Ronald Wilson Reagan

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Ronald Wilson Reagan
Ronald-reagan by kinstler.jpg
40th President of the United States
From: January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
Vice President George H. W. Bush
Predecessor Jimmy Carter
Successor George H. W. Bush
33rd Governor of California
From: January 2, 1967 – January 6, 1975
Predecessor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, Sr.
Successor Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown, Jr.
Party Republican (formerly Democrat)
Spouse(s) Jane Wyman
Nancy Davis Reagan
Religion Presbyterian
Military Service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch Army Reserve, Air Force
Service Years 1937-1946
Rank Captain

Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004, age 93) served as the 40th President of the United States of America from 1981 to 1989. He was the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975), following a successful career in film and television. He was one of the greatest American Presidents and part of the conservative movement since the late 1970s. His victorious presidential debate with Jimmy Carter a week before the 1980 presidential election was the most-watched presidential debate in history until Donald Trump's first debate with Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Reagan was a movement conservative who succeeded in moving the nation to the right by reducing federal regulation and lowering taxes. He promoted individual liberty and the conviction that government was the problem and private enterprise the solution. He cut taxes but, despite his proposals, federal spending increased albeit at a lower rate. After a short sharp recession early in his first term, the economy was strong by 1984. Proclaiming "It's Morning Again in America", Reagan carried 49 of 50 states to win reelection. He moved the Supreme Court and the federal courts to the right with his appointments.

Reagan's supply-side economic policies were based on the libertarian ideas of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics. "Reaganomics" was based on the idea that tax cuts would spur savings and investment. Reagan was strongly opposed to the concept of Big government, advocating a reduction in the size and budget of the federal government. During his terms in office, he faced a divided Congress split between Republican and Democratic control for six of his eight years as president. Reagan was known for forging alliances with "boll weevil" (conservative) Democrats to overcome the apparent majority led by Democratic Speaker Tip O'Neill.

In foreign affairs, Reagan rejected détente with the Soviet Union, but not with China. His massive defense buildup forced the Soviets to confront their crumbling financial base. He rejected the legitimacy of Communism and in the Reagan Doctrine systematically challenged and eventually destroyed Soviet strength in the Third World. After 1986, the new leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev tried desperately to rescue communism by cutting its losses; they came to terms with Reagan; the communist empire collapsed in 1989 a few months after Reagan left office, and communism was abolished (and Gorbachev repudiated) by Russia in 1991. Reagan is thus credited with achieving victory in the Cold War.[1][2]

Always distrustful of nuclear weapons, Reagan initiated missile defense (SDI), a space-based system to defend against nuclear missiles. The inability of the Soviet Union to match this new technological breakthrough forced it to agree to Reagan's terms for ending the Cold War. In leading the rollback of communism in Europe, he battled powerful liberal forces that called instead for détente (peaceful relations) with communism. As the Soviet system faltered and Gorbachev accepted Reagan's terms, this ensured an unprecedented level of nuclear disarmament. His signature phrase in dealing with Communists was "trust, but verify."

In his most famous challenges to Communism, Reagan went to the Brandenburg Gate and gave the Soviets the American terms for ending the Cold War: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" The Soviets were forced to agree, and watched their empire collapse overnight in late 1989, a few months after Reagan was succeeded as president by his Vice President George H.W. Bush. At the closing of his presidency, Reagan compared America to that "Shining city upon a hill", a beacon of Liberty for all who still live in the darkness of totalitarian rule.[3]

As a great communicator and leader of the Republican party, he added a new base of "Reagan Democrats" (blue-collar workers who were social conservatives), religious evangelicals, and neoconservatives; his success became the model for Republicans into the 21st century.

By all accounts, including by many of his adversaries, Reagan was a highly intelligent individual with an excellent sense of humor. He also contributed many new well-thought-through insights to the general public that were not previously available.[4]

Ronald Reagan's signature
Ronaldus Magnus


Reagan's Conservatism

In a speech, immediately after assuming the presidency in 1981, he outlined his philosophy. After listing "intellectual leaders like Russell Kirk, Friedrich Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, Milton Friedman, James Burnham, Ludwig von Mises" as the ones who "shaped so much of our thoughts," he discussed only one of these influences at length:

  • It's especially hard to believe that it was only a decade ago, on a cold April day on a small hill in upstate New York, that another of these great thinkers, Frank Meyer, was buried. He'd made the awful journey that so many others had: He pulled himself from the clutches of "The [communist] God That Failed, and then in his writing fashioned a vigorous new synthesis of traditional and libertarian thought -- a synthesis that is today recognized by many as modern conservatism.
  • It was Frank Meyer who reminded us that the robust individualism of the American experience was part of the deeper current of Western learning and culture. He pointed out that a respect for law, an appreciation for tradition, and regard for the social consensus that gives stability to our public and private institutions, these civilized ideas must still motivate us even as we seek a new economic prosperity based on reducing government interference in the marketplace.
  • Our goals complement each other. We're not cutting the budget simply for the sake of sounder financial management. This is only a first step toward returning power to the States and communities, only a first step toward reordering the relationship between citizens and government. We can make government again responsive to the people by cutting its size and scope and thereby ensuring that its legitimate functions are performed efficiently and justly.[5] Reagan rose to power speaking of Traditional values such as hard work, faith, family, God and patriotism (ideas that liberals call "racist"). Reagan strongly opposed progressive taxation, redistribution of wealth, the welfare state, and nationalization.

Political analyst Henry Olsen argues in The Working Class Republican that Reagan's political views were more closely aligned with Franklin D. Roosevelt than typically thought, and that Reagan was more of a traditional blue-collar, working-class conservative than a libertarian.[6][7]

Early life

Jack Reagan, Neil, Ronald, and his mother Nelle (from left to right) Photograph circa 1916–17.

Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois, the second son of John (Jack) Edward and Nelle Wilson Reagan. The family finally settled in Dixon, Illinois in 1920 after years of moving from town to town. Jack Reagan nicknamed his younger son “Dutch", claiming he looked like “a fat little Dutchman.”[8] Reagan's father was a working-class Irish Catholic, and an active Democrat. Unemployed during the Great Depression, Jack Reagan held a minor position in the WPA during the New Deal. Reagan recalled numerous alcoholic episodes that cost his father many job opportunities. Nelle Reagan, a devout member of the Disciples of Christ, greatly influenced her son, who remained a lifelong Protestant.

1932 photo taken after his graduation from Eureka College

He attended Eureka College, a small Disciples school where he developed a reputation as a "jack of all trades", excelling in campus politics, sports and theater. Reagan was a member of several athletic organizations including the football and track teams, the basketball cheerleading squad, and captain of the swimming team. He was also yearbook editor and was elected student body president. Reagan was a political liberal at that point and led a student revolt against the college president. In his first year at Eureka, the president of the college tried to cut back the faculty. Reagan helped organize a student strike. He received his degree in economics and sociology in 1932.[9]

To pay for college, Reagan worked many low-wage jobs such as cooking hamburgers and washing tables. He also worked as a lifeguard at Lowell Park on the Rock River in Dixon for seven summers, where he saved seventy-seven swimmers from drowning.[10]

After college Reagan became a radio sports announcer in Iowa. Although he was originally only hired to announce the University of Iowa football games, he became so popular in the Midwest he began covering Chicago Cubs baseball games at Wrigley Field. He also wrote sports columns in the Des Moines ‘’Dispatch’’.

Reagan as Disciple

Reagan took religious values into the presidency that he learned from his Disciples of Christ background at home and at Eureka College, a Disciples school. He was strongly influenced by Ben Hill Cleaver, the minister of the First Christian Church[11] in Dixon, Illinois, during the 1920s, and by Reagan's mother, Nelle, an active member of the church. At many points, the positions taken by the Disciples Church of Reagan's youth coincided with the words, if not the beliefs of the latter-day Reagan. These positions included faith in Providence, the association of America's mission with God's will, belief in progress, trust in the work ethic and admiration for those who achieved wealth, an uncomfortableness with literature and art that questioned the family or challenged notions of proper sexual behavior, the presumption that poverty is an individual problem best left to charity rather than the state, sensitivity to problems involving alcohol and drugs, and reticence to use government to protect civil rights for minorities. Reagan's experiences in the church and with the Cleavers provided early training in public speaking and offered a way of learning in which acting played a central part. Reagan's use of the jeremiad and his fusing of Judeo-Christianity[12][13][14][15] and patriotism into a civil religion also have their roots in this early period. For her part, Nelle was a pillar of the church and the one who provided stability to the shaky Reagan family when the head was a drunkard and a poor provider. She helped spark her son's interest in acting and believed the stage could be a force for noble purposes.[16]


1953 film Law and Order, starring Reagan and Dorothy Malone

In 1937 Reagan traveled to Hollywood to cover the Chicago Cubs's spring training games and look at prospects in the film industry. Warner Brothers studio offered him a one-year contract with a starting salary of $200 a week. He made his first on-screen debut in the 1937 movie Love is On the Air,[17] then became famous starring in numerous "B" movies, where he typically played a supporting character rather than the leading role. In 1941 Reagan gave a well-received performance in the Oscar nominated film Kings Row. Other notable movies include Knute Rockne, The Hasty Heart, and the film Brother Rat, which is where Reagan first met his future wife Jane Wyman.[18] During the war Reagan was in the Air Force where he was assigned to make training films.

Military Service

Intertwined with his career as an actor, Reagan also served in the military. He enlisted in the Army Enlisted Reserve on April 29, 1937, and transferred to the Army Air Forces (AAF) in 1942.[19] Poor eyesight kept him from being sent into overseas combat. He would instead produce training films for the AAF Public Relations and, subsequently, for the 1st Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, California.

By the end of the war, his units had produced some 400 training films for the Army Air Forces. He resumed his Hollywood career on release in 1946, and his Reserve Commission automatically terminated on April 1, 1953.

While serving, Reagan was promoted several times. On January 4, 1943, he was promoted to First Lieutenant. On July 22, 1943, he was promoted to Captain.[19]

Return to Hollywood

Ronald Reagan and General Electric Theater. 1954–62.

Reagan's movie career faded in the late 1940s but he made a successful transition to television, especially as a host, and became a celebrity on the speakers' circuit. He traveled the country as a motivation speaker for General Electric, attracting highly appreciative audiences for his polished, witty speeches based on a wide reading in current events and libertarian economic principles. Reagan also starred in the 1960s television series Death Valley Days. By 1964, he had appeared in more than fifty films.

Friendship with Billy Graham

Reagan first met Billy Graham in the mid 1950s[20][21] around the time that Reagan started with GE, and they remained friends for many years.

Graham was very impressed with Reagan's ability to effectively manage criticism with politeness, reason, and conviction. Graham wrote of Reagan in relating a story of a pastor from Dallas: "Ron had not only changed a man's mind, but he had done it with charm, conviction, and humor - traits I would see repeatedly as I got to know him."[20]


Operation Coffee Cup

For a more detailed treatment, see Operation Coffee Cup.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Reagan teamed up with the American Medical Association to produce a campaign against government-run universal healthcare, warning citizens that if the government controls your healthcare, they control you.

Together with the AMA, they produced the LP record Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine.

Union president

Reagan jumped into union politics and was elected to five terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, a labor union for movie actors and part of the AFL. As SAG President he traveled across the country giving speeches on behalf of actors. Until the 1950s Reagan was an avid liberal Democrat who strongly supported the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Fair Deal of Harry S. Truman. He often campaigned on behalf of the New Deal Coalition, such as Helen Gahagan Douglas's 1950 run for Senator of California.[22] There was talk of running Reagan for president of the AFL itself.[23]

Reagan was thus the only president to lead a labor union, a bastion of liberalism. Reagan himself was a registered Democrat well into the 1950s, but as head of the Screen Actors Guild he fought against Communist infiltration. In 1947 he became an FBI informant, known by the bureau as informant "T-10",[24][25] and testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Reagan expressed some reservation with the FBI, asking one agent "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?"[26] Peggy Noonan wrote, "Even in his zeal to purge the communist influence from Hollywood, he fought those who engaged in witch hunts and defended those who had been falsely accused of involvement."

Democrat to Republican

Reagan married Nancy Davis on March 4, 1952, at The Little Brown Church, located in the San Fernando Valley, California. Nancy Davis's father was a strongly conservative neurosurgeon from the Midwest, Dr. Loyal Davis, who had a big political influence on Reagan. By 1961, Reagan wrote a lengthy conservative article that was published by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons,[27] a conservative group of doctors founded in 1943.

