Presidency of Ronald Reagan


Presidency of Ronald Reagan

Infobox_President
name=Presidency of Ronald Reagan
nationality=American


imagesize = 219px
order=40th President of the United States
vicepresident=George H. W. Bush
term_start=January 20 1981
term_end=January 20 1989
predecessor=Jimmy Carter
successor=George H. W. Bush
birth_date=February 6, 1911
birth_place=Tampico, Illinois, United States
death_date=death date and age|2004|06|5|1911|02|06
death_place=Bel Air, California, United States
spouse=(1) Jane Wyman (married 1940, divorced 1948)
(2) Nancy Davis Reagan
(married 1952)
alma_mater=Eureka College
occupation=Actor
religion=Presbyterian



party=Republican
The United States Presidency of Ronald Reagan, also known as the Reagan Administration, was a Republican administration headed by Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1989.

Domestically, the administration favored tax cuts and smaller government, introducing the largest tax cuts in American history. The economic policies enacted in 1981, known as "Reaganomics," were similar to those of supply-side economics and advocated free markets. The policies aimed to reduce the growth of government spending through tax cuts, as well as reduce regulation and inflation. It is arguable, however, to what extent they were achieved. As well as the economy, Reagan ordered a massive buildup of the military amidst the Cold War.

In dealing with foreign affairs, the administration was steadfastly anti-communist, employed a foreign policy of “peace through strength,” and played a major role in the end events of the Cold War. Reagan met with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev four times, aiming to shrink both the US and USSR's nuclear arsenals. The events contributed greatly to the end of the Cold War, occurring in 1991, after Reagan left office.

Reagan's presidency was known to many as the "Reagan Revolution," as proponents stated that America's morale had been restored and the Cold War largely ended. Critics noted, however, that the national debt had quadrupled at the end of Reagan's terms, and claimed that the Iran-Contra affair, a political scandal regarding administration officials, lowered American credibility. Reagan himself left office with a 64% approval rating, one of the higher approval ratings of departing presidents.

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, Reagan said in his first inauguration speech, which he himself authored, [Murray, Robert K. and Blessing, Tim H. 1993. Greatness in the White House. Penn State Press. p. 80] "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." His first act as president was to issue an executive order ending certain price controls. His economic policies, similar to supply-side economics and dubbed "Reaganomics," achieved a 25% cut in the federal personal income tax, 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 points 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. [Friedman, Milton. Letter to the editor of Liberty Magazine. August 5, 2004 [http://libertyunbound.com/archive/2004_10/friedman-reagan.pdf] AND Friedman, Milton. Freedom's Friend. Wall Street Journal. June 11. 2004]

One of Reagan's most controversial early moves was to fire most of the nation's air traffic controllers who took part in an illegal strike. Reagan strengthened Social Security to make it solvent longer by cutting disability benefits, and survivor benefits, and by increasing the FICA payroll withholding tax. He also took tough positions against crime, declared a renewed war on drugs, but was criticized for being slow to respond to the AIDS epidemic.

In foreign affairs, Reagan initially rejected détente and directly confronted the Soviet Union through a policy of "peace through strength," including increased military spending, firm foreign policies against the USSR and support for anti-communist groups around the world. Reagan later embraced and negotiated with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, a reformer, and together they contributed greatly to a peaceful end of the Cold War.

Reagan authorized military action in Lebanon, Grenada, and Libya throughout his terms in office. It was later discovered that the Administration also engaged in covert arms sales to Iran in order to fund anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua. The resulting Iran-Contra Affair 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 (64% of the nation) indicated that the administration had recovered its image among the American public due to the perceived restoration of America's power, prosperity and national pride.

