Reagan signed a drug enforcement bill that budgeted $1.7 billion to fund the War on Drugs and specified a mandatory minimum penalty for drug offenses. The bill was criticized for promoting significant racial disparities in the prison population and critics also charged that the policies did little to reduce the availability of drugs on the street, while resulting in a great financial burden for America. Defenders of the effort point to success in reducing rates of adolescent drug use. First Lady Nancy Reagan made the War on Drugs her main priority by founding the "Just Say No" drug awareness campaign, which aimed to discourage children and teenagers from engaging in recreational drug use by offering various ways of saying "no". Nancy Reagan traveled to 65 cities in 33 states, raising awareness about the dangers of drugs including alcohol.

Libya bombing
Relations between Libya and the U.S. under President Reagan were continually contentious, beginning with the Gulf of Sidra incident in 1981; by 1982, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was considered by the CIA to be, along with USSR leader Leonid Brezhnev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, part of a group known as the "unholy trinity" and was also labeled as "our international public enemy number one" by a CIA official. These tensions were later revived in early April 1986, when a bomb exploded in a Berlin discothque, resulting in the injury of 63 American military personnel and death of one serviceman. Stating that there was "irrefutable proof" that Libya had directed the "terrorist bombing", Reagan authorized the use of force against the country. In the late evening of April 15, 1986, the U.S. launched a series of air strikes on ground targets in Libya. The UK Prime

Minister Margaret Thatcher allowed the US Air Force to use Britain's air bases to launch the attack, on the justification that the UK was supporting America's right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The attack was designed to halt Gaddafi's "ability to export terrorism", offering him "incentives and reasons to alter his criminal behavior". The president addressed the nation from the Oval Office after the attacks had commenced, stating, "When our citizens are attacked or abused anywhere in the world on the direct orders of hostile regimes, we will respond so long as I'm in this office." The attack was condemned by many countries. By a vote of 79 in favor to 28 against with 33 abstentions, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 41/38 which "condemns the military attack perpetrated against the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya on 15 April 1986, which constitutes a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and of international law."

Immigration
Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986. The act made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit illegal immigrants, required employers to attest to their employees' immigration status, and granted amnesty to approximately three million illegal immigrants who entered the United States prior to January 1, 1982, and had lived in the country continuously. Critics argue that the employer sanctions were without teeth and failed to stem illegal immigration. Upon signing the act at a ceremony held beside the newly refurbished Statue of Liberty, Reagan said, "The legalization provisions in this act will go far to improve the lives of a class of individuals who now must hide in the shadows, without access to many of the benefits of a free and open society. Very soon many of these men and women will be able to step into the sunlight and, ultimately, if they choose, they may become Americans." Reagan also said, "The employer sanctions program is the keystone and major element. It will remove the incentive for illegal immigration by eliminating the job opportunities which draw illegal aliens here."

IranContra affair
In 1986, a scandal shook the administration stemming from the use of proceeds from covert arms sales to Iran to fund the Contras in Nicaragua,

which had been specifically outlawed by an act of Congress. The IranContra affair became the largest political scandal in the United States during the 1980s. The International Court of Justice, whose jurisdiction to decide the case was disputed by the US, ruled that the U.S. had violated international law and breached treaties in Nicaragua in various ways (see Nicaragua v. United States). President Reagan professed ignorance of the plot's existence. He appointed two Republicans and one Democrat (John Tower, Brent Scowcroft andEdmund Muskie, known as the "Tower Commission") to investigate the scandal. The commission could not find direct evidence that Reagan had prior knowledge of the program, but criticized him heavily for his disengagement from managing his staff, making the diversion of funds possible. A separate report by Congress concluded that "If the president did not know what his national security advisers were doing, he should have." Reagan's popularity declined from 67% to 46% in less than a week, the greatest and quickest decline ever for a president. The scandal resulted in fourteen indictments within Reagan's staff, and eleven convictions. Many Central Americans criticize Reagan for his support of the Contras, calling him an anti-communist zealot, blinded to human rights abuses, while others say he "saved Central America". Daniel Ortega, Sandinistan and president of Nicaragua, said that he hoped God would forgive Reagan for his "dirty war against Nicaragua".

End of the Cold War


By the early 1980s, many people in the US perceived that the USSR military capabilities were gaining on that of the United States. Previously, the U.S. had relied on the qualitative superiority of its weapons to essentially frighten the Soviets, but the gap had been narrowed. Although the Soviet Union did not accelerate military spending after President Reagan's military buildup, their large military expenses, in combination with collectivized agriculture and inefficient planned manufacturing, were a heavy burden for the Soviet [238] economy. At the same time, Saudi Arabia increased oil production, which resulted in a drop of oil prices in 1985 to one-third of the previous level; oil was

the main source of Soviet export revenues. These factors gradually brought the Soviet economy to a stagnant state during Gorbachev's tenure. Reagan recognized the change in the direction of the Soviet leadership with Mikhail Gorbachev, and shifted to diplomacy, with a view to encourage the Soviet leader to pursue substantial arms agreements. Reagan's personal mission was to achieve "a world free of nuclear weapons", which he regarded as "totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization". He was able to start discussions on nuclear disarmament with General Secretary Gorbachev. Gorbachev and Reagan held four summit conferencesbetween 1985 and 1988: the first in Geneva, Switzerland, the second in Reykjavk, Iceland, the third in Washington, D.C., and the fourth in Moscow. Reagan believed that if he could persuade the Soviets to allow for more democracy and free speech, this would lead to reform and the end of Communism. Speaking at the Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987, Reagan challenged Gorbachev to go further, saying:

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

Prior to Gorbachev visiting Washington, D.C., for the third summit in 1987, the Soviet leader announced his intention to pursue significant arms agreements. The timing of the announcement led Western diplomats to contend that Gorbachev was offering major concessions to the U.S. on the levels of conventional forces, nuclear weapons, and policy in Eastern Europe. He and Reagan signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty at the White House, which eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons. The two leaders laid the framework for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START I; Reagan insisted that the name of the treaty be changed from Strategic Arms Limitation Talks to Strategic Arms Reduction Talks.

When Reagan visited Moscow for the fourth summit in 1988, he was viewed as a celebrity by the Soviets. A journalist asked the president if he still considered the Soviet Union the evil empire. "No", he replied, "I was talking about another time, another era." At Gorbachev's request, Reagan gave a speech on free markets at the Moscow State University. In his autobiography, An American Life, Reagan expressed his optimism about the [249] new direction that they charted and his warm feelings for Gorbachev. In November 1989, the Berlin Wall was torn down, the Cold War was officially declared over at the Malta Summit on December 3, 1989 and two years later, the Soviet Union collapsed.

Health
Early in his presidency, Reagan started wearing a custom, technologically advanced hearing aid, first in his right ear and later in his left as well. His decision to go public in 1983 regarding his wearing the small, audio-amplifying device boosted their sales. On July 13, 1985, Reagan underwent surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital to remove cancerous polyps from his colon. He relinquished presidential power to the Vice President for eight hours in a similar procedure as outlined in the 25th Amendment, which he specifically avoided invoking. The surgery lasted just under three hours and was successful. Reagan resumed the powers of the presidency later that day. In August of that year, he underwent an operation to remove skin cancer cells from his nose. In October, additional skin cancer cells were detected on his nose and removed. In January 1987, Reagan underwent surgery for an enlarged prostate which caused further worries about his health. No cancerous growths were found, however, and he was not sedated during the operation. In July of that year, aged 76, he underwent a third skin cancer operation on his nose.

Judiciary
During his 1980 campaign, Reagan pledged that, if given the opportunity, he would appoint the first female Supreme Court Justice. That opportunity came in his first year in office when he nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Potter Stewart. In his second

term, Reagan elevated William Rehnquist to succeed Warren Burger as Chief Justice, and named Antonin Scalia to fill the vacant seat. Reagan nominated conservative jurist Robert Bork to the high court in 1987. Senator Ted Kennedy, a Democrat of Massachusetts, strongly condemned Bork, and great controversy ensued. Bork's nomination was rejected 5842. Reagan then nominated Douglas Ginsburg, but Ginsburg withdrew his name from consideration after coming under fire for his cannabis use. Anthony Kennedy was eventually confirmed in his place. Along with his three Supreme Court appointments, Reagan appointed 83 judges to the United States Courts of Appeals, and 290 judges to the United States district courts. Reagan also nominated Vaughn R. Walker, who would later be revealed to be the earliest known gay federal judge to the United States District Court for the Central District of California. However, the nomination stalled in the Senate, and Walker was not confirmed until he was renominated by Reagan's successor, George H. W. Bush. Early in his tenure, Reagan appointed Clarence M. Pendleton, Jr., of San Diego as the first African American to chair the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Pendleton tried to steer the commission into a conservative direction in line with Reagan's views on social and civil rights policy during his time as tenure from 1981 until his sudden death in 1988. Pendleton soon aroused the ire of many civil rights advocates and feminists when he ridiculed the comparable worth proposal as being "Looney Tunes".

Post-presidential years, 19892004


After leaving office in 1989, the Reagans purchased a home in Bel Air, Los Angeles in addition to the Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara. They regularly attended Bel Air Presbyterian Church and occasionally made appearances on behalf of the Republican Party; Reagan delivered a well-received speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention. Previously on November 4, 1991, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library was dedicated and opened to the public. At the dedication ceremonies, five presidents were in attendance, as well as six first ladies, marking the first time five presidents were gathered in the same location. Reagan continued publicly to speak in favor of a line-item

veto; the Brady Bill; a constitutional amendmentrequiring a balanced budget; and the repeal of the 22nd Amendment, which prohibits anyone from serving more than two terms as president. In 1992 Reagan established the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award with the newly formed Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. His final public speech was on February 3, 1994, during a tribute to him in Washington, D.C., and his last major public appearance was at the funeral of Richard Nixon on April 27, 1994.

Alzheimer's disease
Announcement and reaction
In August 1994, at the age of 83, Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, an incurable neurological disorder which destroys brain cells and ultimately causes death. In November he informed the nation through a handwritten letter, writing in part: I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease... At the moment I feel just fine. I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this earth doing the things I have always done... I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead. Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you. After his diagnosis, letters of support from well-wishers poured into his California home, but there was also speculation over how long Reagan had demonstrated symptoms of mental degeneration. In her memoirs, former CBS White House correspondent Lesley Stahl recounts her final meeting with the president, in 1986: "Reagan didn't seem to know who I was. ... Oh, my, he's gonzo, I thought. I have to go out on the lawn tonight and tell my countrymen that the president of the United States is a doddering space cadet." But then, at the end, he regained his alertness. As she described it, "I had come that close to reporting that Reagan was senile." However, Dr. Lawrence K. Altman, a physician employed as a reporter for The New York Times, noted that "the line between mere forgetfulness and the beginning of Alzheimer's can be fuzzy", and all four of Reagan's White House doctors said that they saw no evidence of Alzheimer's while he was president. Dr. John E. Hutton, Reagan's primary physician from 1984 to 1989, said the president

"absolutely" did not "show any signs of dementia or Alzheimer's". Reagan did experience occasional memory lapses, though, especially with names. Once, while meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, he repeatedly referred to Vice President Bush as "Prime Minister Bush." Reagan's doctors, however, note that he only began exhibiting overt symptoms of the illness in late 1992 or 1993, several years after he had left office. His former Chief of Staff James Baker considered "ludicrous" the idea of Reagan sleeping during cabinet meetings. Other staff members, former aides, and friends said they saw no indication of Alzheimer's while he was President. Complicating the picture, Reagan suffered an episode of head trauma in July 1989, five years prior to his diagnosis. After being thrown from a horse in Mexico, a subdural hematoma was found and surgically treated later in the year. Nancy Reagan asserts that her husband's 1989 fall hastened the onset of Alzheimer's disease, citing what doctors told her, although acute brain injury has not been conclusively proven to accelerate Alzheimer's or dementia. Reagan's one-time physician Dr. Daniel Ruge has said it is possible, but not certain, that the horse accident affected the course of Reagan's memory.

