Ronald Reagan

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Ronald Wilson Reagan ( RAY-gən; February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was an American politician, union leader, and actor who served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Before ascending to the presidency, he previously served as the 33rd governor of California from 1967 to 1975 and was the president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1947 to 1952 and from 1959 until 1960. Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois. He graduated from Eureka College in 1932 and began to work as a sports announcer in Iowa. In 1937, Reagan moved to California, where he found work as a film actor. From 1947 to 1952, Reagan served as the president of the Screen Actors Guild. In the 1950s, he worked in television and became a spokesman for General Electric. From 1959 to 1960, he again served as the Screen Actors Guild's president. In 1964, Reagan's speech "A Time for Choosing" earned him attention as a new conservative figure. He was elected governor of California in 1966. During his governorship, he raised taxes, turned the state budget deficit into a surplus, and cracked down on student protests at the University of California, Berkeley. After challenging and nearly defeating sitting president Gerald Ford in the 1976 Republican presidential primaries, Reagan won the Republican nomination in the 1980 presidential election and went on to defeat incumbent Democratic president Jimmy Carter. Early in his presidency, Reagan implemented "Reaganomics", which promoted economic deregulation and cuts in both taxes and government spending during a period of stagflation. He escalated an arms race with the Soviet Union and transitioned Cold War policy from détente to rollback. He also survived an assassination attempt, fought public sector labor unions, spurred the war on drugs, and ordered an invasion of Grenada. In the 1984 presidential election, Reagan defeated former vice president Walter Mondale in a landslide victory. Foreign affairs dominated Reagan's second term, including the bombing of Libya, the Iran–Iraq War, the Iran–Contra affair, and a more conciliatory approach in talks with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The talks culminated in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Throughout Reagan's presidency, the American economy saw a significant reduction of inflation, the unemployment rate fell, and the United States entered its then-longest peacetime expansion. His cuts in domestic discretionary spending and taxes, as well as increased military spending, contributed to a near tripling of the federal debt. After leaving the presidency in 1989, Alzheimer's disease hindered Reagan's physical and mental capacities. He died at his home in Los Angeles in 2004. His tenure constituted the Reagan era, and he is often considered a prominent conservative figure in the United States. Surveys of historians and scholars have ranked his presidency favorably.