“We have the duty to protect the life of the unborn child.”
“Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”
“I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there’s purpose and worth to each and every life.”
Ronald Reagan had several careers before becoming President of the United States. He graduated from Eureka College, a small college in Illinois and became a radio sports announcer. When he was 26-years-old, he went to California to report on baseball spring training. While there, he was offered a contract with a movie studio. Over the next 30 years, he appeared in 53 movies. During World War II, Reagan made training movies for the army. He worked in public relations for General Electric Company, making television shows and speeches about the company. He served as governor of California before winning two terms as our 40th President.
Ronald Reagan had a charming, friendly personality and gave compelling speeches. He was often called, “The Great Communicator.” Originally a Democrat, he became a conservative Republican later in life. He believed that government interfered too much in people’s lives. He also believed in a strong military and worried about the spread of Communism. During his two terms in office, the country enjoyed greater prosperity and peace than they had in many years.
- Ronald Reagan was born February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois. His father was a shoe salesman. The family never had much money.
- Reagan is the only President to have been divorced. He was married to actress Jane Wyman for almost 10 years. He married Nancy Davis in 1952. The couple appeared devoted to each other and had two children. Reagan had two children with Jane Wyman.
- During Reagan’s presidency, he reduced taxes and cut programs for the elderly, the environment, and the poor. He wanted welfare money to be reserved for those who truly needed it, not those who could – and should – work.
- Reagan increased military spending and sent money to defend the governments of Honduras and El Salvador, which were fighting against rebels.
- The U.S. was in serious financial trouble when Reagan took office. His program of reducing taxes to stimulate the economy did help reduce inflation and lower interest rates. However, the government was more than $180 billion in debt when he left office. Many people thought his programs helped the rich and ignored the poor.
- Reagan asked Congress to simplify tax laws. Millions of poor people were exempt from paying taxes under his plan.
- He met with Soviet leaders to improve relationships and reduce nuclear arms.
- Reagan believed that peace can only be maintained through strength. He took a hard stance against terrorism. He ordered air strikes against military targets in Libya. Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar al-Quaddafi, had led several acts of terror against the U.S.
- Reagan had said that he wouldn’t negotiate for hostages. People were surprised when Robert McFarlane, former National Security Advisor, offered weapons in exchange for U.S. hostages in Beirut. Money from the sales of those weapons was sent to Nicaragua to fight Communist Contras. Although Reagan was never charged with any direct involvement, many of his staff members resigned over the Iran-Contra Affair. They made their negotiations in secret without the approval of Congress.
Questions and Answers
Question: Did Ronald Reagan become unpopular after the Iran-Contra scandal?
Answer: Some people were upset about the Iran-Contra scandal, as well as Reagan’s economic policies. However, Reagan had a good ole’ boy persona that made people want to trust and respect him. He was sometimes called, “The Teflon President,” because bad publicity didn’t stick to him. Reagan was our oldest President. During the later years of his Presidency, he sometimes suffered from memory loss. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Visit WhiteHouse.gov to learn more about President Reagan.