Progression
As the years went on, the disease slowly destroyed Reagan's mental capacity. He was only able to recognize a few people, including his wife, Nancy. He remained active, however; he took walks through parks near his home and on beaches, played golf regularly, and until 1999 he often went to his office in nearby Century City. Reagan suffered a fall at his Bel Air home on January 13, 2001, resulting in a broken hip. The fracture was repaired the following day and the 89-year old Reagan returned home later that week, although he faced difficult physical therapy at home. On February 6, 2001, Reagan reached the age of 90, becoming the third former president to do so (the other two being John Adams and Herbert Hoover, with Gerald Ford later reaching 90). Reagan's public appearances became much less frequent with the progression of the disease, and as a result, his family decided that he would live in quiet semi-

isolation with his wife Nancy. Nancy Reagan told CNN's Larry King in 2001 that very few visitors were allowed to see her husband because she felt that "Ronnie would want people to remember him as he was." Following her husband's diagnosis and death, Mrs. Reagan became a stem-cell research advocate, urging Congress and President George W. Bush to support federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, something Bush opposed. In 2009, she praised President Barack Obama for lifting restrictions on such research. Mrs. Reagan has said that she believes that it could lead to a cure for Alzheimer's

Death
Reagan died of pneumonia, brought on by Alzheimer's disease at his home in Bel Air, California, on the afternoon of June 5, 2004. A short time after his death, Nancy Reagan released a statement saying, "My family and I would like the world to know that President Ronald Reagan has died after 10 years of Alzheimer's disease at 93 years of age. We appreciate everyone's prayers." President George W. Bush declared June 11 a National Day of Mourning, and international tributes came in from around the world. Reagan's body was taken to the Kingsley and Gates Funeral Home in Santa Monica, California later in the day, where well-wishers paid tribute by laying flowers and American flags in the grass. On June 7, his body was removed and taken to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where a brief family funeral was held conducted by Pastor Michael Wenning. His body lay in repose in the Library lobby until June 9; over 100,000 people viewed the coffin. On June 9, Reagan's body was flown to Washington, D.C. where he became the tenth United States president to lie in state; in thirty-four hours, 104,684 people filed past the coffin. On June 11, a state funeral was conducted in the Washington National Cathedral, and presided over by President George W. Bush. Eulogies were [303] given by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and both Presidents Bush. Also in attendance were Mikhail Gorbachev, and many world leaders, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Gerhard Schrder, Italian Prime

Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and interim presidents Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, and Ghazi al-Yawer of Iraq. After the funeral, the Reagan entourage was flown back to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, where another service was held, and President Reagan was interred. At the time of his death, Reagan was the longest-lived president in U.S. history, having lived 93 years and 120 days (2 years, 8 months, and 23 days longer than John Adams, whose record he surpassed). He is now the second longest-lived president, just 45 days fewer than Gerald Ford. He was the first United States president to die in the 21st century, and his was the first state funeral in the United States since that of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1973. His burial site is inscribed with the words he delivered at the opening of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library: "I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph and that there is purpose and worth to each and every life."

Legacy
Since Reagan left office in 1989, substantial debate has occurred among scholars, historians, and the general public surrounding his legacy. Supporters have pointed to a more efficient and prosperous economy as a result of Reaganomics, foreign policy triumphs including a peaceful end to the Cold War after Reagan's eight years in office, and a restoration of American pride and morale. Critics contend that Reagan's economic policies resulted in huge budget deficits, a wider gap in wealth, and an increase in homelessness and that the Iran-Contra affair lowered American credibility. Despite the ongoing debates, Reagan has ranked among the most popular of all modern U.S. presidents in public opinion polls. Opinions of Reagan's legacy among the country's leading policy makers and journalists differ as well. Edwin Feulner, President of The Heritage Foundation, said that Reagan "helped create a safer, freer world" and said of his economic policies: "He took an America suffering from 'malaise'... and made its citizens believe again in their destiny." However, Mark Weisbrot, coDirector of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, contended that

Reagan's "economic policies were mostly a failure" while Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post opined that Reagan was "a far more controversial figure in his time than the largely gushing obits on television would suggest." Despite the continuing debate surrounding his legacy, many conservative and liberal scholars agree that Reagan has been the most influential president since Franklin D. Roosevelt, leaving his imprint on American politics, diplomacy, culture, and economics. Since he left office, historians have reached a consensus, as summarized by British historian M. J. Heale, who finds that scholars now concur that Reagan rehabilitated conservatism, turned the nation to the right, practiced a considerably pragmatic conservatism that balanced ideology and the constraints of politics, revived faith in the presidency and in American self-respect, and contributed to victory in the Cold War.

Cold War
The Cold War was a major political and economic endeavor for over four decades, but the confrontation between the two superpowers had decreased dramatically by the end of Reagan's presidency. The significance of Reagan's role in ending the Cold War has spurred contentious and opinionated debate. That Reagan had some role in contributing to the downfall of the Soviet Union is collectively agreed, but the extent of this role is continuously debated, with many believing that Reagan's defense policies, hard line rhetoric against the Soviet Union and Communism, as well as summits with General Secretary Gorbachev played a significant part in ending the War. He was notable amongst postWorld War II presidents as being convinced that the Soviet Union could be defeated rather than simply negotiated with, a conviction that was vindicated by Gennadi Gerasimov, the Foreign Ministry spokesman under Gorbachev, who said that Star Wars was "very successful blackmail. ... The Soviet economy couldn't endure such competition." Reagan's strong rhetoric toward the nation had mixed effects; Jeffery W. Knopf observes that being labeled "evil" probably made no difference to the Soviets but gave encouragement to the East-European citizens opposed to communism. That Reagan had little or no effect in ending the Cold War is argued with equal weight; that Communism's internal

weakness had become apparent, and the Soviet Union would have collapsed in the end regardless of who was in power. President Harry Truman's policy of containment is also regarded as a force behind the fall of the U.S.S.R., and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan undermined the Soviet system itself. General Secretary Gorbachev said of his former rival's Cold War role: "[He was] a man who was instrumental in bringing about the end of the Cold War", and deemed him "a great President". Gorbachev does not acknowledge a win or loss in the war, but rather a peaceful end; he said he was not intimidated by Reagan's harsh rhetoric. Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said of Reagan, "he warned that the Soviet Union had an insatiable drive for military power... but he also sensed it was being eaten away by systemic failures impossible to reform." She later said, "Ronald Reagan had a higher claim than any other leader to have won the Cold War for liberty and he did it without a shot being fired." Said Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada: "He enters history as a strong and dramatic player [in the Cold War]." Former President Lech Wasa of Poland acknowledged, "Reagan was one of the world leaders who made a major contribution to communism's collapse."

Domestic and political legacy


Ronald Reagan reshaped the Republican party, led the modern conservative movement, and altered the political dynamic of the United States. More men voted Republican under Reagan, and Reagan tapped into religious voters. The so-called "Reagan Democrats" were a result of his presidency. After leaving office, Reagan became an iconic influence within the Republican party. His policies and beliefs have been frequently invoked by Republican presidential candidates since 1989. The 2008 Republican presidential candidates were no exception, for they aimed to liken themselves to him during the primary debates, even imitating his campaign strategies. Republican nominee John McCain frequently stated that he came to office as "a foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution". Lastly, Reagan's most famous statement that "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem", has become the unofficial slogan for the rise of

conservative commentators like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, as well as the emergence of the Tea Party Movement.

Cultural and political image


According to columnist Chuck Raasch, "Reagan transformed the American presidency in ways that only a few have been able to".He redefined the political agenda of the times, advocating lower taxes, a conservative economic philosophy, and a stronger military. His role in the Cold War further enhanced his image as a different kind of leader. Reagan's "avuncular style, optimism, and plain-folks demeanor" also helped him turn "government-bashing into an art form" As a sitting president, Reagan did not have the highest approval ratings, but his popularity has increased since 1989. Gallup polls in 2001 and 2007 ranked him number one or number two when correspondents were asked for the greatest president in history. Reagan ranked third of post World War II presidents in a 2007 Rasmussen Reports poll, fifth in an ABC 2000 poll, ninth in another 2007 Rasmussen poll, and eighth in a late 2008 poll by United Kingdom newspaper The Times. In a Siena College survey of over 200 historians, however, Reagan ranked sixteenth out of 42. While the debate about Reagan's legacy is ongoing, the 2009 Annual C-SPAN Survey of Presidential Leaders ranked Reagan the 10th greatest president. The survey of leading historians rated Reagan number 11 in 2000. In 2011, the Institute for the Study of the Americas released the first ever U.K. academic survey to rate U.S. presidents. This poll of U.K. specialists in U.S. history and politics placed Reagan as the 8th greatest U.S. president. Reagan's ability to connect with the American people earned him the laudatory moniker "The Great Communicator". Of it, Reagan said, "I won the nickname the great communicator. But I never thought it was my style that made a differenceit was the content. I wasn't a great communicator, but I communicated great things." His age and soft-spoken speech gave him a warm grandfatherly image. Reagan also earned the nickname "the Teflon President", in that public perceptions of him were not tarnished by the controversies that arose during

his administration. According to Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder, who coined the phrase, and reporter Howard Kurtz, the epithet referred to Reagan's ability to "do almost anything wrong and not get blamed for it". Public reaction to Reagan was always mixed; the oldest president was supported by young voters, and began an alliance that shifted many of them to the Republican party. Reagan did not fare well with minority groups, especially African-Americans. This was largely due to his opposition to affirmative action policies. However, his support of Israel throughout his presidency earned him support from many Jews, and he became the first Republican ever to win the Jewish vote. He emphasized family values in his campaigns and during his presidency, although he was the first president to have been divorced. The combination of Reagan's speaking style, unabashed patriotism, negotiation skills, as well as his savvy use of the media, played an important role in defining the 1980s and his future legacy. Reagan was known to joke frequently during his lifetime, displayed humor throughout his presidency, and was famous for his storytelling. His numerous jokes and one-liners have been labeled "classic quips" and "legendary". Among the most notable of his jokes was one regarding the Cold War. As a sound check prior to his weekly radio address in August 1984, Reagan made the following joke as a way to test the microphone: "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." Former aide David Gergen commented, "It was that humor... that I think endeared people to Reagan."

Honors
Reagan received a number of awards in his pre- and post-presidential years. Following his election as president, Reagan received a lifetime gold membership in the Screen Actors Guild, was inducted into the National Speakers Association Speaker Hall of Fame and received the United States Military Academy's Sylvanus Thayer Award. In 1989, Reagan was made an Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, one of the highest British orders (this entitled him to the use of the post-nominal letters "GCB" but, by not being the citizen of a Commonwealth

realm, not to be known as "Sir Ronald Reagan"); only two American presidents have received this honor, Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Reagan was also named an honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford. Japan awarded him the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum in 1989; he was the second American president to receive the order and the first to have it given to him for personal reasons (Dwight D. Eisenhower received it as a commemoration of U.S.-Japanese relations). On January 18, 1993, Reagan's former Vice-President and sitting President George H. W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that the United States can bestow. Reagan was also awarded the Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestowed by Republican members of the Senate. On Reagan's 87th birthday, in 1998, Washington National Airport was renamed Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport by a bill signed into law by President Bill Clinton. That year, the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center was dedicated in Washington, D.C. He was among 18 included in Gallup's List of Widely Admired People of the 20th century, from a poll conducted of the American people in 1999; two years later,USS Ronald Reagan was christened by Nancy Reagan and the United States Navy. It is one of few Navy ships christened in honor of a living person and the first aircraft carrier to be named in honor of a living former president. In 1998 the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation awarded Reagan its Naval Heritage award for his support of the U S Navy and military in both his film career and while he served as President. Congress authorized the creation of the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site in Dixon, Illinois in 2002, pending federal purchase of the property. On May 16 of that year, Nancy Reagan accepted theCongressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress, on behalf of the president and herself. Following Reagan's death, the United States Postal Service issued a President Ronald Reagan commemorative postage stamp in 2005. Later in the year,CNN, along with the editors of Time magazine, named him the "most fascinating person" of the network's first 25 years; Time listed Reagan one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th century as well. The Discovery

Channel asked its viewers to vote for The Greatest American in June 2005; Reagan placed in first place, ahead of Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2006, Reagan was inducted into the California Hall of Fame, located at The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts. Every year since 2002, California Governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger have proclaimed February 6 "Ronald Reagan Day" in the state of California in honor of their most famous predecessor. In 2010, Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 944, authored by Senator George Runner, to make every February 6 Ronald Reagan Dayin California. In 2007, Polish President Lech Kaczyski posthumously conferred on Reagan the highest Polish distinction, the Order of the White Eagle, saying that Reagan had inspired the Polish people to work for change and helped to unseat the repressive communist regime; Kaczyski said it "would n ot have been possible if it was not for the tough-mindedness, determination, and feeling of mission of President Ronald Reagan". Reagan backed the nation of Poland throughout his presidency, supporting the anticommunist Solidarity movement, along with Pope John Paul II. On June 3, 2009, Nancy Reagan unveiled a statue of her late husband in the United States Capitol rotunda. The statue represents the state of California in theNational Statuary Hall Collection. Following Reagan's death, both major American political parties agreed to erect a statue of Reagan in the place of that ofThomas Starr King. The day before, President Obama signed the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act into law, establishing a commission to plan activities to mark the upcoming centenary of Reagan's birth. Independence Day 2011 saw the unveiling of another statue to Reagan this time in the British capital of London, outside the American Embassy, Grosvenor Square. The unveiling was supposed to be attended by Reagan's wife Nancy, but she did not attend; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took her place and read a statement on her behalf; further to the former First Lady's absence President Reagan's friend and the British Prime Minister during Reagan's presidency Baroness Thatcher was also unable to attend due to frail health.

"My fellow Americans. I'm pleased to announce that I've signed legislation outlawing the Soviet Union. We begin bombing in five minutes." -joking during a mike check before his Saturday radio broadcast "It's true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?" "I hope you're all Republicans." -speaking to surgeons as he entered the operating room following a 1981 assassination attempt "Honey, I forgot to duck." -to his wife, Nancy, after surviving the assassination attempt "I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself." "I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency -- even if I'm in a Cabinet meeting." "Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" "I have only one thing to say to the tax increasers: Go ahead, make my day." -threatening to veto tax-increase legislation after getting his record tax cut to date in 1981. He ultimately followed with two tax increases, though declined to go any further. "Well, I learned a lot....I went down to (Latin America) to find out from them and (learn) their views. You'd be surprised. They're all individual countries" "I don't know. I've never played a governor." -asked by a reporter in 1966 what kind of governor he would be "Facts are stupid things." -at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things" "Trees cause more pollution than automobiles." "All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk." "There is absolutely no circumstance whatever under which I would accept that spot. Even if they tied and gagged me, I would find a way to signal by

wiggling my ears." --on possibly being offered the vice presidency in 1968 "Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed, there are many rewards. If you disgrace yourself, you can always write a book." "You can tell a lot about a fella's character by whether he picks out all of one color or just grabs a handful." -explaining why he liked to have a jar of jelly beans on hand for important meetings "I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience." -during a 1984 presidential debate with Walter Mondale "The state of California has no business subsidizing intellectual curiosity." responding to student protests on college campuses during his tenure as California governor "Approximately 80 percent of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation, so let's not go overboard in setting and enforcing tough emission standards from man-made sources." "Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his." "We are trying to get unemployment to go up, and I think we're going to succeed." "As a matter of fact, Nancy never had any interest in politics or anything else when we got married." "I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born." "Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." "I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress." "Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other." "I'm afraid I can't use a mule. I have several hundred up on Capitol Hill." refusing a gift of a mule "What we have found in this country, and maybe we're more aware of it now, is one problem that we've had, even in the best of times, and that is the people who are sleeping on the grates, the homeless who are homeless, you might say, by choice."

