Reagan was the 40th president of the United States from 1981-1989; he was an important and influential conservative voice, and is remembered as one of America’s greatest presidents. In this essay I will be writing about his life, his assination attempt, and death.
Ronald Reagan was born on February 6th, 1911, in Tampico Illinois, to Nell Clyde and John Edward Reagan. Reagan’s family was rather poor, yet he was optimistic and had quite a bit of faith. He also saw the good in people. Reagan was very supportive and kind to African Americans; he even invited some African Americans to his home to stay for the night because he had noticed that they were not accepted at a local Inn.
For highschool he attended Dixon High School. This was where he found an interest in acting(which he participated in), sports, and storytelling. During summer vacations he worked as a lifeguard. After graduating from highschool he began attending the Eureka College in Illinois, where he studied economics and sociology. He also was a cheerleader, member of the football team, and the captain of the swim team.
After graduating in 1932 he moved to Iowa and got a job as a radio announcer, there he became the announcer for the Chicago Cubs baseball team. While traveling with the Cubs, in 1937, he took a screen test, which ended up with a contract with Warner Brothers for seven years, which was the start of his acting career, and his life in California.
Acting and Military Career
Reagan became a somewhat successful actor, but missed his chance of becoming a star when he got drafted to active duty in the US army. After military training, Reagan joined the Army Enlisted Reserve, but thanks to his poor eyesight he was classified for limited military services. Eventually he requested and received a transfer to the First Motion Picture Unit.
After the war Reagan returned to California where he resumed acting, he also became a part time informant to the FBI on potential communists. Around this time he and his first wife(Jane Whyman), got divorced, in 1948. Not so long after in 1952 he remarried to a woman named Nancy Davis.
Early Political and Political Career
Reagan was a Democrat for much of his younger years, until the 50s, when he began shifting to more conversative political beliefs. He began recording early warnings of the medicare system leading socialism and the end of freedom in America. He joined the National Rifle Association, where he became a lifetime member.
In 1964 Reagan gained national attention, thanks to his support of conseravtive Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign. Reagan also began promoting his belief on smaller government, through several speeches. One of his big breakthroughs politically before becoming president was when he won the election for governor of California in 1966. He was governor until 1975.
In 1968 Reagan first ran for president, but finished third in the race for the Republican Nomination. To ensure that he would not be forgotten he began to hold a Radio Commentary series, and organized the Citizens for the Republic action committee.
During the 1980 presidential campaign Reagan gained the spotlight and won the Republican nomination, and the presidency. One of his main statements during his campaign was: “I believe in state rights.” For his vice president he chose one of his opponents, George H.W Bush.
Presidency and Assination Attempt
Reagan was a very active president, even though he was almost seventy when he was elected. He campaigned to restore prayer to schools, through a moment of silence. But unfortunately early on in his presidency he became a target for an assasination, and on March 30th, 1981 he was shot. Thankfully he was only wounded. He recovered quite quickly though and in a matter of several weeks was back on his feet again.
Inflation in the US when Reagan was first elected was at 12.5%, but to help the US recover from stagflation Reagan helped reduce the inflation rate, to the point that when he left office inflation was at 4.4%.
During his re-election campaign Reagan won 49 out of 50 states, winning him a second term. During his second term he focused on a war against drugs. He also helped bring an end to the Cold War, condemning Soviet policies, but encouraging foreign relations.
Later Life and Death
After moving out of the White House in 1989, Reagan and his wife moved back to California, where he lived until his death. In 1994 Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which he suffered with until 2004, when he passed away at the age of 94, leaving the legacy of being one of the best US presidents.