Reagan remained a registered Democrat in the 1950s, but actively supporting Richard Nixon's campaign for president in 1960 and had been developing conservative viewpoints while working for General Electric.[28] In 1962, Reagan felt that the Democrat Party had left him and he publicly switched his political party to become a Republican. He fully rejected the tax-and-spend liberalism of the Democratic Party, and its appeasement of communism. As a part of Reagan's change in viewpoints, he came to be a fan of former president Calvin Coolidge, and would later replace a painting of Truman with that of Coolidge in the White House Cabinet Room.[29]


Conservatives nationwide saw Reagan as their new star when his campaigning for Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964 was better received than Goldwater's own speeches. He raised an unprecedented eight million dollars for Goldwater. Despite Goldwater's defeat, Reagan's 1964 "Time for Choosing" speech helped launch his political career and made him become a probable candidate for governor of California.

Governor of California (1967–1975)

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan at the Victory celebration for California Governor at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California 11/8/66.
In the 1966 gubernatorial campaign, conservatives generally supported Reagan over George Christopher, the Republican mayor of San Francisco.

Already at the 1966 campaign Reagan began to stress Judeo-Christianity.[15]

Reagan defeated Christopher, and incumbent liberal Democrat Pat Brown in the general election, taking fifty-three of California's fifty-eight counties. Reagan's strategists wanted to emphasize libertarian support for smaller government and less taxation, as the state verged on a revolt against high property taxes. As student and black unrest exploded in the headlines, Reagan's call for Law and order won the votes of former liberals. Reagan's victory marked the end of New Deal liberalism in California.[30]

Reagan inherited an enormous budget deficit from the Brown administration. In his first year as Governor, Reagan froze government spending and cut ten percent of the spending budget in each department of the government. At the end of his two terms, the $194 million deficit had been transformed into a $550 million surplus. The San Francisco Chronicle editorialized, "We exaggerate very little when we say that Reagan has saved the state from bankruptcy.[31]

When coming into office there was a growing number of anarchist protesters at the University of California, Berkeley over the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War. The protests would become violent. Reagan sent the state police and later the national guard to handle the riots. It allowed him to showcase his populist themes of morality, Law and order, strong leadership, and defense of traditional values. Reagan was reelected in 1970, after firing the president of the state university and sending in armed force to confront student demonstrators. Reagan's handling of this crisis helped to make him into a national politician known for strength and courage.[32]

Governor Reagan briefly tested the presidential waters in 1968 as part of a "Stop Nixon" movement, but drew back when he saw Richard Nixon's strength.

Governor Reagan also attempted to clean up radicalism at other college campuses. Angela Davis, a member of the Communist Party USA, was also a professor of philosophy at UCLA. Reagan wrote that "I, nor the board will tolerate any Communist activities at any state institution... any member of the Communist Party is barred from teaching at this institution."[33]

Welfare spending was a major issue in the 1970 election; with 10% of the nation's population, California had 16% of its welfare recipients. Reagan promised to cut welfare spending by rooting out fraud and abuse, by requiring recipients to take jobs, and by collecting from dead-beat fathers. Democrats in the legislature supported a much more liberal bill, which advocated the welfare rights of the poor. Reagan personally worked out a compromise that passed and won considerable praise and some criticism. Its savings to taxpayers proved small, but it represented an important political achievement for both parties. Reagan benefited as well, emerging from the compromise as a more experienced and effective politician.[34]

Reagan supported and signed laws to liberalize abortion in California (before the Supreme Court issued Roe v. Wade), but later turned strongly against abortion.

Reagan's gubernatorial style, which carried over into his presidency, was expansive in looking only at the big picture, and choosing talented staffers who were given the power to handle all the details. Reagan seldom paid attention to the minute details of his own policies. Reagan was a powerful communicator, through press conferences and public appearances, with an uncanny knack for precise timing to make the maximum impact.[35]

Liberals across the country were puzzled by Reagan and decided that he was a weak reactionary who would be easy to defeat if he ran for president. California liberals explained they were all wrong, that Reagan was the most formidable Republican since Eisenhower.

In 1970, he was re-elected by a landslide against challenger "Big Daddy" Jesse Unruh.[36] But in 1974, he chose not to seek a third term and was succeeded by liberal Democrat Jerry Brown.

In 1974, the Symbionese Liberation Army abducted Patty Hearst and demanded a redistribution of food to the poor. Governor Reagan quipped: "It's just too bad we can't have an epidemic of botulism".[37]

Three Lieutenant Governors served with Reagan: Robert Finch(67-69), Edwin Reinecke(69-74), John L. Harmer(74-75).

Events and achievements as governor

  • Called in the National Guard to restore order when "People's Park" protesters began attacking police, and restored order to California's chaotic university campuses. Reagan authorized the use of force against the rioting protesters in Berkeley, saying, "If there has to be a bloodbath, then let's get it over with. No more appeasement." In the resulting chaos, 111 police officers were injured, and police fired buckshot into the crowd, sending over a dozen people to the hospital with shotgun wounds, 3 with punctured lungs and 1 with a shattered leg, and fatally wounded James Rector, who had been attacking the police.[38][39][40][41][42]
  • Led a comprehensive and far-reaching revision of California's massive public assistance programs, actually increasing benefits to the truly needy.
  • Worked well with the Democrats to forge consensus on a variety of issues.
  • Despite pressure within his own party, Reagan publicly opposed the Briggs Initiative which helped its defeat at the ballot in 1978.
  • Signed the nation's first no-fault divorce law
  • Signed the Therapeutic Abortion Law, which had the effect of increasing the availability of legal abortion in California - later Reagan expressed regret for this[43][44][45][46] and even wrote a pro-life pamphlet while he was president.

Nationally Syndicated Radio

From 1975 to 1979, Reagan gave over 1000 radio addresses to listeners in 20-30 million homes each week.[47] In one particular address, he discussed the California abortion bill he had signed, along with some additional observations.

A bill had been introduced in the California legislature to make abortion available upon demand. The pro and anti forces were already marshaling their troops, and emotions were running high. Then the author of the bill sent word down that he'd amend his bill to anything I felt I could sign. The ball - to coin a cliche - was in my court. Suddenly I had to have a position on abortion.

I did more studying and soul-searching than on any thing that was to face me as governor. I discovered that neither medicine, law, or theology had ever really found a common ground on the subject. Some believed an unborn child was no more than a growth on the body female and she should be able to remove it as she would her appendix. Others felt a human life existed from the moment the fertilized egg was implanted in the womb. Strangely enough, the same legislature that couldn't agree on abortion had unanimously passed a law making it murder to abuse a pregnant woman so as to cause the death of her unborn child.

Another inconsistency - the unborn have property rights protected by law. A man can will his estate to his wife and children and any children yet to be born of his marriage. Yet the proposed abortion law would deny the unborn the protection of the law in preserving its life.

I went to the lawyers on my staff and posed a hypothetical question. What if a pregnant woman became a widow during her pregnancy and found her husband had left his fortune to her and the unborn child. Under the proposed abortion law, she could take the life of her child and inherit all of her husband's estate. Wouldn't that be murder for financial gain? The only answer I got was that they were glad I wasn't asking the questions on the bar exam.[48]

The New Republican Party

At the 1975 Conservative Political Action Conference, Reagan talked about the new Republican Party in a speech titled "Let Them Go Their Way", a party that was a striking contrast to the Democrat party. He called for bold colors that would be contrasted against pale pastels. This is one of Reagan's most quoted lines from any speech.[49]

At the time, voters were of the belief that because Republicans did very little in the way of conservative principles and values, that there was little to no difference between the two parties. Reagan's main point was that instead of organizing a new third party, why not organize a new first party?

Presidential Campaigns


Reagan and Ford at the 1976 Republican National Convention

For a more detailed treatment, see United States presidential election, 1976.

After Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974, the weak Gerald Ford became president, and Reagan challenged him in the 1976 Republican Party primaries. The main issue was détente with the Soviets as promoted by Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, though other issues such as the Panama Canal also threw Ford off guard.[50] Ford won the first 13 primaries, then Reagan came roaring back. He criticized the federal government and politicians for being too large, too powerful, and too involved in American society. Reagan named liberal eastern Senator Richard Schweiker as his running mate, disappointing many of his conservative supporters.[51] The outcome of the contest was that Ford won 26 primary contests, and Reagan won 24. The final delegate count was 1121 to 1078, Ford. 1130 delegates were needed to clinch the nomination.[52]

At the Republican convention, victory came down to the Mississippi delegation which swung the nomination to Ford. However, given how difficult it is to run against an incumbent president in a Primary, Reagan's campaign was surprisingly strong. On the first ballot, Ford had 1,187 delegates, Reagan had 1,070.[52] Ford had succeeded in becoming the party's nominee.

After Ford was defeated in the general election, Reagan retired to his ranch in California and continued to give speeches across the country. There was little doubt that Reagan was the dominant Republican for the next election, and he easily won the nomination in 1980.


For a more detailed treatment, see United States presidential election, 1980.

Before the general election, Reagan faced a Republican primary challenge from the more moderate George H. W. Bush. Bush was highly established and respected as having served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, ambassador to the People's Republic of China and the United Nations, former chairman of the National Republican Committee, and two-term Congressman from Texas. Bush referred to Reagan's economic policies as "voodoo economics." After Bush won a surprising victory in the January 21st Iowa State primary, Reagan surged ahead after he outwitted Bush in the New Hampshire debate. During that debate, Reagan uttered the famous phrase "I'm paying for this microphone!"[53][54] After winning Iowa and losing New Hampshire, Bush had another win in the Massachusetts primary, then Reagan began sweeping primaries and crushed all of his opponents.[55] Bush dropped out on May 26, leaving Reagan as the presumptive nominee. Ironically, he named George H. W. Bush as his running mate at the convention.[56]

Reagan was able to crusade against the failures of the incumbent Democrat, President Jimmy Carter. There was runaway stagflation, soaring interest rates, persistent unemployment, a series of humiliations abroad, and a weakened military in the face of a growing Soviet superpower. As Reagan put it, "I'm told I can't use the word depression. Well, I'll tell you the definition. A recession is when your neighbor loses his job; depression is when you lose your job. Recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his." The most pressing foreign policy crisis was that Iranian President Ayatollah Khomeini was holding fifty-two Americans hostage. All of Carter's diplomatic attempts had failed.

The phrase "There you go again", which Reagan used in the Reagan-Carter Debate on October 28, 1980, became a defining phrase of the campaign.[57][58]

Reagan's 1980 landslide

Reagan feared that the Soviet Union's military had become much more powerful than the United States'. He proposed stronger defense systems and a larger military. Carter fought back, lashing out at Reagan as a dangerous radical who would unleash nuclear war. A liberal Republican John Anderson ran a third-party campaign which received 7% of the popular vote. Reagan won a landslide victory - receiving 51% of the popular vote and winning 44 of 50 states. In the 20th century, only two presidents received a larger electoral majority: Franklin Roosevelt in 1936 and Richard Nixon in 1972.[59] His long coattails brought in the first Republican Senate in years, but the Democrats still controlled the House. The election marked the last hurrah of the New Deal era, the final collapse of the New Deal Coalition and indeed the end of liberalism as a coherent policy.[60]

Suburban Swimming Pool

During the 1980 election, media outlets at the time used blue for republican states and red for democrat states.[61][62] David Brinkley famously said that it looked like a "suburban swimming pool."[63] Time Magazine referred to it as "Lake Reagan."[64]

Presidency (1981–1989)

President Elect Reagan being sworn in for his first term in the 1981 Inauguration Ceremony at the U.S. Capitol

Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th President of the United States on January 20, 1981. On that same day, Ayatollah released the hostages after keeping them in captivity for 444 days. At the inauguration, the invocation and benediction were delivered by Reverend Donn Moomaw, Reagan's pastor at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Hollywood.[65]

Once in office, Reagan vowed a shift in federal power, back to states and localities.[66] When the Federal Air Traffic Controllers struck illegally, Reagan showed he was playing hardball and gave them 48 hours before he fired all who hadn't gone back to work (11,359).

