Ronald Wilson Reagan * 1981-1989, page 1
Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911- 2004), page 1
Term in Office: 1981-1989
Republicans Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush (1924- ) won both the 1980 and 1984 election campaigns and went on to serve as president and vice-president, respectively. In 1980 they defeated Jimmy Carter, the Democratic Party candidate, and John B. Anderson (1922-2017) of the Independent Party. In 1984 Reagan defeated Walter F. Mondale, the nominee of the Democratic Party, along with his Vice-Presidential running mate, Geraldine Anne Ferraro (1935-2011), a New York Congresswoman.
Ronald Reagan began his career as a radio sports announcer and went on to become a major Hollywood film and television star appearing in over fifty movies, and serving at one point as the union president of the Screen Actors Guild. He eventually became a spokesman for conservative views, and in 1966 was elected Governor of California.
As President, Reagan worked to restore a sense of pride and optimism, as well as economic prosperity for much of the nation. He also survived an assassin's bullet, having been shot on January 20, 1981. Along with cutting taxes and strengthening the military, Reagan's administration is also characterized by its "peace through strength" foreign policy, symbolized by the numerous meetings with the Soviet Union aimed toward the elimination of nuclear war.
Low points during Reagan's administration were the 1983 Beirut, Lebanon suicide bombing of an American military barracks resulting in the deaths of 241 servicemen, and the space shuttle Challenger disaster of 1986. It was also in 1983 a successful invasion of Grenada took place, under the premise of removing a communist threat within the region.
Reagan is given great credit in the effort to end the Cold War. A memorable moment occurred while on a visit to West Berlin and near the Berlin Wall in 1987 he issued the challenge, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" At the same time, in 1986, his administration was marked toward the end by a scandal known as the Iran-Contra Affair which involved the clandestine sale of arms to Iran, the proceeds of which went to Contra insurgents in Nicaragua, a direct violation of law.
Ronald Reagan was the oldest person ever elected President. He was also the first to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court, this being Sandra Day O'Connor, (1930 - ).
Reagan's second wife, Nancy Davis Reagan (1921-2016), whom he married in 1952, is portrayed on numerous buttons issued in both the 1980 and 1984 campaigns. This page also portrays several of the Jimmy Carter re-election buttons, as well as a depiction of John Anderson (1922- ), the Independent Party candidate who garnered 5,719,437 votes.
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