Reagan Administration
Overview
The United States presidency
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 of Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

, also known as the Reagan administration, was a Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 administration headed by Ronald Reagan from January 20, 1981, to January 20, 1989.

Domestically, the administration favored reducing government programs and introduced the largest across-the-board tax cuts in American history. The economic policies enacted in 1981, known as "Reaganomics
Reaganomics
Reaganomics refers to the economic policies promoted by the U.S. President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s, also known as supply-side economics and called trickle-down economics, particularly by critics...

," were an example of supply-side economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

.
Encyclopedia
The United States presidency
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 of Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

, also known as the Reagan administration, was a Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 administration headed by Ronald Reagan from January 20, 1981, to January 20, 1989.

Domestically, the administration favored reducing government programs and introduced the largest across-the-board tax cuts in American history. The economic policies enacted in 1981, known as "Reaganomics
Reaganomics
Reaganomics refers to the economic policies promoted by the U.S. President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s, also known as supply-side economics and called trickle-down economics, particularly by critics...

," were an example of supply-side economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

. Reagan aimed to encourage entrepreneurship and limit the growth of social spending, as well as the reduction of regulation and inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

. Economic growth saw a strong recovery in the 1980s, helping Reagan to win a landslide re-election
United States presidential election, 1984
The United States presidential election of 1984 was a contest between the incumbent President Ronald Reagan, the Republican candidate, and former Vice President Walter Mondale, the Democratic candidate. Reagan was helped by a strong economic recovery from the deep recession of 1981–1982...

. The national debt
United States public debt
The United States public debt is the money borrowed by the federal government of the United States at any one time through the issue of securities by the Treasury and other federal government agencies...

 increased significantly, however.

Regarding foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

, the administration was steadfastly anti-communist
Anti-communism
Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the rise of communism, especially after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Cold War in 1947.-Objections to communist theory:...

, calling the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 an "evil empire
Evil empire
The phrase evil empire was applied to the Soviet Union especially by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who took an aggressive, hard-line stance that favored matching and exceeding the Soviet Union's strategic and global military capabilities, in calling for a rollback strategy that would, in his words,...

" and ending 1970s détente
Détente
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War...

. Reagan accelerated the massive buildup of the military started by his predecessor, including an invasion of Grenada
Invasion of Grenada
The Invasion of Grenada, codenamed Operation Urgent Fury, was a 1983 United States-led invasion of Grenada, a Caribbean island nation with a population of about 100,000 located north of Venezuela. Triggered by a military coup which had ousted a four-year revolutionary government, the invasion...

, the first major overseas action by U.S. troops since the end of the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. The "Reagan Doctrine
Reagan Doctrine
The Reagan Doctrine was a strategy orchestrated and implemented by the United States under the Reagan Administration to oppose the global influence of the Soviet Union during the final years of the Cold War...

" controversially granted aid to paramilitary
Paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 forces seeking to overthrow socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 governments, particularly in war-torn Central America and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. Reagan also promoted new technologies such as missile defense
Missile defense
Missile defense is a system, weapon, or technology involved in the detection, tracking, interception and destruction of attacking missiles. Originally conceived as a defence against nuclear-armed Intercontinental ballistic missiles , its application has broadened to include shorter-ranged...

 systems in order to confront the Soviets and their allies. In diplomacy, Reagan forged a strong alliance with UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

, and he met with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 four times, aiming to shrink the superpower
Superpower
A superpower is a state with a dominant position in the international system which has the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a worldwide scale to protect those interests...

s' nuclear arsenals.

