Ronald Reagan

Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


Astro-Rayological Interpretation & Charts
Iimages and Physiognomic Interpretations

to Volume 3 Table of Contents


   Ronald Reagan—Actor, Politician, United States President, Ideologue

February 6, 1911, Tampico, Illinois. Time of birth is given variously by a number of astrologers. 4:16 AM (Source: biography by Edmund Morris, time supposedly taken from his birth certificate. Another time of 1:56 AM yields as Scorpio Ascendant. Times of 2:00 PM {Carroll Righter} and 1:20 PM {Church of Light} are also given. Other times as well).

(Ascendant, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Cancer or Gemini;; Sun in Aquarius; Moon and Saturn in Taurus; Mercury conjunct Uranus in Capricorn with Mars also in Capricorn; Venus in Pisces; Jupiter in Scorpio; Neptune in Cancer; Pluto in Gemini)

(Be careful what is said here—adjust for Rising Sign) Was it an anomaly that Ronald Reagan, an actor—and not the best actor—ever became the president of the United States? Certainly, his chart has strong connections with the esoteric energies which condition America. The soul ray of the US is the second and the personality ray, the sixth. Reagan’s ray chart can be hypothesized with reason to be exactly the opposite—soul ray, the sixth, and personality ray, the second. The astrological signs of the United States, as assigned by the Tibetan, are—soul energy, Aquarius (hence, a kind of Ascendant); personality force, Gemini (hence, a kind of Sun Sign). However, Reagan’s Sun Sign is Aquarius, and if the time of birth given from his office (1:26 PM) is to be accepted, then Gemini is the Rising Sign. Thus, in both instances we see a reversal of the subtle energy pattern characterizing the United States. Incidentally, the Gemini Ascendant would make sense in terms of his reputation for being “the great communicator”—a epithet which emerged as his tenure in office proceeded.

Ronald Reagan was an immensely popular president. He was the apparent humanitarian, kind, well-liked, friendly (Aquarius plus Venus in Pisces near or on the MC). The abuses of Aquarian energy manifested as cronyism—putting his friends in high places. He is most remembered for challenging and, in a sense, defeating, Soviet Communism. His program of spending for the US military was so ambitious, that the Soviet Union simply could not keep up, and moved increasingly towards a policy of “openness” vis-à-vis the United States and the world. Thus, in retrospect, no matter how financially extravagant and improvident may have been Reagan’s financial policies (unrealistic, inflationary Neptune in H2), he is credited with forcing the Soviet Union to change its system—which, under Gorvachev it did, dramatically.  

The Soviet Union (or rather, Russia) is ruled by Aquarius—a strong energy in Reagan’s chart. He had, therefore, a strong line of connection to Russia. His hypothesized soul ray—the sixth—would be the same as the personality rays of both Russia and the United States. This idealism is strengthened by an idealistic Aquarian Sun placed in the ninth house—the Sagittarian house of vision. To defeat Communism in whatever way he could was his idealistic quest, and history may demonstrate that, to a large measure, he succeeded.

The usual chart for Reagan shows Cancer on the Ascendant, which, if true, would relate him to the chart of the United States cast for July 4, 1776—Sun in Cancer. A possible Cancerian Ascendant would explain Reagan’s ability to capture the sentimental idealism of this Cancerian nation, and his tendency to promote a demand for safety and insularity (the “missile shield”), and encourage an aura of nostalgia—for better days gone by, for a wholesome “American Way of Life” which once existed and could be recaptured. Cancer looks backwards. It might not be incorrect to say that his view of the best in America was very much like Norman Rockwell’s—an individual also conditioned by Aquarius and the sixth ray.

Through his Aquarius Sun, he resonated inversely to America's future Aquarian destiny. Perhaps this is so because of strong materialistic influences in the chart—the stubbornness and resistance of Taurean Moon with conservative Saturn also in Taurus, and the crystallized thinking of Mercury in Capricorn. True, Mercury was conjuncted to Uranus, but the re-orderings and transformations he conceived all seemed to serve a conservative world view, backward-looking world view.                                           

Ronald Reagan will be remembered as an unlikely but tremendously influential president—a man of idealism (sixth ray), geniality (second ray), evocative imagery (fourth ray—a strong component of his story-telling, anecdotal mind) and decency (the presence of the seventh ray, at least physically). One may disagree with his ideals, but one must credit him with having held to them.


A people free to choose will always choose peace.

Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.

All great change in America begins at the dinner table.
(Cancer Ascendant. Moon in Taurus.)

All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk.

Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement.

Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.

Don't be afraid to see what you see.

Double, no triple, our troubles and we'd still be better off than any other people on earth. It is time that we recognized that ours was, in truth, a noble cause.

Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States.

Facts are stubborn things.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.

Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.

Going to college offered me the chance to play football for four more years.

Government always finds a need for whatever money it gets.

Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.

Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.

Governments tend not to solve problems, only to rearrange them.

History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.

How can a president not be an actor?

How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.

I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace: to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.
(Venus in Pisces conjunct Chiron in 9th house)

I couldn't help but say to Mr. Gorbachev just think how easy his task and mine might be in these meetings that we held if suddenly there was a threat to this world from another planet. We'd find out once and for all that we really are all human beings here on this earth together.
(Sun in Aquarius)

I favor the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and it must be enforced at gunpoint if necessary.

I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I'm in a cabinet meeting.