"How are you, Mr. Mayor? I'm glad to meet you. How are things in your city?" -greeting Samual Pierce, his secretary of Housing and Urban Development, during a White House reception for mayors "My name is Ronald Reagan. What's yours?" -introducing himself after delivering a prep school commencement address. The individual responded, "I'm your son, Mike," to which Reagan replied, "Oh, I didn't recognize you." "One picture is worth 1,000 denials." "I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon." "Politics is just like show business. You have a hell of an opening, you coast for awhile, you have a hell of a closing." "What does an actor know about politics?" -criticizing Ed Asner for opposing American foreign policy "What makes him think a middle-aged actor, who's played with a chimp, could have a future in politics?" -on Clint Eastwood's bid to become mayor of Carmel "How can a president not be an actor?" -when asked "How could an actor become president?'

Feb. 6, 1911 Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in Tampico, Ill. to Nelle Wilson and John Edward ("Jack") Reagan. The Reagans had one previous son, Neil ("Moon") Reagan. 1920 The Reagans moved to a succession of rural northern Illinois towns until they settled in Dixon, Illinois, the place Reagan considers his hometown 1926 Beginning in 1926, Reagan was employed as a lifeguard at Lowell Park in Dixon. He was credited with saving 77 lives during the 7 summers he worked there. 1928 Reagan graduated from Dixon High School. He served as student body president and participated in football, basketball, track, and school plays.

1928-1932 Reagan attended Eureka (Illinois) College, a small liberal arts institution, and majored in economics and sociology. During his sophomore year, Reagan became interested in drama. Reagan also served as student body president. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's populist rhetoric attracted Reagan to him and later influenced Reagan's speaking style. 1932 Reagan received a temporary sports broadcasting job with WOC, a small radio station in Davenport, Iowa. After WOC consolidated with WHO in Des Moines, "Dutch" recreated Chicago Cubs baseball games from the studio. WHO, an NBC affiliate, gave Reagan national media exposure. 1937 Reagan enlisted in the Army Reserve as a Private but was soon promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps of the Cavalry. An agent for Warner Brothers "discovered" Reagan in Los Angeles and offered him a seven-year contract. Reagan played George Gipp in his most acclaimed film, Knute Rockne -- All American (l940). Jan 24, 1940 Reagan and Jane Wyman married. They met while making the movie, "Brother Rat." Jan 04 1941 Maureen was born 1942 The Army Air Force called Reagan to active duty and assigned Lieutenant Reagan to the 1st Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, California, where he made over 400 training films. Jul 22 1943 The Army promoted Reagan to the rank of Captain Dec 09 1945 The Army discharged Captain Reagan. 1945 - 1965 Reagan resumed his acting career after the war. Reagan made fifty-three motion pictures and one television movie. Mar 18 1945 Michael was born.

1948 Reagan supported Harry Truman for President 1949 Reagan and Wyman divorced. 1950 Reagan campaigned for Helen Gahagan Douglas for the Senate. 1952 Reagan campaigned as a Democrat for Eisenhower. Reagan accepted a job as spokesman for the General Electric Company, which allowed him to tour the country giving speeches.

Mar 4 1952 Reagan and Nancy Davis wed. Oct 21 1952 Patricia was born. 1956 Reagan campaigned as a Democrat for Eisenhower. May 20 1958 Ronald Prescott was born. 1960 Reagan campaigned for Richard Nixon for President. 1962 Reagan officially changed his party registration to Republican. 1964 Reagan's television address for Goldwater, "A Time for Choosing," launched his political career. A group of California businessmen soon afterward supported Reagan's candidacy for Governor. 1965 Reagan's autobiography, Where's the Rest of Me? is published. 1966 Reagan defeated incumbent governor Edmund G. ("Pat") Brown in a landslide. His success in the election and as governor made him a leading contender for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1968.

1968 Reagan made a tentative run for the presidency, waiting until the Republican National Convention to announce his candidacy. He later joined in unanimously supporting Richard Nixon. 1970 Reagan is re-elected governor. 1974 For several months after his gubernatorial term ended, Reagan wrote a syndicated newspaper column and provided commentaries on radio stations across the country. Nov 20, 1975 Reagan announced candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. He lost the party's nomination, but his strong showing laid the groundwork for the election in 1980. Nov 13, 1979 Reagan announced his candidacy for President. After winning the party's nomination, he chose George Bush as his running mate. The platform called for "a new consensus with all those across the land who share a community of values embodied in these words: family, work, neighborhood, peace, and freedom." Nov 4 1980 Reagan was elected the 40th President of the United States in a landslide victory over the incumbent, Jimmy Carter. The Reagan Presidency In his inaugural address after taking the oath of office on January 20, Ronald Reagan called upon Americans to "begin an era of national renewal." In response to the serious problems facing the country, both foreign and domestic, he asserted his familiar campaign phrase: "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem." He hoped that America "will again be the exemplar of freedom and a beacon of hope for those who do not have freedom." Arguably the first conservative U.S. president in over 50 years, Reagan advanced domestic policies that featured a lessening of federal government responsibility in solving social problems, reducing restrictions on business, and implementing tax cuts. Internationally,

Reagan demonstrated a fierce opposition to the spread of communism throughout the world and a strong distrust of the Soviet Union, which in 1983 he labeled an "evil empire." He championed a rearmed and strong military and was especially supportive of the MX missile system and the Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars") program. Economic Policy When Reagan took office the economy was one of the double-digit inflation and high interest rates. During the campaign Reagan promised to restore the free market from excessive government regulation and encourage private initiative and enterprise. Reagan's economic policies came to be known as "Reaganomics," an attempt, according to Lou Cannon, to "balance the federal budget, increase defense spending, and cut income taxes." The President vowed to protect entitlement programs (such as Medicare and Social Security) while cutting the outlays for social programs by targeting "waste, fraud and abuse." Reagan embraced the theory of "supply side economics," which postulated that tax cuts encouraged economic expansion which in turn increased the government's revenue at a lower tax rate. During his first year in office, Reagan engineered the passage of $39 billion in budget cuts into law, as well as a massive 25 percent tax cut spread over three years for individual, and faster write-offs for capital investment for business. At the same time, he insisted on, and for the most part, was successful in gaining increased funding for defense. Although inflation dropped from 13.5% in 1980 to 5.1% in 1982, a severe recession set in, with unemployment exceeding 10% in October, 1982 for the first time in forty years. The administration modified its economic policy after two years by proposing selected tax increases and budget cuts to control rising deficits and higher interest rates. After the 1982 downturn, the reduced inflation rate (under 5% for the remainder of the administration) sparked record economic growth, and produced one of the lowest unemployment rates in modern U.S. history (unemployment hit a 14 year low in June of 1988). As Reagan left

office, the nation was experiencing its sixth consecutive year of economic prosperity. The economic gains, however, came at a cost of a record annual deficit and a ballooning national debt. The budget deficit was exacerbated by a trade deficit. Americans continued to buy more foreign-made goods than they were selling. Reagan, however adhered to his free trade stance, and signed an agreement to that effect with Canada. He also signed, reluctantly, trade legislation designed to open foreign markets to U.S. goods. Domestic Affairs Reagan's domestic policies had a major impact on the American people and will have for many years. He followed up the passage of the largest tax cut in U.S. history by supporting and signing into law the Tax Reform law of 1986. Reagan led the battle for a Social Security reform bill designed to ensure the long-term solvency of the system, and oversaw the passage of immigration reform legislation , as well as the expansion of the Medicare program to protect the elderly and disabled against "catastrophic" health costs. Reagan elevated William Rehnquist to the position of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and appointed three justices to the bench: Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, and the first woman named to the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O' Connor. In all of the court appointments, Reagan chose individuals who he believed would exercise "judicial restraint." Reagan consistently received very high approval ratings, although he was not popular with some minority groups, particularly blacks, many of whom did not benefit from the economic prosperity. In 1986, over 30 percent of the black population had an income below the official poverty level. While many labor leaders disliked Reagan, especially after he fired the air traffic controllers, when they refused to end their strike (1981), he was popular with labor union members.

Reagan encouraged the development of "private sector initiatives" as well as federalism, with the objective of transferring from the federal government some of the responsibilities believed to be better served by private business or state and local government. As the president called for international cooperation to stop the influx of illegal drugs, especially cocaine, into the U.S., First Lady Nancy Reagan led the campaign against drug abuse, urging the nation's youth to "just say no." Foreign Policy At the heart of Reagan's foreign policy was the prevention of communist expansion. This was demonstrated in the Western Hemisphere by the strong financial and military support of the Contras against the communist Nicaraguan government, the aid given to the government of El Salvador in their fight against the communist guerrillas, and the U.S. invasion of Grenada when that nation was perceived as falling under Cuban domination in 1983, and the support given to rebels fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan. While effort for peace in Central America faltered, the Soviets announced the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan in 1988, ending their futile eight year war. Reagan believed that the nation should negotiate with the Soviet Union from a position of strength. To such an end, the administration embarked on a strategic modernization program which included the production of intercontinental missile and a feasibility study for the Strategic Defense Initiative. The increase in military spending, and the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev as General Secretary of the Soviet Union at the beginning of Reagan's second term, opened a new era of relations between the two superpowers. After a number of meetings between Reagan and Gorbachev, the two men signed an Intermediate Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty at the Washington Summit in December, 1987. The agreement promised to eliminate an entire class of intermediate-range nuclear missiles and was the first arms control agreement in history to reduce the nuclear arsenal. In addition, the administration began the

Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) which would reduce the strategic nuclear arsenals by 50%, including large multiple warhead missiles. When pro-U.S. dictators in Haiti and the Philippines appeared on the verge of being toppled from power, Reagan engineered their safe removal from their countries, ensuring bloodless coups and new government which, he hoped, would be friendly to the U.S. In Middle East affairs, Reagan reported in his inaugural address that the 52 American hostages held in Iran for 444 days were at that moment being released and would soon return to freedom. The President maintained a firm stance against terrorism, exemplified by the American retaliating against Libya for an air attack in 1981 and again in 1986 for the death of Americans in a Berlin discotheque. Reagan's peacekeeping force in war-torn Lebanon experienced tragedy in 1983 when a truck bomb killed 241 soldiers. Tragedy struck again in 1987 when a missile from an Iraqi warplane killed 37 sailors aboard the U.S.S. Stark, part of a U.S. naval taskforce which had been sent to the Persian Gulf to keep that waterway open during the Iran-Iraq war. The darkest hour of the Reagan administration would become known as the Iran-Contra affair. After lengthy, nationally televised hearings, a special congressional hearings review board reported that Reagan authorized the sale of arms to Iran in exchange for help in freeing U.S. hostages in Lebanon. It was revealed that the money gained from the arms sale illegally diverted to aid the Contras, opponents of the Nicaraguan Sandinista government. The congressional report criticized Reagan for his detached, hands-off style of management. In the aftermath of the affair, National Security Advisors Robert McFarlane and John Poindexter, as well as National Security Council aide Colonel Oliver North were indicted by a federal grand jury and convicted of lying to Congress. The Reagan Legacy

The eight years of the Reagan presidency was one of the most dynamic periods, in recent U.S. history, resulting in a major refocusing of the nation's social, business, and international agenda. Few presidents have enjoyed the affection of so many of the American people. Support for Ronald Reagan grew when he was seriously wounded by an assassin's bullet in 1981, and during major surgical procedures in 1985 and 1987. Reagan was known as the "Great Communicator," and often went on television to ask the viewers for their support for a particular piece of legislation. When he ran for a second term in 1984 against former VicePresident Walter Mondale, Reagan stood by his record and asked the voters if they were better off now than they were four years ago. At 73 years of age, Reagan became the oldest man ever elected president, receiving 525 electoral votes, the most of any presidential candidate. As his second term ended, polls showed that more than half of the American people gave him a favorable rating. When Ronald Reagan became president, he had a clear vision of what the nation should be and spelled out the direction he hoped it would take during his administration. Reagan had a clear social, economic, and foreign policy agenda, and with political guile and personal persuasiveness he was able to achieve many of his goals. Early in his presidency, Reagan remarked: "What I'd really like to do is go down in history as the President who made Americans believe in themselves again." A month before the election of his successor, Reagan looked back on his eight years in office: "I am the same man I was when I came to Washington," he said, "I believe the same things I believed when I came to Washington, and I think those beliefs have been vindicated by the success of the policies to which we hold fast." About his foreign policy, he said, "At every point on the map that the Soviets have applied pressure, we've done all we can to apply pressure against them." He went on "And now we are seeing a sight many believed they would never see in our lifetime: the receding of the tide of totalitarianism." There is little doubt that the many changes effected by the Reagan presidency will play a major role in shaping America's future as it concludes the 20th century.