Major issues of Presidency

Ronald Reagan

*, (20 January, 1981)
*, (20 January, 1985)
*, (26 January, 1982)
*, (25 January, 1983)
*, (25 January, 1984)
*, (6 February, 1985)
*, (4 February, 1986)
*, (27 January, 1987)
*, (25 January, 1988)

Major acts as President

Major treaties

* Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement of 1987
* Intermediate-Ranged Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987 between the U.S. and Soviet Union

Major legislation signed

* Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 - lowered income tax rates
* Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 - revoked some provisions of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981
* Social Security Amendments of 1983 - amended Social Security to adjust for new retirees
* 1984 Expansion of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 - tightened federal standards for the disposal of toxic waste and extends controls to small companies [cite news|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE3DB1139F933A25752C1A962948260&sec=health&spon=&pagewanted=all|title=Reagan Signs Measure Tightening Rules for Disposal of Toxic Waste|accessdate=2008-06-26|work=The New York Times|author=Pear, Robert|date=November 10, 1984]
* Tax Reform Act of 1986 - simplified the income tax code, broaden the tax base and eliminate many tax shelters and other preferences
* Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 - sweeping change to the Department of Defense command structure
* Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 - granted amnesty to illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously

Major legislation vetoed

Reagan vetoed 78 bills during his two terms in office. [cite web|url=http://ap.grolier.com/article?assetid=0403040-00&templatename=/article/article.html|title=Veto|publisher=The American Presidency Project|accessdate=2008-06-26]

Administration and Cabinet

Infobox U.S. Cabinet
align=left
clear=yes
Name=Reagan
President=Ronald Reagan
President start=1981
President end=1989
Vice President=George H.W. Bush
Vice President start=1981
Vice President end=1989
State=Alexander Haig
State start=1981
State end=1982
State 2=George P. Shultz
State start 2=1982
State end 2=1989
Treasury=Donald Regan
Treasury start=1981
Treasury end=1985
Treasury 2=James A. Baker III
Treasury start 2=1985
Treasury end 2=1988
Treasury 3=Nicholas F. Brady
Treasury start 3=1988
Treasury end 3=1989
Defense=Caspar Weinberger
Defense start=1981
Defense end=1987
Defense 2=Frank C. Carlucci
Defense start 2=1987
Defense end 2=1989
Justice=William F. Smith
Justice start=1981
Justice end=1985
Justice 2=Edwin A. Meese III
Justice start 2=1985
Justice end 2=1988
Justice 3=Richard Thornburgh
Justice start 3= 1988
Justice end 3=1989
Interior=James G. Watt
Interior start=1981
Interior end=1983
Interior 2=William P. Clark, Jr.
Interior start 2=1983
Interior end 2=1985
Interior 3=Donald P. Hodel
Interior start 3=1985
Interior end 3=1989
Agriculture=John Rusling Block
Agriculture start=1981
Agriculture end=1986
Agriculture 2=Richard E. Lyng
Agriculture start 2=1986
Agriculture end 2=1989
Commerce=Howard M. Baldrige, Jr.
Commerce start=1981
Commerce end=1987
Commerce 2=C. William Verity, Jr.
Commerce start 2=1987
Commerce end 2=1989
Labor=Raymond J. Donovan
Labor start=1981
Labor end=1985
Labor 2=William E. Brock
Labor start 2=1985
Labor end 2=1987
Labor 3=Ann Dore McLaughlin
Labor start 3=1987
Labor end 3=1989
Health and Human Services=Richard S. Schweiker
Health and Human Services start=1981
Health and Human Services end=1983
Health and Human Services 2=Margaret Heckler
Health and Human Services start 2=1983
Health and Human Services end 2=1985
Health and Human Services 3=Otis R. Bowen
Health and Human Services start 3=1985
Health and Human Services end 3=1989
Education=Terrel Bell
Education start=1981
Education end=1984
Education 2=William J. Bennett
Education start 2=1985
Education end 2=1988
Education 3=Lauro Cavazos
Education start 3=1988
Education end 3=1989
Housing and Urban Development=Samuel R. Pierce, Jr.
Housing and Urban Development start=1981
Housing and Urban Development end=1989
Transportation=Drew Lewis
Transportation start=1981
Transportation end=1983
Transportation 2=Elizabeth Hanford Dole
Transportation start 2=1983
Transportation end 2=1987
Transportation 3=James H. Burnley IV
Transportation start 3=1987
Transportation end 3=1989
Energy=James B. Edwards
Energy start=1981
Energy end=1982
Energy 2=Donald Paul Hodel
Energy start 2=1982
Energy end 2=1985
Energy 3=John S. Herrington
Energy start 3=1985
Energy end 3=1989
Chief of Staff=James Baker
Chief of Staff start=1981
Chief of Staff end=1985
Chief of Staff 2=Donald Regan
Chief of Staff start 2=1985
Chief of Staff end 2=1987
Chief of Staff 3=Howard Baker
Chief of Staff start 3=1987
Chief of Staff end 3=1988
Chief of Staff 4=Kenneth Duberstein
Chief of Staff start 4=1988
Chief of Staff end 4=1989
Environmental Protection=Anne M. Burford
Environmental Protection start=1981
Environmental Protection end=1983
Environmental Protection 2=William D. Ruckelshaus
Environmental Protection start 2=1983
Environmental Protection end 2=1985
Environmental Protection 3=Lee M. Thomas
Environmental Protection start 3=1985
Environmental Protection end 3=1989
Management and Budget=David A. Stockman
Management and Budget start=1981
Management and Budget end=1985
Management and Budget 2=James C. Miller III
Management and Budget start 2=1985
Management and Budget end 2=1988
Management and Budget 3=Joseph R. Wright, Jr.
Management and Budget start 3=1988
Management and Budget end 3=1989
Trade=William E. Brock III
Trade start=1981
Trade end=1985
Trade 2=Clayton K. Yeutter
Trade start 2=1985
Trade end 2=1989