Reagan's presidency has been termed the "Reagan Revolution," or the Age of Reagan in recognition of the political realignment
Realigning election
Realigning election are terms from political science and political history describing a dramatic change in the political system. Scholars frequently apply the term to American elections and occasionally to other countries...

 both within and beyond the U.S. in favor of his brand of conservatism and his faith in free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

s. The Reagan administration worked toward the collapse of Soviet Communism, and it did collapse just as he left office. Victory in the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 led to a unipolar
Polarity in international relations
Polarity in international relations is any of the various ways in which power is distributed within the international system. It describes the nature of the international system at any given period of time. One generally distinguishes four types of systems: Unipolarity, Bipolarity, Tripolarity, and...

 world with the U.S. as the world's sole superpower. While the damaging Iran-Contra affair
Iran-Contra Affair
The Iran–Contra affair , also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or Iran-Contra-Gate, was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior Reagan administration officials and President Reagan secretly facilitated the sale of...

 engulfed several Reagan aides during his second term, Reagan himself left office with a 63 percent approval rating
Approval rating
In the United States, presidential job approval ratings were introduced by George Gallup in the late 1930s to gauge public support for the President of the United States during his term. An approval rating is a percentage determined by a polling which indicates the percentage of respondents to an...

, one of the higher approval ratings of departing presidents. After years of unstinting praise from the right, and unrelenting criticism from the left, historian David Henry finds that by 2009 a consensus had emerged among scholars that Reagan revived conservatism and turned the nation to the right by demonstrating a "pragmatic conservatism" that promoted ideology within the constraints imposed by the divided political system. Furthermore, says Henry, the consensus viewpoint agrees that he revived faith in the presidency and American self-confidence, and contributed critically to ending the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

.

Overview

Reagan was an advocate of free markets and, upon taking office, believed that the American economy was hampered by excessive economic controls and misguided welfare programs enacted during the 1960s and 1970s. Taking office during a period of stagflation
Stagflation
In economics, stagflation is a situation in which the inflation rate is high and the economic growth rate slows down and unemployment remains steadily high...

, Reagan said in his first inauguration speech, which he himself authored:
His first act as president was to issue an executive order ending certain price controls on domestic oil
Oil
An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....

, which had contributed to the 1973 Oil Crisis
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

 and the 1979 Energy Crisis
1979 energy crisis
The 1979 oil crisis in the United States occurred in the wake of the Iranian Revolution. Amid massive protests, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, fled his country in early 1979 and the Ayatollah Khomeini soon became the new leader of Iran. Protests severely disrupted the Iranian oil...

. The price of fuel subsequently dropped, and the 1980s did not see the gasoline lines and fuel shortages that the 1970s had.

Reagan focused his first months in office on two goals, tax cuts and military spending, which was viewed as a successful way to tackle issues and echoed by later presidential advisers. Reagan's economic policies, similar to supply-side economics
Supply-side economics
Supply-side economics is a school of macroeconomic thought that argues that economic growth can be most effectively created by lowering barriers for people to produce goods and services, such as lowering income tax and capital gains tax rates, and by allowing greater flexibility by reducing...

 and dubbed "Reaganomics
Reaganomics
Reaganomics refers to the economic policies promoted by the U.S. President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s, also known as supply-side economics and called trickle-down economics, particularly by critics...

," achieved a 25% cut in the federal personal income tax
Income tax
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

, moderate deregulation and tax reform, which he believed would remove barriers to efficient economic activity. After a sharp recession, a long period of high economic growth without significant inflation ensued.

Despite Reagan's stated desire to cut spending, federal spending grew during his administration. However, economist Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades...

 pointed out that non-defense spending as a percentage of national income stabilized throughout Reagan's term, breaking a long upward trend; the number of new regulations added each year dramatically decreased as well.

One of Reagan's most controversial early moves was to fire most of the nation's air traffic controller
Air traffic controller
Air traffic controllers are the people who expedite and maintain a safe and orderly flow of air traffic in the global air traffic control system. The position of the air traffic controller is one that requires highly specialized skills...

s who took part in an illegal strike. Reagan also attempted to increase the solvency of Social Security
Social Security (United States)
In the United States, Social Security refers to the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program.The original Social Security Act and the current version of the Act, as amended encompass several social welfare and social insurance programs...

 by cutting disability and survivor benefits, and by increasing the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax
Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax
Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax is a United States payroll tax imposed by the federal government on both employees and employers to fund Social Security and Medicare —federal programs that provide benefits for retirees, the disabled, and children of deceased workers...

 (FICA). He also took tough positions against crime
Crime in the United States
Crime statistics for the United States are published annually by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the Uniform Crime Reports which represents crimes reported to the police...