I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress.

I know I'm not in government anymore. In fact I'm out of work.

I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there's purpose and worth to each and every life.

I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon.

I've never been able to understand why a Republican contributor is a 'fat cat' and a Democratic contributor of the same amount of money is a 'public-spirited philanthropist'.

If we love our country, we should also love our countrymen.

If you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all.

In Israel, free men and women are every day demonstrating the power of courage and faith. Back in 1948 when Israel was founded, pundits claimed the new country could never survive. Today, no one questions that. Israel is a land of stability and democracy in a region of tryanny and unrest.

Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man.

It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.

It's difficult to believe that people are still starving in this country because food isn't available.

Let us ask ourselves; "What kind of people do we think we are?"

Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.

Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose - somehow we win out.

No mother would ever willingly sacrifice her sons for territorial gain, for economic advantage, for ideology.

Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.

Our forbearance should never be misunderstood. Our reluctance for conflict should not be misjudged as a failure of will. When action is required to preserve our national security, we will act.
(Mars in Capricorn conjunct Descendant)

Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.

People do not make wars; governments do.

Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.

Protecting the rights of even the least individual among us is basically the only excuse the government has for even existing.

Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15.

The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would steal them away.

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.

The neutron warhead is a defensive weapon designed to offset the great superiority that the Soviet Union has on the western front against the NATO nations.

The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.

The taxpayer - that's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination.

The thought of being President frightens me and I do not think I want the job.

The ultimate determinant in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas - a trial of spiritual resolve: the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish and the ideals to which we are dedicated.

The United States has much to offer the third world war.

There are no easy answers' but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.

There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.

They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong.

Thomas Jefferson once said, 'We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.' And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I did not take the oath I have just taken with the intention of presiding over the dissolution of the world's strongest economy.

To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last - but eat you he will.

Today we did what we had to do. They counted on America to be passive. They counted wrong.

Today, if you invent a better mousetrap, the government comes along with a better mouse.

Trust, but verify.

We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.

We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.

We should measure welfare's success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.

We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we will always be free.

Welfare's purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.

What makes him think a middle aged actor, who's played with a chimp, could have a future in politics?

What we have found in this country, and maybe we're more aware of it now, is one problem that we've had, even in the best of times, and that is the people who are sleeping on the grates, the homeless, you might say, by choice.

Whatever time I've got left now belongs to the Big Fella Upstairs.

While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.

Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness.

You know, if I listened to Michael Dukakis long enough, I would be convinced we're in an economic downturn and people are homeless and going without food and medical attention and that we've got to do something about the unemployed.

Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.

We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.

Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It seeps through the walls topped by barbed wire, it wafts across the electrified borders.
(Sun in Aquarius)

Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.

I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease.... I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.

You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jelly beans.

Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man.

We have so many people who can’t see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion that the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one!

It doesn’t do good to open doors for someone who doesn’t have the price to get in. If he has the price, he may not need the laws. There is no law saying the Negro has to live in Harlem or Watts.

I will stand on, and continue to use, the figures I have used, because I believe they are correct. Now, I’m not going to deny that you don’t now and then slip up on something; no one bats a thousand.

I’ve often said there’s nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.

But there are advantages to being elected President. The day after I was elected, I had my high school grades classified Top Secret.
ATTRIBUTION: Ronald Reagan (b. 1911), U.S. Republican politician, president. Address, June 19, 1986, to the graduating class of Glassboro High School, New Jersey.

The Marxist vision of man without God must eventually be seen as an empty and a false faith—the second oldest in the world—first proclaimed in the Garden of Eden with whispered words of temptation: “Ye shall be as gods.”

We might come closer to balancing the Budget if all of us lived closer to the Commandments and the Golden Rule.


Born February 6, 1911
Tampico, Illinois, USA
Died June 5, 2004, age 93
Bel-Air, L.A., California, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse (1) Jane Wyman (married 1940, divorced 1948)
(2) Nancy Davis Reagan (married 1952)
Religion Presbyterian

Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975). At 69, he was the oldest person ever to be elected President of the United States. Before entering politics, Reagan was a successful Hollywood and television actor, head of the Screen Actors Guild, and a spokesman for General Electric. He was a prominent New Dealer in the 1940s, but by 1960 Reagan had become a conservative Republican. He strongly opposed communism and socialism, and as president he sought a reduction to regulation, free-trade agreements, welfare cutbacks, and tax cuts.

He married Jane Wyman in 1940, and they divorced in 1948. In 1952, he married Nancy Davis, with whom he remained for the rest of his life, fifty-two years.

Reagan is credited with restoring America's power and prosperity after a period of stagflation in the wake of the Watergate scandal and the withdrawal from Vietnam. He rejected Détente and escalated the Cold War with the Soviet Union through a military build-up and a firm foreign policy of "peace through strength," but also negotiated with Mikhail Gorbachev to shrink both countries' nuclear arsenals and help bring a peaceful end to the Cold War.

Reagan's persuasive quotable speaking style earned him the sobriquet "The Great Communicator," while his survival of numerous scandals earned him the nickname "The Teflon President."[1] Notable appointments included Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court, and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

After leaving office, Reagan wrote a well-received autobiography titled An American Life. In several recent ratings of American presidents, Ronald Reagan ranked high.[1] After suffering from Alzheimer's disease for at least a decade, he died in 2004 at the age of 93 in Bel-Air, California. He is the second longest-lived president in U.S. history, just behind Gerald Ford by 45 days.

Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, in a flat above the local bank in Tampico, Illinois. He was the second of two sons born to John Edward Reagan (1883–1941), an Irish American Catholic, and Nelle Clyde Wilson (1883–1962), who was of Scottish, Canadian, and English descent, and a member of the Disciples of Christ. Reagan was raised in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) faith. Reagan's father was a problem drinker and sporadically unemployed.

His paternal great-grandfather, Michael Reagan, came to the United States from Ballyporeen, County Tipperary, Ireland, in the 1860s, and the rest of his paternal family also immigrated from Ireland in the 1800s. [2] Prior to his immigration, the family name was spelled Regan. His maternal great-grandfather, John Wilson, immigrated to the United States from Paisley, Scotland, in the 1840s and married Jane Blue, a Canadian from Queens, New Brunswick. Reagan's maternal grandmother, Mary Anne Elsey, was born in Epsom, Surrey, England.

Reagan's family lived in several small Illinois towns and, briefly, Chicago during Reagan's earliest years. In 1920, when Reagan was nine years old, the Reagan family settled in the small town of Dixon, Illinois. The midwestern "small universe" made a lasting impression on Reagan "where I learned standards and values that would guide me the rest of my life", Reagan recounted in his autobiography. "I learned that hard work is an essential part of life - that by and large, you don't get something for nothing - and that America was a place that offered unlimited opportunity to those who did work hard. I learned to admire risk takers and entrepreneurs, be they farmers or small merchants, who went to work and took risks to build something for themselves and their children, pushing at the boundaries of their lives to make them better. I have always wondered at this American marvel."

In Dixon, Reagan attended Dixon High School, where he developed a gift for storytelling and acting. In 1926, Reagan's first job was that of a lifeguard at the Rock River in Lowell Park, near Dixon. He was credited with saving 77 lives during the seven summers he worked there.

After High School, Reagan attended Eureka College, where he majored in economics and sociology. He was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and was very active in sports.

From radio announcer to Hollywood star
From the trailer for Cowboy from Brooklyn (1938), one of Reagan's earliest films.In 1932, after graduating from Eureka, Reagan worked at radio stations WOC in Davenport, Iowa, and then WHO in Des Moines as an announcer for Chicago Cubs baseball games, getting only the bare outlines of the game from a ticker and relying on his imagination to flesh out the game. Once, during the ninth inning of a game, the wire went dead but Reagan smoothly improvised a fictional play-by-play (in which hitters on both teams fouled off numerous pitches) until the wire was restored. As a Headline radio announcer, Reagan took a screen test that led to a seven-year contract with the Warner Brothers studio. Reagan's clear voice, easy-going manner, and athletic physique made him popular with audiences; the majority of his screen roles were as the leading man, beginning with "B" films and carrying on through "A" films. His first screen credit was the starring role in the 1937 movie Love Is On the Air. By the end of 1939, he had appeared in 19 films. Before Santa Fe Trail in 1940, he played the role of George "The Gipper" Gipp in the film Knute Rockne, All American. From this role he acquired the nickname the Gipper, which he retained the rest of his life. Reagan considered his best acting work to have been in Kings Row (1942). He played the part of a young man whose legs were amputated. He used a line he spoke in this film, "Where's the rest of me?", as the title for his autobiography. Other notable Reagan films include International Squadron, Tennessee's Partner, Hellcats of the Navy, This Is the Army, The Hasty Heart, Hong Kong, The Winning Team, Bedtime for Bonzo, Cattle Queen of Montana, Storm Warning, The Killers (1964 remake), and Prisoner of War movie. His many leading ladies included Jane Wyman, Priscilla Lane, Ann Sheridan, Viveca Lindfors, Patricia Neal, Barbara Stanwyck, Rhonda Fleming, Ginger Rogers, Doris Day, Nancy Davis, and Angie Dickinson. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

On May 25, 1937, Reagan was appointed a second lieutenant in the Officers' Reserve Corps of the Cavalry. He served with Troop B, 322nd Cavalry.[2] After the attack on Pearl Harbor, on April 18, 1942, Lieutenant Reagan was ordered to active duty, but because of his astigmatism was prevented from serving overseas.[3] He was first assigned to the San Francisco Port of Embarkation at Fort Mason, California, as a liaison officer for the Port and Transportation Office.[3] At the request of the Army Air Force, he applied for a transfer from the Cavalry to the Army Air Force.[3] In June 1942, was assigned to the First Motion Picture Unit, which made training and education films for the war effort.[3] Reagan recalled in his first autobiography Where's the Rest of Me that he witnessed inefficiencies in his Army department because bureaucrats wanted to protect their own jobs and budgets. That's when his enthusiasm for government efforts began to wane and his enthusiasm for free markets - and competition - began to rise, he recalled. Reagan remained in Hollywood for the duration of the war.

visiting Nancy Reagan on the set of her movie Donovan's Brain, 1953.Reagan's film roles became fewer in the late 1950s; he moved to television as a host and frequent performer for General Electric Theater. Reagan appeared in over 50 television dramas. Reagan served as the president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) from 1947 until 1952, and again from 1959 to 1960. In 1952, a Hollywood dispute raged over his granting of a SAG blanket waiver to MCA, which allowed it to both represent and employ talent for its burgeoning TV franchises. He went from host and program supervisor of General Electric Theater to producing and claiming an equity stake in the TV show itself. At one point in the late 1950s, Reagan was earning approximately $125,000 per year ($800,000 in 2006 dollars). His final work as a professional actor was as host and performer from 1964 to 1965 on the popular Death Valley Days television series. Reagan's final big-screen appearance came in the 1964 film The Killers, a remake of an earlier version, based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway. Reagan portrayed a mob chieftain. This film, the first made-for-TV movie, was originally produced for NBC, but the network's censor found it too violent. Reagan's co-stars were John Cassavetes, Lee Marvin, and Angie Dickinson.