upreme Court nominees

Reagan nominated the following jurists to the Supreme Court of the United States:
*Sandra Day O'Connor – 1981, making Reagan the first President to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court
*William Rehnquist – Chief Justice, 1986 (an associate justice since 1972)
*Antonin Scalia – 1986
*Robert Bork – 1987 (rejected by Senate)
*Douglas Ginsburg – 1987 (withdrawn)
*Anthony M. Kennedy – 1988

Domestic policy

Foreign policy

Assassination attempt

On March 30, 1981, only 69 days into the new administration, Reagan, his press secretary James Brady, Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty, and Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy were struck by gunfire from a deranged would-be assassin, John Hinckley, Jr.. Reagan was exiting the Washington Hilton Hotel following a speech to the building trades conference of the AFL/CIO when six shots were fired from a roped off area for bystanders.cite news|url=http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0103/30/lkl.00.html|title=Remembering the Assassination Attempt on Ronald Reagan|date=2001-03-30|accessdate=2007-12-19|publisher=CNN] Reagan was pushed into the waiting limousine by Secret Service agent Jerry Parr. Parr described doing what he had learned in his training: "I heard these six shots, actually fired in less than two seconds, and that starts the action for an agent and you simply cover, first, and evacuate." Parr directed the chauffeur to drive to George Washington University Hospital where the president was brought into the emergency room and subsequently operated on. Missing his heart by less than an inch, the bullet instead pierced his left lung, which likely saved his life. Reagan's condition in the hospital room was critical, as his heartbeat was faint and he had a very low blood pressure. Doctor Joseph Giordano, head of the Reagan trauma team, described the president as being "close to death." In the operating room, the bullet which had entered under his left armpit was removed, but Reagan was left with a collapsed lung. After the surgery, the president joked to the surgeons, "I hope you're all Republicans!"cite web |url= http://www.ronaldreagan.com/march30.html |title= March 30, 1981 |accessdate=2007-03-29 |publisher= Techsure LLC] Though they were not, Dr. Giordano replied, "Today, Mr. President, we're all Republicans." First Lady Nancy Reagan arrived at the hospital before her husband went into surgery; Reagan famously told her, "Honey, I forgot to duck" (using defeated boxer Jack Dempsey's quip). Reagan was released from the hospital on April 12, and was escorted back to the White House by Mrs. Reagan and their daughter Patti.

