- NAME: Ronald Reagan
- OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Television Actor, U.S. President, U.S. Governor
- BIRTH DATE: February 06, 1911
- DEATH DATE: June 05, 2004
- EDUCATION: Dixon High School, Eureka College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Tampico, Illinois
- PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California
- Nickname: The Gipper
- Nickname: The Great Communicator
- Full Name: Ronald Wilson Reagan
- AKA: Ronald Reagan
- Nickname: Dutch
Best Known For
President Ronald Reagan helped redefine the purpose of government and pressured the Soviet Union to end the Cold War. He solidified the conservative agenda for decades after his presidency.
Ronald Reagan - Re-election (2:55)
Ronald Reagan - Childhood (4:26)
Ronald Reagan - Full Biography (45:55)
During his re-election campaign Ronald Reagan faced the ever present issue of his age and the fact that he was the oldest U.S. President ever to be elected.
Learn about the childhood of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.
An inside look at the 1980 Presidential debate between then President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States was a man who people loved or hated. His detractors saw him as a front man for wealthy interests, his advocates saw him as the leader who revitalized the American economy.
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Reagan stepped into the national political spotlight in 1964, when he gave a well-received televised speech for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, a prominent conservative. Two years later, in his first race for public office, Reagan defeated Democratic incumbent Edmund "Pat" Brown Sr. by almost 1 million votes,
winning the California governorship. He was re-elected to a second term in 1970.
After making unsuccessful bids for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 and 1976, Reagan finally received his party's nod in 1980. In that year's general election, he defeated Democrat incumbent President Jimmy Carter, winning the Electoral College (489 to 49) and capturing almost 51 percent of the popular vote. At age 69, Reagan was the oldest person elected to the U.S. presidency.
In his inaugural speech on January 20, 1981, Reagan rhetorically announced that "government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem." He called for an era of national renewal and hoped that America would again be "a beacon of hope for those who do not have freedom." He and his wife, Nancy Reagan, ushered in a new era of glamour to the White House, with designer fashions and a major redecoration of the executive mansion.
On March 30, 1981, as President Ronald Reagan was exiting the Washington Hilton Hotel with several of his advisors, shots rang out and quick-thinking Secret Service agents thrust Reagan into his limousine. Once in the car, aides discovered that the president had been hit. His would-be assassin, John Hinckley Jr., also shot three other people, none of them fatally. At the hospital, doctors determined that the gunman's bullet had pierced one of the president's lungs and narrowly missed his heart. Reagan, known for his good-natured humor, later told his wife, "Honey, I forgot to duck." Within several weeks of the shooting, President Reagan was back at work.
On the domestic front, President Reagan advanced policies that reduced social programs and restrictions on business. Tax cuts were implemented to stimulate the United States' economy. He also advocated for increases in military spending, reductions in certain social programs and measures to deregulate business. By 1983, the nation's economy had begun to recover and, according to many economists, entered a seven-year period of prosperity. Critics charged that his policies had actually increased the deficit and hurt the middle class and poor, however. In 1981, Reagan made history by appointing Sandra Day O'Connor as the first woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The most pressing foreign policy issue of Ronald Reagan's first term was the Cold War. Dubbing the Soviet Union "the evil empire," Reagan embarked on a massive build-up of U.S. weapons and troops. He implemented the "Reagan Doctrine," which provided aid to anti-communist movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 1983, he announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, a plan aiming to develop space-based weapons to protect America from attacks by Soviet nuclear missiles.
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Political assassinations are an all-too-common occurrence, and they often become major landmark events. Luckily, many attempts to murder a political figure don't succeed, and a life is spared. Even those events, though, become important events in our history. In one of the most famous incidents, John Hinckley, Jr. tried to assassinate President Reagan in 1981.The president suffered a puntured lung, but survived the shooting. Here's a look at some of the most famous failed assassination attempts.
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