Reagan rebuffed liberals who complained he was killing the New Deal. Noting that he voted for FDR in 1932, 1936, 1940 and 1944, as well as Truman in 1948, Reagan said he was trying to repeal the "Great Society" enacted by liberals in the mid-1960s.[67] During the first term of his presidency, Reagan tapped James A. Baker III, Edwin Meese III, and Michael Deaver to form a group known by some as "The Troika".[68][69][70]

Early in his first term, he took a trip to Canada where he met with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and addressed the Canadian Parliament.[71] While in Canada, Reagan requested to meet with Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian journalist who had made international headlines for his commentary "The Americans".[72][73]

Democrats in the Senate choose as their Leader the Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd, Senator from West Virginia. Over the course of Reagan's presidency, the government was forced to shutdown a total of eight times, many times due to confrontations with House Speaker Tip O'Neill.[74][75]


President & Mrs. Reagan with their extended family.
Office Name Term
President Ronald Reagan 1981-1989
Vice President George H.W. Bush 1981-1989
Secretary of State Alexander Haig 1981-1982
George Shultz 1982-1989
Secretary of Treasury Donald Regan 1981-1985
James A. Baker III 1985-1988
Nicholas Brady 1988-1989
Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger 1981-1987
Frank C. Carlucci 1987-1989
Attorney General William Smith 1981-1985
Edwin Meese III 1985-1988
Richard Thornburgh 1988-1989
Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt 1981-1983
William P. Clark, Jr. 1983-1985
Donald Hodel 1985-1989
Secretary of Agriculture John Rusling Block 1981-1986
Richard E. Lyng 1986-1989
Secretary of Commerce Howard M. Baldrige, Jr. 1981-1987
C. William Verity, Jr. 1987-1989
Secretary of Labor Raymond J. Donovan 1981-1985
William E. Brock 1985–1987
Ann Dore McLaughlin 1987-1989
Secretary of Health and Human Services Richard S. Schweiker 1981–1983
Margaret Heckler 1983-1985
Otis R. Bowen 1985-1989
Secretary of Education Terrel Bell 1981-1985
William Bennett 1985-1988
Lauro Cavazos 1988-1989
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Samuel R. Pierce, Jr. 1981-1989
Secretary of Transportation Drew Lewis 1981-1983
Elizabeth Dole 1983-1987
James H. Burnley IV 1987-1989
Secretary of Energy James B. Edwards 1981-1982
Donald Paul Hodel 1982-1985
John S. Herrington 1985-1989

Assassination Attempt

Outside the Washington Hilton Hotel[76] on March 30, 1981, Reagan was shot by John W. Hinckley near the heart after giving a routine speech.[77] Surgeons at George Washington University Hospital saved his life and despite his age, he recovered quickly. Prior to the operation, Reagan looked up at the doctors and said "I hope you're all Republicans." Dr. Joseph Giordano, the head surgeon at GWU Hospital confirmed the story, and replied to the president "We are all Republicans today."[78] To his wife Nancy he said, "honey, I forgot to duck."[79]

White House Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head, and became permanently disabled; Brady then became an icon of the anti-gun movement.

The assassination attempt came at a critical moment and disarmed the opposition in Congress, enabling Reagan to pass his major legislation even though the Democrats controlled the House.

1984 Reelection

Reagan's 1984 landslide

For a more detailed treatment, see United States presidential election, 1984.

In 1984, Reagan was re-elected in a landslide, winning every state except Mondale's home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia, creating a record 525 electoral votes (out of 538 possible), and received 58.8% of the popular vote.[80][81] At the second inaugural, the Reverend Timothy Healy delivered the invocation, and the Reverend Peter Gomes delivered the benediction.[82] In his Second Inaugural Address after winning the election, Reagan asked two of his most well-remembered questions: "If not us, who? And if not now, when?"

During his second term, Reagan helped end the Cold War with the help of Margaret Thatcher and some assistance from Pope John Paul II and Mikhail Gorbachev by recognizing the weakness of the Soviet economy and spent them out of existence by their not being able to compete with defense spending.

Challenger Disaster

On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated due to O-ring failure 73 seconds after lift-off. In response, Reagan gave a speech that is regarded as a high mark of his presidency.[83] Peggy Noonan was chosen to write the speech who, at the time, was relatively unknown.[83] In the speech, the freedom of the United States was highlighted in contrast to the tyranny of socialism, and the astronauts were honored as they were on their final journey to "touch the face of God".[84]

Space Station Freedom

In the 1984 State of the Union Address, Ronald Reagan outlined the development of a Space station. He said "We can reach for greatness again. We can follow our dreams to distant stars, living and working in space for peaceful, economic, and scientific gain."[85] The space station, later named Freedom[86] faced challenges and re-designs due to budget cuts.[87] It eventually evolved into the International Space Station program.[88][89]

Domestic policy

School prayer and a moment of silence

President Reagan and Nancy Reagan greeting Billy Graham at the 1981 National Prayer Breakfast

As a conservative, Reagan was a supporter of school prayer, with Reagan repeatedly raising the issue during his presidency.[90]

Early on in his presidency, Reagan brought up the issue of prayer in schools, which was banned in 1962 by the Supreme Court in Engel v. Vitale. He proposed a constitutional amendment[91] that contained the following language: "Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit individual or group prayer in public schools or other public institutions. No person shall be required by the United States or by any state to participate in prayer".

Reagan revived the issue in 1984[92] noting the beliefs of the Founding Fathers on the importance of faith. He said: "America was founded by people who believed that God was their rock of safety. He is ours. I recognize we must be cautious in claiming that God is on our side, but I think it's all right to keep asking if we're on His side." Also in 1984, the Supreme Court reviewed a case regarding a moment of silence in schools.[93][94] In Wallace v. Jaffree, the court ruled 6–3 against.[95] Reagan received the support of boxing legend Muhammad Ali who said, "He's keeping God in schools and that's enough."[96]

Toward the end of his presidency in 1987, Reagan called for Congress to act.[97] In an address to Congress on January 27, he said: "The 100th Congress of the United States should be remembered as the one that ended the expulsion of God from America's classrooms".[98]


President Reagan working at his desk in the oval office, 05/06/82.

As President, Ronald Reagan enacted his theory of "Reaganomics." His four major policy objectives were the following:[99]

  • Reduce the growth of government spending.
  • Reduce the marginal tax rates on income from both labor and capital.
  • Reduce government regulation of the economy.
  • Control the money supply to reduce inflation.

On August 13, 1981, Reagan signed the Kemp-Roth Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 bill into law, reducing the tax burden on American citizens.

Time Aug 17, 1981. read story

Fueled by an over spending Congress that steadfastly refused Reagan's budget proposals, the national debt increased 160% during his two terms in office. However, the economic growth that resulted from tax cuts made deficits as a percentage of GDP lower than what they had been during the previous decade of stagflation. The period of high inflation and unemployment when Reagan took office was over after eight years of his presidency. In 1986 Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which obtained an overhaul of the income tax code, eliminated many deductions, and exempted millions of people with low incomes. The income tax rates of the top personal tax bracket dropped from 70% to 28% in 7 years. At the same time, Reagan sought to close tax loopholes so that the wealthy would not be able to get away with paying less tax than low to middle-income earners. By the end of his administration, the Nation was enjoying its longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity without recession or depression.[100]

PATCO Strike

On August 3, 1981, 13,000 air traffic controllers, members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO), walked off the job. PATCO had supported Reagan in the 1980 election but by the summer of 1981 was making exorbitant demands regarding high raises, early retirement, and reduced hours. The Federal Aviation Administration made a generous offer but PATCO said no and called a strike. PATCO assumed it would shut down all air traffic and paralyze the economy, forcing the government to surrender, but they misjudged Ronald Reagan. Under federal law, the strike was illegal. Reagan ordered the strikers as a group to return to work. Some returned but most did not; he ordered individual strikers to return, and again most refused. Reagan was ready; secretly the Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis had readied military replacements. It was the first time in over 50 years in a major strike that replacement workers were used. Two days later, the president fired 11,000 strikers, and they never were rehired. The planes were flying and labor unions suffered their worst defeat since the 1920s. Reagan's dramatic action energized corporations to resist union demands, and sped up the rapid decline in union membership and the political power of union bosses.[101]

Boll Weevils

In 1981 President Ronald Reagan won over enough conservative southern Democrats—called Boll Weevils--[102][103] to carry his major tax cuts through a House nominally controlled by the Democrats. Led by Congressman Phil Gramm of Texas,[104] they helped Reagan enact many of his domestic policy proposals, to increase defense spending sharply, and to block leftists attacks on Reagan's anti-Communist policies in Central America. They also helped dismantle some of the remnants of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society.[105] Reagan did not campaign against them, so they kept their seats a few years longer.[106]

Social Security Reform 1983

Mounting concerns that rising Social Security benefits were causing a long-term deficit and were growing too fast resulted in a bipartisan compromise in 1983. Brokered by conservative Alan Greenspan and liberal Claude Pepper, the agreement lowered benefits over the next 75 years and brought the system into balance. Key provisions included a gradual increase over 25 years in the retirement age from 65 to 67, to take account of longer life expectancy. (People could retire younger, but at a reduced rate of benefits.) Millions of people were added to the system, especially employees of state governments and of nonprofit organizations.[107]

Judicial Appointments

President Reagan made a total of 381 judicial appointments; 83 to the U.S. Courts of Appeals, 290 to U.S. District Courts, and 5 to the U.S. Supreme Court. Overall, 11 were not confirmed.[108]

Supreme Court

Reagan fulfilled a promise he unnecessarily made in his 1980 presidential campaign to appoint the first woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.[109] On July 7, 1981, he chose the first person he interviewed, without even bothering to interview other candidates, by nominating little-known Arizona judge Sandra Day O'Connor to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. O'Connor succeeded Justice Potter Stewart. Liberals, who had been ready for a knock-down battle, were stunned that Reagan had appointed a feminist and welcomed her nomination. Pro-life groups pointed out that her record indicated her support of abortion; movement conservatives Jerry Falwell opposed her confirmation and Howard Phillips testified against it. Phillips prophetically declared, "People say you can't tell how a Supreme Court nominee will turn out once on the bench. I respectfully disagree. In most cases, it's very clear. I opposed the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor because it was very clear that she had a pro-abortion record in the Arizona State Senate and as a judge in Arizona. She was also allied with Planned Parenthood." With enthusiastic liberal support for O'Connor, she was confirmed by the Senate by a 99–0 vote on September 21 and took her seat on September 25.

In 1986 Warren E. Burger announced his retirement from the Court. Reagan nominated Antonin Scalia to fill the vacant seat, at the same time that he elevated William Rehnquist to Chief Justice. Most of the opposition in the Senate focused on trying to block the Rehnquist nomination. Scalia was confirmed by a unanimous 98–0 vote, while Rehnquist was confirmed over substantial opposition.[110][111]

Robert Bork

In 1987, Reagan nominated conservative judge Robert Bork to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell. In a highly contentious series of Senate Hearings[112] senate liberals attacked Bork as being too conservative. Senator Ted Kennedy criticized him, saying,

"Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is -- and is often the only -- protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy."[113]

The U.S. Senate rejected Bork's confirmation on a 42–58 vote. Reagan then turned to Douglas Ginsburg, who withdrew his name from consideration when it was discovered he smoked marijuana, which was widespread but then technically illegal, with his students. Finally, the much less controversial (but more liberal) Californian Anthony Kennedy was nominated, who was confirmed on a 97–0 vote.


Because of the treatment that Robert Bork received during his confirmation hearing, the term to "be Borked" entered the general lexicon.[114]


For more detailed treatments, see Federalism and Tenth Amendment.

As a staunch supporter of the Republic which our Founding Fathers created and handed down to us, Reagan signed Executive Order 12612 on October 26, 1987.[115] The EO recognized that the Constitution only grants authority to a few, specific Enumerated powers. Outside of these few areas, the role of the federal government should not be a meddlesome one, but the states should be in charge where citizens have a more direct and local discretion. The EO said, "Federalism is rooted in the knowledge that our political liberties are best assured by limiting the size and scope of the national government."

