Ronald Reagan - USA History.



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Ronald Reagan - USA History.


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Ronald Reagan - USA History.

Ronald Reagan - USA History.


Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), 40th president of the United States (1981-1989), who implemented policies that reversed trends toward greater government involvement
in economic and social regulation. He introduced a new style of presidential leadership, downgrading the role of the president as an administrator and increasing the
importance of communication via the national news media.
Reagan first became famous as an actor in Hollywood motion pictures and became more prominent later in his career as a television host. His emergence as a political
figure stemmed from his personal charm and his identification with conservative groups who believed that the nation had strayed from its traditional values. Many saw
Reagan as a personal and ideological symbol of these values. Having never held public office, Reagan became governor of California, the most populous state, in 1967,
and almost immediately thereafter emerged as a serious candidate for the presidency.



Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois, the younger of two sons of Nelle and John Reagan. His father was a traveling shoe salesman.
Reagan was strongly influenced by his mother, who taught him to read at an early age. Most of his childhood was spent in Dixon, Illinois, a small town about 155 km (96
mi) west of Chicago.
Reagan won a scholarship to study at Eureka College, a small Disciples of Christ college near Peoria, Illinois. He majored in economics, and he was president of the
student body, a member of the football team, and captain of the swimming team. He was also drawn toward acting, but upon graduation in 1932 the only job available
related to show business was as a local radio sportscaster. In 1936 he became a sportscaster for station WHO in Des Moines, Iowa.
In 1937 Reagan went to Hollywood and began an acting career that spanned more than 25 years. He played in more than 50 films, including Knute Rockne-All
American (1940), King's Row (1942), and Bedtime for Bonzo (1951). He soon became active in the Screen Actors Guild (the union for film actors) and was elected six
times as its president. He married actress Jane Wyman and they had two children: Maureen and Michael, an adopted son. After eight years, the marriage ended in
divorce. In 1952 Reagan married another actress, Nancy Davis, daughter of an Illinois neurosurgeon. They had two children, Patricia and Ronald.
Reagan's first political activities were associated with his responsibilities as a union leader. As union president, Reagan tried to remove suspected Communists from the
movie industry. When the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities began an investigation in 1947 on the influence of Communists in the film industry, Reagan
took a strong anti-Communist stand testifying before the committee.
In 1954 Reagan agreed to work with the General Electric Company to host a 30-minute television series and to make promotional tours speaking to General Electric
employees around the country. Reagan spoke to large audiences, promoting the free-enterprise system. Despite his tendency to vote for Republican candidates for
president (Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956 and for Richard M. Nixon in 1960), Reagan was a registered Democrat until 1962.
Reagan emerged on the national political scene in 1964 when he made an impassioned television speech supporting the Republican presidential candidate, United States
senator Barry Goldwater from Arizona. Although Goldwater lost the election, Reagan's speech brought in money and praise from Republicans around the country.
A group of Republicans in California persuaded a receptive Reagan to run for governor of California in 1966. Reagan appealed to traditional Republican voters as well as
to working-class Democrats. He defeated Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, Sr., the incumbent Democrat, by almost a million votes.

A Governor of California
During his first term Reagan temporarily stopped government hiring to slow the growth of the state workforce, but he also approved tax increases to balance the state
budget. He cut funding for the University of California, a center of the student protest movement of the late 1960s, but after protests died down he increased funding
for higher education.
Reagan was elected to a second term in 1970, defeating Democrat Jesse Unruh, although he won by a much smaller margin than in 1966. Reagan worked with the
Democratic majority in the state legislature to enact a major reform of the welfare system in 1971. The reform reduced the number of people receiving state aid, while
increasing the benefits for those who remained eligible. By 1973 budget surpluses enabled Reagan to begin tax rebates that returned almost $6 billion to taxpayers.
As governor, Reagan became one of several widely known conservative politicians who wanted to restrict government involvement in the economy and society. In 1968,
during his first term as governor, he entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination. He lost the nomination to Richard M. Nixon, who went on to win the
After completing his term as governor, Reagan decided to challenge incumbent president Gerald Ford for the 1976 Republican presidential nomination. Reagan won an
unexpected victory in the North Carolina primary and won many delegates in the Midwest and the West, but Ford was nominated by a narrow margin at the Republican
National Convention in August. Ford's defeat by Georgia Democrat Jimmy Carter in the presidential election led some Republicans to wonder whether Reagan might
have won had he been in Ford's place, and Reagan began to plan another presidential run in 1980.


The Election of 1980

Reagan, who had spent years making political friends at party fundraising dinners around the country, announced his candidacy in November 1979. He became the
immediate favorite to capture the nomination and, except for an unexpected defeat by former Republican Party chairman George H. W. Bush in the Iowa caucuses, he
easily defeated his rivals for the Republican nomination.
At the 1980 Republican convention, delegates adopted a conservative political program for the party. Former president Ford was considered as the vice presidential
candidate, but when Ford's negotiators proposed that the vice president should share presidential powers, Reagan rejected the plan. Instead, he chose Bush as his
running mate.
During the fall campaign against Carter, the biggest political issue was the economy. Reagan blamed Carter for the recession that had begun in 1980 and for increasing
inflation. He also accused Carter of weakness in foreign policy and called for a stronger military.
His claim that Carter had a weak foreign policy seemed to be substantiated by a lengthy hostage crisis in Tehr?n, Iran. In November 1979 after Carter had allowed the

deposed shah of Iran to enter the United States for medical treatment, a group of Iranian revolutionaries stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehr?n and held 53 Americans
as hostages. United States media publicized the plight of the hostages and Carter's failure to win their release. They were eventually released in January 1981, on the
day of Reagan's inauguration.
The contrast between the television personalities of the two candidates was also very important. Carter's stiff, nervous manner had never been popular, while Reagan's
charm and his call for a return to patriotism and traditional morality appealed to the public. Many voters believed that Reagan was a forceful leader who could restore
prosperity at home and prevent national humiliation abroad.
Reagan won the election by a landslide, receiving 51 percent to Carter's 41 percent. Moderate Republican John B. Anderson, running as an independent, received nearly
7 percent. In the Electoral College, Reagan won a ten-to-one victory.



Ronald Reagan presided over the most far-reaching changes in U.S. government economic and social policy in half a century. His administration succeeded in eliminating
or reducing many social programs begun by the federal government under presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) and Lyndon Baines Johnson (1963-1969) and
in lifting many restrictions on business activities.
As president, Reagan delegated much of the day-to-day administrative work to his staff. He defined his management style as "to identify the problem, find the right
individuals to do the job, and then let them go to it." Reagan's chief function in his administration was as "the great communicator." He served as a spokesman for the
conservative coalition that had backed his campaign for the presidency.
This coalition included businessmen opposed to government regulation of private enterprise and anti-Communists who believed that the United States should build up its
military strength to deter possible aggression by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Reagan also received strong support from conservative religious groups,
who were unhappy about what they saw as decreasing respect for religion in public life and about increasingly permissive attitudes, especially with respect to sex and
drugs, that had emerged in the late 1960s. These groups often had little in common, and it took a politician with Reagan's charm to smooth over their differences.
Reagan also won a solid following among moderate middle-class and working-class Americans, many of whom traditionally had supported the Democratic Party. He won
their support with his assertion that the federal government imposed excessive taxation and had grown too large and cumbersome. Reagan spoke out against what he
described as overgrown government bureaucracy, expensive social programs, and federal regulatory agencies that interfered in the private lives and business dealing...

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