Birth of Ronald Reagan

February 06, 2019

On 6 February 1911, Ronald Wilson Reagan was born – the 40th President of the US, one of the world’s great conservatives and arguably the greatest US president of the 20th century.

Originally a Democrat until 1962 - when the party left him - Reagan became a great Republican conservative, communicator and President with true spine, conviction, principle and charisma. Whilst he appealed to right-of-centre voters be they conservatives, classical liberals or patriots, his policies and messages of less tax, regulation and government interference, greater personal responsibility, civic duty and morality also resonated with many blue-collar workers and libertarians.

The son of a blue-collar Democrat, Reagan came from a poor family in a small northern Illinois town. After college he became a radio sports announcer, scored a few major Hollywood acting, television and motivational speaker roles and was twice elected president of the Screen Actors’ Guild. Reagan was elected Republican governor of California in late 1966, a post he held for two full four-year terms). On his third and successful attempt for presidential nomination, Reagan defeated first-term US President Jimmy Carter in a 1980 landslide - a result he bettered in 1984.

Reagan’s presidency was famous for what was labelled ‘Reaganomics’ – record tax cuts, mass de-regulation, taming both inflation & public sector unions whilst slashing non-military public spending. Reagan also waged a concerted war on drugs and restored U.S. pride, culture, dignity, liberty and patriotism.

Throughout the 1980s Reagan stood up to and successfully stared down the Soviet “Evil Empire” (as he called it), aided by a massive military build up ('peace through strength'), sterner Cold War rhetoric, tighter economic embargoes and resisting Soviet-backed Marxist insurgencies in the third world.  Reagan's approach contrasted with Henry Kissinger inspired "détente" foreign policy, such as peaceful relations with the world's largest Marxist meances, including China, which the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations had followed through the 1970s. 

Within a year of Reagan leaving office (at a near 70% approval rating), the Berlin Wall fell in lat 1989, Germany reunified and the Soviet Union collapsed soon afterwards.

Reagan died of pneumonia complicated by Alzheimer's disease (which he suffered for 10 years) at his home in Los Angeles, California on 5 June 2004 aged 93. He was, then, the longest-lived US president in history. Inscribed at his burial site are the words:

I know in my heart that man is good
that what is right will always eventually triumph
and that there is purpose and worth to each and every life.

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