Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Presidents throughout history have equipped society with the means to believe and thrive in the hope of a better America. As the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan’s legacy showed what it means to be both a responsible leader as well as being compassionate and understanding to the common man. Although there were many good aspects of his character and presidency, there were many incidents that caught the attention of the American people that altered their perception of him. No president is perfect, but through the legacy they leave, we’re able to see the pavement they created for the many generations of America to come. This is the evaluation of our former president, Ronald Reagan.
Known as “The Great Communicator”, Reagan had a humorous and charismatic approach to almost anything. Throughout his political career he used humor to win over voters, create friendships and alliances, and deflect negativity from opposing individuals. Reagan knew how to make his humor seem effortless from his past in the spotlight from acting. An admirable attribute that Reagan possessed was having the capability to connect with the average person/common man. On the other hand, he knew when it was necessary to be able to connect with world leaders or those of a higher authority. He was able to restore the faith in the American people of their president in office through his confident and promising speeches. People would describe Reagan as someone who brought back spirit and optimism in the hearts of the public. He contained something that was contagious to anyone, and that was his courage. His courage empowered the idea and need for change. He had a drive in him that made it apparent that he knew where he was going and where he wanted to bring America. He had a vision in his mind of what the country was destined to be and decided to chase it, bringing along the hopes of many that chose to support him.
His 1989 Farewell Address addressed what he thought about people describing him as a natural and great communicator by saying, “I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things”. Reagan had the capability of capturing his audience by knowing exactly what to say, he knew what he needed to tell the people in the most honest and empowering way. By recognizing that the majority of people who listened and followed his speeches and campaigns were considered the common man, he understood his wording needed to be easily interpreted and take into account the audience’s mood, dreams, and passions. He showed how personable he was when, “..a reporter asked Reagan what he thought other Americans saw in him, he replied: “Would you laugh if I told you that I think maybe, they see themselves and that I’m one of them.” And he added: “I’ve never been able to detach myself or think that I, somehow, am apart from them.” where he went on explaining the he too is just an average person differing only from his position in society.
When the Cold War was first started over the butting heads of the Soviet Union and the U.S., this left Reagan with the need to find a way to resolve their problems in hopes to regain peace, a word that he stressed about often. Reagan had to work strategically and carefully with Soviet Leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. During this period of time he was known for being totally against communism, giving him the name of a cold warrior. Instead of coming guns blazing towards the leader, when Reagan and Gorbachev met in Geneva in November of 1982, his tactic was to find common interests between one another and even cautioned his members “not to rub Gorbachev’s nose in any concessions he might make”. Reagan’s main goal was to establish a relationship in order to create an easier gateway to manage conflicts. They agreed to reduce their stockpile of nuclear missiles and later giving his famous speech at the Berlin Wall, ‘Mr. Chairman, tear down this wall’ being one of his most memorable lines. The Cold War was over. The American people, including those working for/with him, admired his will to keep the peace between the two former rivals.
Reagan was able to see the national economic mess his country was in. To try and regain stability within his economy again, Reagan decided to push through with the idea he had that will pull them out of this rut, Reaganomics. He unveiled his new tax program, labeling it with ‘a second American Revolution for hope and opportunity’. He based this economic idea on supply-side economics, using increased production to stimulate economic growth. Along with this, he tried to implement a more laid back economy (laissez-faire). With this and Reaganomics, it was dramatically different from what they American people were used to based on the past presidents’ legacy. Congress wasn’t on board with the idea in the beginning especially because Reagan was wanting to do tax cuts, making a strain in the relationship between him and Congress as well as a rocky beginning. Although that was the case, Reagan assured Congress and society that this plan would be effective and beneficial. Reagan knew that there needed to be cuts in areas of government spending, capital gain taxes and income taxes, business regulations, and money supply expansion. Most of the cut would be focused on the upper level, and this relief would push them to spend more and invest more. This spending caused the stimulation of the economy and the birth or new opportunities and jobs. The results varied, sparking a period of recession from 1981-1982. Because of the high interest rates, the value of the dollar increased, impacting the the amount of exports and imports. In 1983, the economy stabilized and continued years on to show national growth.
There are many economists that argue over the success of Reaganomics. The tax cuts increased the amount of money spent on the military, which would cost the government trillions of dollars. Reagan wanted to slash certain government programs in order to compensate for these expenses. Congress approved of his tax cuts and ideas for defense but did not want to make any cuts to the welfare state.