Ronald Wilson Reagan was the fortieth President of the United States of America, serving the term from 1981 to 1989. Preceding his career as the president of the state, he had served as the 33rd Governor of the state of California from 1967-1975. He was a person with a versatile personality. He had been a lifeguard, an actor and an active member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and had even been appointed the president of the latter before joining proper politics. He was originally a member of the Democratic Party but switched to the Republican side in 1962. After two attempted failures in the presidential nomination for the Republican Party, he won both the nomination as well as the elections in 1980 to become the President of the State. After an assassination attempt and controversial military decisions in Grenada, he was re-elected to the presidential office in 1984.
Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on 6th February, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois. His father was John “Jack”
Reagan and mother was Nelle Wilson Reagan. Nicknamed “Dutch” by his father, Reagan had particular dislike for racial discrimination. He was a faithful believer in the optimal goodness of people around him, which stemmed from his mother’s Disciples of Christ faith. He graduated from Dixon High School and developed affection for acting, sports and storytelling! Reagan graduated from the Eureka College in 1932 and majored in sociology and economics. He was an active and good sportsman in those days too. He had also served in the US Army for some time.
His early youth was spent in the acting and radio arena, where he gathered enough name for himself. He worked as an announcer for Chicago Cubs baseball games at radio stations in the WOC and WHO. Later in 1937, he signed a 7-year contract with Warner Brother Studios and initiated his acting career. He acted in a lot of films before becoming the SAG president in 1941 after shifting to television as a base. He was strongly opposed to communism and denounced films that had a strong communist influence.
He married the well known actress Jane Wyman in the year 1940 and they had 2 children and adopted a third. Reagan divorced in the year 1948 and married actress Nancy Davis in 1952 and again had 2 children. He was the only US President in history to be divorced. As president, on the domestic front, Reagan had implemented his economic policies well, and had charged up the nation’s economic scenario with a host of new financial initiatives. Popular as “Reaganomics”, these policies included tax rebates and substantial tax cuts. Also he had declared a war on the prolific business of illegal drugs. This endeared him to the populace more than anything else.
On the foreign affairs front, Reagan had been lax in planning military actions and had paid the price with controversial and highly debated actions in Grenada in 1981. But the main feature in the Reagan administration’s foreign policy notebook was the end of the Cold War. This was despite the fact that Reagan himself was heavily anti-communist and loathed the USSR and had rejected the détente. But negotiation between him and Mikhail Gorbachev were successful as both countries shrunk their nuclear arsenals by a big margin. The Iran- Contra affair had had a major influence in the reduction of the popularity of the president in general.
Reagan left office in 1989, and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease on 1994. He died at the age of 93 in California in 2004. His funeral was attended by heavy names from all over the world, including Gorbachev, both the presidents Bush and others. He has been one of the most adored and respected presidents of America ever since his inception.