Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States. Born in Illinois in 1911, he graduated from Eureka College before becoming a radio broadcaster in Iowa and then moving to Los Angeles in 1937 to pursue what became a successful acting career. Some of his most notable films include: Knute Rockne, All American; Kings Row; Bedtime for Bonzo. Ronald Reagan became the president of the Screen Actors Guild and a spokesman for GE. His stint with GE got him interested in politics. He had been a Democrat but changed his opinion on issues throughout the 50s before registering as a Republican in 1962.
In 1964, Ronald Reagan gave a powerful speech in support of Republican Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. His political acuity garnered a lot of attention and he was persuaded to run for Governor of California and won twice. He ran in the Republican Presidential primaries, losing twice before winning the nomination in 1980. He defeated incumbent Jimmy Carter in a landslide election. Ronald Reagan was known for his successful economic policies dubbed ‘Reaganomics‘ which promoted economic growth through reduced tax rates and slashed government spending. He even became the first President to survive an assassination attempt after John Hinckley, Jr. shot him. Ronald Reagan was a fierce anti-Communist and ordered an invasion of Grenada to defeat a bloody military coup.
Ronald Reagan won reelection in another landslide in 1984 and dubbed his renewed era as ‘Morning in America‘. He took stances which precipitated the ending of the Cold War and made a famous speech at the Berlin Wall directed at USSR President Gorbachev telling him to ‘Tear down this wall’. He ordered a massive military buildup in the arms race with the USSR and called the country the ‘evil empire’.
In 1986, the famous Iran-Contra scandal was revealed in which the US had traded arms with Iran in return for seven American hostages, and funnelled arms-sale proceeds to anti-Communist militants in Nicaragua. It was never clear how much Ronald Reagan knew when, and all of the convicted officials were pardoned by the next President.
Ronald Reagan died in 2004 following a decade-long battle with Alzheimer’s. He remains one of the most popular American Presidents.