Ronald Reagan 40th President of the United States of Anmerica


Catalyst for Change

Ronald Reagan was an actor, governor, and president, in which he contributed an overwhelming amount of things that brought good change to the people he was serving. He was the oldest man to be elected to the office of presidency. Through his actions, character, and goals he as a leader shows that he is a catalyst for change for the economy.

During Reagan’s two terms as president of the United States, he brought a lot of change to this country and the world for the better. Only a short time into his first term of office, air traffic controllers went on strike, and this violated a regulation prohibiting government unions from striking. Once Reagan found out about this, he made a press conference saying that air traffic controllers that do not return to work in forty-eight hours will lose their job. Reagan fired almost eleven thousand air traffic controllers who ignored his order. The move gave Americans a new view of Reagan, who sent a message to the private employer community that it would be all right to go up against the unions.

Reagan was the first president to address the issue of HIV and AIDS. A presidential commission was established to plan how to fight these diseases. Billions of dollars were committed for research to find how to fight HIV and AIDS. In 1984, Reagan signed a comprehensive crime control act which kept dangerous people in jail and restricted the use of insanity defense. He made child pornography a separate criminal offense. This act made a dramatic effect on crime prevention, as two million fewer household were hit but crime in 1987 than in 1980. In 1986, Reagan obtained an overhaul of the income tax code which eliminated many deductions and exempted millions of people with low incomes. Federal spending for basic low-income assistance programs rose by forty percent. Reagan also enforced higher standards in the educational system, for he wanted children receive the best education possible, so they could succeed in life and bring change to the world.

Foreign Policy

Ronald Reagan had a huge foreign policy agenda as his major focus was not only here in the U.S., but also internationally. He brought a lot of change to countries around the world, because of his tough foreign policy agenda. His belief of foreign policy was that to achieve peace, you must have strength and power. Reagan increased defense spending by thirty-five percent and he sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union; 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 about that Libya was involved in an attack on American soldiers in a West Berlin nightclub. He also maintained a free flow of oil during the Iran-Iraq war. More weapons and equipment was provided for troops and the intelligence program was improved. Reagan wanted to strengthen the military, because he is a realist and was was a catalyst for change

Historical Context

During the time Reagan was active as president many historical events occurred.

  • 1979 — Iran hostage crisis begins. After, a second energy crisis develops, tripling the price of oil and sending gasoline prices over $1 per gallon for the first time. Economy begins to fall leading to the recession.
  • 1980- The Iranian hostage crisis deepens. The U.S. breaks ties with Iran. Then eight Americans are killed when helicopters collide in a rescue mission.
  • 1981-New Plague Identified as AIDS - influenced Reagan to help and spread the address the issue of HIV and AIDS.
  • 1983-Reagan Announces Defense Plan Called Star Wars, prevent missile attacks from other countries, specifically the Soviet Union. Reagan starts to take action to end the Cold War.
  • 1981 — Ronald Reagan becomes President, inaugurated on the same day Iran releases hostages. He also built a symbolic relationship with the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev.
  • January 1989, the Reagan Doctrine had achieved its goal: Gorbachev, publicly acknowledged the failures of Marxism-Leninism and the ineffectiveness of the Russian imperialism.
  • 1991 - Cold War Ends: Reagan also was known for his goal of peace through strength which resulted in a peaceful resolution of the Cold War. Reagan’s strategy for victory was the support of anti-communist forces in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Angola, and Cambodia. The “Reagan Doctrine” was the most reasonable of all the Cold War doctrines. It was also one of the most politically successful doctrines in Cold War history.


Reagan’s presidency was viewed as the “Reagan Revolution” as it resulted in a political realignment within the U.S. and internationally. He had the highest approval ratings of any departing president, which was sixty-four percent. His term was viewed with satisfaction of his revolution; the aim of this revolution was to revive the American people and reduce their reliance upon the government. By 1984, there was finally a renewal of national self confidence.

At the end of Reagan’s administration, the nation was enjoying its longest peacetime prosperity without recession or depression. During his term as president, Republicans won control in the House for the first time in forty years, which is very significant. He was known as the “Great Communicator” as he was an effective communicator of conservative ideas and he was committed to success. As governor of California, Reagan was praised greatly for the welfare bill that he signed. During his first term as president, Reagan passed reform that salvaged social security for a generation. He was a politician who expanded the his party at home and he pursued his vision of a nuclear-free world abroad.

