Child of an alcoholic father, Reagan developed an early gift for storytelling and acting. He was a first-rate radio announcer of Chicago Cubs games, getting only the bare outlines of the game from a ticker and relying on his imagination and storytelling gifts to flesh out the game. Once in 1934, during the ninth inning of a Cubs-Cardinals game, the wire went dead. Reagan smoothly improvised the play-by-play.
Reagan had a successful career in Hollywood as a second-rank leading man, as his face and body were as handsome as his voice. There he acquired the nickname "the Gipper," which he retained the rest of his life.
Ronald Reagan began his political life as a staunch New Deal / Franklin D. Roosevelt supporter. He gradually became a staunch anti-Communist. His political career started through the presidency of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). He gained political stature through radio broadcasts and speaking tours sponsored by the General Electric company.
In 1966, he was elected governor of California and tried to gain the Republican presidential nomination in 1976 over the incumbent Gerald Ford. After his defeat at the Republican Conventionhe want on to be elected president in 1980 and 1984. During his presidency, Reagan survived an assassination attempt by John Hinckley, Jr. Like most successful politicians, he had great stage presence, and great instincts for how to come across to people and make them like him.
- in favor of tax cuts
- in favor of smaller non-military government
- in favor of removing regulations on corporations
- supportive of business interests, both small and large
- supportive of some individual liberties
- tough on crime
- a big fan of jellybeans
He is credited with:
- building up the military
- lowering taxes
- increasing the budget deficit
- creating the Earned Income Tax Credit
- greatly escalating the "war on drugs"
- beginning antimissile defense research (Star Wars)
- coining the term "volunteerism"
- firing the air traffic controllers when they attempted to strike
Debate continues as to his impact in:
- defeating the Soviet Union through the escalation of the Cold War arms race
- reviving the US economy through deregulation
- damaging race relations
He was the first divorced person to be elected president.
Reagan currently suffers from Alzheimers disease.
Major Legislation Signed
Major Legislation Vetoed
Supreme court Appointments
- Sandra Day O'Connor - 1981
- William Rehnquist - Chief Justice, 1986 (an associate justice since 1972)
- Antonin Scalia - 1986
- Anthony M. Kennedy - 1988