Earthly Issues

This website is funded by your donations!
About Earthly Issues Contact

Site Map

President Trump

President Ronald Wilson Reagan

At the end of his two terms in office, Ronald Reagan viewed with satisfaction the achievements of his innovative program known as the Reagan Revolution, which aimed to reinvigorate the American people and reduce their reliance upon Government. He felt he had fulfilled his campaign pledge of 1980 to restore "the great, confident roar of American progress and growth and optimism."

On February 6, 1911, Ronald Wilson Reagan was born to Nelle and John Reagan in Tampico, Illinois. 

He attended high school in nearby Dixon and then worked his way through Eureka College. 

There, he studied economics and sociology, played on the football team, and acted in school plays. Upon graduation, he became a radio sports announcer. A screen test in 1937 won him a contract in Hollywood. During the next two decades he appeared in 53 films.

From his first marriage to actress Jane Wyman, he had two children, Maureen and Michael. Maureen passed away in 2001. In 1952 he married Nancy Davis, who was also an actress, and they had two children, Patricia Ann and Ronald Prescott.

As president of the Screen Actors Guild, Reagan became embroiled in disputes over the issue of Communism in the film industry; his political views shifted from liberal to conservative. He toured the country as a television host, becoming a spokesman for conservatism. In 1966 he was elected Governor of California by a margin of a million votes; he was re-elected in 1970.

Ronald Reagan won the Republican Presidential nomination in 1980 and chose as his running mate former Texas Congressman and United Nations Ambassador George Bush. Voters troubled by inflation and by the year-long confinement of Americans in Iran swept the Republican ticket into office. Reagan won 489 electoral votes to 49 for President Jimmy Carter.

On January 20, 1981, Reagan took office. Only 69 days later he was shot by a would-be assassin, but quickly recovered and returned to duty. His grace and wit during the dangerous incident caused his popularity to soar.

Dealing skillfully with Congress, Reagan obtained legislation to stimulate economic growth, curb inflation, increase employment, and strengthen national defense. He embarked upon a course of cutting taxes and Government expenditures, refusing to deviate from it when the strengthening of defense forces led to a large deficit.

A renewal of national self-confidence by 1984 helped Reagan and Bush win a second term with an unprecedented number of electoral votes. Their victory turned away Democratic challengers Walter F. Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro.

In 1986 Reagan obtained an overhaul of the income tax code, which eliminated many deductions and exempted millions of people with low incomes. At the end of his administration, the Nation was enjoying its longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity without recession or depression.

In foreign policy, Reagan sought to achieve "peace through strength." During his two terms he increased defense spending 35 percent, but sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union. In dramatic meetings with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, he negotiated a treaty that would eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles. Reagan declared war against international terrorism, sending American bombers against Libya after evidence came out that Libya was involved in an attack on American soldiers in a West Berlin nightclub.

By ordering naval escorts in the Persian Gulf, he maintained the free flow of oil during the Iran-Iraq war. In keeping with the Reagan Doctrine, he gave support to anti-Communist insurgencies in Central America, Asia, and Africa.

Overall, the Reagan years saw a restoration of prosperity, and the goal of peace through strength seemed to be within grasp.

On June 5, 2004  Ronald Wilson Reagan passed away at home, at age 93

Timeline

Feb. 6, 1911
Ronald Wilson Reagan is born in Tampico, Ill., to Nelle Wilson Reagan and John Edward Reagan. The Reagans already had one previous son, Neil.

1920
After a series of moves in rural northern Illinois, the Reagans settle in Dixon, Ill., which Reagan considered his hometown.

1926
Reagan begins work as a lifeguard at Lowell Park, near Dixon. He was credited with saving 77 lives during the seven summers he worked there.

1928
Reagan graduates from Dixon High School, where he was student body president and participated in football, basketball, track, and school plays.

1928-1932
Reagan attends Eureka (Illinois) College, where he majored in economics and sociology. During his sophomore year, Reagan becomes interested in drama. Reagan also serves as student body president.

1932
Reagan receives a temporary sports broadcasting job with WOC, a small radio station in Davenport, Iowa. After WOC consolidates with WHO in Des Moines, "Dutch" recreates Chicago Cubs baseball games from the studio. WHO, an NBC affiliate, gives Reagan national media exposure.