Executive Order 12612 was rescinded with Executive Order 13083 by the authoritarian Democrat Bill Clinton on May 14, 1998.[116][117]

War on Drugs

As President, Reagan declared a "War on Drugs", which would be policies put forward by the United States and other countries to reduce illegal drug trade. In 1986, President Reagan signed the very prominent Anti-Drug Abuse Act which granted $97 million to build new prisons, $200 million for drug education and $241 million for treatment. Overall, $1.7 billion to fight the drug crisis.[118] First Lady Nancy Reagan started a slogan, "Just Say No" to drug use. The term was used in television advertising, and today there are many "Just Say No" drug clinics. As a result of the policies, marijuana use dropped from 33% of high-school seniors in 1980 to 12% in 1991.[119]

Illegal immigration

November 6, 1986, Reagan signed into law the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, named after it's two authors: Romano Mazzoli and Alan Simpson.[120]

In his diaries, Reagan wrote that he wanted to sign the bill because of how important it was to regain control of our borders.[121] But the bill had largely the opposite effect. By granting a pathway to citizenship (amnesty) to 2.7 million illegal aliens, the law encouraged unlawful entry by more than 10 million additional new illegal aliens. However, Reagan was not enthusiastic about it, and did not make an effort to enforce, the law's provision making it illegal for employers to hire illegal aliens.[122]

Foreign policy

Strategic Defense Initiative

Reagan's 1983 Strategic Defense Initiative became popularly known as "Star Wars", the name given to it by critics because they thought it was pure fantasy like the popular George Lucas films. This plan was never fully instituted. Although billions of dollars were spent on development, no space-based missile defense was tested successfully during Reagan's terms in office. However, the main goal was attained in forcing the Soviets to realize they could no longer compete in the Cold War.

The threat the Soviet Union felt from the SDI initiative forced them to negotiate an end to the arms race, according to many involved with diplomacy at the time, and can be seen by following Gorbachev's repeated public insistences that the SDI program be discontinued. Henry Kissinger wrote:

I know it's an axiomatic view of the Left around the world that missile defense is sinful, and that it's desirable to keep each nation as vulnerable as possible. But that's a debatable premise. The U.S. must defend itself against whoever has missiles that would threaten the United States. And you don't have to be able to name an enemy.[123]

Flight 007

Reagan was president at the time of the shooting down of Korean Airlines Flight 007. He termed the shoot-down of an innocent straying passenger plane with 269 passengers and crew, including Congressman Larry McDonald, as a "massacre". The ensuing rage over the tragedy both worldwide and in the U.S. provided support for the deployment of cruise and Pershing ll missiles in West Europe- just six minutes flying time from Moscow.

Soviet Union

Shortly after taking office in 1981 Reagan issued National Security Decision Directive 11–82, (NSDD 11-82), which explicitly made U.S. defense spending a form of economic warfare against the Soviets. The directive was known more unofficially as the Reagan Initiative, and was an incorporation of the principle of Peace through strength.

The United States would "exploit and demonstrate the enduring economic advantages of the West to develop a variety of [arms] systems that are difficult for the Soviets to counter, impose disproportionate costs, open up new areas of major military competition and obsolesce previous Soviet investment or employ sophisticated strategic options to achieve this end. Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), or "Star Wars" as the media referred to it, was a costly high-tech research and development program designed to make arms spending a "rising burden on the Soviet economy."[124] The Reagan Initiative was also concerned with aiding nations in active conflict with the Soviet Union. One such group was the mujahideen of Afghanistan who were given anti-aircraft missiles to fight the Soviet invaders.

A report by the CIA, of the critical domestic economic problems and social discontent faced by Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev, provided a look at the sources of his principal dilemma - the very reforms needed to deal with the problems would threaten the preservation of the nomenklatura and put at risk Gorbachev's ability to maintain the power to bring about Perestroika.[125]

Reykjavík Summit

Reagan and Gorbachev at Reykjavik

For a more detailed treatment, see Reykjavík Summit.

Gorbachev requested a Summit with Reagan in Reykjavik in October 1986 to discuss the stresses competition from Reagan's defense posture was having on Soviet military spending and economy, and Gorbachev's ability to carryout his plans of restructuring Communist control. Gorbachev told the Politburo in preparation for the Summit, "Our goal is to prevent the next round of arms race. If we do not do this ... will pulled into an arms race beyond our power, and we will lose this race, for we are presently at the limit of out capabilities."[126]

Initially, Reagan recognized that the Soviets were offering a bad deal at the Reykjavík Summit, so he walked away from the table.[127]

A year later, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which was signed by Reagan and Gorbachev on December 8, 1987.[128]

Dealing with the Soviets

Gorbachev, weakened by his nation's economic malaise, frightened by SDI, and committed to reforming the Soviet system before it collapsed, realized he had to end the Cold War to save Communism. Reagan proved willing to deal, but had to face three sources of criticism inside the U.S. The political right represented by grassroots conservatives, led by Phyllis Schlafly, and also by the National Review and columnists such as George F. Will who feared this was all a Soviet trap. Second were the "realists", led by Nixon and Henry A. Kissinger, who thought Reagan was going too far. The third group comprised segments of the intelligence community and military; they did not believe that the Soviet Union was as weak as Reagan and secretary of state, George P. Shultz, believed. Reagan, reelected in a landslide and at the peak of his power, pushed ahead with a series of agreements that effectively weakened the Soviet Empire and made it clear America had the initiative.[129]

By the late 1980s, the Soviet Union began unilateral force cuts and troop withdrawals from Eastern Europe, and by May 1989 an unprecedented series of disclosures by senior Soviet officials revealed actual reductions in defense spending for the 1986-1990 and 1991-1995 Five Year Plan periods.[130] Genrikh Grofimenko, a former adviser to Leonid Brezhnev, said "Ninety-nine percent of the Russian people believe that [the US] won the Cold War because of your president's insistence on SDI".[131] Gennady Gerasimov, the Soviet Foreign Ministry's top spokesman during the 1980s, said "Reagan's SDI was a very successful blackmail. The Soviet economy couldn't endure such competition."[132]

Reagan also brought about the collapse of the Berlin Wall, which was a symbol of communism and oppressed the freedom of East Berliners who wanted to move to West Berlin.

Containment and the Iranian initiative

President Reagan being sworn in for second term in the rotunda at the U.S. Capitol, 1/21/85

For a more detailed treatment, see Containment.

In 1985, after Reagan won reelection to his second term, the focus turned from reviving the domestic economy to several foreign policy matters that had been lingering throughout the decade. One such matter involved Iran, a longtime ally of the Western Allies since 1941 that had experienced an Islamic Revolution in 1979 after President Carter announced Human Rights had superseded Containment as the primary focus of American foreign policy. Since 1980, Iran had been enmeshed in a brutal trench war with neighboring Iraq which was emerging as a potent military threat in the region to other allies. Members of the National Security Council staff, along with CIA Director William Casey, persuaded Reagan much could be gained and several problems could be addressed simultaneously with an overture to Iran to restore relations.

The objective of the plan was fourfold:

  1. Take steps to restore good relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran which was becoming increasingly hostile to the West;
  2. Take measures to convince Iran that Israel could become a friend and ally;
  3. Insurance against Iraq becoming too strong which would become a threat to Kuwait or Saudi Arabia;
  4. Provide funding for other operations to continue the policy of containment in the Western Hemisphere, most notably Nicaragua, and the violence the Soviet/Cuban/Nicaragua connection was creating in El Salvador and Honduras.

There were humanitarian aspects to the proposal as well; (1) the Iran-Iraq War had stalemated for nearly six years and Reagan was advised that he was in the unique position as president to help facilitate bringing a senseless war with much suffering to an end; (2) the suffering of the people of the Central American Republics at the hands of Soviet-inspired subversion which had in the decade of the '80s established a beachhead in North America; (3) Iran perhaps could be persuaded to use its good offices to influence hostage-takers in Lebanon who had held several Western prisoners, many of them Christian Missionaries, for several years.

Reports had filtered back to Reagan that children as young as nine years old had been used by Iran to clear minefields.[133] In weighing Iraq's delicate Sunni/Shia balance and the growing threat of Iranian-sponsored terrorism, the NSC staff and Casey recognized the dangers of an Iraqi collapse as well as the urgent need to dissuade Iran from continuing its ruthless and inhumane tactics.[134]

The Boland amendment, a Vietnam era-style Congressional impingement on the legitimate foreign policy prerogatives of the Executive via the power of the purse, was used to deny Reagan's recommitment to the Truman Doctrine which had been adhered to by every President, Democratic and Republican alike since Truman, with the exception of President Carter whose human rights policy had brought one of the active belligerents, the Ayatollah Khomeini, to power. In three of the active Soviet fronts, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, some Congressional Democratic leaders were openly sympathetic to Soviet foreign policy.[135][136] So the decision was made to fund Containment of Soviet objectives on an active front in North America with sales of TOW missiles to Iran. Israel provided the TOWs because the Boland Amendment forbade direct US funding and it was a welcome opportunity for Israel to build bridges to a much-needed friend in the Middle East.

The operation was known as the "Iran-Contra affair." After word got out about the operation in November 1986, investigations were made, leading to the convictions of several members of the Reagan administration. President Reagan himself testified before the Tower Commission that he had poor recollection of the details of the operation due in part to the heavy pain medications he had been on in that period.


In 1981 Robert McFarlane, then assistant to the Secretary of State proposed a coordinated covert political, economic, and military approach to the pro-Communist Sandinista government in Nicaragua and the insurgency in El Salvador, led by Daniel Ortega. His proposal was approved in January 1982, in "National Security Directive 17," which provided for a $20 million program against the Sandinista government and gave the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) responsibility for organizing a five-hundred-man "interdiction" force.[137] Democrats in Congress began voicing opposition in 1982; Reagan and Congress were in constant battle until 1987, when all five Central American heads of state signed a peace accord. The Sandinistas and Contras signed a cease-fire agreement in 1988, and in 1991 democratic elections overthrew the Sandinista regime.[138]


During the Lebanese Civil War, Reagan sent peacekeeping forces as a part of a multinational force to Beirut. On October 23, 1983, the barracks were bombed. As a result of the bombing, 241 Americans were killed.[139] The Embassy was also attacked, which resulted in the deaths of 63 people, 17 of which were Americans.[140][141][142]


On March 13, 1979, the New Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education, and Liberation Movement (New Jewel Movement—NJM), ousted Sir Eric Gairy in a coup and established a People's Revolutionary Government (PRG) headed by Maurice Bishop, who became Prime Minister of Grenada. His Marxist–Leninist government established close ties with Cuba, the Soviet Union, and other communist bloc countries.

In October 1983, a power struggle within the government resulted in the arrest and execution of Bishop and several members of his cabinet and the killing of dozens of his supporters by elements of the People's Revolutionary Army (PRA).

A U.S.-Caribbean force landed on Grenada on October 25, 1983, for Operation Urgent Fury, in response to an appeal from the Governor General and to a request for assistance from Barbados and other Eastern Caribbean states. U.S. citizens were evacuated, and order was restored.

An advisory council named by the Governor General administered the country until general elections were held in December 1984. The New National Party (NNP) led by Herbert Blaize won 14 out of 15 seats in free and fair elections and formed a democratic government. Grenada's constitution had been suspended in 1979 by the PRG, but it was restored after the 1984 elections.

Cold War victory

"Mr.Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
Reagan is credited for ending the Cold War in victory for the United States. Historian Tony Judt in Postwar credits Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, while the political scientist Jan Kubik presents a viewpoint that credits Pope John Paul II.[143] Other historians contend structural weaknesses within the Communist bloc meant Reagan's actions were inconsequential to the end of communism. This is the view adopted by Russians themselves, and many political historians, citing perestroika and glasnost as beginning an inevitable slow fading of central power, and a collapse by irreconcilable differences between the central Soviet Politburo and the constituent republics, especially the Ukraine.[144] In the end, the consensus seems to point to all of the above, that hastened the demise of the Soviet Union; Internal factors, religious pressure brought by the Pope, Gorbachev's "Perestroika" and the united front of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, leading NATO and the West to embed a missile defense system in Western Europe, and the economic superiority of Capitalism, which simply out-spent and out-performed that of the Communist one.

One thing that cannot be quantified is Reagan's ability to give hope, his never-ending optimism that good would indeed triumph over evil.[145] Many see that as key to bringing extra confidence to those locked behind the "Iron Curtain" to press even harder for reforms.

Columnist Cal Thomas wrote about it like this:

He proved he was right about the big things. Faced with editorial denunciations at home and massive demonstrations in Europe against his plan to put missiles there to offset a Soviet threat, Reagan went ahead and did it anyway. The Soviets could not keep pace with the buildup or Reagan's proposed missile defense system (derided by insincere and dangerous critics as "Star Wars"). When those critics could not bring themselves to admit they were wrong, they unpersuasively claimed the Soviet Union fell under its own weight. More accurately, Reagan pushed it onto "the ash heap of history," with the able assistance of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II. What Reagan did more than anything else - and it will be his lasting legacy - is replace despair with hope. Most people, even his detractors, felt a glow from being in his presence.