1981 March 30-Assassination attempt by John W. Hinckley, Jr. July 20-21-Economic Summit, Ottawa August 13-Economic Recovery Tax Act September 21-Sandra Day O'Connor confirmed as Justice of the Supreme Court. 1982 June 5-6-Economic Summit, Versailles 1983 May 28-30-Economic Summit, Williamsburg, Virginia October 25-U.S. invasion of Granada 1983 June 7-9-Economic Summit, London November 19-21-Reagan-Gorbachev Summit, Geneva. 1986 May 4-6-Economic Summit, Tokyo. September 17-William Rehnquist confirmed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; Antonin Scalia confirmed as Justice of the Supreme Court. October 10-11-Reagan-Gorbachev Summit, Reykjavik

October 22-Tax Reform Act November 6-Immigration Reform and Control Act

1987 June 8-10-Economic Summit, Venice. December 8-Reagan and Gorbachev sign the Intermediate Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty at the Summit in Washington, DC. December 8-10-Reagan-Gorbachev Summit in Washington, DC. 1988 February 3-Anthony Kennedy confirmed as Justice of the Supreme Court. May 29-June 2-Reagan-Gorbachev Summit in Moscow. The leaders exchanged ratifications of the INF Treaty. June 19-21-Economic Summit, Toronto. September 28-U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act. November 18-Anti-Drug Abuse Act December 7-Final meeting between Reagan and Gorbachev.

RONALD REAGAN
In a president, character is everything. A president doesn't have to be brilliant; Harry Truman wasn't brilliant, and he helped save Western

Europe from Stalin. He doesn't have to be clever; you can hire clever. White Houses are always full of quick-witted people with ready advice on how to flip a senator or implement a strategy. You can hire pragmatic, and you can buy and bring in policy wonks. But you can't buy courage and decency, you can't rent a strong moral sense. A president must bring those things with him. If he does, they will give meaning and animation to the great practical requirement of the presidency: He must know why he's there and what he wants to do. He has to have thought it through. He needs to have, in that much maligned word, but a good one nontheless, a vision of the future he wishes to create. This is a function of thinking, of the mind, the brain. But a vision is worth little if a president doesn't have the character--the courage and heart--to see it through.... (Reagan) had the vision. Did he have the courage without which it would be nothing but a poignant dream? Yes. At the core of Reagan's character was courage, a courage that was, simply, natural to him, a courage that was ultimately contagious. When people say President Reagan brought back our spirit and our sense of optimism, I think what they are saying in part is, the whole country caught his courage. There are many policy examples, but I believe when people think of his courage, they think first of what happened that day in March 1981 when he was shot. He tried to walk into the hospital himself but his knees buckled and he had to be helped. They put him on a gurney, and soon he started the one-liners. Quoting Churchill, he reminded everyone that there's nothing so exhilarating as to be shot at without effect. To Mrs. Reagan, it was, "Honey, I forgot to duck." To the doctors, "I just hope you're Republicans." To which one doctor replied, "Today Mr. President we're all Republicans." Maybe he caught Reagan's courage too. But Reagan the political figure had a form of courage that I think is the hardest and most demanding kind. A general will tell you that anyone

can be brave for five minutes; the adrenaline pumps, you do things of which you wouldn't have thought yourself capable. But Reagan had that harder and more exhausting courage, the courage to swim against the tide. And we all forget it now because he changed the tide. Looking back, we forget that the political mood of today, in which he might find himself quite comfortable, is quite different from the political mood the day he walked into politics. But he had no choice, he couldn't not swim against the tide. In the fifties and sixties all of his thoughts and observations led him to believe that Americans were slowly but surely losing their freedoms. When he got to Hollywood as a young man in his twenties, he shared and was impressed by the general thinking of the good and sophisticated people of New York and Hollywood with regard to politics. He was a liberal Democrat, as his father was, and he felt a great attachment to the party. He was proud that his father had refused to take him and his brother Moon to the movie, Birth of a Nation, with its racial stereotypes. And he bragged that his father, Jack, a salesman, had, back long ago when Reagan was a kid, once spent the night in his car rather than sleep in a hotel that wouldn't take Jews. Ronald Reagan as a young man was a Roosevelt supporter, he was all for FDR, and when he took part in his first presidential campaign he made speeches for Harry Truman in 1948. When Reagan changed, it was against the tide. It might be said that the heyday of modern political liberalism, in its American manifestation, was the 1960s, when the Great Society began and the Kennedys were secular saints and the costs of enforced liberalism were not yet apparent. And that is precisely when Reagan came down hard right, all for Goldwater in 1964. This was very much the wrong side of the fashionable argument to be on; it wasn't a way to gain friends in influential quarters, it wasn't exactly a career-enhancing move. But Reagan thought the conservatives were right. So he joined them, at the least advantageous moment, the whole country going this way on a twenty-year experiment, and Reagan going that way, thinking he was

right and thinking that sooner or later he and the country were going to meet in a historic rendezvous. His courage was composed in part of intellectual conviction and in part of sheer toughness. When we think of Reagan, we think so immediately of his presidency that we tend to forget what came before. What came before 1980 was 1976--and Reagan's insurgent presidential bid against the incumbent Republican President Jerry Ford. Ford was riding pretty high, he was the good man who followed Nixon after the disgrace of Watergate; but Ford was a moderate liberal Republican, and Reagan thought he was part of the problem, so he declared against him. He ran hard. And by March 1976 he had lost five straight primaries in a row. He was in deep trouble--eleven of twelve former chairmen of the Republican National Committee called on him to get out of the race, the Republican Conference of Mayors told him to get out, on March 18 the Los Angeles Times told him to quit. The Reagan campaign was $2 to $3 million in debt, and they were forced to give up their campaign plane for a small leased jet, painted yellow, that they called "The Flying Banana." On March 23, they were in Wisconsin, where Reagan was to address a bunch of duck hunters. Before the speech, Reagan and his aides gathered in his room at a dreary hotel to debate getting out of the race. The next day there would be another primary, in North Carolina, and they knew they'd lose. Most of the people in the room said, "It's over, we have no money, no support, we lost five so far and tomorrow we lose six." John Sears, the head of the campaign, told the governor, "You know, one of your supporters down in Texas says he'll lend us a hundred thousand dollars if you'll rebroadcast that speech where you give Ford and Kissinger hell on defense." The talk went back and forth. Marty Anderson, the wonderful longtime Reagan aide who told me this story, said he sat there thinking, 'This is crazy, another hundred grand in debt....'

The talk went back and forth and then Reagan spoke. He said "Okay, we'll do it. Get the hundred thousand, we'll run the national defense speech." He said, "I am taking this all the way to the convention at Kansas City, and I don't care if I lose every damn primary along the way." And poor Marty thought to himself, 'Oh Lord, there are twentyone....' The next night at a speech, Marty was standing in the back and Frank Reynolds of ABC News came up all excited with a piece of paper in his hand that said 55-45. Marty thought, 'Oh, we're losing by ten.' And Reynolds said, "You're winning by ten!" Reagan was told, but he wouldn't react or celebrate until he was back on the plane and the pilot got the latest results. Then, with half the vote in and a solid lead, he finally acknowledged victory in North Carolina with a plastic glass of champagne and a bowl of ice cream. Ronald Reagan, twenty-four hours before, had been no-money-nosupport-gonna-lose-dead--but he made the decision he would not quit, and at the end he came within a whisker of taking the nomination from Ford..... We have all noticed in life that big people with big virtues not infrequently have big flaws, too. Reagan's great flaw it seemed to me, and seems to me, was not one of character but personality. That was his famous detachment, which was painful for his children and disorienting for his staff. No one around him quite understood it, the deep and emotional engagement in public events and public affairs, and the slight and seemingly formal interest in the lives of those around him. James Baker III called him the kindest and most impersonal man he'd ever known, and there was some truth to that.... He had a temper. He didn't get mad lightly, but when he did it was real and hit like lightning.... Reagan is always described as genial and easygoing, but Marty Anderson used to call him "warmly ruthless." He would do in the nicest possible way what had to be done. He was as nice as he could be about

it, but he knew where he was going, and if you were in the way you were gone. And you might argue his ruthlessness made everything possible.

The Legacy of Ronald Reagan

RONALD REAGAN (19112004) Fortieth president of the United States No, democracy is not a fragile flower. Still it needs cultivating. If the rest of this century is to witness the gradual growth of freedom and democratic ideals, we must take actions to assist the campaign for democracy. ADDRESS TO MEMBERS OF THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT, JUNE 8, 1982 Note to Teachers The one-hundredth birthday of Ronald Reagan, America's fortieth president, was February 6, 2011. This centennial is a suitable occasion for teaching and learning about Ronald Reagan's contribution to America's constitutional, political, and civic tradition. Thus, the Center for Civic Education and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation have collaborated to produce this lesson. The lesson challenges students to reflect on principles at the core of civic education in the United States, such as constitutional government, the rule of law, popular sovereignty, individual rights to liberty, and responsible citizenship. These principles pervaded the political writings, speeches, and actions of Ronald Reagan. They anchored his leadership of America during two presidential terms, 1981-1989. And they are a lasting legacy to the American people. Purpose of the Lesson

This lesson traces Ronald Reagan's ascent from obscurity to the pinnacle of political power in the United States. It also examines the constitutional, political, and civic principles associated with the public life of Ronald Reagan before and during his presidency. Ronald Reagan's principles and their consequences are his legacy to America. When you have completed this lesson, you should be able to describe experiences that formed the character and personality of young Ronald Reagan; explain Ronald Reagan's rise to the presidency of the United States; define and explain Ronald Reagan's principles pertaining to limited government, rule of law, popular sovereignty, individual rights to liberty, free enterprise, responsible citizenship, and presidential leadership; analyze and evaluate President Reagan's policies for economic recovery; analyze and evaluate President Reagan's policies to end the Cold War; understand Ronald Reagan's legacy to the nation. Tampico, a very small town in northern Illinois, is the site of Ronald Reagan's birth on February 6, 1911. He was the second son of Jack and Nelle Reagan. His parents' five-room apartment had neither running water nor an indoor toilet. The family moved often during Ronald Reagan's first nine years, as his father searched for a better job and a nicer place to live. In 1920, the Reagans finally settled down in Dixon, a town of more than 10,000 people, not far from Tampico. Ronald Reagan formed a life-long love of Dixon, the community that cultivated his character. Many years later, he said, "All of us have to have a place we go back to. Dixon is that place for me. There was the life that has shaped my body and mind for all the years to come."

How did Ronald Reagan's mother contribute to the development of the future president's character?

What personality traits did Ronald Reagan develop during his years in Dixon, Illinois? In Dixon, Ronald Reagan's mother encouraged him to participate with her in a local church group that staged readings and plays. His shyness passed away as he discovered a natural talent for public speaking and acting. Nelle Reagan also transmitted to her son the moral standards that shaped his character and guided his decisions. On Mother's Day in 1985 Ronald Reagan fondly recalled his mother: "She was truly a remarkable womanever so strong in her determination, yet always tender, always giving of herself to others. She never found time in her life to complain; she was too busy living those values she sought to impart in my brother and myself. She was the greatest influence on my life." Ronald Reagan's personality blossomed during four years at Dixon High School from 1924 to 1928. He was a varsity football player and captain of the swim team. He developed his ability in acting by participating in student plays directed by a masterful English teacher, B.J. Frazier. He showed political leadership by becoming president of the student council. From 1926 to 1932, Ronald Reagan worked during the summer as a lifeguard at Lowell Park, near Dixon. He was an extraordinary lifesaver, demonstrating traits of courage, self-sacrifice, and compassion. He remembered: "One of the proudest statistics of my life is seventyseventhe number of people I saved during those seven summers." After graduating from high school, Ronald Reagan enrolled in Eureka College, about one hundred miles southeast of Dixon. He majored in economics and sociology and performed in more than a dozen plays staged by the theater and drama department. He was an athlete, earning varsity letters in football, track, and swimming. He also was a student leader, winning an election to become president of the student body.

