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Ronald Reagan

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President Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois (Huckshorn 1). He was born in a small apartment above the Pitney General Store (Life Before 1). John Edward Reagan (his father) was a shoe salesman that was an alcoholic. The first time he saw his son he said, "For such a little bit of a fat Dutchman, he makes a hell of a lot of noise, doesn't he" (Life Before 1). This led to his nickname, "Dutch."

Reagan's father barely had a grade-school education, but he loved his children. He tried to earn a living for his family, but it was difficult because he was an "alcoholic". Reagan's father's luck changed when he was chosen to be the Dixon director of the Works Progress Administration. This was a federal agency that put Americans back to work after the Depression.

Reagan's mother taught her children that alcoholics had a disease. His mother visited prisoners, the inmates of poor houses, and hospital patients. She outlived her husband who died in 1941.

Reagan graduated from High School in 1928. "Reagan played basketball and right guard on the football team, ran track, served as president of the student body, acted in school plays, and wrote for the yearbook" (Life Before 1)

Reagan majored in economics and astronomy at Eureka College. He was the editor of the college yearbook, served as president of the student council, and led cheers for the school's basketball team. As a freshman he led a student strike in protest against a decision made by the college administration. "The student demonstration resulted in the resignation of the college president and a return to the old curriculum" (Life Before 2).

Once Reagan graduated at Eureka he took a job as weekend radio sportscaster in Davenport, Iowa. Two years later he became a sports announcer (who2 1). In 1936, Reagan was the popular voice of baseball and football in the Midwest.

In 1936, Reagan started into films. Warner Brothers offered him a salary of $200 per week. "By the time he became governor of California in 1967, he had 50 films to his credit" (Life Before 2). His most important film was the movie titled "Knute Rockne--All American". He used the words when he ran for president from this film, "Someday, when things are tough, maybe you can ask the boys to go in there and win just once for the Gipper" (Life Before 2).

Reagan's film career began to suffer because of politics in the 40's. Reagan married Jane Wyman. While Reagan served in the military, Wyman's career in the films began to blossom. Reagan seemed to love politics more than his marriage and they divorced in 1948.

Reagan married Nancy Reagan in 1952. Nancy Reagan was the daughter of a wealthy conservative Chicago physician. Reagan met her for dinner to discuss removing her name from the Screen Actors Guild. A storybook romance began. He married her two years later.

In 1965, Reagan was one of the most recognized activists in the nation. He had a smooth delivery that few people could equal.

Reagan presented himself as an ordinary middle-American who resented taxes, crime, welfare dependents, and the counter-culture lifestyle on campuses. Reagan easily defeated his opponent and became governor of California.

Reagan ran the state with political stokes that contradicted his rhetoric. Reagan wanted to bring law and order to the campuses of California. "He signed a liberalized abortion law, spoke against a state proposition that would have barred homosexual teachers from public schools, and created strong anti-pollution agencies" (Life Before 5).

Reagan became the nation's leading spokesperson for the nation concerning the "New Right" agenda. "Referred to by television news commentators as the first Republican 'prime-time' candidate, Reagan was the person to beat in the 1980 part primaries" (Campaigns 1).

Reagan's pitch in the election was to lower taxes, increase defense spending, and have a balanced budget. He elected Bush as his choice for vice president. The Democrats stood firm against their election against President Carter. In a debate Reagan asked the voters if they were better off than they were four years ago. This turned many in the favor of Reagan. "It was the worst defeat of an incumbent president since Hoover's loss to FDR in 1932. Carter won only four small states plus his home state of Georgia" (Campaigns 4).

Republicans again selected Reagan and Bush to run in 1984. The Democrats selected Walter Mondale. Reagan used many one-liners that poked fun at his adversaries. Mondale believed that the high deficits and unbalanced budget would put the public in his favor and against Reagan, but it did not happen. Reagan's campaign slogan was "It's morning again in America" was accepted by most of middle-Americans" (Campaigns 7)

The Reagan's years can be said to be of the nation who loved their president. They forgave his mistakes and overlooked his wrongs. Reagan was shot ten weeks after his inauguration and Reagan turned this into a lesson of courage. Reagan's courage and humor endeared him to even his enemies.

"Reagan early on showed his mettle for tough-minded and decisive action when he



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