In 1989, after leaving office, Reagan was contacted by the producers of the Back To The Future film trilogy about taking the role of the mayor of the fictional town of Hill Valley, "Mayor Hubert" in the third installment. According to Reagan's agent Lew Wasserman, he contemplated taking the role before eventually turning it down.

Reagan married actress Jane Wyman on January 24, 1940; they had a daughter, Maureen in 1941; an adopted son, Michael in 1945, and a second daughter, Christine, born and died June 26, 1947. They divorced on June 28, 1948. Reagan is the only United States President to date to have been divorced.

Reagan married actress Nancy Davis on March 4, 1952. His best man was William Holden. Their daughter Patti was born on October 21 of the same year. In 1958, they had a second child, Ron.

From the very start of their marriage, Ronald and Nancy Reagan were "soul mates." This deep relationship was with the Reagans throughout all of their married life. While President and First Lady, the Reagans frequently displayed their affection for each other in public, and in private. Even when the President was debilitated by Alzheimer's Disease, Nancy Reagan reaffirmed their love for each other, stating: "We were very much in love, and still are."

Early political career
TV star Ronald Reagan advertising boraxReagan was originally a Democrat, a supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal, and a lifelong admirer of FDR's leadership skills. In the late 1940s, Reagan was still a visible speaker defending President Harry S. Truman. But his political loyalties shifted to the Republican Party.

His first major political role was as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the labor union that represented most Hollywood actors. In this position, he testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) on suspected communist influence in the motion picture industry. The Screen Actors Guild, he claimed, was being infiltrated by communists. In private he and his first wife, Jane Wyman, met with FBI agents in 1947 to name "suspected subversives". Among those he allegedly fingered were actors Larry Parks, Howard Da Silva, and Alexander Knox, each of whom was later called before HUAC and subsequently blacklisted in Hollywood. (This information was not revealed until a 2002 Freedom of Information Act request.)[4] FBI files allegedly show that he continually gave the FBI names of people he suspected of communist ties.

Now a staunch anti-communist, Reagan supported the presidential candidacies of Dwight D. Eisenhower (1952;1956) and Richard Nixon (1960), while remaining a registered Democrat. Through these years, Reagan read about American history, the Founding Fathers, and free market economics. (Reagan had also majored in economics in college.) After reading Nobel Prize-winner Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, Reagan came to believe that socialism was a threat to the American way of life. Witnessing what he believed to be inefficient and overreaching government programs firsthand, Reagan believed that liberals were naively leading the country down a road to serfdom.

Following the election of John F. Kennedy, he formally switched parties to become a Republican in 1962 — in time to mount the 1964 bandwagon of conservative Presidential contender Barry Goldwater. Speaking on Goldwater's behalf, Reagan revealed his ideological motivation: "The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government set out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing."[5]

"I didn't leave the Democratic Party", he claimed. "The party left me."[6] Reagan later explained in his autobiography An American Life that Franklin D. Roosevelt warned that welfare programs could destroy the work ethic like "a narcotic" and that Roosevelt liquidated the temporary welfare programs designed to aid the country through the Great Depression once the Depression passed (only to be revived after his death), and Reagan implied that Roosevelt would have also disapproved of the change in the Democratic Party.

Governor of California
In 1966, he was elected the 33rd Governor of California, defeating two-term governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, after working with UC Regent Edwin Pauley to crack down on anti-war protesters at UC Berkeley. He was re-elected in 1970, defeating "Big Daddy" Jesse Unruh, but chose not to seek a third term. Ronald Reagan was sworn in as governor of California on January 3, 1967. In his first term, he froze government hiring but also approved tax hikes to balance the budget. Reagan quickly squelched protest movements of the era. During the People's Park protests in 1969, he sent 2,200 state National Guard troops to the Berkeley campus of the University of California. In a speech in April 1970, he stated, "If it's to be a bloodbath, let it be now. Appeasement is not the answer."[7]

He worked with Democratic Assembly Speaker Robert Moretti to reform welfare in 1971. Reagan also opposed the construction of a large federal dam, the Dos Rios, which would have flooded a valley of American Indian ranches. Later, Reagan and his family took a summer backpack trip into the high Sierra to a place where a proposed trans-Sierra highway would be built. Once there, he declared it would not be built. One of Reagan's greatest frustrations in office concerned capital punishment. He had campaigned as a strong supporter; however, his efforts to enforce the state's laws in this area were thwarted when the Supreme Court of California issued its People v. Anderson decision, which invalidated all death sentences issued in California prior to 1972, although the decision was quickly overturned by a constitutional amendment. Despite his support for the death penalty, Reagan granted two clemencies and a temporary reprieve during his governorship. As of 2006, no other clemency has been granted to a condemned person in California. The only execution during Reagan's governorship was on April 12, 1967, when Aaron Mitchell was executed by the state in San Quentin's gas chamber. There was not another execution in California until 1992. When the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped Patty Hearst in Berkeley and demanded the distribution of food to the poor, Reagan suggested that it would be a good time for an outbreak of botulism.[8] After the media reported on the comment, he apologized.