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.Freidel, Frank (1995), p. 84 ] 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. The diaries were recently published into the bestselling book, "The Reagan Diaries".cite web |url= http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780060876005/The_Reagan_Diaries/index.aspx |title= The Reagan Diaries | publisher = Harper Collins | accessdate=2007-06-05]

As a politician and as President, Ronald Reagan portrayed himself as being a conservative, anti-communist, in favor of tax cuts, in favor of smaller government (with the exclusion of the military), and in favor of removing regulations on corporations.Ronald Reagan is credited with increasing spending on national defense and diplomacy which contributed to the end of the Cold War, 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 (INF) to substantially reduce nuclear arms and initiating negotiations with the Soviet Union for the treaty that would later be known as START I, proposing the Strategic Defense Initiative, a controversial plan to develop a missile defense system, re-appointing monetarists Paul Volcker and (later) Alan Greenspan to be chairmen of the Federal Reserve, ending the high inflation that damaged the economy under his predecessors Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, lowering tax rates significantly (under Reagan, the top personal tax bracket dropped from 70% to 28% in 7 years [http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/taxes/ustax.html] ) 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, selling arms to foreign allies such as Taiwan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq (see Iran–Iraq War), greatly escalating the "war on drugs" with his policies and Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign, ordering the April 14, 1986 bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi in retaliation for an April 5 bombing of a West Berlin nightclub frequented by U.S. servicemen, in which the Libyan government was deemed complicit, and signing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 which compensated victims of the Japanese American Internment during World War II.

Controversy

During this time, five multiple controversies developed which resulted in a number of administration staffers being convicted of crimes or misdemeanors. The most well known was the Iran-Contra affair.

The HUD controversy involved administration staffers granting federal funding to constituents, and defrauding the US government out of money intended for low income housing. Judge Arlin Adamns obtained the following convictions:

#James Watt, Reagan's Secretary of the Interior was indicted on 24 felony counts and pled guilty to a single misdemeanor. He was sentenced to five years probation, and ordered to pay a $5000 fine. [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/july-dec99/hud_7-1.html Online NewsHour: Case Closed - July 1, 1999 ] ]
#Philip Winn - Assistant HUD Secretary. Pleaded guilty to one count of scheming to give illegal gratuities.
#Thomas Demery - Assistant HUD Secretary - pleaded guilty to steering HUD subsidies to politically connected donors.
#Deborah Gore Dean - executive assistant to Samuel Pierce - indicted on thirteen counts, three counts of conspiracy, one count of accepting an illegal gratuity, four counts of perjury, and five counts of concealing articles. She was convicted on twelve accounts. She appealed and prevailed on several accounts but the convictions for conspiracy remained.
#Catalina Villaponda - Former US Treasurer, HUD
#Joseph A. Strauss - Accepting kickbacks [ [http://www.nlihc.org/mtm/mtm3-40.htm NLIHC: National Low Income Housing Coalition - 404- Page Not Found ] ]

When an administration staff member leaves office, federal law governs how quickly one can begin a lobbying career.
*Michael Deaver, Reagan’s Chief of Staff, was convicted of lying to both a congressional committee and to a federal grand jury about his lobbying activities after he left the government. He received three years probation and was fined one hundred thousand dollars after being convicted for lying to a congressional subcommittee. [ [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reagan/timeline/index_5.html The American Experience | Reagan | Timeline (1986 - 1988) ] ]
*Lyn Nofziger—White House Press Secretary - Convicted on charges of illegal lobbying after leaving government service in Wedtech scandal. His conviction was later overturned. [http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/3752008.html]

The Environmental Protection Agency Scandal arose when it was discovered that the administration was releasing Superfund grants for cleaning up local toxic waste sites to enhance the election prospects of local officials aligned with the Republican Party.
#Rita Lavelle was convicted of lying to Congress and served three months of a six-month prison sentence. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C03E3D8143BF93AA25752C0A963948260 AROUND THE NATION; Conviction of Ex-Official Of E.P.A. Is Upheld - New York Times ] ] Also involving the EPA: funds from the Superfund to clean up toxic waste sites were released to enhance the election prospects of local politicians aligned with the administration.