People adored Reagan for his character as he cared about the people’s feelings and not their social status. He was a great speaker who was quite animated and known as frequently telling jokes. His affection for people made him comfortable with who he was. He didn’t take himself seriously and he enjoyed his life as president; didn’t see his job as a burden. Reagan never thought of himself as better as or more important than anyone else. He used to be annoyed when he was behind schedule because he didn’t like to keep people waiting. He didn’t adopt a persona to fit the job and the Reagan Library states, “In fact, he made a point of saying that he didn’t ‘become’ President, but rather that he had been trusted with temporary custody of an office that belonged to the people.” He never let his ego get in the way. His happiness, optimism, enjoyment if life and his belief in the American people got us to believe in ourselves again and put our country back on track.

Economic Issue - The 1981 Recession

In 1981, Reagan is declared that the US was in a recession, which has affected our economy. Reagan want to address that we are in this position due to policies enacted during the Jimmy Carter administration. I am sorry that I led this nation into a recession, which is when there is a temporary decline in the economy and there needs to be a reduction in goods and services. We will come out of this recession as a nation with a better, controlled economy.

Causes of the Recession

The US was in a recession because as a country, the American people were not being cautious enough about the economy. The income tax was too high and a large amount of money is being taken away from in workers' paychecks. Due to this, people didn't have enough money to spend and the economy was suffering. People could not buy their needs and wants so businesses were not making money. The primary cause of the recession was the monetary policy established by the Federal Reserve System to control high inflation. In the article, Recession of 1981–82, Tim Sablik, (2013) Sablik mentions “During the 1960s and 1970s, economists and policymakers believed that they could lower unemployment through higher inflation” (Sablik, 2013). They were wrong because of stagflation, which is high inflation combined with high unemployment that slows the growth of the economy. This has contributed to all recessions in the past, including the 1981 Recession. Carter listened to the economists and policy makers, which is why the problem erupted during Reagan's term as president. In Jimmy Carter vs Ronald Reagan, Kevin O'Connor, (2011) O’Connor highlighted the fact that inflation was at its high when Carter started his presidency at 6.5% and left office at 14%, while the unemployment rate was at 10.4% which was the spark that started the recession (O’Connor, 2011). This started the recession since people did not have jobs they did not have money to buy goods and services at businesses, so the economy began to suffer. The 1973 oil crisis also impacted the start of the recession because the US had to increase the price of oil due to the Middle East countries limiting the amount of oil supply they were distributing. The increase in oil prices depressed the supply of other goods because the government increased the costs of producing them. Since the price was higher, no one was buying oil, which affected the economy. These causes that Reagan did not stop and tried to control should have been stopped or controlled from the beginning. Just six months ago I was inaugurated as president, which means that I have to find ways to bring this nation out of this recession.

This shows the difference between the inflation rate from when Carter and Reagan left office and when they left office. (Inflation:the four pillars of Reagan's economic policy were to reduce the growth of government spending, reduce the federal income tax and capital gains tax, reduce government regulation, and tighten the money supply in order to reduce inflation.)

Solutions to the Recession

The US to came out of this recession from the changes Reagan made economically country. Reagan created the Economic Recovery Tax Act in order to reduce tax rates. The act allowed people to spend more on goods and services, which gave the economy the boost it needed. This promoted people to invest in businesses which lead to economic growth. This meant that people’s wants and needs became more affordable and income tax was reduced. This enabled people to spend more money, which increased the economy. According to An American Life, Ronald Reagan, (1990) Reagan stated, “The Tax Reform Act will bring the lowest individual and corporate income tax rates of any major industrialized country in the world (Reagan, 1990).” Lowering the tax rates on corporation benefited citizens by paying less tax and investing more money into their corporation. The tax act decreased the tax rates so people had more money. The act cut the individual income tax in half and Reagan believed that balancing the budget of every department of government contributed to the economy. The governments discussed what needed to be cut, whether it’s was to cut back on building huge skyscrapers or as little as not fixing a pothole. Every department of government contributed in budgeting which had an impact on the economy.

Political Issue - US vs Gorbachev Soviet Leader

Berlin Wall

This webpage mentions the a speech at Berlin's Brandenberg Gate, Reagan demands Gorbachev "tear down this wall." In order to open up the barrier which had divided West and East Germany. The barrier is between democracy and communism. The people of East Germany, the ones who wanted to escape and are truly enclosed by this wall, are really the ones that Reagan is advocating for when delivering his speech. Two years later, in 1989 the wall was taken down.


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