He was the kindest, most gracious president I have met, and I have met them all since JFK. In his presence you felt he was interested in you and not himself. He was a good man. [146]

Brian Mulroney, the Canadian Prime Minister, Eulogized Reagan at his state funeral:

Some in the West during the early 1980s believed communism and democracy were equally valid and viable. This was the school of "moral equivalence." In contrast, Ronald Reagan saw Soviet Communism as a menace to be confronted in the genuine belief that its squalid underpinning would fall swiftly to the gathering winds of freedom. Provided, as he said, that NATO and the industrialized democracies stood firm and united. They did. And we know now who was right.[147]

Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan paid tribute to the fallen president in a Wall Street Journal editorial. In it, Noonan noted:

Ronald Reagan told the truth to a world made weary by lies. He believed truth was the only platform on which a better future could be built. He shocked the world when he called the Soviet Union ‘evil,’ because it was, and an 'empire,' because it was that, too. He never stopped bringing his message to the people of the world, to Europe and China and in the end the Soviet Union. And when it was over, the Berlin Wall had been turned into a million concrete souvenirs, and Soviet communism had fallen. But of course, it didn’t fall. It was pushed. By Mr. Know-Nothing-Cowboy-Gunslinger-Dimwit. All presidents should be so stupid...[148]

Reagan sparked undying animosity from Leftists by not only saving capitalism by destroying the socialist Great Society programs, before he left office the two communist monoliths, Russia and China, converted to capitalism. America had fought two horrible, violent wars in Korea and Vietnam against the spread of leftist ideology and institutions, to a stalemate. Reagan saved the planet from communist slavery, and Democrats hated him for it.


In the 1980s, Muammar al-Gaddafi became a sponsor of terrorism. President Ronald Reagan ordered a retaliatory bombing of his palace and key Libyan targets in April 1986 during Operation El Dorado Canyon. At the time, Gaddafi, Fidel Castro, and Leonid Brezhnev were considered to be an "unholy trinity".[149]

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher at the White House

Thatcher on Reagan

Upon his death, Margaret Thatcher, in very ill health from a series of strokes, insisted upon traveling to America to bid farewell to her old friend, and taped a stirring tribute to him:

As Prime Minister, I worked closely with Ronald Reagan for eight of the most important years of all our lives. We talked regularly both before and after his presidency. And I have had time and cause to reflect on what made him a great president. Ronald Reagan knew his own mind. He had firm principles - and, I believe, right ones. He expounded them clearly, he acted upon them decisively. When the world threw problems at the White House, he was not baffled, or disorientated, or overwhelmed. He knew almost instinctively what to do.

When his aides were preparing option papers for his decision, they were able to cut out entire rafts of proposals that they knew 'the Old Man' would never wear. When his allies came under Soviet or domestic pressure, they could look confidently to Washington for firm leadership. And when his enemies tested American resolve, they soon discovered that his resolve was firm and unyielding. Yet his ideas, though clear, were never simplistic. He saw the many sides of truth. Yes, he warned that the Soviet Union had an insatiable drive for military power and territorial expansion; but he also sensed it was being eaten away by systemic failures impossible to reform. Yes, he did not shrink from denouncing Moscow's 'evil empire'.

But he realized that a man of goodwill might nonetheless emerge from within its dark corridors. So the President resisted Soviet expansion and pressed down on Soviet weakness at every point until the day came when communism began to collapse beneath the combined weight of these pressures and its own failures. And when a man of goodwill did emerge from the ruins, President Reagan stepped forward to shake his hand and to offer sincere cooperation. Nothing was more typical of Ronald Reagan than that large-hearted magnanimity - and nothing was more American.[150]


President Bush presents the Medal of Freedom Award to Former President Ronald Reagan in the East Room of the White House, 01/13/93

Reagan retired to California. He would occasionally involve himself in politics, including a speech in Britain addressing the Tiananmen Square massacre, and an address at the 1992 Republican National Convention.[151][152]

At a speech in front of the National Association of Broadcasters on April 13, 1992, Reagan was assaulted by a radical anti-nuclear protester masquerading as a press agent.[153] The protester, identified as Rick Paul Springer, was the founder of a group called The 100th Monkey.[154] At the event, Reagan was awarded a 2-foot statue for his contributions to broadcasting, made out of crystal weighing nearly 30 pounds.[155] When Springer smashed the statue, some shards did hit Reagan, but he was not hurt.

After the Secret Service rushed the man off stage, Reagan asked the crowd "Was that a democrat by chance?",[156] to which the crowd burst into laughter.[157] A spokesman for the Secret Service said that he was not sure how Springer got so close to Reagan to begin with.[158]

On January 13, 1993, President George H.W. Bush awarded Reagan the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Reagan was becoming increasingly forgetful. His last public appearance was on April 27, 1994, at the funeral for President Richard Nixon.[159] In November 1994, he announced that he had been diagnosed in August with Alzheimer's disease, a degenerative nerve disorder that annihilates the victim's mental capacity.

(See Reagan's letter to the American people regarding his disease.)

He died at his Bel Air home on June 5, 2004, at the age of 93, making him the second-longest lived president in history after Gerald Ford. Reagan was buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library, located in Simi Valley, California, on June 11, 2004.[160]

Legacy and Honors

The State of California donated a statue of Reagan to the National Statuary Hall Collection in 2009. The statue is currently in the Rotunda.[161]

There is growing consensus among scholars, both conservative and liberal, that he was the most influential president since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Reagan left a major imprint on American politics, diplomacy, culture, and economics.[162]

On March 26, 1982, Reagan's boyhood home in Dixon, Illinois[163] was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[164] In 2002, Congress authorized[165] the purchase of the property and placed under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.[166]

Reagan has come to be known by some conservatives as Ronaldus Magnus.[167][168]

The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) are named in his honor.[169][170]

In 2011, the Toyon Park in the Anaheim Hills area of Anaheim, California was renamed the Ronald Reagan Park.[171]

Edwin Feulner, one of the founders of the Heritage Foundation, described Reagan's legacy this way: "At a time when patriotism was mocked, he exposed the bankruptcy of modern liberalism and proved that true liberty is still a fighting faith."[172]

Conservatives such as Grover Norquist and his Reagan Legacy Project have sought to name at least one major structure in each U.S. country after Reagan, resulting in a large number of structures after him.[173]

Liberal Democrats have had a certain level of respect for Reagan because of his influential status in American history, though they also frequently weaponize him and his quotes when criticizing conservatives.[174]

Conservative Activism

President Reagan meets with Conservative icon William F. Buckley

Since Reagan's passing and even prior to it, there has been a concerted effort by RINOs to make him seem less conservative than he was during his life. There have been plenty of former Democrats who switched parties and became Republicans, but few of them spent as much time helping to build the conservative movement over the decades, as well as keeping the legacy of the Founding Fathers alive.[175] Prior to the era of the Tea Party Movement, conservative efforts and organizations have come and gone, many of which Reagan stood side by side with. The Town Meeting for Freedom, which sometimes led to accusations of him being a "Bircher";[176] he was a member of Project Prayer, which rallied after the Supreme Court banned prayer in public schools;[177] he appeared at rallies for groups like Project Alert and the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade;[178] he joined the board of YAF, the Young Americans for Freedom(which later became the Young America's Foundation)[179] and helped make it a successful organization; and he was open for years about his love for the conservative publication Human Events,[180] which helped to increase its prominence. During the 1970s, Reagan helped transform the National Rifle Association into what it is today, with Reagan being the first presidential candidate they had endorsed in their then 109-year history.[181]

To listen to some pundits, journalists, and other political figures, you would think Reagan changed the letter D after his name into the letter R, made a few speeches here and there, and then washed his hands of it. Nothing could be further from the truth. He spent a lifetime in the trenches once he decided to become a conservative. He was all-in. Once Reagan became president, he was not afraid to champion conservative causes, nor talk about his faith and his belief in God. He frequently talked about the importance of religious faith to a free society.[182]


Ronald and Nancy Reagan with Patti Davis, Ron, Maureen, and Michael Reagan, 1976.

On January 26, 1940, Reagan married actress Jane Wyman at The Wee Kirk o' the Heather chapel in Glendale, California.[183]

Wyman was an Oscar-winning actress for her role in the 1948 movie Johnny Belinda. They had three children together: Maureen Elizabeth Reagan (1941-2001), who passed away from malignant melanoma within months of diagnosis, at age 60; Michael Edward Reagan (b. 1945-),[184] and Christine Reagan (June 26 & 27, 1947). She was born prematurely and survived only one day. The baby's death traumatized Wyman. In 1948, Wyman (who married a total of four times) divorced Reagan in 1948. Ironically, Wyman was a Republican at the time while Reagan was a Democrat.

A year later, he met actress Nancy Davis (b. 1921). In 1952 they married at the Little Brown Church in Studio City, California.[185] They remained married until his death in 2004. Together they had two children, Patricia "Patti" Ann Davis (b. 1952) and Ronald Prescott Reagan (b. 1958).

Excellent sense of humor

The opposite of many of today's politicians, Reagan had an excellent sense of humor[186]. When he had almost been assassinated, he removed his oxygen mask and cracked a joke "I hope you're all Republicans".[187] Reagan also poked fun at his age multiple times, such as when he answered a question in a presidential debate against Walter Mondale about his age. His response to that question included the words "I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience".[188] The one-liner was so humorous and clever that even Mondale genuinely laughed at it. In addition, Reagan had also once humorously remarked that the "nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help'"[189]


Opening up to the Anerican people about his Alzheimer's diagnosis, from his last words in a Nov 5, 1994 letter:[190]

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.

Miscellaneous Facts

  • Reagan was the first president to break the so-called "Curse of Tippecanoe," i.e., the first president elected in a twenty-year cycle who did not die in office (although an attempt was made on his life in 1981).
  • At 69, Reagan was the oldest man elected to the presidency for a first term.
  • Reagan loved jelly beans.[191] The blueberry flavor was made in his honor. Jelly Belly even created a Ronald Reagan portrait out of jelly beans.[192]
  • After his death, some of his closest supporters wished to put him on the $10 bill.[193]
  • Reagan played college football player George Gipp in the film Knute Rockne: All American (1940), and was affectionately known as "The Gipper" ever since.[194]
  • Reagan signed Proclamation 5018 declaring 1983 the Year of the Bible.
  • The booth where Ronald proposed to Nancy from the restaurant Chasen's is on display at the Reagan Library.[195]
  • Reagan kept a small plaque on his desk with the words "There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he does not mind who gets the credit".[196]


For a more detailed treatment, see Ronald Reagan Quotes.

See also

Further reading

see Bibliography for much more detailed guide.