Among his many interests, Ronald Reagan enjoyed acting most of all and hoped someday to have a career in the movies. Upon graduation from Eureka College in the spring of 1932, Ronald Reagan worked in the summer as a lifeguard for the last time. In the fall, he found employment in radio, working successfully for five years as a sports broadcaster. But he never gave up his dream of becoming a movie star. In the spring of 1937, while visiting southern California, Ronald Reagan went to Hollywood. He took a screen test at the Warner Brothers movie studio, won a contract, and launched a movie-acting career that lasted until 1964. One of Ronald Reagan's most memorable movies was Knute Rockne All American, about football at the University of Notre Dame. He acted the part of Coach Rockne's star player, George Gipp, who tragically died of pneumonia soon after his final football season. Ronald Reagan's portrayal of Gipp brought him the nickname that lasted the rest of his life: "The Gipper." America's entry into World War II interrupted Ronald Reagan's career in Hollywood. A captain in the United States Army Air Corps, he was assigned the task of producing training films to prepare soldiers for combat. After the war, Ronald Reagan returned to acting in the movies. In the 1950s, Ronald Reagan turned to television. From 1954 to 1962 he was the host of General Electric Theater, a weekly program with a national audience. Later, he appeared in Death Valley Days, a dramatic series about the western frontier in American history. He also became intensely interested in politics, accepting many invitations to make speeches about political issues and policies. Ronald Reagan's turn to political activity had begun several years earlier, when he was president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) from 1947 to 1952. He served a final term as SAG president from 1959 to 1960. The Hollywood community during those years was filled with political controversy caused by the worldwide conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. It was called the Cold War because

the opponents rarely directly engaged in battle. Ronald Reagan was concerned that some people involved in moviemaking sympathized with the Soviet Union's goal of spreading its communist system of government throughout the world, which the United States opposed. He feared that lofty Soviet claims about government-controlled advancement of social justice "had fooled some otherwise loyal Americans into believing that the Communist Party sought to make a better world." As president of SAG, Ronald Reagan opposed what he saw as communist influence among the moviemakers. He pointed out that Soviet communism was a totalitarian system in which individual liberty was totally denied and dissent was brutally crushed. He explained, "On the one hand is our belief that the people can and will decide what is best for themselves, and on the other (communist, Nazi, or fascist) side is the belief that a 'few' can best decide what is good for all the rest." Rise to the Presidency
Until the age of fifty-one, Ronald Reagan was a Democrat, as his father had been. In 1962, however, he joined the Republican Party. This change in party identity resulted from his growing attachment to conservative political ideas such as strict constitutional limits on the power of government, unfettered freedom of economic enterprise, and ordered liberty. In 1964, Ronald Reagan strongly favored the presidential candidacy of conservative Republican Barry Goldwater and agreed to make a nationally televised speech for him. Although Goldwater lost the presidential election to his Democratic Party opponent Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Reagan won a large following among Republicans, who responded enthusiastically. Ronald Reagan's speech, called "A Time for Choosing," sparked his rapid rise to political prominence and pursuit of America's highest office, the presidency.

Before he could seriously contend for the presidency, Ronald Reagan needed to prove his capacity for executive leadership in government. He won two terms as governor of California, serving from 1967 to 1975. His performance in office attracted national attention. Thus, he decided to seek the Republican Party's nomination in the presidential election of 1976. His opponent was the incumbent Gerald Ford, who had succeeded to the presidency after Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 because of his connection to the Watergate scandal. Gerald Ford barely defeated Ronald Reagan to win the Republican Party nomination. However, after Democrat Jimmy Carter defeated President Ford, Ronald Reagan decided to pursue the presidency again in 1980.

The biggest barrier in Ronald Reagan's path to the presidency was public concern about his age. In 1976, he was sixty-five years old. If elected president in 1980, he would be the oldest person to serve in the office. His vitality during public appearances, however, countered the age issue. Another pressing problem was Ronald Reagan's need to maintain contact with the public prior to the 1980 presidential election campaign. He met this challenge by continuing a strategy begun in 1975. Ronald Reagan produced a brief radio program, aired five days each week, to broadcast nationally his views on current events and issues. He also wrote a biweekly editorial published in more than two hundred newspaper opinion pages across the country and presented several speeches each month to audiences across America. Thus, Ronald Reagan built a positive public image among a growing number of voters.

After vigorous competition against several formidable opponents, Ronald Reagan won the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 1980. George H.W. Bush accepted Ronald Reagan's invitation to join him as the Republican candidate for vice president. Ronald Reagan then campaigned against his Democratic Party opponent, the incumbent president Jimmy Carter, and a third-party candidate, liberal Republican John Anderson, who sought the presidency as an independent. Ronald Reagan contrasted his conservatism with the liberalism of his two opponents, claiming he

intended to conserve the core principles of America's founders and use them to solve current problems. And he charged President Carter with failure to halt the decline of American power and prestige in the world.

Ronald Reagan blamed President Carter's administration for America's stagnant economy, plagued by high unemployment, rising prices, and a declining standard of living. A main theme of his campaign was to ask the voters if they were better off in 1980 than four years earlier, when Jimmy Carter became president. Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory. Many independents and a significant number of Democrats joined Republican voters in electing Ronald Reagan to be the fortieth president of the United States.

Principles, Priorities, and Policies of President Reagan


President Reagan's first inaugural address, January 20, 1981, featured confident and inspirational statements about his principles and priorities. The top priority was the serious economic turmoil afflicting America. His proposed solutions would be based upon such conservative political principles as limiting the role of government in the economy and promoting private enterprise. He said,

"We are a nation that has a governmentnot the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth. Our government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government, which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed. It is my intention to curb the size and influence of the Federal establishment... Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it's not my intention to do away with the government. It is rather to make it workwork with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it."

Only ten weeks into his presidency, President Reagan was shot and seriously wounded by a mentally disturbed man. During and after his recovery, President Reagan renewed his resolve to do good things for his country. He wrote in his diary: "Whatever happens now I owe my life to God and will try to serve him; every way I can."

President Reagan was determined to fix the economy. During his two terms as president, he proposed policies to cut taxes and help businesses. In 1981 he signed a law to reduce income taxes and help people save and invest their money. In 1986, he worked with Congress to cut taxes on corporations and individuals. President Reagan also reduced regulations on businesses. He believed that this would help the economy and create jobs.

The economy began to recover. There were sixty straight months of economic growth. More people were able to find work. There were nearly fifteen million more jobs in 1987 than in 1982. People paid less in taxes, but the federal government received more money from taxes. In 1982, for example, the federal government received $618 billion in tax revenue. Five years later, the amount of federal tax revenue had increased by $398 billion. This economic recovery produced new wealth for both the government and the people.

President Reagan's economic policies reflected his conservative principles of limited government and freedom of private enterprise. However, he neither downsized the federal government nor reduced federal regulations of business as much as he wanted. After all, throughout his eight-year presidency, the Democrats were the majority in the House of Representatives, and they tended to oppose the president's policy proposals. The 1980, 1982, and 1984 congressional elections brought a slight majority of Republicans to the Senate. But in the 1986 mid-term election, the Democrats won commanding majorities of seats in both the House and Senate. Thus,

during both of his terms, the Republican President Reagan had to negotiate compromises with leaders of the Democrats in Congress to achieve some, if not all or even most, of what he wanted. He was a very able negotiator, who used his enormous popularity with voters to occasionally influence Democrats in Congress to work with him. Nonetheless, President Reagan was never in a political position to achieve all of his economic policy goals.

A big disappointment to some of President Reagan's supporters was the continuation of big budget deficits. The high levels of federal government spending and debt seemed a contradiction of President Reagan's outspoken commitment to limited government. However, much of the increased spending went to building the capacity of America's military forces. National defense and security, together with economic recovery, was a major priority of President Reagan. He intended to challenge America's Cold War adversary, the Soviet Union, more vigorously than previous presidents had done. And he believed that America needed both economic and military strength in order to win.

Presidential Leadership in the Cold War


Long before becoming president, Ronald Reagan claimed the prevailing policies of containment and dtente would not bring a satisfactory end to the Cold War. The objective of containment was to stop the Soviet Union from forcibly spreading communism beyond the territories it already ruled or dominated. But the United States would not attempt to push the Soviets out of their established spheres of control in certain regions of the world.

In the 1970s, Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter pursued dtente, the reduction of Cold War tensions and achievement of peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union.

President Reagan strongly disliked dtente. In a 1981 news conference, he said, "So far dtente's been a one-way street that the Soviet Union has used to pursue its own aims. Their goal must be the promotion of world revolution and a one world communist or socialist state." According to President Reagan, the Soviets considered dtente a sign of American weakness and vulnerability. Instead of dtente, the president wanted peace through strength by building America's economic and military power. He said, "Our strategy is defensive; our aim is to protect the peace by ensuring that no adversaries ever conclude they could best us in a war of their own choosing."

From a secure position of military and economic power, President Reagan intended not merely to contain Soviet communism, but to reverse its gains and subdue it. He suspected the Soviet Union was not as strong as it appeared to be. And he predicted its collapse if challenged competitively by America. The president believed the Soviet Union's government-controlled economy could not compete successfully against America's free-market system. So, he started a rapid, large increase in the quantity and quality of America's military technology and weapons and dared the Soviets to match it. The president expected that the Soviet Union's command economy would run out of money and fail by trying to keep up with America's free enterprise system in an "arms race." As America's military buildup proceeded, President Reagan put forward another policy to complement it. From a formidable foundation of military and economic power, the United States would promote freedom and democracy throughout the world. President Reagan predicted that given a choice, people everywhere, even within the Soviet Union, would reject totalitarian government.

This policy, later named the "Reagan Doctrine," was expressed in the president's June 8, 1982, speech in London to the British Parliament. Here are a few examples from that speech:

"History teaches the dangers of government that overreachespolitical control taking precedence over free economic growth, secret police, mindless bureaucracy, all combining to stifle individual excellence and personal freedom...

[I]t is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history by denying human freedom and human dignity to its citizens.

What I am describing now is a plan and a hope for the long term the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history, as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people...

Our military strength is a prerequisite to peace, but let it be clear we maintain this strength in the hope it will never be used, for the ultimate determinant in the struggle that's now going on in the world will not be bombs and rockets, but a test of wills and ideas, a trial of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, the ideals to which we are dedicated."

President Reagan's Cold War policies were designed to spread freedom and democracy around the world and block the advancement of Soviet communism. The Soviet Union's attempt to keep pace with America's military and technological advances was a significant factor in the decline of its state-run economy and helped to weaken its global strength. In particular, President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative intimidated the Soviet leaders and influenced them to negotiate with him to reduce nuclear weapons.

The United States supported anti-Soviet uprisings by peoples in various places around the world. For example, President Reagan provided material and moral support to the

Solidarity movement in Poland. This support brought down the Soviet-backed regime after President Reagan left office and helped to inspire other anti-Soviet rebellions.

The final outcome was the collapse of communism throughout Eastern and Central Europe, which brought freedom, democracy, and the end of Soviet control of this region. With American help, the people of Afghanistan forced Soviet military forces from their country in 1988. One year later, in November 1989, the Berlin Wall a symbol of Soviet tyranny in East Germany for nearly three decadeswas torn down by the German people. This led to the peaceful reunification of Germany in 1990 and the end of communism in Eastern and Central Europe. In December of 1991, two years after President Reagan left office, the Cold War ended when the Soviet Union was dissolved. President Reagan's prediction of the collapse of Soviet communism had come true. America and its allies had prevailed in the Cold War. President Reagan's policies of preserving peace through strength and promoting the advancement of democracy around the world significantly contributed to this victory.

Legacy of Ronald Reagan


President Reagan's second term ended in January 1989. In a farewell address, he spoke about his legacy to the people of America. President Reagan said,

"The way I see it, there were two great triumphs, two things that I'm proudest of. One is the economic recovery...The other is the recovery of our morale. America is respected again in the world and looked to for leadership...

They called it the Reagan Revolution. Well, I'll accept that, but for me it always seemed more like the great rediscovery, a rediscovery of our values and our common sense...

The lesson of all this was...as long as we always remember our first principles and believe in ourselves, the future will be ours. And something else we learned. Once you begin a great movement, there's no telling where it will end. We meant to change a nation, and instead, we changed a world."

Many Americans agreed, then and later, with Ronald Reagan's opinion of his presidential legacy. Many others have disagreed. Virtually all Americans, however, have recognized his enormous impact on the world during the 1980s. In an era of crisis, President Reagan made bold decisions, sparking controversy that continues. Conservatives have hailed his vision of America. Liberals have denounced it. The debate about President Reagan's principles, priorities and policies goes on. More than twenty-two years after the end of his presidency, Ronald Reagan still matters very much to Americans.

Reconstructing Ronald Reagan


Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History by John Patrick Diggins Norton, 493 pp., $27.95 Reagan: A Life in Letters edited by Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson, and Martin Anderson, with a foreword by George P. Shultz Free Press, 935 pp., $18.95 (paper) Transforming America: Politics and Culture During the Reagan Years by Robert M. Collins Columbia University Press, 310 pp., $29.95 The Reagan Imprint: Ideas in American Foreign Policy from the Collapse of Communism to the War on Terror by John Arquilla Ivan R. Dee, 272 pp., $26.00

Of the seventeen presidents the United States has survived since Theodore Roosevelt declined his third term, none is so mystifying as Ronald Reagan. A New Deal Democrat until the age of fifty, he became the most revered Republican of his generation; a child of the working class, he inspired business to heightened resistance to labor. Admired for his belligerence toward the Soviet Unionthe evil empirehe became the great peacemaker of his generation. Tirelessly denouncing big government, he made government bigger; a champion of fiscal conservatism, he inherited a deficit of $80 billion and in eight years increased it to $200 billion. The contradictions go on. He had a visceral dislike of Communists, but his ability to work with Mikhail Gorbachev led to the ending of the cold war. Reluctant to use American forces in battle, he supported an army of contras in Nicaragua. A hero to anti-abortionists, he did virtually nothing to advance their cause. Applauded by conservative supporters of family values, he was divorced from his first wife and seldom went to church. Equally puzzling was the Reagan personality. His affability and good humor were irresistible, but many took them as evidence of a man too simple-minded for the job. An amiable dunce was the famous judgment of Clark Clifford, a Democratic eminence of the day, though Reagan had already beaten Democrats twice for the governorship of California and once for the presidency, for which he would soon beat them again. Some dunce. There was obviously something about this seemingly unremarkable man that made him extraordinary, but no one could define it. He was a riddle impervious to all who tried to catch him in an introspective moment. Even his wife Nancy was puzzled. You can get just so far to Ronnie, and then something happens, she told his biographer Lou Cannon. And Nancy, Cannon notes, may have been the only person who really knew him at all. George Shultz, his secretary of state, has written about the Reagan mystery and recalled Robert McFarlane, White House national security adviser, marveling that he knows so little, and accomplishes so much. Edmund Morris, the much-praised biographer of Theodore Roosevelt, was given extensive access to the Reagan White House in the expectation that he would write the definitive Reagan biography.