Reagan promoted the dismantling of the public psychiatric hospital system, proposing that community-based housing and treatment replace involuntary hospitalization, which he saw as a violation of civil liberties issue. The community replacement facilities have never been adequately funded, either by Reagan or his successors.[citation needed] Reagan was strongly influenced by the classical liberals. When asked in an interview in 1975 which economists were influential on him, he replied: "Bastiat and von Mises, and Hayek and Hazlitt–I’m one for the classical economists." [3]

Reagan was the first governor to use a corporate business jet for official travel. California received one of the first Cessna Citation jets manufactured. His pilot, Bill Paynter, changed his Democratic voting registration to Republican within six months of meeting Reagan. Paynter often told listeners the Reagan on TV was the same Reagan in person, a man who walked his talk. Reagan would often ask his flight crew if it would be any inconvenience to change the published flight schedule because he did not want to keep his support staff from being with their families and any family planned events.

Presidential campaigns
on the cover of Time as "Man of the Year," 1980.
1976 presidential campaign
Reagan first tested the Presidential waters in 1968 as part of a "Stop Nixon" movement which included those from the party's left led by then-New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Reagan managed to win the pledges of some 600 delegates, but Nixon quickly steamrolled to the nomination; Reagan urged the convention to nominate Nixon unanimously.

In 1976, Reagan challenged incumbent President Gerald Ford, a moderate. Reagan soon established himself as the conservative candidate; like-minded organizations such as the American Conservative Union became the key components of his political base. He relied on a strategy crafted by campaign manager John Sears of winning a few primaries early to seriously damage the liftoff of Ford's campaign, but the strategy quickly disintegrated. Poor management of expectations and an ill-timed speech promising to shift responsibility for federal services to the states without identifying any clear funding mechanism caused Reagan to lose New Hampshire and later Florida. Reagan found himself cornered, desperately needing a win to stay in the race.

Reagan's stand in the North Carolina primary was a do-or-die proposition. Hammering Ford on the Panama Canal, detente with the Soviet Union, busing of school children, and Henry Kissinger's performance as Secretary of State, Reagan won 53% to 47%. He used that bit of momentum to add the major states of Texas and California, but then fell back from losing efforts in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Michigan. As the party's convention in Kansas City neared, Ford appeared close to victory, thanks to New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania delegates ostensibly under the control of Ford's liberal Vice President Rockefeller. Acknowledging the strength of his party's moderate and liberal wing, Reagan balanced his ticket by choosing as his running mate moderate Republican Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania. Nonetheless, Ford squeaked by with 1,187 delegates to Reagan's 1,070. Reagan's concession speech was a stirring exhortation, emphasizing the dangers of nuclear war and the moral threat posed by the Soviet Union. Although Reagan lost the nomination, he received 307 write-in votes in New Hampshire, 388 votes as an Independent on Wyoming's ballot, and an electoral delegate from Washington voted for him in the November election.

1980 presidential campaign
Main article: United States presidential election, 1980
In 1980, Reagan won the Republican nomination for President. He received 67% of the Popular vote while his opponent only received 33%, handily winning most of the primaries after an early defeat in the Iowa caucuses. During the convention, Reagan proposed a complex power-sharing arrangement with Gerald Ford as Vice President, but nothing came of it. Instead, Reagan selected his opponent in the primaries, George H. W. Bush, who had extensive international experience.

On August 4, 1980, Ronald Reagan, as a candidate, delivered a speech near Philadelphia, Mississippi at the annual Neshoba County Fair. Reagan excited the crowd when he announced, "I believe in states' rights. I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment." He went on to promise to "restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them." Philadelphia was the scene of the June 21, 1964 murder of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. Black leaders charged Reagan was signaling a racist message to his audience. When Carter tried to accuse Reagan of racism because of his record, it largely backfired against Carter, who failed to stir up enthusiasm among black Democrats.[9] When one of Carter's main black supporters Andrew Young tried to whip up black anger by stating to an Ohio audience that if Reagan were elected, it would be "okay to kill niggers" the strident language alienated voters and had to be repudiated by Carter. [10]

The presidential campaign, led by William J. Casey, was conducted in the shadow of the Iran hostage crisis; every day during the campaign the networks reported on Carter's unavailing efforts to free the hostages. Most analysts argue this weakened Carter's political base and gave Reagan the opportunity to attack Carter's ineffectiveness. On the other hand, Carter's inability to deal with double-digit inflation and unemployment, lackluster economic growth, instability in the petroleum market leading to gasoline shortages, and the perceived weakness of the U.S. national defense may have had a greater impact on the electorate. Adding to Carter's woes was his use of the term "misery index" during the 1976 election, which he defined as the sum of the inflation and unemployment rates. This so-called "misery index" had considerably worsened during his term, which Reagan used to his advantage during the campaign. With respect to the economy, Reagan said, "I'm told I can't use the word depression. Well, I'll tell you the definition. A recession is when your neighbor loses his job; depression is when you lose your job. Recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his."

