Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, would have been 102 today. Born and raised in Illinois, he was a college football player, a union leader, a Governor of California in the 1960’s, and became president in 1980. He started out as a Democrat and was supportive of FDR”s New Deal.
He became conservative in the 1950’s and switched to the Republican Party in 1962.
He was the only divorced President. He and his first wife, Jane Wyman divorced in 1948. He married actress Nancy Davis in 1952.
He kept a jar of jellybeans on his desk. He loved them and took to eating them when he gave up pipe smoking. A man after my own heart, he hated Brussel Sprouts.
His last movie was in The Killers in 1964. It was his only role as a villain. The movie was the first made-for TV movie but was too violent and ran in the movie theaters instead.
His supply-side economic policies, dubbed “Reaganomics”, advocated reducing tax rates to spur economic growth, controlling the money supply to reduce inflation, deregulation of the economy, and reducing government spending.
In his first term, he survived an assassination attempt, stood up against the air traffic controllers union, and ordered an invasion of Grenada. He was re-elected in a landslide in 1984. He said it was Morning in America.
In his second term, he was focused on foreign matters, ending the Cold War, dealing with the 1986 bombing of Libya and the revelation of the Iran-Contra affair.
He called the Soviet Union the “evil empire” and supported anti-comunist movements worldwide.
He relinquished the strategy of détente by ordering a massive military buildup in an arms race with the USSR. Reagan negotiated with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, culminating in the INF Treaty and the decrease of both countries’ nuclear arsenals.
He left office in 1989, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1994, dying ten years later at age 93.
He is held in high regard as one of the finest US presidents and brought about a renaissance on the American political right.
Ronald Reagan’s humor:
One of his great accomplishments was his role in getting the Soviets to tear down the Berlin Wall.
Tear down this wall!
Margaret Thatcher described him exactly in her eulogy:
Ronald Reagan’s funeral, Amazing Grace:
He was a great man and a great president. He is greatly missed.