1937
Reagan enlists in the Army Reserve as a private but is soon promoted to 2nd lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps of the Cavalry. An agent for Warner Brothers "discovers" Reagan in Los Angeles and offers him a seven-year contract.

1940
Reagan plays Notre Dame football legend George Gipp in his most acclaimed film, Knute Rockne, All American, The role earns Reagan the nickname "the Gipper."
Listen to Reagan deliver his famous line from that movie.

Jan. 24, 1940
Reagan marries actress Jane Wyman, whom he met while making the movie Brother Rat.

Jan. 4, 1941
Daughter Maureen is born.

1942
Reagan is called to active duty by the Army Air Force. He is assigned to the 1st Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, Calif., where he makes over 400 training films.

1945
After the war, Reagan resumes his acting career, which continues for 20 years. Reagan makes 53 motion pictures and one television movie during his career.

March 1945
The Reagans adopt Michael.

1947
Elected president of the Screen Actors Guild for the first of five consecutive terms, Reagan testifies as a friendly witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. The hearings result in the blacklising of many writers and directors thought to have ties to the Communist Party.

1948
Reagan supports Harry Truman for president.

1949
Reagan and Wyman divorce.

1950
Reagan campaigns for California Democrat Helen Gahagan Douglas in her bid for the U.S. Senate against Richard Nixon.

1952
Reagan campaigns as a Democrat for Eisenhower.

March 4, 1952
Reagan and movie actress Nancy Davis wed.

Oct. 21, 1952
Daughter Patricia (Patti) is born.

1954
Reagan is hired to host the General Electric Theater on television, a job he holds for eight years. Reagan tours the country giving speeches as a GE spokesman.

1956
Reagan campaigns as a Democrat for President Dwight Eisenhower's re-election.

May 20, 1958
Son Ronald Prescott (Ron) is born.

1960
Reagan campaigns as a Democrat for Richard Nixon for president.

1962
Reagan officially changes his party registration to Republican.

Oct. 27, 1964
Reagan gives a television address supporting Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. The speech, called "A Time for Choosing," launches Reagan's political career.
Watch or listen to that speech.

1965
Reagan's autobiography, Where's the Rest of Me? -- the title is a line from his 1942 movie King's Row -- is published.

1966
Reagan defeats incumbent California Gov. Edmund G. "Pat" Brown in a landslide.

1968
Reagan makes a tentative run for the presidency, waiting until the Republican National Convention in Miami to announce his candidacy. He later joins in supporting nominee Richard Nixon.

1969
Reagan sends in the National Guard to break up protests at the University of California at Berkeley after university officials block activists' efforts to create a "Peoples Park".

1970
Reagan is re-elected California governor.

1974
For several months after his gubernatorial term ends, Reagan writes a syndicated newspaper column and provides commentaries on radio stations across the country.

Nov. 20, 1975
Reagan announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president.

1976
He loses the Republican Party's nomination to Gerald Ford, but a strong showing sets the stage for Reagan's election in 1980. In the meantime, Reagan works on his ranch, gives speeches, does radio commentaries and writes a weekly newspaper column.

Nov. 13, 1979
Reagan announces his candidacy for president. After winning the party's nomination, he chooses George Bush as his running mate. The platform calls for "a new consensus with all those across the land who share a community of values embodied in these words: family, work, neighborhood, peace, and freedom."

Nov. 4, 1980
Reagan is elected president in a landslide victory over incumbent Jimmy Carter.

Jan. 20, 1981
Reagan is sworn in as the 40th president of the United States. On the same day, Iran releases the 52 remaining hostages who had been held at the U.S. embassy in Tehran for 444 days.

March 30, 1981
Reagan is shot in the chest upon leaving a Washington hotel but makes a full recovery after surgery. Three other people, including Reagan press secretary James Brady, are wounded in the assassination attempt. John Hinckley Jr. is charged but found not guilty by reason of insanity.

April 28, 1981
Reagan appears before Congress for the first time since the assassination attempt. He receives a hero's welcome and overwhelming support for his economic package, which includes cuts in social programs and taxes, and increases in defense spending.

July 29, 1981
Congress passes Reagan's tax bill. Instead of a 30% tax cut over three years, Reagan accepts 25%.