Reagan's showing in the televised debates boosted his campaign. He seemed more at ease, deflecting President Carter's criticisms with remarks like "There you go again." His most influential remark was a closing question to the audience, during a time of skyrocketing prices and high interest rates, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" (a phrase he would successfully reuse in the 1984 campaign).

In the 1984 presidential election, Reagan was re-elected over former Vice President Walter Mondale, winning 49 of 50 states. Mondale carried only his home state of Minnesota (by 3800 votes) and the District of Columbia. Reagan received nearly 60% of the popular vote. His chances of winning were not harmed when, at the Democratic National Convention, Mondale accepted the party nomination with a speech that was regarded as a self-inflicted mortal wound to his presidential aspirations. In it, Mondale remarked "Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won't tell you. I just did."[11]

During the campaign, Reagan jokingly said "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes," as a sound check prior to a radio address. Samples of the recording of the quotation were later turned into the dance record "Five Minutes" by Jerry Harrison and Bootsy Collins.

Reagan accepted the Republican nomination in Dallas, Texas, on a wave of good feeling bolstered by the recovering economy and the dominating performance by the U.S. athletes at the Los Angeles Olympics that summer. He became the first American President to open a summer Olympic Games held in the U.S.

Despite a weak performance in the first debate[original research?], Reagan recovered in the second and was considerably ahead of Mondale in polls taken throughout much of the race. Reagan's landslide win in the 1984 presidential election is often attributed by political commentators to be a result of his conversion of the "Reagan Democrats," the traditionally Democratic voters who voted for Reagan in that election.

President Ronald Reagan 1981–1989
Vice President George H. W. Bush 1981–1989

Reagan was an advocate of free markets and believed that the American economy was hampered by excessive economic controls and misguided welfare programs enacted during the 1960s and 1970s. In his first inauguration speech, Reagan said, "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." His first act as president was to issue an executive order ending certain price controls. His supply-side economics policies, or "Reaganomics," achieved a 25% cut in the federal personal income tax, moderate deregulation and tax reform, which he believed would remove barriers to economic activity and lead to increased investments in the economy.

He also supported and strengthened Social Security for the elderly, disabled and orphans to make it solvent longer. He wrote in his memoir "An American Life" that he was not trying to undo the New Deal. Instead, Reagan said he was trying to undo Lyndon Johnson's Great Society.

The economy recovered robustly from the 1981-82 recession, and economic growth between 1982 and 1989 was an impressive 9.7% GDP without inflation. Reagan held an optimistic view of the American worker and economy. Despite his large tax cuts, spending grew unabated, resulting in a dramatic increase in federal budget deficits and the national debt.

Reagan was skeptical of federal government programs to remedy socioeconomic problems. He was an advocate of individual initiative, and Reagan’s approach to America’s economic problems was to lower taxes and limit government controls, allowing the self-correcting "invisible hand"[12] of the free market to assert itself.

Speaking in front of the Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987 Ronald Reagan challenged reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to go further with his reforms and "tear down this wall."Many political and social commentators have credited Reagan with restoring a new optimism to the American psyche that had been mired in sullen negativity following the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal, the American withdrawal from Vietnam, and a 1970s economy plagued by spiraling inflation, unemployment and subsequent high interest rates. His ability to escape blame for numerous scandals that plagued his presidency earned him the nickname "The Teflon President". During his first term, Reagan wrote Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation, in which he advocated greater respect for human life.

Reagan was reelected in a 49-state landslide in 1984. He did not succeed in substantially changing social policies, but he did change the way Americans viewed government and the economy. He is credited with achieving a less activist federal judiciary through conservative appointments to the United States Supreme Court and other federal courts.

In foreign policy, his administration was noted for its boldness against communism and then skillful diplomacy in embracing the reformer Gorbachev.

Reagan and Gorbachev built a close relationship and peacefully ended the Cold War. Gorbachev was awarded the first Ronald Reagan Freedom Award, Nobel Peace Prize, and Time Magazine’s Man of the Decade

"The Great Communicator"
Dubbed "The Great Communicator", Reagan was known for his ability to express ideas and emotions in an almost personal manner, even when making a formal address. Reagan honed these skills as a radio host, actor, live television host, and politician. As a young man he was inspired by FDR's bashing of Nazi Germany and spirited defense of democracy. He emulated FDR's speaking style, even swinging around a cigarette holder as he talked. [13] In his autobiography, Reagan warmly recounted FDR's fireside chats, and he wrote that he borrowed from FDR's playbook when he took his case directly to the American people.

Reagan as president used his communication skills to challenge the legitimacy of the Soviet Union, calling it "the evil empire," and to restore America's national pride. He hired skilled speechwriters who could capture his folksy charm. In 1985, Professor Max Atkinson who was to advise the British politician Paddy Ashdown on his speeches ran a seminar on speech writing in the White House.

Reagan's rhetorical style varied. He used strong, even ideological language to condemn communism during his first term, but he could also evoke optimistic ideals of the United States as a defender of liberty. His October 27, 1964, speech entitled "A Time for Choosing" borrowed a phrase "rendezvous with destiny" made famous by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Other speeches recalled America as the "shining city on a hill," "big-hearted, idealistic, daring, decent, and fair," whose citizens had the "right to dream heroic dreams."[14][15]

On January 28, 1986, after the Challenger accident, he postponed his State of the Union address and addressed the nation on the disaster. In a speech written by Peggy Noonan, he said, "We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God'."[16] (quotations in this speech are from the famous poem "High Flight" by John Gillespie Magee, Jr..)