  • Berman, Larry, ed. Looking Back on the Reagan Presidency (1990), essays by academics
  • Busch, Andrew E.; "Ronald Reagan and the Defeat of the Soviet Empire" in Presidential Studies Quarterly. Vol: 27. Issue: 3. 1997. pp 451+. online edition by conservative
  • Cannon, Lou. President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime Public Affairs. (2nd ed 2000) 948 pp. best full-length biography online edition
  • Cannon, Lou. Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power detailed biography
  • Flamm, Michael and John Ehrman. Debating the Reagan Presidency (2009), key issues explained; includes primary sources
  • Berman William C. America's Right Turn: From Nixon to Bush. (1994).
  • Brownlee, W. Elliot and Hugh Davis Graham, eds. The Reagan Presidency: Pragmatic Conservatism and Its Legacies (2003)
  • Campagna; Anthony S. The Economy in the Reagan Years: The Economic Consequences of the Reagan Administrations Greenwood Press. 1994 online edition, by conservative
  • Cannon, Lou. Ronald Reagan: The Presidential Portfolio. (2001) online edition
  • Ehrman, John. The Eighties: America in the Age of Reagan. (2005), by conservative historian
  • Griscom Tom. "Core Ideas of the Reagan Presidency." In Thompson, ed., Leadership, 23–48.
  • Hayward, Steven F. The Age of Reagan, 1964-1980: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order (2001)
  • Hayward, Steven F. The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980-1989 (2009) excerpt and text search
  • Hulten Charles R. and Isabel V. Sawhill, eds. The Legacy of Reaganomics: Prospects for Long-Term Growth. (1994).
  • Jones, Charles O. ed. The Reagan Legacy: Promise and Performance (1988) essays by political scientists
  • Jeffrey W. Knopf, "Did Reagan Win the Cold War?" Strategic Insights, Volume III, Issue 8 (August 2004)
  • Kyvig, David. ed. Reagan and the World (1990), scholarly essays on foreign policy
  • Langston, Thomas S. "Reassessing the Reagan Presidency," Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 34, 2004 online edition
  • Levy, Peter B. Encyclopedia of the Reagan-Bush Years (1996), short articles online edition
  • Matlock, Jack. Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended. (2004) by the conservative US ambassador to Moscow
  • Pach, Chester. "The Reagan Doctrine: Principle, Pragmatism, and Policy." Presidential Studies Quarterly(1): 75–88. Fulltext in SwetsWise and Ingenta; Reagan declared in 1985 that the U.S. should not "break faith" with anti-Communist resistance groups. However, his policies varied as differences in local conditions and US security interests produced divergent policies toward "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Mozambique, Angola, and Cambodia.
  • Patterson, James T. Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush vs. Gore. (2005), standard scholarly synthesis of the era
  • Pemberton, William E. Exit with Honor: The Life and Presidency of Ronald Reagan (1998) short, favorable biography by historian online edition
  • Reagan Ronald. An American Life. (1990). his second autobiography
  • Reeves, Richard. President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination (2005) detailed analysis by historian
  • Sullivan, George.Mr. President (1997). for middle schools
  • Schmertz, Eric J. et al. eds. Ronald Reagan's America 2 Volumes (1997) articles by scholars and officeholders vol 1 onlinevol 2 online
  • Schweizer, Peter. Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism (2002), by conservative
  • Thomas, Tony. The Films of Ronald Reagan (1980)
  • Troy, Gill. Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s (2004). Study of Reagan's image.
  • Troy, Gill. The Reagan Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (2009) excerpt and text search
  • Wilentz, Sean. The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008 (2008), major narrative history by liberal historian who says Reagan transformed America

Detailed Bibliography


  • Benze, Jr. James G. Nancy Reagan: On the White House Stage (2005), excerpt and text search
  • Benze James G. "Nancy Reagan: China Doll or Dragon Lady?" Presidential Studies Quarterly 20 (fall 1990): 777-90
  • Cannon, Lou. President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime Public Affairs. (2nd ed 2000) 948 pp. full-length biography online edition
  • Diggins, John. Ronald Reagan‎ (2008), 528 pages, by leading conservative historian.
  • D'Souza, Dinesh. Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader (1999), popular. excerpt and text search
  • Evans, Thomas W. The Education of Ronald Reagan: The General Electric Years (2006) excerpt and text search
  • Morris, Edmund. Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan (1999), includes fictional material excerpt and text search
  • Pemberton, William E. Exit with Honor: The Life and Presidency of Ronald Reagan (1998) short biography by historian online edition
  • Reeves, Richard. President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination (2005) detailed analysis by historian
  • Sullivan, George.Mr. President (1997). for middle schools
  • Sutcliffe, Jane. Ronald Reagan‎ (2008) 48 pages; for elementary school; excerpt and text search

Reagan before 1981

  • Brennan Mary C. Turning Right in the Sixties: The Conservative Capture of the GOP. University of North Carolina Press, 1995
  • Burbank, Garin. "Governor Reagan and California Welfare Reform: the Grand Compromise of 1971." California History 1991 70(3): 278–289. Issn: 0162-2897
  • Burbank, Garin. "Governor Reagan's Only Defeat: The Proposition 1 Campaign in 1973." California History 72 (winter 1993-94): 360–73.
  • Burbank, Garin. "Speaker Moretti, Governor Reagan, and the Search for Tax Reform in California, 1970-1972" The Pacific Historical Review Vol. 61, No. 2 (May, 1992), pp. 193–214 online in JSTOR
  • Cannon, Lou. Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power Public Affairs. detailed biography excerpt and text search
  • Dallek, Matthew. The Right Moment: Ronald Reagan's First Victory and the Decisive Turning Point in American Politics. (2004). Study of 1966 election as governor.
  • DeGroot, Gerard J. "'A Goddamned Electable Person': the 1966 California Gubernatorial Campaign of Ronald Reagan." History 1997 82(267): 429–448. Issn: 0018-2648 Fulltext: in Swetswise, Ingenta and Ebsco
  • DeGroot, Gerard J. "Ronald Reagan and Student Unrest in California, 1966-1970." Pacific Historical Review 1996 65(1): 107–129. Issn: 0030-8684 Fulltext: in Jstor
  • Drew, Elizabeth. Portrait of an Election: The 1980 Presidential Campaign. (1981).
  • Ferguson, Thomas and Joel Rogers, eds. The Hidden Election: Politics and Economics in the 1980 Presidential Campaign, 1981.
  • Germond, Jack W. and Jules Witcover. Blue Smoke & Mirrors: How Reagan Won & Why Carter Lost the Election of 1980. (1981). Detailed journalism.
  • Hayward, Steven F. The Age of Reagan, 1964-1980: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order (2001)
  • Hayward, Steven F. The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980-1989 (2009) excerpt and text search
  • Hamilton Gary G., and Nicole Woolsey Biggart. Governor Reagan, Governor Brown: A Sociology of executive Power. (1984).
  • Moore, Glen. "Ronald W. Reagan's Campaign for the Republican Party's 1968 Presidential Nomination." Proceedings and Papers of the Georgia Association of Historians (1992) 12[i.e., 13]: 57–70. Issn: 0275-3863

Politics and Domestic issues

  • Aldrich, John H., and David W. Rohde. Change and Continuity in the 1984 Elections. (1987)
  • Amaker Norman C. Civil Rights and the Reagan Administration. Urban Institute Press, 1988
  • Berman, Larry, ed. Looking Back on the Reagan Presidency (1990), essays by academics
  • Berman William C. America's Right Turn: From Nixon to Bush. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.
  • Birnbaum Jeffrey H., and Alan S. Murray. Showdown at Gucci Gulch: Lawmakers, Lobbyists, and the Unlikely Triumph of Tax Reform. 1987.
  • Boskin Michael J. Reagan and the Economy: The Successes, Failures, and Unfinished Agenda. ICS Press, 1987.
  • Brownlee, W. Elliot and Hugh Davis Graham, eds. The Reagan Presidency: Pragmatic Conservatism and Its Legacies (2003)
  • Busch, Andrew E. Reagan's Victory: The Presidential Election of 1980 and the Rise of the Right, (2005) online review by Michael Barone
  • Campagna; Anthony S. The Economy in the Reagan Years: The Economic Consequences of the Reagan Administrations Greenwood Press. 1994 online edition
  • Cannon, Lou. Ronald Reagan: The Presidential Portfolio. Public Affairs. (2001) online edition
  • Cook, Daniel M. and Polsky, Andrew J. "Political Time Reconsidered: Unbuilding and Rebuilding the State under the Reagan Administration." American Politics Research(4): 577–605. ISSN 1532-673X Fulltext in SwetsWise. Argues Reagan slowed enforcement of pollution laws and transformed the national education agenda.
  • Derthick Martha, and Paul J. Quirk. The Politics of Deregulation. Brookings Institution, 1985
  • Detlefsen, Robert R. Civil Rights under Reagan Institute for Contemporary Studies, 1991 online edition
  • Eads George C., and Michael Fix, eds. The Reagan Regulatory Strategy: An Assessment. Urban Institute Press, 1984
  • Ehrman, John. The Eighties: America in the Age of Reagan. (2005)
  • Evans Rowland, and Robert Novak. The Reagan Revolution. 1991.
  • Ferguson Thomas, and Joel Rogers, Right Turn: The Decline of the Democrats and the Future of American Politics 1986.
  • Germond Jack W., and Jules Witcover. Wake Us When It's Over: Presidential Politics of 1984. 1985.
  • Marshall R. Goodman; Managing Regulatory Reform: The Reagan Strategy and Its Impact Praeger Publishers, 1987 online edition
  • Greider William. The Education of David Stockman and Other Americans. 1982. Stockman was Reagan's budget chief
  • Griscom Tom. "Core Ideas of the Reagan Presidency." In Thompson, ed., Leadership, 23–48.
  • Hulten Charles R. and Isabel V. Sawhill, eds. The Legacy of Reaganomics: Prospects for Long-Term Growth. C.: Urban Institute Press, 1994.
  • Johnson, Haynes. Sleepwalking through History: America in the Reagan Years (1991) online edition
  • Jones, Charles O. ed. The Reagan Legacy: Promise and Performance (1988) essays by political scientists
  • Karier, Thomas. Great Experiments in American Economic Policy: From Kennedy to Reagan (1997) online edition
  • Laham, Nicholas. The Reagan Presidency and the Politics of Race: In Pursuit of Colorblind Justice and Limited Government 1998. online edition
  • Levy, Peter B. Encyclopedia of the Reagan-Bush Years (1996), short articles online edition
  • Minarik Joseph J. Making America's Budget Policy. From the 1980s to the 1990s. M. E. Sharpe, 1990.
  • Palmer, John L., and Isabel V. Sawhill. The Reagan Record, 1984. economics and sociology
  • Patterson, James T. Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush vs. Gore. (2005), standard scholarly synthesis.
  • Rayack; Elton. Not So Free to Choose: The Political Economy of Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan (1987) hostile critique online edition
  • Sahu, Anandi P. and Ronald L. Tracy; The Economic Legacy of the Reagan Years: Euphoria or Chaos? Praeger Publishers, 1991 online edition
  • Salamon Lester M., and Michael S. Lund. eds. The Reagan Presidency and the Governing of America 1985. articles by political scientists
  • Schmertz, Eric J. et al. eds. Ronald Reagan's America 2 Volumes (1997) articles by scholars and officeholders vol 1 onlinevol 2 online
  • Shirley, Craig. Reagan's Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All (2005) on 1976 campaign; excerpt and text search
  • Weatherford, M. Stephen and Mcdonnell, Lorraine M. "Ronald Reagan as Legislative Advocate: Passing the Reagan Revolution's Budgets in 1981 and 1982." Congress & the Presidency (2005) 32:1 pp 1–29. Fulltext in Ebsco; Argues RR ignored the details but played a guiding role in setting major policies and adjudicating significant trade-offs, and in securing Congressional approval.

Foreign affairs

  • Arnson, Cynthia J. Crossroads: Congress, the Reagan Administration, and Central America Pantheon, 1989.
  • Baucom Donald R. The Origins of SDI, 1944-1983. University Press of Kansas, 1992.
  • Bell Coral. The Reagan Paradox: American Foreign Policy in the 1980s. Rutgers University Press, 1989.
  • Beschloss Michael R., and Strobe Talbott. At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War. 1993
  • Busch, Andrew E.; "Ronald Reagan and the Defeat of the Soviet Empire" in Presidential Studies Quarterly. Vol: 27. Issue: 3. 1997. pp 451+.
  • Dobson, Alan P. "The Reagan Administration, Economic Warfare, and Starting to Close down the Cold War." Diplomatic History(3): 531–556. Fulltext in SwetsWise, Ingenta and Ebsco. Argues Reagan's public rhetoric against the USSR was harsh and uncompromising, giving rise to the idea that his administration sought to employ a US defense buildup and NATO economic sanctions to bring about the collapse of the USSR. Yet many statements by Reagan and Shultz suggest they desired negotiation with the Soviets from a position of American strength, not the eventual demise of the USSR.
  • Draper, Theodore. A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affair (1991)
  • Fitzgerald, Frances. Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars and the End of the Cold War. political history of S.D.I. (2000). ISBN.
  • Ford, Christopher A. and Rosenberg, David A. "The Naval Intelligence Underpinnings of Reagan's Maritime Strategy." Journal of Strategic Studies(2): 379–409. Fulltext in Ingenta and Ebsco; Reagan's maritime strategy sought to apply US naval might against Soviet vulnerabilities on its maritime flanks. It was supported by a major buildup of US naval forces and aggressive exercising in seas proximate to the USSR; it explicitly targeted Moscow's strategic missile submarines with the aim of pressuring the Kremlin during crises or the early phases of global war. The maritime strategy represents one of the rare instances in history when intelligence helped lead a nation to completely revise its concept of military operations.
  • Garthoff, Raymond L. The Great Transition: American-Soviet Relations and the End of the Cold War (1994), detailed narrative by a hostile critic online edition
  • Haftendorn, Helga and Jakob Schissler, eds. The Reagan Administration: A Reconstruction of American Strength? Berlin: Walter de Guyer, 1988. by European scholars
  • Hall, David Locke. The Reagan Wars: A Constitutional Perspective on War Powers and the Presidency Westview Press, 1991 online edition
  • Jeffrey W. Knopf, "Did Reagan Win the Cold War?" Strategic Insights, Volume III, Issue 8 (August 2004)
  • Kyvig, David. ed. Reagan and the World (1990), scholarly essays on foreign policy
  • Lagon, Mark P. The Reagan Doctrine: Sources of American Conduct in the Cold War's Last Chapter (1994) online edition
  • LeoGrande, William M. Our Own Backyard: The United States in Central America, 1977-1992 (1998)
  • Matlock, Jack. Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended. (2004) by the US ambassador to Moscow excerpt and text search
  • Pach, Chester. "The Reagan Doctrine: Principle, Pragmatism, and Policy." Presidential Studies Quarterly 2006 36(1): 75–88. Issn: 0360-4918 online edition
  • Salla, Michael E. and Ralph Summy, eds. Why the Cold War Ended: A Range of Interpretations (1995). online edition
  • Schmertz, Eric J. et al. eds. Ronald Reagan and the World (1997) articles by scholars and officeholders
  • Shultz, George P. Turmoil and Triumph My Years As Secretary of State (1993)
  • Schweizer, Peter. Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism (2002)
  • Suri, Jeremi. "Explaining the End of the Cold War: A New Historical Consensus?" Journal of Cold War Studies - Volume 4, Number 4, Fall 2002, pp. 60–92 in Project Muse
  • Thomas W. Walker; Reagan Versus the Sandinistas: The Undeclared War on Nicaragua (1987) online edition
  • Wallison, Peter J. Ronald Reagan: The Power of Conviction and the Success of His Presidency. (2003). 282 pp.
  • Wapshott, Nicholas. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: a political marriage‎ (2007) 336 pages excerpt and text search
  • Wills, David C. The First War on Terrorism: Counter-Terrorism Policy during the Reagan Administration. 2004.