Aug. 3, 1981
Air traffic controllers go on strike. Reagan gives them 48 hours to get back to work, and fires those who refuse.

September 1981
Reagan appoints Sandra Day O'Connor as the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Oct. 18, 1981
Reagan concedes that the United States is in "a slight recession" but predicts recovery by the spring.

Nov. 10, 1981
Budget Director David Stockman charges that the 5% economic growth rate that the administration had assumed was a "rosy scenario," and pans "supply side" economics as a way to benefit the rich.

June 8, 1982
In a speech to the British House of Commons, Reagan predicts "the march of freedom and democracy...will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history ..."

Fall 1982
The nation sinks into its worst recession since the Great Depression. Reagan fears budget deficits as high as $200 billion. On Nov. 1, more than 9 million Americans are officially unemployed.

Jan. 31, 1983
Reagan submits his fiscal 1984 budget to Congress. The recession, tax cuts and increased defense outlays are blamed for a projected $189 billion budget gap. Reagan vows to "stay the course," rejecting advice to raise taxes or cut defense.

March 8, 1983
In a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals, Reagan warns against ignoring "the aggressive impulses of an evil empire," the U.S.S.R.

March 23, 1983
Reagan unveils his proposal for a Strategic Defense Initiative, later dubbed "Star Wars," in a national speech: "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."

Sept. 1, 1983
A Soviet fighter downs Korean Air Lines flight (KAL 007), killing all 269 people aboard, including 61 Americans. Reagan denounces it as a "crime against humanity."

Oct. 23, 1983
A suicide truck bomber crashes into the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 members of the peacekeeping force.

Oct. 25, 1983
U.S. troops invade Grenada to oust Marxists who had overthrown the government, and to protect U.S. medical students on the Caribbean island.

Jan. 16, 1984
Reagan calls for a return to arms talks with the U.S.S.R.

May 9, 1984
In a televised speech, Reagan urges helping the Contra "freedom fighters" in Nicaragua.

June 6, 1984
Reagan gives an emotional speech in Normandy, France, commemorating the 40th anniversary of D-Day.

July 19, 1984
Walter Mondale accepts the Democratic presidential nomination and promises to raise taxes.

Aug. 11, 1984
While checking a microphone prior to a radio broadcast, Reagan jokes: "...I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

Oct. 7, 1984
In a debate with Mondale, Reagan's poor performance raises the "age issue."

Oct. 10, 1984
Congress outlaws funding for military aid to the Nicaragua Contras.

Oct. 21, 1984
In his second debate with Mondale, Reagan quips: "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."

Nov. 4, 1984
Reagan defeats Mondale in landslide. Reagan carries 49 states -- 525 electoral votes to Mondale's 10, and 59% of the popular vote.

Jan. 20, 1985
Reagan, 73, begins a second term, making him the oldest president ever to be sworn in.

June 1985
TWA Flight 847 from Athens is hijacked by terrorists. The pilot is forced to fly to Beirut, where hijackers beat and kill a Navy diver. The plane is flown to Algiers, then back to Beirut again. Most passengers are released; 39 are held captive in Lebanon. Reagan vows that the U.S. will never give in to terrorists' demands. The remaining hostages are freed after 17 days.

July 13, 1985
Reagan undergoes surgery for colon cancer and is released from the hospital a week later.

Nov. 19, 1985
Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev hold a "fireside" summit in Geneva. The leaders disagree on the Strategic Defense Initiative but pledge to meet again and seek a 50% cut in nuclear arms.

Jan. 17, 1986
Reagan undergoes surgery for polyps on his colon.

Jan. 28, 1986
The U.S. space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after liftoff, killing all on board -- six astronauts and teacher Christa McAuliffe, the first civilian to go into space.

April 14, 1986
Reagan orders air strikes against Libya in retaliation for the bombing of a West Berlin disco in which two U.S. servicemen were killed and more than 200 people were injured.

Oct. 11, 1986
A Reagan-Gorbachev arms summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, ends without agreement after a rift over SDI.

Nov. 13, 1986
Reagan admits sending some defensive weapons and spare parts to Iran but denies it was part of an arms-for-hostages deal.