, declared a renewed war on drugs
War on Drugs
The War on Drugs is a campaign of prohibition and foreign military aid and military intervention being undertaken by the United States government, with the assistance of participating countries, intended to both define and reduce the illegal drug trade...

, but was criticized for being slow to respond to the AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 epidemic.

In foreign affairs, Reagan initially rejected détente
Détente
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War...

 and directly confronted the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 through a policy of "peace through strength
Peace through strength
"Peace through strength" is a conservative slogan supporting military strength for the purpose of creating peaceful international relations.For supporters of the MX missile in the 1970s, the missile symbolized "peace through strength." The phrase was popular in political rallies during 1988...

," including increased military spending, firm foreign policies against the USSR and, in what came to be known as the Reagan Doctrine
Reagan Doctrine
The Reagan Doctrine was a strategy orchestrated and implemented by the United States under the Reagan Administration to oppose the global influence of the Soviet Union during the final years of the Cold War...

, support for anti-communist rebel movements in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

, Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

, Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

 and elsewhere. Reagan later negotiated with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

, and together they contributed greatly to the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

.

Reagan authorized military action in Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Grenada
Grenada
Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea...

, and Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 throughout his terms in office. It was later discovered that the administration also engaged in covert arms sales to Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 in order to fund anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

. The resulting Iran-Contra Affair
Iran-Contra Affair
The Iran–Contra affair , also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or Iran-Contra-Gate, was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior Reagan administration officials and President Reagan secretly facilitated the sale of...

 became a scandal to which Reagan professed ignorance. A significant number of officials in the Reagan Administration were either convicted or forced to resign as a result of the scandal.

By the end of the Reagan presidency, a high level of public approval (63 percent of the nation) indicated that the administration had recovered its image among the American public because of the perceived restoration of America's power, prosperity and national pride.

Major legislation signed

  • August 13, 1981: Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981
  • September 3, 1982: Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982
    Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982
    The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 , also known as TEFRA, was a United States federal law that rescinded some of the effects of the Kemp-Roth Act passed the year before. As a result of ongoing recession, a short-term fall in tax revenue generated concern over the budget deficit...

  • October 13, 1982: Job Training Partnership Act of 1982
    Job Training Partnership Act of 1982
    The Job Training Partnership Act of 1982 was a United States federal law passed October 13, 1982, by the United States Department of Labor during the Reagan administration. The law was the successor to the previous federal job training legisltion, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act...

  • October 15, 1982: Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act
  • January 7, 1983: Nuclear Waste Policy Act
    Nuclear Waste Policy Act
    During the first 40 years that nuclear waste was being created in the United States, no legislation was enacted to manage its disposal. Nuclear waste, some of which remains dangerously radioactive with a half-life of more than one million years, was kept in various types of temporary storage...

  • April 20, 1983: Social Security Amendments of 1983
  • September 28, 1984: Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act
    Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act
    The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act, et seq., was passed to promote the fundamental right to vote by improving access for handicapped and elderly individuals to registration facilities and polling places for Federal elections by requiring access to polling places used in...

  • October 30, 1984: Cable Communications Act of 1984
  • April 7, 1986: Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985
    Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985
    The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 is a law passed by the U.S. Congress on a reconciliation basis and signed by President Reagan that, among other things, mandates an insurance program giving some employees the ability to continue health insurance coverage after leaving...

  • June 6, 1986: Federal Employees Retirement System
    Federal Employees Retirement System
    The Federal Employees Retirement System is the current retirement system for employees within the U.S. federal civilian employees...

  • October 1, 1986: Goldwater-Nichols Act
    Goldwater-Nichols Act
    The Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 , , made the most sweeping changes to the United States Department of Defense since the department was established in the National Security Act of 1947 by reworking the command structure of the United States military...

  • October 22, 1986: Surface Freight Forwarder Deregulation Act of 1986
    Surface Freight Forwarder Deregulation Act of 1986
    The Surface Freight Forwarder Deregulation Act of 1986, Public Law 99-521, is a federal law of the United States which eliminated federal regulation of prices, services and entry as to general commodities surface 'freight forwarders' This Act was a follow on to a sweeping program to free up...