Rhetoric, media and values

  • Aden, R. C. "Entrapment and Escape: Inventional Metaphors in Ronald Reagan's Economic Rhetoric." Southern Communication Journal 54 (1989): 384-401
  • Dallek, Robert. Ronald Reagan: The Politics of Symbolism. (1999)
  • Denton Jr., Robert E. Primetime Presidency of Ronald Reagan: The Era of the Television Presidency (1988) online edition
  • Diggins, John Patrick. Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History (2007) Reagan as follower of Emerson, by leading historian of ideas
  • Jane Feuer; Seeing through the Eighties: Television and Reaganism Duke University Press, 1995 online edition
  • FitzWater, Marlin . Call the Briefing! Bush and Reagan, Sam and Helen, a Decade with Presidents and the Press. 1995. Memoir by Reagan's press spokesman.
  • Goodnight, G. Thomas. "Ronald Reagan's Re-formulation of the Rhetoric of War: Analysis of the 'Zero Option,' 'Evil Empire,' and 'Star Wars' Addresses." Quarterly Journal of Speech 72 (1986): 390–414.
  • Greffenius, Steven. The Last Jeffersonian: Ronald Reagan's Dreams of America. June, July, & August Books. 2002.
  • Hertsgaard, Mark. On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency 1988. criticizes the press
  • Hoeveler, J. David. Watch on the Right: Conservative Intellectuals in the Reagan Era. University of Wisconsin Press, 1991.
  • Houck, Davis, and Amos Kiewe, eds. Actor, Ideologue, Politician: The Public Speeches of Ronald Reagan (Greenwood Press, 1993) W. Houck&dcontributors=Davis+W.+Houck online edition
  • Jones, John M. "'Until Next Week': The Saturday Radio Addresses of Ronald Reagan" Presidential Studies Quarterly. Volume: 32. Issue: 1. 2002. pp 84+.
  • Kengor, Paul. God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life Regan Books, 2004. ISBN.
  • Kiewe, Amos, and Davis W. Houck. A Shining City on a Hill: Ronald Reagan's Economic Rhetoric, 1951-1989. 1991.
  • Lewis, William F. "Telling America's Story: Narrative Form and the Reagan Presidency", Quarterly Journal of Speech: 280–302
  • Longley, Kyle, Jeremy D. Mayer, Michael Schaller, and John W. Sloan. Deconstructing Reagan: Conservative Mythology and America’s Fortieth President, (M.E. Sharpe, 2007. xviii, 150 pp. isbn 978-0-7656-1591-6.)
  • Meyer, John C. "Ronald Reagan and Humor: A Politician's Velvet Weapon", Communication Studies 41 (1990): 76–88.
  • Moore, Mark P. "Reagan's Quest for Freedom in the 1987 State of the Union Address." Western Journal of Communication 53 (1989): 52–65.
  • Muir, William Ker. The Bully Pulpit: The Presidential Leadership of Ronald Reagan (1992), examines his speeches
  • Noonan, Peggy. When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan (2001) memoir by a Reagan speechwriter
  • Ormanm John. Comparing Presidential Behavior: Carter, Reagan, and the Macho Presidential Style Greenwood Press, 1987 online edition
  • Ritter, Kurt W. Ronald Reagan: The Great Communicator. Greenwood, 1992. online edition
  • Shogan, Colleen J. "Coolidge and Reagan: The Rhetorical Influence of Silent Cal on the Great Communicator", Rhetoric & Public Affairs 9.2 online at Project Muse; argues that Coolidge and Reagan shared a common ideological message, which served as the basis for modern conservatism. Even without engaging in explicitly partisan rhetoric, Reagan's principled speech served an important party-building function.
  • Stuckey, Mary. Getting Into the Game: The Pre-Presidential Rhetoric of Ronald Reagan. Praeger, 1989
  • Stuckey, Mary. Playing the Game: The Presidential Rhetoric of Ronald Reagan. Praeger, 1990. online edition
  • Thomas, Tony. The Films of Ronald Reagan (1980)
  • Troy, Gill. Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s (2004). Study of Reagan's image.
  • Michael Weiler and W. Barnett Pearce; Reagan and Public Discourse in America University of Alabama Press, 1992 online edition
  • Wills, Garry. Reagan's America: Innocents at Home. (1987)

Primary sources

  • Council of Economic Advisors, Economic Report of the President (annual 1947- ), complete series online; important analysis of current trends and policies, plus statistcial tables
  • Reagan Ronald, and Richard G. Hubler. Where's the Rest of Me? (1965). first autobiography
  • Reagan Ronald. An American Life. (1990). second autobiography excerpt and text search
  • Reagan Ronald. The Creative Society: Some Comments on Problems Facing America. 1968.
  • Reagan Ronald. Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation. 1984.
  • Reagan Ronald. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Ronald Reagan. 1981-1989. 8 vols. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1982–91.
  • Reagan, Ronald. Reagan, In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan That Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America (2001) excerpt and text search
  • Reagan, Ronald. The Reagan Diaries: Extended Selections‎ ed. by Douglas Brinkley (2007)
  • Skinner, Kiron K. et al., eds. Reagan's Path to Victory: The Shaping of Ronald Reagan's Vision: Selected Writings (2004), 450 radio talks from late 1970s

Primary sources by Reagan associates

  • Anderson, Martin. Revolution: The Reagan Legacy (1990)
  • Haig, Alexander. Inner Circles: How America Changed the World (1994). Haig was Secretary of State 1981-82
  • Deaver, Michael, and Mickey Herskowitz. Behind the Scenes. 1987. Memoir by a top aide.
  • Meese Edwin. With Reagan: The Inside Story. Regnery Gateway, 1992.
  • Niskanen William A. Reaganomics: An Insider's Account of the Policies and the People. Oxford University Press, 1988.
  • Reagan, Nancy. My Turn: The Memoirs of Nancy Reagan (1989)
  • Reagan Maureen. First Father, First Daughter: A Memoir. 1989.
  • Reagan Michael and Joe Hyams. On the Outside Looking In. 1988.
  • Regan Donald T. For the Record. From Wall Street to Washington. 1988; Treasury Secretary and Chief of Staff
  • Shultz, George P. Turmoil and Triumph My Years As Secretary of State (1993) Schulz was Secretary of State 1982-89
  • Stahl, Lesley. "Reporting Live" (1999) memoir by TV news reporter
  • Stockman David A. The Triumph of Politics: How the Reagan Revolution Failed. 1986. Stockman was Budget Director in 1981-82
  • Thompson Kenneth W., ed. Foreign Policy in the Reagan Presidency: Nine Intimate Perspectives. University Press of America, 1993.
  • Thompson Kenneth W., ed. Leadership in the Reagan Presidency: Seven Intimate Perspectives. 1992.
  • Thompson Kenneth W., ed. Leadership in the Reagan Presidency, Part II: Eleven Intimate Perspectives. University Press of America, 1993.
  • Weinberger, Caspar. In the Arena: A Memoir of the 20th Century (1991), by the Defense Secretary

Government documents

  • Council of Economic Advisors. Economic Report of the President, (annual, 1981-1988), detailed analysis of economic issues
  • U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States annual compilation of over 1000 tables of data.



  1. Knopf (2004)
  2. Multiple references:
  3. Reagan saw the shining city on the hill, Daily Caller
  4. Tear Down This Wall, Laffer Curve, etc. See conservative insights
  5. Ronald Reagan's Conservative Legacy, ACUF
  6. Olsen, Henry (2017). The Working Class Republican. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062475268.
  7. Hayward, John (November 1, 2017). Henry Olsen: Reagan and Trump Blue-Collar Coalitions Are ‘Mirror Images of Each Other’. Breitbart News. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  8. Ronald Reagan Facts: Physical Description, Favorites, Dislikes, Firsts in Life, Nickname, and Religion
  9. Famous Sociology Majors
  10. Timeline of Ronald Reagan’s Life, PBS
  11. The formal name of the denomination is the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
  12. Ronald Reagan. National Affairs Campaign Address on Religious Liberty (Abridged) - delivered 22 August 1980, Dallas Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas.
  13. Tom Freiling (2003). Reagan's God and Country: A President's Moral Compass. p. 19.
  14. Reagan, R. (2005). Memorial Services in the Congress of the United States and Tributes in Eulogy of Ronald Reagan, Late President of the United States. United States: U.S. Government Printing Office, p. 24.
  15. 15.0 15.1 The American Experience | Reagan. Enhanced Transcript.

    Lyn Nofziger, Press Secretary: They looked at Ronald Reagan, that dumb actor and they said, oh man, this is the guy we want to run against. He has no political experience, ah he's not going to be able to handle himself well.

    Stu Spencer: So we devised a technique where he would give his twenty-minute speech and incidentally Ronald Reagan wrote all his own speeches when he ran for Governor in 1966. He'd give the twenty-minute speech and we'd open it to twenty minutes of Q and A for... for the people there at the meeting or the press, and if he could handle those questions we felt we could get over the hump of here's an empty person who doesn't know anything about government or doesn't have any real ideas.

    Reporter: Ronnie, where do you stand on the death penalty.

