Who was he: Many conservative Americans would consider Ronald Reagan the best president of the 20th Century. Although there was more conservative talk than real action, Ronald Reagan's administration dealt skillfully with Congress and they curbed inflation, cut taxes and stimulated economic growth. They called it supply-side economics and the media called it "Reaganomics." However, at the same time, Reagan dramatically increased defense spending to a level the impoverished Soviet Union could not match. The actual net effect was a massive increase in US debt during the Reagan administration's time in the White House.
Ronald Reagan's masterful command "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," certainly caught the attention of the world and the oppressed peoples of Eastern Europe. Reagan did this against the wishes of his Anglo-American advisors and without their knowledge. On the other hand, most of what Reagan accomplished despite his rhetoric continued the socialist, leveling policies of the US.
He was a good free-market communicator but he evidently and obviously was co-opted by the elites that run Washington DC and the City of London in addition to most of the rest of the world. It has even been suggested by conspiratorial historians that he was shot as a warning that he ought not to put any of his free-market beliefs into practice. Ultimately, despite the rhetoric, he does not seem to have accomplished much, unless one attributes the collapse of the USSR to his policies, a doubtful premise.
Background: Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois. Reagan attended school in Dixon and after graduation worked his way through Eureka College where Reagan studied sociology and economics. Reagan played football, participated in college plays and after graduation he became a radio sportscaster.
In 1937, after a successful screen test, Reagan began to work in Hollywood and over the next 20 years acted in more than 50 films. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Reagan was drafted into the army where he made training and propaganda films.
As his acting career expanded after the war, Reagan became involved in fighting communism in the film industry when he became president of the Screen Actors Guild. His politics evolved from the left to rightwing conservatism and Reagan increasingly became a spokesman for conservative views.
In 1966, following his 1964 election eve speech supporting Barry Goldwater, Reagan was elected as the Republican governor of California. Reagan was re-elected again in 1970.
In 1980, Reagan won the GOP presidential nomination with George Bush, Sr. as his VP and later in the general election won a landslide presidential victory. This was comparable to Goldwater's earlier conservative defeat in 1964. Reagan won 489 electoral votes to 49 for sitting President Jimmy Carter.
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