Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

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Ronald Reagan
40th President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
Vice PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush
Preceded byJimmy Carter
Succeeded byGeorge H. W. Bush
33rd Governor of California
In office
January 2, 1967 – January 6, 1975
LieutenantRobert Finch[1]Edwin Reinecke[2]John L. Harmer[3]
Preceded byPat Brown
Succeeded byJerry Brown[4]
9th and 13th President of the
Screen Actors Guild
In office
November 16, 1959 – June 12, 1960
Preceded byHoward Keel
Succeeded byGeorge Chandler
In office
November 17, 1947 – November 9, 1952
Preceded byRobert Montgomery
Succeeded byWalter Pidgeon
Personal details
BornRonald Wilson Reagan
February 6, 1911
Tampico, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJune 5, 2004 (aged 93)
Los AngelesCalifornia, U.S.
BuriedRonald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
Political partyRepublican (1962–2004)
Other political
affiliations
Democratic (until 1962)
Spouse(s)Jane Wyman
(m. 1940; div. 1949)Nancy Davis
(m. 1952)
ChildrenMaureenChristineMichaelPattiRon
ParentsJack ReaganNelle Wilson
RelativesNeil Reagan (brother)
EducationEureka College (BA)
OccupationPoliticiantrade unionistactorauthorbroadcaster
AwardsPresidential Medal of Freedom (1993)Congressional Gold Medal (2000)See more
Signature
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceUnited States Army Air Forces
Years of service1942–1945
RankCaptain
Unit18th AAF Base Unit
Battles/warsWorld War II
American Theater
This article is part of
a series aboutRonald Reagan
Political positionsElectoral historyEarly lifeCareerFilmsPublic imageGovernor of CaliforniaGovernorship40th President of the United StatesPresidency TimelinePoliciesDomestic ReaganomicsForeign Reagan DoctrineInternational tripsAppointmentsCabinetJudiciaryFirst term1st inaugurationCold War (1979–1985)Assassination attemptInvasion of Grenada“Evil Empire”Second term2nd inaugurationCold War (1985–1991)Challenger disasterLibya bombingIran–Contra affair“Tear down this wall!”INF TreatyshowPresidential campaignsPost-presidencyPresidential LibraryMedal of FreedomBibliography An American LifeThe Reagan DiariesAlzheimer’s diagnosisDeath and state funeralLegacySpeeches and debates “A Time for Choosing”Reagan EraReagan Award
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Ronald Wilson Reagan (/ˈreɪɡən/; February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989 and became a highly influential voice of modern conservatism. Prior to his presidency, he was a Hollywood actor and union leader before serving as the 33rd governor of California from 1967 to 1975.

Reagan was raised in a low-income family in small towns of northern Illinois. He graduated from Eureka College in 1932 and worked as a radio sports commentator. After moving to California in 1937, he found work as an actor and starred in a few major productions. As president of the Screen Actors Guild, Reagan worked to root out communist influence. In the 1950s, he moved into television and was a motivational speaker at General Electric factories. In 1964, his speech “A Time for Choosing” earned him national attention as a new conservative spokesman. Building a network of supporters, Reagan was elected governor of California in 1966. As governor, he raised taxes, turned a state budget deficit to a surplus, challenged the protesters at UC Berkeley, and ordered in National Guard troops during a period of protest movements.

In 1980, Reagan won the Republican presidential nomination and defeated the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter. At 69 years, 349 days of age at the time of his first inauguration, Reagan was the oldest person to assume the U.S. presidency, a distinction he held until 2017, when Donald Trump was inaugurated at age 70 years, 220 days. Reagan faced former vice president Walter Mondale when he ran for re-election in 1984 and defeated him, winning the most electoral votes of any U.S. president, 525, or 97.6% of the 538 votes in the Electoral College. It was the second-most lopsided presidential election in modern U.S. history after Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s 1936 victory over Alfred M. Landon, in which he won 98.5%, or 523, of the (then-total) 531 electoral votes.[5]

Soon after taking office as president, Reagan began implementing sweeping new political and economic initiatives. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed “Reaganomics“, advocated tax rate reduction to spur economic growth, economic deregulation, and reduction in government spending. In his first term, he survived an assassination attempt, spurred the War on Drugsinvaded Grenada, and fought public sector labor unions. Over his two terms, the economy saw a reduction of inflation from 12.5% to 4.4% and an average real GDP annual growth of 3.4%. Reagan enacted cuts in domestic discretionary spending, cut taxes, and increased military spending, which contributed to increased federal debt overall. Foreign affairs dominated his second term, including the bombing of Libya, the Iran–Iraq War, the Iran–Contra affair, and the ongoing Cold War. In June 1987, four years after he publicly described the Soviet Union as an “evil empire“, Reagan challenged Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall!“, during a speech at the Brandenburg Gate. He transitioned Cold War policy from détente to rollback by escalating an arms race with the USSR while engaging in talks with Gorbachev. The talks culminated in the INF Treaty, which shrank both countries’ nuclear arsenals. Reagan began his presidency during the decline of the Soviet Union, which ultimately collapsed nearly three years after he left office.

When Reagan left office in 1989, he held an approval rating of 68%, matching those of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and later Bill Clinton, as the highest ratings for departing presidents in the modern era.[6] He was the first president since Dwight D. Eisenhower to serve two full terms, after the five prior presidents did not. Although he had planned an active post-presidency, Reagan disclosed in November 1994 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease earlier that year. Afterward, his informal public appearances became more infrequent as the disease progressed. He died at home on June 5, 2004. His tenure constituted a realignment toward conservative policies in the United States, and he is an icon among conservatives. Evaluations of his presidency among historians and the general public place him among the upper tier of American presidents.

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