Reagan's "elimination of loopholes" in the tax code included the elimination of the "passive loss" provisions that subsidized rental housing. Because this was removed retroactively, it bankrupted many real estate developments made with this tax break as a premise. This with some other "deregulation" policies ultimately led to the largest political and financial scandal in U.S. history: The Savings and Loan crisis. The ultimate cost of the crisis is estimated to have totaled around USD$150 billion, about $125 billion of which was consequently and directly subsidized by the U.S. government, which contributed to the large budget deficits of the early 1990s.

An indication of this scandal's size, Martin Mayer wrote at the time, "The theft from the taxpayer by the community that fattened on the growth of the savings and loan (S&L) industry in the 1980s is the worst public scandal in American history. Teapot Dome in the Harding administration and the Credit Mobilier in the times of Ulysses S. Grant have been taken as the ultimate horror stories of capitalist democracy gone to seed. Measuring by money, [or] by the misallocation of national resources...the S&L outrage makes Teapot Dome and Credit Mobilier seem minor episodes." ["The Greatest-Ever Bank Robbery: The Collapse of the Savings and Loan Industry" by Martin Mayer (Scribner's)]

John Kenneth Galbraith called it "the largest and costliest venture in public misfeasance, malfeasance and larceny of all time." [John Kenneth Galbraith, "The Culture of Contentment." (Houghton Mifflin, 1992).]

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. ["Reagan Weighs In On Social Issues." U.S. News & World Report, May 12, 1982] This extension added protections for blind, disabled, and illiterate voters.

Other significant legislation included the overhaul of the Internal Revenue Code in 1986, as well as the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 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.Fact|date=March 2008

Reagan's position on gay rights has been a subject of controversy. In the late 1970s he wrote a private response to the organization backing the California Briggs Initiative, stating that he opposed the proposed ban on gay public school teachers or anyone who supported gay rights.Fact|date=March 2008 He opposed efforts to repeal the criminal laws against homosexuality and generally opposed gay rights legislation as eroding traditional moral values. Yet his daughter, Patti Davis, wrote in article in the "New York Times" where she recalled her father talking about Rock Hudson's homosexuality in an accepting and tolerant manner. [ [http://www.nationalreview.com/murdock/murdock200312030913.asp Deroy Murdock on Ronald Reagan & AIDS on National Review Online ] ]

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 Walter Mondale, 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 polyps from his colon, causing the first-ever invocation of the Acting President clause of the 25th Amendment. On January 5, 1987, Reagan underwent surgery for prostate cancer which caused further worries about his health, but which significantly raised the public awareness of this "silent killer."

Close of the Reagan Era

In 1988, Reagan's Vice President, George H. W. Bush, 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, 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. The Reagans then boarded a Presidential helicopter, and flew to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. There, they boarded the Presidential Jet (in this instance, it was not called Air Force One), and flew home to California—to their new home in the wealthy suburb of Bel Air in Los Angeles. Reagan was the oldest president to serve (at 77), surpassing Dwight Eisenhower, who was 70 when he left office in 1961.

ee 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 in Simi Valley, California
* List of honors named for Ronald Reagan
* 600-ship Navy
* on Wikiquote

Footnotes

References

*cite book|last=Appleby|first=Joyce|coauthors=Alan Brinkley, James M. McPherson|title=The American Journey|publisher=Glencoe/McGraw-Hill|year=2003|location=Woodland Hills, California|id = 0078241294
*
*
* cite book | title = Ronald Reagan: The Presidential Portfolio: A History Illustrated from the Collection of the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum | first = Lou | last = Cannon | authorlink = Lou Cannon | coauthors = Michael Beschloss | publisher = PublicAffairs | isbn = 1891620843 | year = 2001
*
*cite book |last= Freidel |first= Frank |coauthors= Hugh Sidey |title= The Presidents of the United States of America |year= 1995|publisher= White House Historical Association |location= Washington, D.C.|isbn= 0912308575
*
* Hertsgaard, Mark. (1988) "On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency." New York, New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux.
*
*
* includes fictional material
*
*
*
*
*

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