This close view left Morris so baffled that instead of a brilliant biography, he produced a literary hybrid of fiction and fact which was almost as puzzling as its subject. Lou Cannon, who is the indispensable if not definitive Reagan biographer, found that the Presidents lifelong associates suspected that there was something beneath the surface they had never seen, but they did not know what the something was. In Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History, John Patrick Diggins refuses to be baffled. Professor Diggins has bold ideas, juicy opinions, and the cheek to state them forcefully. His book is barely underway before he declares that Reagan may be, after Lincoln, one of the two or three truly great presidents in American history. And: Reagan was also one of the three great liberators in American history. Abraham Lincoln helped emancipate African Americans from slavery; Franklin D. Roosevelt helped wrest Western Europe from fascism; Ronald Reagan helped liberate Eastern Europe from communism. And whereas Lincoln, FDR, and Truman had to fight brutal wars for human liberation, Reagan alone succeeded in liberating people from tyranny without going to war, and he did so through conversation and dialogue. All this will doubtless please Reagans more passionate admirers, but some of Digginss other formulations may not sit so well. Reaganites will not be amused to find Diggins describing their man as a liberal romantic. Is any word in the conservative lexicon more vile than liberal? Digginss suggestion that Reagans incessant attacks on government were wrong-headed if not hypocritical may also chafe people of the right who cherish as inviolable truth Reagans assertion that government is the problem. Diggins dismisses this as nonsense. Absence of government is the real problem, he says, and states where government is weak tend toward breakdown. He does not fail to note that under Reagan a gargantuan government and a huge national debt became the perpetual curse of conservatism and the Republican Party. His criticisms seem slight, however, compared to the exuberance with which he ranks Reagan among the giants. He is not one of the old Reagan claque that sought to rename government buildings, airports,

and subway stations in honor of its hero. His many previous works, which include a sympathetic history of the American left, suggest a mind beyond the seductions of political cant. During the 1980s, he writes, he viewed the Reagan presidency as little more than the age of avarice. My belated respect for the man grew from appreciating his boldness in dealing with the three miseries of the modern era, he writes. These he lists as the nuclear arms race, which was terrifying; the expanding welfare state, which was crippling; and a joyless religious inheritance, which was inhibiting. With this reference to Americas inhibiting religious inheritance, it becomes clear that one of Digginss main purposes is to set forth the somewhat startling theory that Reagan was heavily influenced by the thinking of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the nineteenth-century poet, essayist, and philosopher. At the peak of his intellectual powers in the 1830s and 1840s, Emerson was instrumental in creating the Transcendentalist movement, a philosophical reaction against orthodox Calvinism and the Unitarian Churchs rationalism. The Transcendentalists developed their own faith, which held that God is presentimmanent, in theological languagewithin man and nature. This gave man an important, even rarefied status. The currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God, Emerson wrote in his essay titled Nature. From this exhilarating belief came an optimism alien to New Englands glum Puritan culture. The individual was no longer a doomed sinner in the hands of an angry God; he was now divine, now himself part or parcel of God. The political consequence of this, which is what interests Diggins, is enhanced importance for the individual. What emerges is a new optimistic individualism. Optimistic individualism begins to sound vaguely like Ronald Reagan, but it takes some effort to visualize Reagan immersed in Emersons writings. Diggins is insistent, however, that they contributed heavily to Reagans world view, blessing him with an Emersonian outlook

which accounted for his habitual optimism, political popularity, and success in ending the cold war. Professor Digginss field is intellectual history, which, as he has written elsewhere, deals with how the mind and character of an era are formed by historical experience. It is a discipline that encourages new ways of exploring the Reagan puzzle, and these free him from the useless clichs about movie acting, dozing in Cabinet meetings, and passing out jelly beans in the Oval Office. Could Reagan have been a nineteenthcentury Transcendentalist? If a distinguished professor of the City University of New York Graduate Center thinks so, it may be worth considering. Thus he suggests that Reagans 1984 campaign sloganIts morning in Americacan be seen as a quintessential expression of an Emersonian spirit. Invoking a sense of a bright and happy day coming, it contrasted with the dark Baptist visions Jimmy Carter had summoned up with his talk of American failings. A born-again Christian, Carter was committed to a religion rooted in the sin-drenched philosophy of the Calvinists. Emerson rejected the Protestant fascination with sin, and, in Digginss reading, so did Reagan. In his 1980 campaign against Carter, Reagan won easily. Like Emerson, Diggins writes, Reagan believed that we please God by pleasing ourselves and that to believe in the self is to live within the divine soul. America had shifted to Emerson. Reagan opened the American mind to optimism and innocence, leaving it closed to sin and experience. The Morning in America campaign of 1984, Diggins writes, spoke to a nation delivered from fear and loathing by a man who stood for freedom, peace, disarmament, self-reliance, earthly happiness, the dreams of the imagination and the desires of the heart. The 1980s had become Americas Emersonian moment, when people were told to trust not the state but the self and to pursue wealth and power without sin or shame. Far from being a conservative, Reagan was the great liberating

spirit of modern American history, a political romantic impatient with the status quo. This is a highly original view of the Morning in America campaign. Political junkies have usually supposed it was concocted by an advertising agency, perhaps with the guidance of Mike Deaver, Reagans brilliant aide in charge of preserving, protecting, and perfecting the presidential image. If it is hard to imagine the Great Communicator himself communing with Emerson, it may be because of popular misperceptions about both men. Contrary to his reputation as a ponderous sage, Emerson had one of the more adventurous minds of the nineteenth century. In his splendid 1995 biography, Emerson: The Mind on Fire, Robert D. Richardson Jr. portrays a complicated, energetic, and emotionally intense man who habitually spoke against the status quo and in favor of whatever was wild and free. Contrary to popular impression, Reagan had a mind that was interested in complex problems. Diggins is vague about how Reagan imbibed Emersonian ideas, aside from suggesting that they came from his mothers religious instruction. He does not suggest that Reagan read closely in Emerson, but notes that Reagan quoted him on several occasions, including his last speech, in which he said, Emerson was right. We are the country of tomorrow. America remains on a voyage of discovery, a land that has never become, but is always in the act of becoming. We now know, moreover, that Reagans mind was attuned to the pleasures of the written word. Recent publication of Reagan: A Life in Letters reveals a compulsive, lifelong letter writer and possessor of a sound and economical prose style, a man obviously comfortable in his command of language. Letter writing was clearly important to Reagan. Even as president he kept dashing off letters to friends, pen pals, media people, statesmen, critics, and the kind of people who write to presidents never expecting a reply. He wrote letters in the Oval Office and his White House study, at Camp David, on helicopter rides, and during long trips aboard Air

Force One. A man writing a letter is a man in the act of thinking, and it was an exercise Reagan obviously enjoyed. After his first meeting with Gorbachev, for example, he sent a Dear Murph letter about it to his old friend George Murphy, a former senator and actor who had once played Reagans father in a film. Thanking Murphy for that most generous review of my performance, he said he had enjoyed playing the part, before adding: Seriously it was worthwhile but it would be foolish to believe the leopard will change its spots. He is a firm believer in their system. At the same time he is practical and knows his economy is a basket case. I think our job is to try to show him he and they will be better off if we make some practical agreements without attempting to convert him to our way of thinking. When Reagan came to the White House in 1981, Washington was heavily invested in the cold war. After nearly forty years, it had become part of the citys daily existence. No one of consequence anticipated that it might end in a foreseeable lifetime. This seemed so improbable that there was not even a contingency plan suggesting what the government should do next if it did. It had come to seem eternal. Yes, it was an affliction to be sure, and damned dangerous sometimes too, but Washington had learned to live comfortably with other eternal afflictionsthe national debt, the race problem, the persistence of poverty. Washington had now found comfort with the cold war. Huge industries and great careers were built on it. It provided muscle and money for successful political campaigns. Ronald Reagan was about to disturb that comfort. The story of his personal relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev and the adventurous summitry of both men at Geneva, Reykjavik, Washington, and Moscow is well known, but there are many ways of telling it. In the Diggins narrative Reagan becomes a lone heroic figure determined to save the world from nuclear war. Freshly arrived from California far outside the Beltway, Reagan finds himself in charge of the thermonuclear button. Handed the power to devastate the planet, he is

appalled. It is his passionate conviction that the thermonuclear standoff between Moscow and Washington is intolerable. Though supporting the big military buildup already begun by Jimmy Carter, he concludes, as Diggins puts it, that the only answer to the cold war was to call it off. Doing so requires abandoning policies from which Washington has fashioned a way of life over the past four decades. This pits him against the most sophisticated minds of his own government, an elite group of strategic thinkers with a heavy intellectual investment in the cold war. These include Casper Weinberger, his secretary of defense, Richard Perle at the Pentagon, entrenched politicians at the Capitol, aides inside his own national security apparatus, and persons like Henry Kissinger, once Nixons foreign policy chamberlain but now a consultant to corporations in the US and abroad. Listening to these strategic thinkers, Reagan hears a grotesque jargon about mutual assured destruction, kill ratios, throw weights, and first-strike casualties numbered in millions, and is horrified. He wonders how these marvelous intellects can think of nuclear war as a plausible eventuality which must be perpetuated for the sake of national security. Reagan thinks of it as an unendurable cataclysm which must be made impossiblefor the sake of national security. Strategic thinkers were naturally rattled to find this outsider fooling around with their work. They had been thinking strategically when Reagan was just another movie actor playing opposite a chimpanzee, for heavens sake. They think Reagan is too naive, too innocent, to grasp the intellectual complexities of cold war strategy. He becomes the lone champion of nuclear disarmament in a government dominated by people at ease with the possibility of doomsday. And of course it is Reagan, in league with Gorbachev and encouraged by Margaret Thatcher, who prevails. So begins the ending of the cold war. Diggins dismisses suggestions from some historians that Reagans success was an accident of timing. He writes:

Reagan may be admired not only for what he did but also for who he was, a thoughtful, determined man of character and vision. No doubt some Americans, especially intellectuals, would laugh at such a description. Such skeptics share a widespread assumption that the cold war was inevitably coming to an end and that Reagan happened to be in the right place at the right time. Reagan, however, was not simply receptive to a historical situation; on the contrary, he helped to create it. In taking action that would force events, Reagan led rather than followed, often going against the counsel of his national security advisors and secretary of defense. Those who remember Washingtons cold war culture in the 1980s will recall the shocked reactions to Reagans intervention. People interested in foreign policy were astonished when in 1985 he met alone at Genevaalone, not a single strategic thinker at his elbow!with the Soviet Communist master Gorbachev. Those who thought this was foolishly reckless included members of his own retinue. Democrats were not alone in underrating Reagan. Digginss enthusiasm for Reagan is so overwhelming that his book loses sight of Mikhail Gorbachev, yet Gorbachev took risks at least as daring as Reagans. By reducing his nuclear arsenal, pulling his armies out of Afghanistan, and liberalizing Soviet society (glasnost and perestroika), he was certainly threatening the comfort of Moscows cold war establishment. These must have been high-risk gambits for a new young leader in a crumbling superpower, but he gets little applause here. Diggins comes to celebrate Reagan the Emersonian, not to praise Gorbachev. His book is one of those presidential upgradings by history such as George W. Bush is now said to hope for in a kinder, gentler future. There is ample evidence that Reagans presidential reputation is indeed enjoying just such a refurbishment. Apparently Democrats and his old intellectual and liberal critics needed to experience the autocratic and bellicose Bush before they could see what a prize statesman the nation once had in Reagan. One hears people formerly contemptuous of him comment that, having seen Bush, they now rank Reagan with the

immortals. It is easy to dismiss this as cynical joking, yet here is the eminently respectable Diggins discussing the Gipper in the same paragraph with Lincoln and anointing him as one of American historys three great liberators. It is a sign of the rising esteem Reagan now enjoys that it suddenly seems disrespectful to refer to him as the Gipper. Such are the cultural upheavals that accompany historys upward revisions of presidential reputations. Who now recalls that Harry Truman was once derided as a failed haberdasher? Other historians are also writing about Reagans excellences. Robert M. Collins, professor of history at the University of Missouri, gives him high grades for leadership in Transforming America: Politics and Culture During the Reagan Years. In large matters that counted most, Collins writes, Reagan was firmly in charge. It was he who ultimately called the shots that mattered, often over considerable opposition from within the White House circle, from Congress, and from the public at large. Two salient features that stand out in retrospect for Collins were the optimism that was his signal personality trait and his unusual combination of ideological fervor and moderating political pragmatism. He quotes George Shultzs observation: He appealed to peoples best hopes, not their fears, to their confidence rather than their doubts. Perhaps Collins was tempted here to contrast Reagan and Bush but preferred not to belabor the obvious. Another sample of the revised Reagan appears in The Reagan Imprint by John Arquilla, professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. His Reagan has great flexibility of mind, an ability to adapt and embrace change, intellectual nimbleness, and a willingness to step out in new directions. Like Diggins, Arquilla makes a persuasive argument that but for Reagans inquiring mind and courage to disagree with conventional Washington wisdom the cold war might still be with us.