It was perhaps Reagan's humor, especially his one-liners, that disarmed his opponents and endeared him to audiences the most. Discussion of his advanced age led him to quip in his second debate against Walter Mondale during the 1984 campaign, "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience." On his career he joked, "Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book." Vice President Bush, and President Ronald Reagan and Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev in New York City in 1988Both opponents and supporters noted his "sunny optimism", which was welcomed by many in comparison to his presidential predecessor, the often smiling, but serious, Carter. Reagan once said "The lessons of leadership were the same: hard work, a knowledge of the facts, a willingness to listen and be understanding, a strong sense of duty and direction, and a determination to do your best on behalf of the people you serve."

In response to being dubbed the Great Communicator, he said in his Farewell Address: "I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: It was the content. I wasn't a great communicator, but I communicated great things...."[17]

Assassination attempt
Main article: Reagan assassination attempt
On March 30, 1981, Reagan, his press secretary James Brady, and two others were struck by gunfire from a deranged would-be assassin, John Hinckley, Jr.. Missing Reagan’s heart by less than one inch, the bullet instead pierced his left lung, which likely spared his life. Reagan joked to the surgeons, "I hope you're all Republicans" (though they were not, Dr. Joseph Giordano replied, "Today, Mr. President, we're all Republicans").[18] Reagan later famously told his wife, "Honey, I forgot to duck" (borrowing Jack Dempsey's line to his wife the night he was beaten by Gene Tunney for the heavyweight championship). Reagan had been scheduled to visit Philadelphia on the day of the shooting. He quipped to a nurse, "All in all, I'd rather be in Philadelphia", referring to the W.C. Fields tagline. [4].

A frequent objection by his critics was that his personal charm also permitted him to say nearly anything and yet prevail, a quality that earned him the nickname "The Teflon President" (nothing sticks to him). His denial of awareness of the Iran-Contra scandal belied his signing a secret presidential "finding" describing the deal as "arms-for-hostages". Critics objected to his comparison of the contras to the Founding Fathers and to the French Resistance, which suggests that he viewed the Sandinistas as Communists who were akin to an occupying power.[19] The United States was found guilty of having supported terrorism in Nicaragua by the International Court of Justice (Nicaragua v. United States) during Reagan's presidency. Despite a United Nations General Assembly resolution[20] demanding compliance, the U.S. never paid the required fine and since 1991, relations with Nicaragua were friendly.

Economic inequality was increasing steadily after 1973 as the New Deal goal of egalitarianism faded from the political agenda.[21] Reagan's efforts to cut welfare and income taxes became common flashpoints between critics who charged that this primarily benefited the wealthy in America, branding these policies as "Trickle-down economics," and the business community that said it penalized all American job seekers.

In order to cover Reagan' federal budget deficits, the United States borrowed heavily both domestically and abroad, and by the end of Reagan's second term the national debt held by the public rose from 26 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 1980 to 41 percent in 1989, the highest level since 1963. By 1988, the debt totaled $2.6 trillion. The country owed more to foreigners than it was owed, and the United States moved from being the world's largest international creditor to the world's largest debtor nation. [22]

The deregulation of the banking industry before Reagan took office, meant savings and loan associations were given the flexibility to invest their depositors' funds in commercial real estate. Many savings and loan associations began making risky investments. As a result, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, the federal agency that regulates the industry, tried to clamp down on the trend. In so doing, however, the Board clashed with the policy of permitting the deregulation of many industries, including the thrift industry. The resulting savings and loan scandal bailout ultimately cost the government $150 billion.

See also: Savings and Loan crisis
Reagan was criticized for the slow response of his Administration to the HIV-AIDS epidemic, until after the illness of movie star and national icon Rock Hudson became public news in late July 1985, by which time 12,067 Americans had been diagnosed with AIDS, and 6,079 had died.[23]. The White House was accused of ignoring an epidemic that had primarily affected gay men; many believing that it took Hudson's death to legitimize the need for action.

Some Jewish leaders criticized Reagan for deciding to visit a cemetery in Bitburg, Germany, after they discovered that 49 Waffen SS men are buried, and for stating that young Waffen SS men, who were drafted into services in the later years of the war, were victims, just as were the Jews murdered in Nazi concentration camps.[24]

Reagan's foreign policy drew criticism as a war-monger. In Britain, though Reagan had the strong support of Margaret Thatcher, he was routinely attacked for his foreign policies. Left-wing critics denounced his opposition to Castro's dictatorship in Cuba and complained that he was ignoring human rights in Central and South America, and South Africa. Although Reagan sought an end to apartheid and liberalization of South Africa, he opposed economic sanctions "on grounds that it would diminish influence on the South African government and create economic hardship for the very people in South Africa that the sanctions were ostensibly designed to help."[25]

In 1983 and again in 1984, Reagan told prominent Israelis and American Jews -- notably Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Israel and by Simon Wiesenthal and Rabbi Martin Hier of Los Angeles -- that he personally filmed the Auschwitz death camps; he was in a film unit in Hollywood that processed raw footage for newsreels, but he was not in Europe during the war.[26]

Reagan's final public speech was on February 3, 1994, during a tribute in Washington, D.C.. His last public appearance was at the funeral of fellow Republican President Richard Nixon on April 27, 1994.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
Main article: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
On November 4, 1991, The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library was opened to the public. At the opening ceremonies, four former presidents, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Reagan, and the current president, George H. W. Bush, were all in attendance, as well as five former first ladies, Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, and Nancy Reagan, plus the current First Lady, Barbara Bush. Currently, the library is the largest of all of the Presidential Libraries. Notable exhibits include ones on the Reagan's Ranch, a full scale replica of the Oval Office, and the actual Boeing 707, Air Force One, that served President Reagan during his eight years in office. President Reagan is buried on the property.