  • October 26, 1986: Tax Reform Act of 1986
    Tax Reform Act of 1986
    The U.S. Congress passed the Tax Reform Act of 1986 to simplify the income tax code, broaden the tax base and eliminate many tax shelters and other preferences...

  • November 6, 1986: Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
    Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
    The Immigration Reform and Control Act , , also Simpson-Mazzoli Act, is an Act of Congress which reformed United States immigration law.In brief the act:* required employers to attest to their employees' immigration status....

  • July 22, 1987: McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
    McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
    The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 is a United States federal law that provides federal money for homeless shelter programs. It was the first significant federal legislative response to homelessness, and was passed and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on July 22, 1987...

  • August 10, 1988: Civil Liberties Act of 1988
    Civil Liberties Act of 1988
    The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 is a United States federal law that granted reparations to Japanese-Americans who had been interned by the United States government during World War II. The act was sponsored by California's Democratic Congressman Norman Mineta, an internee as a child, and Wyoming's...

  • August 4, 1988: Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act
    Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act
    The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 is a United States labor law which protects employees, their families, and communities by requiring most employers with 100 or more employees to provide sixty- calendar-day advance notification of plant closings and mass layoffs of...

  • August 23, 1988: Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act
    Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act
    The Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 is an act passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.-History:...

  • October 13, 1988: Family Support Act
    Family Support Act
    The Family Support Act was a federal law created by the United States government in 1988. An Associated Press article said that the law "required teen mothers who receive public assistance to remain in high school and, in some cases, to live with their parents." The Act focused on lowering the...


Major treaties

  • Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement of 1988
    Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement
    The Free Trade Agreement was a trade agreement signed by Canada and the United States on October 4, 1988. The agreement, finalized by October 1987, removed several trade restrictions in stages over a ten year period, and resulted in a great increase in cross-border trade...

  • Intermediate-Ranged Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987

Supreme Court nominees

Reagan nominated the following jurists to the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

:
  • Sandra Day O'Connor
    Sandra Day O'Connor
    Sandra Day O'Connor is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O'Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981...

     – 1981, making Reagan the first President to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court
  • William Rehnquist
    William Rehnquist
    William Hubbs Rehnquist was an American lawyer, jurist, and political figure who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the 16th Chief Justice of the United States...

     – Chief Justice, 1986 (an associate justice since 1972)
  • Antonin Scalia
    Antonin Scalia
    Antonin Gregory Scalia is an American jurist who serves as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. As the longest-serving justice on the Court, Scalia is the Senior Associate Justice...

     – 1986
  • Robert Bork
    Robert Bork
    Robert Heron Bork is an American legal scholar who has advocated the judicial philosophy of originalism. Bork formerly served as Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit...

     – 1987 (rejected by Senate)
  • Douglas Ginsburg – 1987 (withdrawn)
  • Anthony M. Kennedy – 1988

Assassination attempt

On March 30, 1981, only 69 days into the new administration, Reagan, his press secretary James Brady
James Brady
James Scott "Jim" Brady is a former Assistant to the President and White House Press Secretary under U.S. President Ronald Reagan...

, Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty, and Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy were struck by gunfire from would-be assassin John Hinckley, Jr.
John Hinckley, Jr.
John Warnock Hinckley, Jr., attempted to assassinate U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C., on March 30, 1981, as the culmination of an effort to impress teen actress Jodie Foster. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and has remained under institutional psychiatric care since...

 outside the Washington Hilton Hotel
Hilton Washington
The Hilton Washington is a hotel in Washington, D.C. It is located at 1919 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., roughly at the boundaries of the Kalorama, Dupont Circle, and Adams Morgan neighborhoods.Developed by Uris Brothers and built in 1965 in a double-arched design, the hotel long sported the largest...

. Although "close to death" during surgery, Reagan recovered and was released from the hospital on April 11, becoming the first serving U.S. President to survive being shot in an assassination attempt. The attempt had great influence on Reagan's popularity; polls indicated his approval rating to be around 73%. Reagan believed that God had spared his life so that he might go on to fulfill a greater purpose.

