What does it take to stand up against politicians? To fight for what you believe in and what you think would benefit the United States of America? It takes courage. Ronald Reagan has that courage, not only did he stay true to his beliefs and ideas, he accomplished them within his presidency. He believed people should be less dependent on their government. Reagan asked citizens to “Begin an era of national renewal” during his inaugural address. He also declared, “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” These were not popular ideas among some politicians, but that did not sway the USA’s fortieth president. Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois. After finishing high school, he continued his education studying economics and sociology at Eureka College. He was elected Governor of California in 1966 and reelected in 1970. In 1980, Reagan won the Republican Presidential nomination and chose George Bush as his running mate. They were elected with 489 electoral votes to the 49 votes for opposing Jimmy Carter. President Reagan took office on January 20, 1981. Ronald Reagan’s economic policy was to lower income taxes, increase funding for defense, and balance the federal budget. Most of his plans had a downside, but by sticking to his ideas, economic gains were achieved. President Reagan’s policies were commonly called “Reaganomics.” In his first year in office, he built up national defense, made a 25 percent tax cut spread over three years, and cut back the budget by $39 billion. Inflation dropped dramatically, but in 1982, a severe recession occurred. Unemployment surpassed ten percent for the first time in forty years, which caused the administration to change its economic policy. They proposed selected tax increases and budget cuts to control the rising financial problems. These actions caused a record economic growth and produced one of the lowest unemployment rates in U.S. history. Although foreign trade was negatively affecting the nation, Reagan kept his free trade stance and signed an agreement with Canada, along with endorsing trade legislation that opened foreign markets to American products. Even though some politicians disagreed with these decisions, by sticking with his original plans, Reagan helped bring the nation out of economic downfall. When it came to domestic affairs, Reagan was equally commendable. He supported the Tax Reform law of 1986, the largest tax cut in U.S. history. Likewise, he oversaw the passage of a Social Security reform bill, immigration reform enactment, and the expansion of Medicare. President Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court, making her the first woman to be in that position. To keep things running smoothly during the air-traffic controllers’ strike of 1981, he fired them after they refused to end their strike. This put him out of favor in certain groups. He also went to great measures to stop the influx of illegal drugs and worked internationally against drug abuse. Perhaps Reagan’s most controversial cause was his foreign policy. He wanted to prevent communist expansion and helped countries free themselves of it and believed the nation should negotiate with the Soviet Union. On Washington Summit in December of 1987, Reagan and the General Secretary of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, signed an Intermediate Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty to eliminate an entire class of intermediate-range nuclear missiles. This was the first arms control agreement in history to reduce the nuclear arsenal as well as the first part of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). The Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) followed, cutting in half the strategic nuclear arsenals, including multiple warhead missiles. It was the beginning of a new era of relations between American and Soviet leaders. When 52 American hostages were held in Iran for 444 days, President Reagan reported that finally they would be released and returned to freedom. In 1983, 241 soldiers who were part of a peacekeeping force in Lebanon, were killed in a truck bomb. In 1987, tragedy struck again when an Iraqi missile hit the U.S.S. Stark, killing 37 sailors that had been sent to the Persian Gulf to keep the area open during the Iran-Iraq war. By not cooperating with terrorists, he showed the world that the U.S. would not negotiate, but if need be, retaliate. President Ronald Reagan served two consecutive terms in office, in which he improved the nation’s social, business, and international agendas. Known as the “Great Communicator”, he went on television many times to ask the viewers for their support on various bills. Support for Reagan grew when he was wounded during an attempted assassination. When he ran for a second term in 1984, he asked voters if they were better off than they were with the previous president. Reagan was reelected at age 73, making him the oldest man ever voted into presidential office. He was well liked by the majority of the population at the end of his presidency, too. At the start of his presidency, Reagan had a clear economic, social, and foreign policy agenda, along with the courage to achieve these goals. Looking back on his years in office, he said, “I am the same man I was when I came to Washington. I believe in the same things I believed when I came to Washington, and I think those beliefs have been vindicated by the success of the policies to which we hold fast.” Reagan’s legacy changed the United States and shaped the nation in which we live today. Soon after his presidency began, he remarked, “What I’d really like to do is go down in history as the President who made Americans believe in themselves again.” President Ronald Reagan, you did just that. Bibliography none Word Count: 947
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