Nov. 25, 1986
National Security Adviser John Poindexter resigns and national security aide Col. Oliver North is fired in the widening Iran-Contra affair. In a press conference, Attorney General Edwin Meese announces that $10-$30 million of profits from the sale of U.S. arms to Iran had been diverted to the Nicaraguan Contras.

Feb. 26, 1987
The Tower Commission report on Iran-Contra concludes that Reagan's passive management style allowed his staff to mislead him about the trade of arms to Iran for hostages held in Lebanon and to pursue a secret war against the Nicaraguan government.

Feb. 27, 1987
Reagan yields to pressure from his advisers (including wife Nancy) to fire Chief of Staff Donald Regan.

March 4, 1987
Reagan acknowledges a "mistake" in the Iran-Contra affair.

June 12, 1987
In a speech at Berlin's Brandenberg Gate, Reagan demands Gorbachev "tear down this wall."

December 1987
In a Washington summit, Reagan and Gorbachev sign Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty to eliminate 4% of the superpowers' nuclear arsenals. It is the first U.S.-Soviet treaty to provide for destruction of nuclear weapons and to provide for on-site monitoring of the destruction.

March 16, 1988
Oliver North, John Poindexter, and two others are indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government by secretly providing funds and supplies to the Contras.

April 14, 1988
The Soviet Union agrees to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

May 5, 1988
In his memoir For the Record, Donald Regan reveals that Nancy Reagan relied on an astrologer to set the dates for her husband's public appearances.

May 27, 1988
The Senate ratifies the INF treaty, the first arms-control agreement since 1972's Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) to receive Senate approval.

Nov. 8, 1988
Vice President George Bush defeats Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis to become the 41st president of the United States.

Jan. 11, 1989
Reagan gives his farewell address to the nation, in which he says the so-called Reagan revolution "made a difference."

 

RONALD REAGAN FILMS

 

1937

Warner Brothers First National

Love Is on the Air*

Submarine D-1 (RR part cut; not in credits)

 

1938

Warner Brothers First National

Hollywood Hotel (RR not credited)

Warner Brothers

Swing Your Lady

Sergeant Murphy*

Accidents Will Happen*

Cowboy from Brooklyn

Boy Meets Girl

Girls on Probation*

Brother Rat (with Jane Wyman)

 

1939

Warner Brothers Cosmopolitan

Going Places

Warner Brothers

Secret Service of the Air*

Warner Brothers First National

Dark Victory

Warner Brothers

Code of the Secret Service*

Naughty But Nice

Hell's Kitchen

Angels Wash Their Faces*

Smashing the Money Ring*

 

1940

Warner Brothers

Brother Rat and a Baby (with Jane Wyman)

An Angel from Texas (with Jane Wyman)

Murder in the Air*

Knute Rockne-All American

Tugboat Annie Sails Again* (with Jane Wyman and featuring Neil Reagan)

Warner Brothers First National

Sante Fe Trail

1941

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The Bad Man

Warner Brothers

Million Dollar Baby

Nine Lives Are Not Enough*

International Squadron*

1942

Warner Brothers

Kings Row

Juke Girl*

Warner Brothers First National

Desperate Journey

1943

Warner Brothers

This is the Army

1947

Warner Brothers

Stallion Road*

That Hagen Girl*

The Voice of the Turtle*

 

1949

Warner Brothers

John Loves Mary*

Night unto Night*

The Girl from Jones Beach

It's a Great Feeling (cameo)

 

1950

Warner Brothers

The Hasty Heart

Universal-International

Louisa*

Warner Brothers

Storm Warning*

Universal-International

Bedtime for Bonzo*

1951

Paramount

The Last Outpost*

1952

Paramount

Hong Kong*

Warner Brothers

She's Working Her Way Through College*

The Winning Team*

1953

Paramount

Tropic Zone*

Universal-International

Law and Order*

1954

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Prisoner of War*

RKO

Cattle Queen of Montana*

1955

RKO

Tennessee's Partner

1957

Columbia

Hellcats of the Navy* (with Nancy Davis)

1961

United Artists

The Young Doctors (narrator)

1964

Universal

The Killers

 

* Denotes Ronald Reagan as Male Lead

http://www.reaganfoundation.org

 

Credit: The Whitehouse,