Political philosophy

During his Presidency, Ronald Reagan pursued policies that reflected his optimism in individual freedom, expanded the American economy, and contributed to the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. The "Reagan Revolution", as it came to be known, aimed to reinvigorate American morale, and reduce the people's reliance upon government. As President, Reagan kept a series of leather bound diaries, in which he talked about daily occurrences of his presidency, commented on current issues around the world (expressing his point of view on most of them), and frequently mentioned his wife, Nancy
Nancy Reagan
Nancy Davis Reagan is the widow of former United States President Ronald Reagan and was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989....

. The diaries were published into the bestselling 2007 book, The Reagan Diaries
The Reagan Diaries
The Reagan Diaries is an edited version of diaries written by President Ronald Reagan while in the White House. The book is edited by Douglas Brinkley, while the full, unedited diaries were published in 2009...

.

As a politician and as President, Ronald Reagan portrayed himself as being a conservative
American conservatism
Conservatism in the United States has played an important role in American politics since the 1950s. Historian Gregory Schneider identifies several constants in American conservatism: respect for tradition, support of republicanism, preservation of "the rule of law and the Christian religion", and...

, anti-communist
Anti-communism
Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the rise of communism, especially after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Cold War in 1947.-Objections to communist theory:...

, in favor of tax cuts, in favor of smaller government in the economic sphere while actively interventionist in the social and foreign policy spheres, and in favor of removing regulations on corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

s.
Ronald Reagan is credited with increasing spending on national defense and diplomacy which contributed to the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, deploying U.S. Pershing II missiles in West Germany in response to the Soviet stationing of SS-20 missiles near Europe, negotiating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is a 1987 agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union. Signed in Washington, D.C. by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on December 8, 1987, it was ratified by the United States Senate on May 27, 1988 and...

 (INF) to substantially reduce nuclear arms and initiating negotiations with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 for the treaty that would later be known as START I
START I
START was a bilateral treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. The treaty was signed on 31 July 1991 and entered into force on 5 December 1994...

, proposing the Strategic Defense Initiative
Strategic Defense Initiative
The Strategic Defense Initiative was proposed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983 to use ground and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. The initiative focused on strategic defense rather than the prior strategic...

, a controversial plan to develop a missile defense system, re-appointing monetarists
Monetarism
Monetarism is a tendency in economic thought that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. It is the view within monetary economics that variation in the money supply has major influences on national output in the short run and the price level over...

 Paul Volcker
Paul Volcker
Paul Adolph Volcker, Jr. is an American economist. He was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve under United States Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan from August 1979 to August 1987. He is widely credited with ending the high levels of inflation seen in the United States in the 1970s and...

 and (later) Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan is an American economist who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006. He currently works as a private advisor and provides consulting for firms through his company, Greenspan Associates LLC...

 to be chairmen of the Federal Reserve, ending the high inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

 that damaged the economy under his predecessors Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 and Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

, lowering tax rates significantly (under Reagan, the top personal tax bracket dropped from 70% to 28% in 7 years http://www.heritage.org/Research/Taxes/BG1086.cfm) and leading a major reform of the tax system, providing arms and other support to anti-communist groups such as the Contras and the mujahideen
Mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

, selling arms to foreign allies such as Taiwan
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 (see Iran–Iraq War), greatly escalating the "war on drugs
War on Drugs
The War on Drugs is a campaign of prohibition and foreign military aid and military intervention being undertaken by the United States government, with the assistance of participating countries, intended to both define and reduce the illegal drug trade...

" with his policies and Nancy Reagan
Nancy Reagan
Nancy Davis Reagan is the widow of former United States President Ronald Reagan and was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989....

's "Just Say No
Just Say No
"Just Say No" was an advertising campaign, part of the U.S. "War on Drugs", prevalent during the 1980s and early 1990s, to discourage children from engaging in recreational drug use by offering various ways of saying no. Eventually, this also expanded the realm of "Just Say No" to violence and...