Arquillas portrait of Reagan as a strategic thinker is quite different from Digginss. Arquilla finds him already worrying about cold war strategy during his long career as a radio commentator in the 1960s and 1970s. Reading these broadcast editorials, Arquilla found Reagan already talking like a strategic thinker, not just an ideologue. They showed Reagan himself beginning to think the world should be made less nuclear. The idea of holding civilians hostage to nuclear attack as a means of keeping the peace appalled Reagan, Arquilla writes, and from his early days as governor of California he thought about finding a way out of the illogic of mutual assured destruction. In short, when Reagan arrived in Washington surrounded by advisers who opposed arms control, he already had reservations about strategic policy, and he was equipped with long-considered ideas of his own; he ended as the most successful strategist of them all. Though Arquilla does not mention Lincoln, he clearly agrees with Diggins that Reagan belongs with the giants. Collins and Arquilla both dwell on the political shrewdness with which Reagan pragmatically eased up on his conservative ideology to accommodate the necessities of governance. Collins calls him a pragmatic ideologue. Reagans amiability toward friend and rival alike, Arquilla says, was designed in part to reduce discord and his flexibility of mind and civility in discourse led to good results. George W. Bush, by contrast, though he came to power despite losing the popular vote, proceeded as if he had won by a landslide, trying to undo a century of progressive domestic policy by restoring a nineteenth-century conservatism devoted to serving corporate wealth. The resulting discord was apparent even before Americans turned against the Iraq war. If victory and peace are to emerge from the protracted warfare now in progress, political and ideological correctness must bow, Arquilla writes. And there can be no better example of how to put ideas before ideology than the life and work of Ronald Reagan.

The historical makeover which Reagan is undergoing dwells heavily on his amiability as something more than a pleasant personal habit. Diggins, Collins, and Arquilla all treat it as part of his political armament that was essential to his success. Diggins, theorizing about a debt to Emerson, suggests that this amiability was the expression of an unorthodox Christian background quite alien to what usually passes for Christianity in the White House. Reagan was not a born-again Christian who had to be saved from a dissolute life by divine grace, embracing the Bible to rid himself of inner demons, Diggins writes, thinking perhaps of George W. Bush. His religion resided calmly in a mind that had been serene almost throughout his life. The churches he knew through his mother were influenced by nineteenth-century trends toward rejection of external authority and toward democratized religion. In a century obsessed with religious ideas and doctrine, many rejected the old orthodoxies. Out of this turmoil emerged Unitarianism, intellectually shaped by William Ellery Channing, who was to become the mentor of young Emerson. Diggins now seems to be saying: and out of Emerson came Ronald Reagan. Among other things, Emerson came to believe that God was not an external power administering cruel justice to humans who violated a stern code. Reagan was an Emersonian, not only in temperament but sometimes even in thought, Diggins writes. Emerson held that we are born free and good but that everywhere we are regulated and corrupted, that organization tyrannize[s] over character, and all public ends look vague and quixotic beside private ones. From this point in an extraordinary chapter titled The Political Romantic, Diggins offers a series of proposals about Reagan as an Emersonian which range from the controversial to the mischievous and suggest that Diggins is an entertaining thinker looking for a good debate. He would have us, for example, think of Reagan as a president who, like Emerson, wanted to rid Americans of the Puritanical tradition, of thinking about life in terms of sin, suffering, and sacrifice. Emerson made the self divine. One did not need to look up or outward to find

God. God was within oneself, and so the self itself was sacred, and therefore incapable of sin. Nor could its desires be causes for guilt. Like Emerson, Diggins says, Reagan wanted to free America of an inhibiting fear of selfishness, and indeed to let selfishness flourish. Since Reagan held with Emerson that people please God by pleasing themselves, it followed that they had no need of compulsory authority and if left to themselves they could run their own lives. Here Diggins is not so pleased with the Emersonian strain: My personal reservation about Ronald Reagan is not that he was a conservative; on the contrary, he was a liberal romantic who opened up the American mind to the full blaze of Emersonian optimism [but] left the American mind innocent, without knowledge of power and evil and the sins of human nature. In this, Emerson put Reagan at intellectual odds with the Republics founders who believed that men were not angels and so needed strong government to preserve an orderly state. Suggesting that men are not angelsMadisons observationconflicts with Emersons thinking about the sacred self and so, Diggins says, would have made Reagan frown had he attended the Constitutional Convention. Fond though he is of Reagan, Diggins comes down at the end on Madisons side: Reagan told the people what they wanted to hear, whereas the framers told them what they needed to knowa government that refuses to educate, lead, and guide, to elevate and refine and enlarge the passions and interests of the people, is a government that cannot control the governed and cannot control itself. One would like to say to this Emersonian everyman, this prince of a president, stop watching old films, forget Errol Flynn, and read The Federalist Papers and Tocquevilles Democracy in America, where the claims of commerce are not simply to be celebrated but properly

understood, and the trail of the serpent is to be seen in the heart of society and not only in the halls of government. LETTERS 'Dutch' April 12, 2007 Reagan and Aids April 12, 2007

With power of personality, he made his mark


By Mary Leonard, Globe Staff | June 10, 2004 WASHINGTON -- His policies were controversial and polarizing, but Ronald Reagan will be remembered as a president whose confidence, conviction, and good cheer transformed the office, realigned American politics, and left the nation feeling more optimistic and secure than had any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, historians say. As the country recalls the 40th president and awaits the national funeral tomorrow, Reagan's legacy is the subject of vigorous debate. Conservatives revere him as the anticommunist champion who won the Cold War and remade the Republican Party in their image. Liberals say he shredded the social contract with the poor and disenfranchised, and got off scot-free in the Iran-contra scandal. But Reagan's stature has only grown since he left office in 1989, historians and social commentators say. They say it has been elevated partly by sympathy for his long struggle with Alzheimer's disease and partly by comparison with President Clinton's personal behavior, but mostly because his traditional values and views on the role of government have become embedded in every administration that followed. ''I don't for a moment want to sugarcoat the Reagan record, which was very controversial," historian Richard Norton Smith said. ''But we don't spend a lot of time talking about the legacy of Chester Arthur. The fact that [Reagan's] will be debated for decades by historians is a testament to how important a

president Reagan was -- arguably, along with FDR, the most important president of the 20th century." Smith, who heads the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library at Springfield, Ill., and spent three years working at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., said the force of Reagan's personality and the power of his ideas fundamentally altered the political landscape. He not only transformed the GOP from a party dominated by the values of East Coast moderates to one controlled by Sun Belt social conservatives, but he also moved Democrats from left to center, a shift that was underscored when Clinton declared that ''the era of big government is over." ''That was a bigger compliment than any eulogist will pay," Smith said. ''Reagan was simply the most unconventional political figure of his time, the unlikely conservative who was a radical and an agent of change." James MacGregor Burns, a historian at Williams College, called Reagan a ''man of conviction" and said that is the most important leadership quality a president can possess. ''I put him at a relatively high level among all American presidents because he had the one quality that is most important in leaders. . . . you always knew where he stood," said Burns, who has written several books on presidential leadership. ''I admired him, and I kind of liked him. Even if you are a liberal like me, you have to take your hat off to a man who stuck to his conservatism and won." The country was ready for a political leader like Reagan in 1980. Its confidence in the presidency had been undermined by Vietnam and Watergate, the Iran hostage ordeal, Soviet aggression, the energy crisis, and high inflation and interest rates. Voters answered Reagan's campaign question -- ''Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" -- by sending President Carter home to Georgia. ''Reagan changed the national mood. He told the American people they were good and the Soviet Union was evil, and he offered optimism and a sense of security when the country was really shaken," said Keith Olson, a history professor who studies modern US presidents. He ranks Reagan among the top 10, citing the confidence he restored in the country. Some historians say the Soviet Union was on its last legs by the early 1980s and would have collapsed without Reagan's strident anticommunist ideology and $2 trillion arms buildup. But Reagan's willingness to do business with

Mikhail Gorbachev and give him credit for the Cold War thaw were marks of a pragmatic president who had his eyes on the prize and his legacy. ''I remember how Reagan's aides would get miffed when Gorbachev was getting good press," Smith said. ''Reagan said: 'I don't care if he gets the headlines. Heck, I once costarred with Errol Flynn.' " Robert S. McElvaine, a biographer of FDR, said that although historians generally have been skeptical of Reagan's domestic accomplishments, there has been a growing willingness to view his role in ending the Cold War as important because Reagan correctly perceived the Soviet Union as a hollow shell. McElvaine cited parallels between Roosevelt and Reagan. One fought fascism, the other battled communism, and both won. Each was a master at communicating through the electronic media -- Roosevelt on the radio, Reagan on television. Both survived assassination attempts -- a would-be assassin fired on but missed Roosevelt in Miami in 1933; Reagan was seriously wounded by John Hinckley Jr., in 1981-- and both lived with an almost unshakable belief and religious faith in their destiny to do great things. ''Reagan, like Roosevelt, seemed to be such a likable guy. Even those who despised their policies didn't feel it personally or viscerally, the way people do with Bush or Nixon," said McElvaine, a history professor at Millsaps College. ''There was something larger about Roosevelt and Reagan than their initiatives." Their domestic initiatives could not have been more different. Roosevelt proposed the New Deal to aid the poor, the unemployed, the sick, and the old. Reagan mocked welfare queens, shrunk social programs, and made tax cuts and government deregulation mantras of his administration. When Reagan kicked off his 1980 campaign, he infuriated black leaders with a speech that praised states' rights in Philadelphia, Miss., where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964. Three years later, Reagan signed the law that made Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a holiday. Reagan opposed the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution, but in 1981 he named Sandra Day O'Connor as the first woman on the US Supreme Court. Some of his actions, and inaction, put Reagan at odds with conservative activists who had been his most ardent supporters. Reagan did not end abortion rights, close the Education Department or the National Endowment for the Arts, or put prayer back in the schools. He did not cut the federal

budget, as he promised. In fact, the federal deficit, fueled by defense spending, ballooned to 5 percent of the overall economy, an increase of 86 percent during Reagan's two terms. ''He ran as Ronald the radical but governed as Ronald the reasonable," said G. Calvin Mackenzie, a government professor at Colby College. ''And he cut deals that conservatives didn't think were a good idea." But for the conservative wing of the Republican Party inspired by Barry Goldwater, Reagan's legacy was as much about politics as policy. Reagan welcomed conservatives into the party, let them run its apparatus, and made their allegiance to fiscal restraint, limited government, a conservative judiciary, traditional family values, and military strength the party's mainstream ideology. He turned conservative Democrats into Reagan Democrats and the South into Reagan country. Before Reagan, social and religious conservatives ''were regarded as unwashed and not suitable for the Republican country club," said Paul Weyrich, a longtime conservative activist and chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation. ''He lifted up our spirits, but mainly he was a great president because of what he did in the Evil Empire," as Reagan described the Soviet Union. Public opinion polls indicate that esteem for Reagan has grown over the years. His job approval rating, affected by concerns about the economy and later by admissions that his administration traded arms for hostages in the Iran-contra affair, averaged 53 percent while Reagan was president, according to the Gallup Organization. In 2002, Reagan's approval rating had climbed to 73 percent. In a 2003 Gallup poll, Reagan ranked as the third most popular US president, behind John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln, among Americans surveyed. ''Great historical figures don't just change politics," said Newt Gingrich, who, inspired by Reagan, led the conservative revolution that in 1994 gave Republicans their first majority in the US House in 40 years. ''They change the reality, and there is no debate: That's what Ronald Reagan did."

Ronald Reagan - Presidential style and leadership


Reagan's first term began dramatically. He later recalled that, as he stood to take the oath of office on 20 January 1981 on the West Front of the Capitol (the first president ever to do so), "the sun burst through the clouds in an explosion of warmth and light." A much more important symbol of change, however, was Iran's decision to release the fifty remaining American hostages at almost the moment of the swearing in; Reagan was able to announce the news at a luncheon just after the ceremony, as Jimmy Carter, who had negotiated the release in the last hours of his presidency, was flying home to Georgia. Two other dramatic events punctuated Reagan's first months in office, both of them important in shaping the powerful image he quickly came to assume in the imagination of many Americans. On 30 March, as the president left a Washington hotel after delivering a speech, he was shot in the chest by John Hinckley, Jr., a deranged young man (later found not guilty by reason of insanity) who had been waiting in the crowd outside. Rushed to the hospital, Reagan joked with the surgeons as they wheeled him into the operating room. "I hope you're all Republicans," he reportedly said. He left the hospital eleven days later; and the White House staff arranged a series of carefully crafted public appearances that convinced most Americans that he had recovered from his wounds with remarkable speed. In fact, his injuries were serious, and he followed a sharply curtailed schedule for several months. Disguising that fact was the first of many successes by Reagan's skillful media advisers. Four months later, on 3 August, thirteen thousand air traffic controllers (members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, or PATCO, a union that had supported Reagan in 1980) walked off their jobs. The controllers were federal employees and, by law, forbidden to strike; but their leader, Robert Poli, believed that their ability to shut down the nation's airports would intimidate the administration into accepting their demands. On the advice of Drew Lewis, the new secretary of transportation, Reagan refused to negotiate with the strikers. He gave the controllers forty-eight hours to return to work and then fired those who did not. The government hastily hired replacements, and the disruption of air traffic was brief. The strike was,