    Reagan: You just expressed a question which is also as much on the minds of the people in the state as Berkeley. This too is a question asked all over the state. And as I've answered to those other people, I would tell you I think all of us have wavered back and forth on this issue because of our Judeo-Christian background our questioning as to our right to take human life. But I believe we have the right to take human life in defense of our own.
  16. Stephen Vaughn, "The Moral Inheritance of a President: Reagan and the Dixon Disciples of Christ." Presidential Studies Quarterly 1995 25(1): 109-127. 0360-4918
  17. Love is on the Air
  18. President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime
  19. 19.0 19.1 Military Service of Ronald Reagan
  20. 20.0 20.1 A Story of Billy Graham and Ronald Reagan, Focus on the Family
  21. Transcript: Ronald Reagan's Friendship With Billy Graham, Fox News
  22. Ronald Reagan's Journey: Democrat to Republican
  23. Ronald Reagan, An American Life (1990) p 132
  24. Unmasking Informant T-10, Time Magazine
  25. Reagan Reportedly Was an FBI Informer In 1940s
  26. Ronald Reagan in Hollywood: Movies and Politics
  29. Calvin Reagan, The New York Times
  30. Dallek, Matthew. "Liberalism Overthrown." American Heritage (1996) 47(6): 39+ Fulltext online at Ebsco
  31. 1980 Reagan VS. Carter VS. Anderson
  32. Gerard DeGroot, "Reagan's Rise." History Today (1995) 45(9): 31-36. Issn: 0018-2753 Fulltext online at Ebsco
  33. African Americans and Criminal Justice: An Encyclopedia: An Encyclopedia
  34. Burbank (1991)
  35. Hamilton and Biggart, (1984); Ritter (1992)
  36. Jesse Unruh, A California Political Power, Dies, The New York Times
  37. Days of Rage: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence
  38. "History topic: People's Park" University of California, Berkeley - Police Department (August 2006)
  39. San Francisco Chronicle, early morning edition, May 15, 1969
  40. Ronald Reagan launched political career using the Berkeley campus as a target (June 8, 2004)
  41. Video: Ronald Reagan's Press Conference After 'Bloody Thursday' (February 2014)
  42. California: Postscript to People's Park, Time Magazine archive, February 16th, 1970, Note: Fee required to read article.
  43. Revisionist History: Misrepresenting President Ronald Reagan’s Abortion Record, LifeSiteNews
  44. Reagan's Darkest Hour, "Therapeutic" abortion in California., National Review
  45. President Reagan Put His Pro-Life Stance Center Stage In Supporting the March for Life,
  46. The Essential Ronald Reagan: A Profile in Courage, Justice, and Wisdom
  47. Ronald Reagan Radio Broadcasts
  48. Speaking My Mind: Selected Speeches
  49. Reagan at CPAC in 1975: "Let Them Go Their Way"
  50. Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s
  51. Reagan gambles all in Schweiker choice
  52. 52.0 52.1 Delegate Battle of '76: When Reagan Almost Beat Ford, Newsweek
  53. 10 memorable moments from past primary debates, USA Today
  54. Ronald Reagan's famous line, "I am paying for this microphone"
  55. 1980: Reagan begins his sweep, New Hampshire Union Leader
  56. Reagan Wins Nomination and Chooses Bush as Running Mate After Talks With Ford Fail, The New York Times
  57. Presidential debate: what to look for beyond who wins or loses
  58. Reagan-Carter Oct. 28, 1980 Debate - "There You Go Again"
  59. Biography of U.S. President Ronald Reagan
  60. Busch 2005
  61. US Election Night 1980 NBC live coverage 11-4-1980, Reagan blue-state landslide map in the background
  62. How red states turned blue and vice versa, WND
  63. Dem red, Reagan blue
  64. One state, Two state; red state blue state
  65. The Living Church, Volume 182
  67. Eyewitness to Power, by David Gergen, (2000) p 351
  68. The Presidential Troika
  69. The Troika, The Evening Independent
  70. Reagan Does Not Plan To Replace Deaver, Meese
  71. Travels of the President
  72. Veteran Toronto broadcaster Gordon Sinclair, 81, famous in the...
  73. A Salute to Service: The Rebirth of Patriotism
  74. Government Shutdowns: A History
  75. Replace Boehner with Tip O’Neill
  76. The Reagan Era from the Iran Crisis to Kosovo
  77. The assassin was John Hinckley, a mentally disturbed man who didn't shoot Reagan for political reasons, but instead did to impress an actress he had never met.
  78. Ronald Reagan: Grace Under the Scalpel
  79. 'Honey, I Forgot To Duck,' Injured Reagan Tells Wife, The New York Times, March 31, 1981.
  80. National Archives
  81. Leip, David: 1984 Presidential Election Results.
  82. The Argus-Press - Jan 19, 1985
  83. 83.0 83.1 Exactly the right words, exactly the right way: Reagan’s amazing Challenger disaster speech, The Washington Post
  84. Explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger, Address to the Nation, January 28, 1986, by President Ronald W. Reagan, NASA
  85. Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the State of the Union, January 25, 1984
  86. Space Station Freedom-Artist's Concept
  87. NASA Studying Ways to Redesign Space Station to Meet Budget Cut
  88. Space Station Freedom
  89. Cooperation in space - The International Space Station benefits from ISO standards
  90. Ronald Reagan’s Prayer Legacy, National Review
  91. Reagan Proposes School Prayer Amendment, The New York Times
  92. Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the State of the Union, January 25, 1984.
  93. Reagan urges school 'moment of silence'
  94. High Court Weighs Silence in School for Prayer or Meditation, The New York Times
  95. High Court Bars Moments of Silence for School Prayer: But Would Approve Meditation, Los Angeles Times
  97. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Ronald Reagan, 1987
  98. High Court Accepts Appeal of 'Moment of Silence' Law, The New York Times
  99. Reaganomics, by William A. Niskanen
  100. Ronald Reagan
  101. "Turbulence in the Tower," Time Aug. 17, 1981; Paul L. Butterworth, et al., "More than a Labor Dispute: The PATCO Strike of 1981," Essays in Economic & Business History 2005 23:125-139
  102. Boll weevils, gypsy moths, and the 97th Congress , Christian Science Monitor
  104. Gramm later became a Republican. On Gramm see David Frum, "Righter Than Newt," The Atlantic Monthly v. 275#3 (March 1995) pp 81+, online at Questia
  105. The "boll weevil" was a pest that ruined cotton plants across the South in the early 20th century, and forced the region to diversify out of cotton.
  106. Lou Cannon, President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime (2000) pp 89, 754
  107. 1983 Greenspan Commission on Social Security Reform (1983) online version; "Claude Pepper and Social Security Reform - 1981-1983," online exhibit; Paul Charles Light, Artful Work: The Politics of Social Security Reform (1985)
  108. President Reagan's Court appointees included: Sandra Day O'Connor, Anton Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and William Rehnquist as Chief Justice.
  109. Reagan pledges woman on court, Associated Press
  110. Rehnquist Confirmed In 65-33 Senate Vote
  111. Floor Vote - Scalia, September 17, 1986
  112. Robert Bork, known for contentious Supreme Court nomination, dies at 85, CNN
  113. WASHINGTON; Kennedy And Bork, The New York Times
  114. The Borking of American Politics, Townhall
  115. Executive Order 12612 - Federalism
  116. Executive Order 13083 - Federalism
  117. President Clinton's Sellout of Federalism, Heritage Foundation
  118. Thirty Years of America's Drug War, A Chronology, PBS
  119. Interview with Dr. Herbert Kleber, PBS
  120. Simpson-Mazzoli: Twenty-One Years Later, Human Events
  121. Ronald Reagan on Immigration
  122. Kammer, Jerry (January 3, 2019). How the Washington Post Exposé of Trump Missed the Story of How Reagan Wrecked Immigration Reform. Center for Immigration Studies. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  123. An interview with Henry Kissinger, by Claudia Dreifus, August 29th, 2001
  124. Peter Schweizer, Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism, New York: Doubleday, 2002.
  125. CIA Assessments of the Soviet Union: Chapter 5, Enter Gorbachev , Douglas J. MacEachin, CIA Publications, 1996.
  126. Notes of Politburo Meeting 4 October 1986, Gorbachev's instructions for the group preparing for Reykjavik
  127. Reagan's Lesson to Obama: 'No Agreement Is Better Than a Bad Agreement', National Review
  128. 1986: Reykjavik summit ends in failure, BBC
  129. James Mann, The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan (2009)
  130. Christopher Wilkinson NATO Review, Soviet Defense Spending, NATO's Economics Directorate No. 2 - April 1991, Vol. 39 p. 16-22
  131. Peter Schweizer, Reagan’s War.
  132. Freedom's Team, Wall Street Journal
  133. Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), Iraqi Retreats, 1982-84,, retrieved 20 March 2007.
  134. NSDD 139, 5 April 1984.
  135. One Weekend in April, A Long Time Ago ... What John Kerry thought about the Sandinista in Nicaragua, Hugh Hewitt, The Weekly Standard, 09/09/2004.
  136. Kerry: 'I'm Proud I Stood Against Reagan Carl Limbacher and Staff, 7 June 2004.
  137. See Portions online
  138. James M. Scott, "Interbranch Rivalry and the Reagan Doctrine in Nicaragua." Political Science Quarterly 1997 112(2): 237-260.
  139. Reagan says worst mistake involved Marines in Beirut
  140. 1983 Beirut bomb began era of terror
  141. Beirut Death Toll at 161 Americans; French Casualties Rise in Bombings; Reagan Insists Marines Will Remain, New York Times
  142. Seven Events That Made America America: And Proved That the Founding Fathers Were Right All Along, by Larry Schweikart
  143. Letters to the Editor
  144. David Remnick, "Lenin's Tomb
  145. That Time the President Spoke Truth about Our Enemies, Christian Broadcasting Network
  146. Ronald Reagan's wonderful life, Townhall
  147. Brian Mulroney on Ronald Reagan
  148. Thanks from a Grateful Country, WSJ
  149. Time Inc., 1982, Time Magazine
  150. Margaret Thatcher on Ronald Reagan
  151. Reagan Gets A Red Carpet From British, The New York Times, June 14, 1989, "You cannot massacre an idea, you cannot run tanks over hope. You cannot riddle a people's yearning with bullets. Those heroic Chinese students who gave their lives have released the spirit of democracy and it cannot be called back. That spirit is loose upon the world this spring."
  152. President Reagan Speaks Out on Tiananmen Square Massacre, NBC
  153. Protester at Reagan Speech Had Press Credentials, The New York Times
  154. Man Who Disrupted Reagan Speech Flees 4-Month Jail Term
  155. Reagan Unhurt After Man Smashes 30-Pound Statue, The New York Times
  157. President Reagan Attacked at NAB Convention Las Vegas April 1992 480p, CBS News video from 1992
  158. How Do You Really Protect a President?, Los Angeles Times
  159. Ronald Reagan: A Biography
  160. Exhibitions
  161. Ronald Wilson Reagan
  162. "As of this writing, among academic historians, the Reagan revisionists—who view the 1980s as an era of mixed blessings at worst, and of great forward strides in some renditions—hold the field," reports Doug Rossinow, "Talking Points Memo," in American Quarterly 59.4 (2007) p. 1279. For more historiographical support see: Troy (2009); Hayward (2009); Wilentz (2008); also Charles L. Ponce de Leon, "The New Historiography of the 1980s" in Reviews in American History, Volume 36, Number 2, June 2008, pp. 303-314; Whitney Strub, "Further into the Right: The Ever-Expanding Historiography of the U.S. New Right," Journal of Social History, Volume 42, Number 1, Fall 2008, pp. 183-194; Kim Phillips-Fein, "Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and Making of History," Enterprise & Society, Volume 8, Number 4, December 2007, pp. 986-988.
  163. Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home
  164. Reagan's Roots
  165. To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to establish the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site, and for other purposes
  166. Reagan home is a historic site, Chicago Tribune
  167. Vintage Christmas Address From Ronaldus Magnus, Moonbattery
  168. Rush Limbaugh- Tribute To Ronald Reagan Part 1, Segment from the Rush Limbaugh TV show, February 6, 1996
  169. USS Ronald Reagan
  170. USS RONALD REAGAN, USS Ronald Reagan CVN 76 official website
  171. Carpenter, Eric. "Ronald Reagan gets park named after him", Orange County Register, February 9, 2011. 
  172. The Legacy of Ronald Reagan, Heritage Foundation
  173. Moody, Chris; Capachi, Casey (September 15, 2017). Why Ronald Reagan's name is everywhere. CNN. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
  174. Larsen, Emily (July 19, 2019). Unlike other Democrats, Pete Buttigieg has no use for Ronald Reagan’s legacy. Washington Examiner. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  175. Juan Williams: Ronald Reagan loved the Founding Fathers, Fox News
  176. The Right Moment: Ronald Reagan's First Victory and the Decisive Turning
  177. Ronald Reagan, by George Sullivan
  178. Selling Ronald Reagan: The Emergence of a President
  179. Reagan's Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All
  180. President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination
  181. How the NRA Became an Organization for Aspiring Vigilantes, The Nation magazine
  182. Ronald Reagan: Remembering the champion of religious liberty on his birthday, Fox News
  183. 'Till Death Do Us Part : A Wedding at a Cemetery Might Seem Macabre, but Forest Lawn's 2 Chapels Are Booked 6 Months Ahead, Los Angeles Times
  184. Michael Reagan is the adopted son of Wyman and Reagan. See "Michael Reagan"
  185. Reagan's Church in L.A. is 'Big in Japan'
  190. Reagan's Letter Announcing his Alzheimer's Diagnosis, Reagan Library.
  192. Art that’s good enough to eat: Incredible jelly bean portraits that each use more than 10,000 sweets
  193. Reagan the new face of the $10 bill?, CNN
  194. A Taxing Experience, National Review
  195. Reagan Library to Roll Out Renovated Galleries, Exhibits
  196. Reagan the Man, Reagan Foundation

External links