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The Fortieth President of the United States, Ronald Reagan

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Introduction

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same” (1964, Reagan). President Reagan was a well-respected man that was known for his humor and charisma. Throughout President Reagan’s life, he has made remarkable achievements.

Early Life and Movie Career

President Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois. He shared his parent’s democratic views on politics growing up. His father, Jack Reagan, was known for being a noteworthy salesman, but one of his vices was he was an alcoholic. His mother, Nelle Reagan, was viewed by President Reagan as a compassionate and generous woman. He had an elder sibling, Neil Reagan. The Reagan sons felt that Neil took after Jack and Ronald took after their mother (Cannon).

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President Reagan’s, young adulthood involved a lot of achievements that shaped him as an individual. He majored in Economics and Sociology and later graduated from Eureka College in 1933. President Reagan, commissioned into the Army Reserves as a Calvary officer in 1935. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was found unfit to be sent to war due to his poor vision. He was activated into the first motion picture unit in the Army Air Corps. He worked actively within this unit for the duration of the war. As a child, he acted in some plays his mother organized, so the job was fitting for him. During the 1940s, he was featured as the second lead in many movies such as “The Gipper” and “Kings Row.” In the 1950s, he switched his role to television, where he was the host of The General Electric Theater. He toured the United States as a representative for General Electric. During this time, he began to develop more conservative views due to his frequent topics covering businesses speaking against too much government regulation.

Political Career

President Reagan began his political career finding his first political inspiration from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. President Reagan felt the “New Deal” helped pull the country out of the Great Depression. President Reagan looked up to President Roosevelt during trialing times for his family; “He’d entered the White House facing a national emergency as grim as any the country has ever faced and, acting quickly, he had implemented a plan of action to deal with the crisis” (Brands). Although his political inspiration came from a Democrat, President Reagan became a Republican in 1962. President Reagan stated, “government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem” this was a hallmark sign of the change in his views. President Reagan experienced a great deal of success as a Conservative Republican. He was elected twice as the Governor of California. He attempted to obtain the Republican Party’s primary bid in 1968 and 1976. He later took office on January 20, 1981, as the President of the United States after beating the former president, Jimmy Carter. In 1984, President Reagan won the election and began his second term in office.

President Reagan’s conservative values continued to shine through his presidency. He implemented the promotion of the economy by decreased government program spending and reduced taxes, referred to as “Reaganomics.” His Reaganomics were utilized to reverse the stagflation from his predecessor, President Jimmy Carter. Under the administration of President Carter, the country suffered from high inflation and high unemployment. Reaganomics was a four-year policy to reduce government spending on domestic programs, reduction of taxes for individuals, businesses, and investments, reduce the regulations placed on businesses, and support the growth of the economy. President Reagan decreased the funding for Aid to Families with Dependent Children, food stamps, rent subsidies, and Medicaid. During this time, he did not decrease funds for Medicare or Social Security. Although he made a substantial reduction in domestic spending, it was countered by increased military spending. His spending on the military created a net deficit throughout both of his terms. Reaganomics was effective in reducing inflation to 4%, and the unemployment rate fell below 6% by the end of his second term (2019, Kenton).

President Reagan shared the anticommunism views of President Harry S. Truman and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. President Reagan sought to prevent the spread of communism during the Cold War by assisting Afghanistan, Angola, and Nicaragua through deploying Freedom Fighters to aid in their fight. During his administration, he funded the most extensive military buildup in the history of the United States, to defeat the Soviet Union he viewed as an “evil empire.” President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet leadership signed the first nuclear arms reduction treaty after holding four summits. Nearing the end of his second term, the Cold War was starting to come to an end. With the growing end of the Cold War, President Reagan faced the terrorism threats of the Middle East and North Africa. He was known for his will to assert force where forces were working against the United States globally. In response to an attack on American soldiers, President Reagan addressed the nation on national television, 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.’

Conclusion

Reflecting on all that President Reagan accomplished during his time in office, the United States is fortunate that John Hinckley, Jr. was unsuccessful with his assassination attempt. President Reagan promoted the economy of the United States through his Reaganomics and combatted the trialing spread of communism through concluding the Cold War. The fortieth President of the United States, President Ronald Reagan, will remain an influential man in the American way of life through the actions of his administration for years to come.

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