" campaign, ordering the April 14, 1986 bombing of Tripoli
Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

 and Benghazi
Benghazi
Benghazi is the second largest city in Libya, the main city of the Cyrenaica region , and the former provisional capital of the National Transitional Council. The wider metropolitan area is also a district of Libya...

 in retaliation for an April 5 bombing
1986 Berlin discotheque bombing
The 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing was a terrorist attack on the La Belle discothèque in West Berlin, Germany, an entertainment venue that was commonly frequented by United States soldiers...

 of a West Berlin
West Berlin
West Berlin was a political exclave that existed between 1949 and 1990. It comprised the western regions of Berlin, which were bordered by East Berlin and parts of East Germany. West Berlin consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors, which had been established in 1945...

 nightclub frequented by U.S. servicemen, in which the Libyan government was deemed complicit, and signing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988
Civil Liberties Act of 1988
The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 is a United States federal law that granted reparations to Japanese-Americans who had been interned by the United States government during World War II. The act was sponsored by California's Democratic Congressman Norman Mineta, an internee as a child, and Wyoming's...

 which compensated victims of the Japanese American Internment
Japanese American internment
Japanese-American internment was the relocation and internment by the United States government in 1942 of approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese who lived along the Pacific coast of the United States to camps called "War Relocation Camps," in the wake of Imperial Japan's attack on...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Other matters

Although Reagan's second term was mostly noteworthy for matters related to foreign affairs, he supported significant pieces of legislation on domestic matters. In 1982, Reagan signed legislation reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for another 25 years, even though he had opposed such an extension during the 1980 campaign. This extension added protections for blind, disabled, and illiterate voters.

Other significant legislation included the overhaul of the Internal Revenue Code in 1986
Tax Reform Act of 1986
The U.S. Congress passed the Tax Reform Act of 1986 to simplify the income tax code, broaden the tax base and eliminate many tax shelters and other preferences...

, as well as the Civil Liberties Act of 1988
Civil Liberties Act of 1988
The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 is a United States federal law that granted reparations to Japanese-Americans who had been interned by the United States government during World War II. The act was sponsored by California's Democratic Congressman Norman Mineta, an internee as a child, and Wyoming's...

 which compensated victims of the Japanese-American internment during World War II. As well as those, Reagan signed legislation authorizing the death penalty for offenses involving murder in the context of large-scale drug trafficking; wholesale reinstatement of the federal death penalty did not occur until the presidency of Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

.

Reagan's position on gay rights
LGBT
LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

 has been a subject of controversy. In the late 1970s he wrote a response in his LA Herald-Examiner column to the organization backing the California Briggs Initiative, stating that he opposed the proposed ban on gay public school teachers. Reagan's daughter, Patti Davis
Patti Davis
Patti Davis is an American actress and author. She is the daughter of former President of the United States Ronald Reagan and Reagan's second wife, First Lady Nancy Reagan...

, wrote an article in the New York Times where she recalled her father talking about Rock Hudson's
Rock Hudson
Roy Harold Scherer, Jr., later Roy Harold Fitzgerald , known professionally as Rock Hudson, was an American film and television actor, recognized as a romantic leading man during the 1950s and 1960s, most notably in several romantic comedies with Doris Day.Hudson was voted "Star of the Year",...

 homosexuality in an accepting and tolerant manner. He was, however, widely criticized for ignoring the quickly worsening AIDS crisis, not even mentioning the disease publicly until late in his second term as president.

The oldest president

As Reagan was the oldest person to be inaugurated as president (age 69), and also the oldest person to hold the office (age 77), his health, although generally good, became a concern at times during his presidency. His age even became a topic of concern during his re-election campaign. In a debate on October 21, 1984 between Reagan and his opponent, former Vice President
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 Walter Mondale
Walter Mondale
Walter Frederick "Fritz" Mondale is an American Democratic Party politician, who served as the 42nd Vice President of the United States , under President Jimmy Carter, and as a United States Senator for Minnesota...

, panelist Henry Trewhitt brought up how President Kennedy had to go for days on end without sleep during the Cuban Missile crisis. He then asked the President if he had any doubts about if or how he could function in a time of crisis, given his age. Reagan remarked, "I am not going to make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience," generating applause and laughter from the audience. Mondale (who was 56 at the time) said years later in an interview that he knew at that moment he had lost the election.