as Reagan recalled in his memoirs, "an important juncture for our new administration. I think it convinced people who might have thought otherwise that I meant what I said." The assassination attempt and the PATCO strike, critical as they were to shaping the new president's image, were unexpected events. Much more important to his political successes were the everyday efforts of the administration to capitalize on Reagan's engaging personality and make it, and not his sometimes harsh policies, the defining feature of his presidency. Schooled by years in Hollywood, Reagan was a master of self-presentation. He was the most gifted public speaker to occupy the presidency in a generation, and a talented staff of speechwriters ensured that his State of the Union addresses, his televised statements on important events, and ultimately his speeches during his reelection campaign in 1984 were suffused with emotional symbols and powerful, patriotic imagery; statements that would have seemed stilted and inauthentic from a less talented speaker became exhilarating oratory when Reagan spoke them. Reagan turned seventy years old a few weeks after his inauguration. From his first day in office, he was the oldest man ever to serve as president, and his age was almost certainly an important factor in the way he governed. He worked relatively short hours, sometimes dozed off in meetings, and spent more time on vacations than any president in generations. But through most of his eight years in the White House, Reagan managed to appear energetic, resilient, even youthfulan image his outwardly rapid recovery from the 1981 shooting did much to reinforce. Later, his staff ensured that even his many vacations would seem evidence of his vigor. The most prominent images of Reagan at leisure consisted of pictures of him riding horses and chopping wood at his Santa Barbara ranch. The principal figures on Reagan's White House staff were James A. Baker III, Edwin Meese III, and Michael K. Deaver. For the first four years of his presidency, they formed a tightly knit triumvirate that ran the daily workings of the White House. They carefully cultivated sympathetic members of Congress of both parties and thus had much to do with the president's early legislative successes. Perhaps more

significant, they understood the political importance of the president's image; and they worked energetically, and often brilliantly, to craft that image. They carefully planned the president's every public appearance, chose appropriate backdrops, worked to shape media coverage of him, and tried above all to insulate him from situations where he might speak spontaneously. (Reagan's unscripted remarks were often ill-considered; and when the staff failed to prevent them, it often had to spend considerable energy limiting the political damage they caused.) They received important assistance in their efforts from Nancy Reagan. Her public role in the administration was limited, mostly traditional, and highly social; among other things, she brought a new level of opulence and ceremony to the White House. Privately, however, she was very active and very powerful in shaping public perception of her husband. At times, she played a major role in more substantive decisions as well. Reagan's enforced absence from the daily business of the White House after his attempted assassination established a pattern that continued in many ways well beyond his convalescence. He was never very interested in, or very well informed about, the details of governance; and his public statements often revealed a startling ignorance of his own policies and the actions of his subordinates. Just as he had while governor of California, he preferred to leave specific decisions to his advisers and to ratify compromises that they forged without him. Just as in California, he reveled in the ceremonial aspects of his job. And just as in California, he rigidly adhered to the daily schedulea copy of which was neatly typed each day and placed on his desk in a silver frameand rarely deviated from it. He took great pleasure in checking off meetings and events as he moved through the day. Many critics of the president, and even some of his own advisers writing later in their memoirs, considered Reagan shockingly aloof from the business of government, a figurehead who played no more than a symbolic role in his own administration. They cited his fondness for anecdotes, his self-deprecating humor, his tendency to tell irrelevant Hollywood stories, and his frequent citation of fictional episodes in his own, or the nation's, past as if they were true; and they argued that together, they revealed a basic lack of interest in, even an unfitness for,

his job. But others, including Reagan himself, insisted that he was highly effective in his most important task: establishing broad themes for his administration and keeping his subordinates focused on them despite the immediate pressures of politics. "It was striking how often we on the staff would become highly agitated by the latest news bulletins," one of Reagan's aides later recalled. "Reagan saw the same events as nothing more than a bump in the road; things would get better tomorrow. His horizons were just not the same as ours." Reagan was, he insisted, more than the Great Communicator (as he was often described)more than simply a gifted speaker, although he knew that his oratorical skills, and even his avuncular charm as a storyteller, did much to burnish his image and insulate him from criticism. His most important achievement, he insisted, was not how he communicated, but what. He spoke, he said, of "great things," and his words and actions helped the nation move along a fundamentally new course, a course in which he deeply believed and from which he tried not to waver. His most important legacy, he believed, would transcend the particulars of policy. It would be to convince Americans "to believe in themselves again." And for a time, at least, he seemed to succeed in that goal.

Fortieth president of the United States - (1981-1989) Reagan won the Republican presidential nomination in 1980 and chose as his running mate a former CIA chief, Texas congressman and United Nations ambassador, George H.W. Bush. Voters troubled by inflation and by the year-long confinement of American hostages in Iran, swept the Republican ticket into office. Reagan won 489 electoral votes to 49 for President Jimmy Carter in the election of 1980. Reagan took office on January 20, 1981. Just 69 days later, he was shot by a would-be assassin, but quickly recovered and returned to duty. His grace and wit during the dangerous incident caused his popularity to soar.

America in the throes of change. America's commercial, industrial and social sectors had been rapidly evolving from changes spawned in the decades following World War II. Tremendous pressures had built up by the time Reagan took office. Factories continued to close across America, being replaced by "outsourcing" in foreign countries that offered lower business costs and cheaper labor. Moving the factories offshore was a counter-strategy by business and industry leaders who refused to countenance the ongoing demands of American labor unions. Hundreds of thousands of Americans had been thrown into unemployment and many became homeless as well. Concurrently, the personal computer was born, to be followed by the computer revolution in businesses, schools and homes across America and Europe, followed by the rest of the world. Such controversial federal policies as Affirmative Action (some called it "reverse discrimination"), sought to inject racial and gender equality into many aspects of American life, especially college enrollment and workplace hiring practices. The rise in drug abuse and addiction became epidemic, followed by a rise in crime (aggravated by illegal drugs), which overcrowded America's prisons. The pandemic of HIV/AIDS bowled its way into the American mainstream, costing many lives and billions of dollars (not including the disease's foreign impact). Dealing skillfully with Congress, Reagan obtained legislation to stimulate economic growth, curb inflation, increase employment, and strengthen the national military muscle. He embarked upon a course of cutting taxes and government expenditures, refusing to deviate from it when the cost of bolstering defense forces led to huge deficits. The SALT treaty with Soviet Russia had failed. A new treaty called "START" was created in 1983.

The election of 1984 was a contest between incumbent Reagan and former vice president Walter Mondale. Reagan's running mate was George Bush again. The president was popular, partly because his first term had seen the beginning of a strong economic boom and a resurgence of American military strength. Mondale was unable to deflect those positives or Reagan's charisma, and lost in every state in the union except for his home state of Minnesota. The Reagan Cabinet contained some controversial members. Most memorable was the brusque, outspoken Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. (1981-1982), who had stepped in to front for Richard M. Nixon during the latter's desperate final days in office (1975). Interior Secretary James G. Watt (1981-1983), who is remembered chiefly for his hostility to the environmental movement and support of the development and use of federal lands by foresting, ranching and other commercial interests, was forced to resign following a controversial ethnic quip. Foreign Policy. Europe. Margaret Thatcher was the British prime minister during the Reagan era. Thatcher was a close ally and friend of Reagan's, and both were tough conservatives. The two politicians affected 1980s politics worldwide. He was president for eight years; she was PM for 11 years. Thatcher was the first national leader to visit him after his inauguration in 1981, and their rapport helped to transform the East-West standoff. The Reagan era is remembered most for his conservative economic reforms and Cold War success. The cradle of the Cold War (1946-1989) was West Germany and the Berlin Wall. Reagan's historic speech at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin on June 12, 1987, was the harbinger marking the coming end of the Cold War when he demanded, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! The Middle East. Harry S. Truman's administration advocated "containment," a historic direct confrontation with the "Domino Theory" of communist hegemony, and three presidential successors maintained it. But it was Reagan who prophetically saw that the time had come to tighten containment and finally destroy Soviet Communism. Like Franklin D. Roosevelt before him, he sought to destroy an "evil empire," not just contain it.

Despite such developments as the U.S.-Palestine Liberation Organization dialog, the Pollard spy case in December 1986, and the Israeli rejection of the Shultz peace initiative in the spring of 1988, proIsraeli organizations in the United States characterized the Reagan administration (and the 100th Congress) as the "most pro-Israel ever" and praised the positive overall tone of bilateral relations. Irangate. The Iran-Contra Affair, in which U.S. arms were sold to Iran to secure the release of American hostages and fund so-called "Freedom Fighters" in Nicaragua, was a mid-1980s political scandal during Reagan's second term. Many consider his prevarications during the scandal to be the low point of his presidency. Epilogue Reagan's leadership brought the international nightmare of the Cold War to a conclusion. Many historians aver that he also restored a sense of honor and trust to the White House, which had been so tarnished by the events in the years that preceded his taking office, including the Vietnam War, the Pentagon Papers, and the Watergate scandal. Ronald Reagan had refashioned the American presidency. The former president died of pneumonia as a complication of Alzheimer's disease, on June 5, 2004, at the age of 93. He had announced in 1994 that he was suffering from the disease. Reagan's wife and two of their children, Ronald Jr. and Patty Davis, were with him when he died.

The Real Reagan Legacy......The Cult of Political Personality


Watching this year's presidential election play out, I've become more and more convinced, that the state of electoral politics today can be directly shown to be a product of Ronald Reagan and his 1980 victory. This is not an endorsement or condemnation of Mr. Reagan's politics, since I am firmly convinced that the political views that he espoused had nothing at all to do with his transformative presidency. It was his training and understanding of his actual craft, acting, that allowed the presidency to morph from the office of geek in chief to that of political heartthrob. We saw a bit of this phenomenon in 1960 with the election

of John F. Kennedy, but his presidency was cut short and that transformative role did not take place. We only need to look at Mr. Reagan and some of the most popular politicians that have followed him, William J. Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, and Arnold Schwartzenegger. They have all represented very different political constituencies, but they all shared a unique trait. They had charisma. Their personalities have been so strong, so magnetic, that people who otherwise wouldn't have even thought about voting for them, listened to their sales pitch and threw their political fate to ideologies that became secondary. If we begin with Ronald Reagan, we see the man who has been proclaimed the conservative icon of American politics. This is the man whose charisma was so great, his personality so strong, that he was able to bring together a broad based constituency of diverse political minds. Reagan was, and continues to be, all things to all people. He was lauded as the father of modern conservatism, although his policies were more pragmatic than they were conservative. He cut taxes once, but continuously raised taxes after that. He was not a lover of the Evangelical movement although that movement idolized him. He was a patrician actor who connected with working class democrats. Reagan's legacy was to teach the political elite that the cult of personality was much more important than the ideas that the politician espoused. We learned that politics were flexible, but personality had to be the draw. We saw the same phenomenon with William Jefferson Clinton. He was an obscure governor from a southern state who was not only an enigma to the country, but came to his campaign with tremendous amounts of personal baggage. But what a campaigner; what a speaker. The American people quickly found out that Clinton could sell freezers to Eskimos living near the North Pole. His personality was larger than life and people flocked to him. He became president by beating a rather lackluster George Herbert Walker Bush and then a drab Senator Dole through as much of his cult of personality as his political

positions. Whether or not one might agree with Clinton's policies, political pundits all admit that Clinton has retained his cult of personality followers in his post-presidency. George W. Bush may not generally be considered a member of the cult of personality. But this is a man with a mediocre record in Texas and a poor record as a businessman prior to his political career. Bush, however, was an ebullient, sociable, apparently likable individual who connected with the middle class and Latino voter. His opponents in his two elections were Al Gore and John Kerry, both of whom were capable politicians, but were less than inspiring leaders. To this day, regardless of what you think of Bush's politics, most Americans would be happy to sit down in a bar and have a beer with the man. That qualifies him for the cult of political personality. While all of this was occurring, California, under Governor Gray Davis, was becoming a harbinger of the economic disasters to come. In the historic recall election in that state, Arnold Schwartzenegger, the hero of a bevy of action movies, most notably the Terminator series, became the governor of the state. Schwartzenegger was the epitome of the politician who relied on the cult of personality. This was a man who couldn't really decide if he was a republican or a democrat. He finally declared as a republican but governed more like a democrat. Over all, he spent two terms as governor, more as a matter of who he was, and the celebrity he held, than his governing philosophy. Which brought us to 2008. The democratic party nominated a fairly unknown Illinois senator, Barack Obama, who had a fairly thin resume to qualify him for president of the United States. But could the man give a speech. He proved to be one of the most dynamic and inspirational speakers in recent presidential history. His presidency has polarized the country as few others have. Those that have joined the "cult" of personality can see no wrong with President Obama, those on the far right despise him. The republican party had nominated John McClain as their presidential candidate in 2008. Senator McClain

squarely fell into that milquetoast, vanilla plain candidate that most of the other charismatic candidates had the opportunity to run against. The realization was that he needed a game changer. He had to find a running mate that could match Obama word for word, sense of excitement for sense of excitement. They found the little know governor from Alaska, Sarah Palin. Palin was the epitome of the cult of personality. Here was a candidate who did not have even a basic understanding of the issues facing the country. She knew little about domestic policy or foreign policy. She wasn't well read, nor did she want to be briefed. Yet, almost immediately, a significant number of individuals on the right became diehard fans of Ms. Palin. The cult of personality around her has not abated through 2011. She has defined the candidate who runs as a cult figure rather than a politician. And that brings up to the 2012 election. The democratic party is going to nominate a now seasoned President Obama and the republican party is going to nominate another milquetoast, vanilla plain candidate in Willard Mitt Romney. There will be arguments over policy, for sure, but this will also be another election pitting the politician of personality against the politician of blandness. Our political parties should be getting the message by now. In this day and age of instant 24/7 communication, when your candidate is constantly in the public's eye, that candidate has to have charisma. That candidate has to look and sound good to the American people. That is really Ronald Reagan's legacy to the American political system.