Ronald Reagan

(1911—2004) American Republican statesman

Related Overviews

Jimmy Carter (b. 1924) American Democratic statesman, 39th President of the US 1977–81

George Bush (b. 1924) American Republican statesman, 41st President of the US 1989–93

Strategic Defense Initiative


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'Ronald Reagan' can also refer to...

Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike That Changed America

Eb en vloed: Europa en Amerika van Reagan tot Obama (Ebb and flow: Europe and America from Reagan to Obama). By Ronald Havenaar. (Amsterdam: Van Oorschot, 2009. 307 pp. Paper, €22,50, ISBN 9789028241008.) In Dutch

Edmund Morris. Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan. New York: Random House. 1999. Pp. xx, 874. $35.00

Evangelicalism Becomes Southern, Politics Becomes Evangelical: From FDR to Ronald Reagan

Exit with Honor: The Life and Presidency of Ronald Reagan. By William E. Pemberton. (Armonk: Sharpe, 1997. xvi, 295 pp. $29.95, ISBN 0-7656-0095-1)

Fighting for Rights: from Emmett Till’s Murder to the Ronald Reagan Years

Framing the Sixties: The Use and Abuse of a Decade from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. By Bernard von Bothmer. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2010. xii, 290 pp. Cloth, $80.00, ISBN 978-1-55849-731-3. Paper, $28.95, ISBN 978-1-55849-732-0.)

From Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush: What Happened to American Civil Religion? Wade Clark Roof

The FSM, Berkeley Politics, and Ronald Reagan

God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life. By Paul Kengor. New York: Regan Books (an imprint of HarperCollins), 2004. 402pp. $26.95, and Hand of Providence: The Strong and Quiet Faith of Ronald Reagan. By Mary Beth Brown. Nashville, Tenn.: WND Books (a division of Thomas Nelson), 2004. 215pp. $24.99

God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life. By Paul Kengor. New York: ReganBooks, 2004. 402 pp. $26.95

James Cooper. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship.

Jimmy Carter: To the White House and Beyond. Prod. by Michael Cascio and Lisa Zeff. ABC News Productions, 1995. 57 mins. and Ronald Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime. Prod. by Charles Grinker. Cel Communications, 1991. 57 mins.

John Patrick Diggins. Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and Making of History

Joseph A. McCartin. Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike That Changed America.

Late and Never: Ronald Reagan and Tuition Tax Credits

MEESE, Edwin (born 1931), lawyer; Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy, 1988, now Emeritus Fellow, and Chairman, Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, 2001–13, Heritage Foundation, Washington; Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, California, since 1988

A New Kind of Conservative Ronald Reagan

Reagan, Ronald


Reagan, Ronald

REAGAN, Ronald (1911 - 2004), President of the United States of America, 1981–89

Reagan, Ronald (1911–2004)

Reagan, Ronald (1911–2004)

Reagan, Ronald (1911–2004)

Reagan, Ronald (1911–2004)

Reagan, Ronald (1911–2004)

Reagan, Ronald (1911–2004)

Reagan, Ronald (1911–2004)

Reagan, Ronald (6 Feb. 1911)


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(b. Tampico, Illinois, 6 Feb. 1911; d. Los Angeles, California, 5 June 2004)

US; President 1980–8 The son of a bankrupt store manager, Reagan was educated at Eureka College, Illinois, and became first a radio sportscaster in Davenport, Iowa, and then a film actor in Los Angeles after 1934. His role in the film King's Row gave him, finally, star status. Through the later 1930s he was an official of the Screen Actor's Guild. A liberal Democrat, he was a member of both Americans for Democratic Action and United World Federalists. Clashing with ‘communists’ in the Guild he became an active anti-Communist and appeared as a ‘friendly witness’ in the 1949 hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee. With his film career declining after 1952 he became a paid speaker for the General Electric Corporation. He first appearance before the national public came in 1964 when he made a televised speech supporting Barry Goldwater, the Republican candidate for President.

In 1966 Reagan defeated Pat Brown to become the Republican Governor of California seeking to impose tax cuts of 10 per cent across the board. He found that budgets could be cut only slowly and went on to preside over the largest budgets and some of California's largest ever tax increases. Personally opposed to abortions, he had to accept an extension of abortion rights and, though enraged by student lifestyles and anti-Vietnam activities, he increased spending on higher education. He presided over a return to the use of the death penalty and sacked homosexuals on his staff, always denying that he did so. Re-elected in 1969, his second term was marked by a greater willingness to compromise with Democrats and, generally, to present the ‘soft face’ of conservatism. In part he did so in order to position himself to challenge President Ford for the Republican nomination for President in 1976. He failed, but during a tough campaign he articulated growing official and public fears that the Russians were rearming during the period of détente while the USA was facing economic obsolescence because of business taxes and regulation and social dissolution because of welfare dependence. Three years later President Carter's volte-face on defence and welfare gave these concerns legitimacy. Reagan campaigned on a platform of less government, lower taxes and balanced budgets, family values, and peace through military strength. He was able to ride to the White House on a tide of widespread, if shallow, ‘conservative’ sentiment, but his margin in the popular vote presaged difficulty in legislating his programme.

Reagan's accession ushered in a short-lived period of popular acceptance of supply-side economics at home and bellicosity abroad. The normal political ‘honeymoon’ given to a new President was lengthened by a failed assassination attempt in March of 1981. In domestic policy, with the support of conservative southern and western Democrats, a programme of large, phased tax cuts and increased defence expenditure was instituted. Cuts in welfare and education budgets were partially accepted by Congress as was a programme of business deregulation and tightened control over the supply of government information. Admirers of the British Official Secrets Acts, Reagan's staff contemplated similar legislation until they realized that they themselves would have to take loyalty oaths and lie detector tests.


Subjects: warfare and defence.

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