On July 13, 1985, Reagan underwent surgery to remove polyp
Polyp (medicine)
A polyp is an abnormal growth of tissue projecting from a mucous membrane. If it is attached to the surface by a narrow elongated stalk, it is said to be pedunculated. If no stalk is present, it is said to be sessile. Polyps are commonly found in the colon, stomach, nose, sinus, urinary bladder...

s from his colon
Colon (anatomy)
The colon is the last part of the digestive system in most vertebrates; it extracts water and salt from solid wastes before they are eliminated from the body, and is the site in which flora-aided fermentation of unabsorbed material occurs. Unlike the small intestine, the colon does not play a...

, causing the first-ever invocation of the Acting President
Acting President of the United States
Acting President of the United States is a reference to a person who is legitimately exercising the Presidential powers even though that person does not hold the office of the President of the United States in his own right....

 clause of the 25th Amendment
Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution deals with succession to the Presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, as well as responding to Presidential disabilities...

. On January 5, 1987, Reagan underwent surgery for prostate cancer
Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly...

 which caused further worries about his health, but which significantly raised the public awareness of this "silent killer."

Former White House correspondent Lesley Stahl
Lesley Stahl
Lesley Rene Stahl is an American television journalist. Since 1991, she has reported for CBS on 60 Minutes.-Personal life:...

 later wrote that she and other reporters noticed what might have been early symptoms of Reagan's later Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

. She said that on her last day on the beat, Reagan spoke to her for a few moments and didn't seem to know who she was, before then returning to his normal self. However, Reagan's primary physician, Dr. John Hutton, said the president "absolutely" did not "show any signs of dementia or Alzheimer's." His doctors noted that he began exhibiting Alzheimer's symptoms only after he left the White House.

Close of the Reagan era

In 1988, Reagan's Vice President, George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

, was elected to succeed Reagan as President of the United States. On January 11, 1989, Reagan addressed the nation for the last time on television from the Oval Office
Oval Office
The Oval Office, located in the West Wing of the White House, is the official office of the President of the United States.The room features three large south-facing windows behind the president's desk, and a fireplace at the north end...

, nine days before handing over the presidency to Bush. On the morning of January 20, 1989, Ronald and Nancy Reagan met with the Bushes for coffee at the White House before escorting them to the Capitol Building, where Bush took the oath of office
Oath of office
An oath of office is an oath or affirmation a person takes before undertaking the duties of an office, usually a position in government or within a religious body, although such oaths are sometimes required of officers of other organizations...

. The Reagans then boarded a Presidential helicopter, and flew to Andrews Air Force Base
Andrews Air Force Base
Joint Base Andrews is a United States military facility located in Prince George's County, Maryland. The facility is under the jurisdiction of the United States Air Force 11th Wing, Air Force District of Washington ....

 in Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

. There, they boarded the Presidential Jet (in this instance, it was not called Air Force One
Air Force One
Air Force One is the official air traffic control call sign of any United States Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. In common parlance the term refers to those Air Force aircraft whose primary mission is to transport the president; however, any U.S. Air Force aircraft...

), and flew home to California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

—to their new home in the wealthy East Gate Old Bel Air
East Gate Bel Air, Los Angeles
East Gate Bel Air is a very small and very wealthy area within the Bel Air section of Los Angeles, California...

 section of Los Angeles. Reagan was the oldest president to serve (at 77), surpassing Dwight Eisenhower, who was 70 when he left office in 1961.

See also

  • U.S. presidential election, 1976
  • U.S. presidential election, 1980
  • U.S. presidential election, 1984
  • History of the United States (1980-1988)
  • Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
    Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
    The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs is the presidential library and final resting place of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. Designed by Hugh Stubbins and Associates, the library is located in Simi Valley, California, about northwest of...

     in Simi Valley, California
  • List of honors named for Ronald Reagan
  • 600-ship Navy
    600-ship Navy
    The 600 Ship Navy was a strategic plan of the United States Navy during the 1980s to rebuild its fleet after cutbacks that followed the end of the Vietnam War...

  • Ronald Reagan on Wikiquote

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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