Alzheimer's disease
On November 5, 1994, Reagan announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He informed the nation of his condition via a hand-written letter. With his trademark optimism, he stated in conclusion: "I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead. Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you." [27]

As the years went on, the disease slowly destroyed his mental capacity, forcing him to live in quiet isolation. On February 6, 2001, Reagan reached the age of 90 and was, at the time, only the third former U.S. president to reach that age - the other two being John Adams and Herbert Hoover (Gerald Ford later becoming the fourth). Since the former president had a hip operation just three weeks earlier and had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for seven years, his 90th birthday was a low-key celebration with his family at his home in Bel-Air. Nancy Reagan, the wife of the former president, told CNN's Larry King that very few visitors were allowed access to her husband because she felt that "Ronnie would want people to remember him as he was."

Main article: Death and state funeral of Ronald Reagan
's grave at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. 's casket, on a horse-drawn caisson, being pulled down Constitution Avenue to the Capitol Building.Reagan died of pneumonia on June 5, 2004 at 1:09 PM PDT at his home in Bel-Air, California. After a major state funeral in Washington that drew leaders from around the world, he was buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The state funeral was presided over by President George W. Bush, whose father was vice-president under Reagan and followed Reagan to the White House.

Religious beliefs
Reagan had an easy-going but deep Christian faith. Reagan's mother, an active Protestant, taught Reagan lasting values at an early age, such as a strong sense of personal responsibility and Christian tolerance for other people. Reagan recalled in his autobiography An American Life that "my mother always taught us: 'Treat thy neighbor as you would want your neighbor to treat you,' and 'Judge everyone by how they act, not what they are.'" He was appalled when he witnessed discrimination and was taught repeatedly that racism and was one of the worst sins possible. "My parents constantly drummed into me the importance of judging people as individuals", Reagan recalled.

As an adult, Reagan was a member of Bel Air Presbyterian Church, but didn't attend regularly during his presidency, due to the inconvenience his presence caused the parishioners[28]. In a March 1978 letter to a Methodist minister who was skeptical about Christ's divinity—and accused Reagan of a "limited Sunday school level theology"—Reagan argued strongly for Christ's divinity, using C.S. Lewis's Trilemma.

By the time he became president, Reagan held a few simple but firm convictions about God and life, and he believed that living by these basic principles would solve many personal and society problems. Reagan warmly looked back to his childhood in Dixon where "you prayed side by side with your neighbors, and if things were going wrong for them, you prayed for them - and knew they'd pray for you if things went wrong for you," he wrote in An American Life. "Every individual is unique, but we all want freedom and liberty, peace, love and security, a good home, and a chance to worship God in our own way; we all want the chance to get ahead and make our children's lives better than our own." French President François Mitterrand, who very much liked Reagan (but disagreed on issues), reflected that Reagan "has two religions: free enterprise and god - the Christian God." [29]

Reagan formed his general policies around these views and then left the details to others to handle. Reagan believed that his presidency had a higher meaning to be treated as a temporary gift of responsibility. As president, Reagan spoke to numerous Christian groups and naturally attracted voters with traditional values. However, his son Ron Reagan said at his father's memorial service that he did not blatantly "wear his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage."

Numerous people reflected in their memoirs that President Ronald Reagan was personally one of the kindest men they had ever met. Even his political enemies found it hard to hate him, since he was so sincere and charming.

Reagan's burial site is inscribed with words that President Reagan said at the opening of his presidential library: "I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there’s purpose and worth to each and every life."

The noted presidential biographer Richard Reeves (Kennedy, Nixon) summarized in President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination that Reagan understood "how to be President, who knows that the job is not to manage the government but to lead a nation. In many ways, a quarter century later, he is still leading. As his vice president, George H.W. Bush, said after Reagan was shot and hospitalized in 1981: 'We will act as if he were here.' He is a heroic figure if not always a hero. He did not destroy communism, as his champions claim, but he knew it would self-destruct and hastened the collapse. No small thing. He believed the Soviet Union was evil and he had contempt for the established American policies of containment and détente. Asked about his own Cold War strategy, he answered: 'We win. They lose!' Like one of his heroes, Franklin D. Roosevelt, he has become larger than life." [30]

Today, Ronald Reagan is one of America's most popular presidents. In several recent ratings of American presidents, Ronald Reagan ranked high. [31]

Public opinion ratings
The Gallup Organization took a poll in 2005 and asking respondents to name the greatest president in U.S. history. Ronald Reagan took the top spot with 18% of Americans polled. He ranked fifth in an ABC poll of the public in 2000. He was named the greatest president since World War II by a Quinnipiac poll of the public in 2006, and he ranked six in a C-SPAN poll of viewers in 1999. On the Discovery Channel's show, The Greatest American, Reagan was named The Greatest American. [32]


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