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Ronald Reagan Feb 06, 1911 · Jun 05, 2004


Born in Tampico, Illinois, on February 6, 1911, Ronald Reagan initially chose a career in entertainment, appearing in more than 50 films. While in Hollywood, he served as president of the Screen Actor's Guild and met his future wife, Nancy (Davis) Reagan. He served two terms as governor of California. Originally a liberal Democrat, Reagan ran for the U.S. presidency as a conservative Republican and won two terms, beginning in 1980.

Enrolling at Eureka College in Illinois on an athletic scholarship, Reagan majored in economics and sociology. After graduating in 1932, he found work as a radio sports announcer in Iowa. In 1937, Reagan signed a seven-year contract with the Warner Brothers movie studio. Over the next three decades, he appeared in more than 50 films

Reagan stepped into the national political spotlight in 1964, when he gave a well-received televised speech for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, a prominent conservative. in 1980. In that year's general election, he defeated Democrat incumbent President Jimmy Carter, winning the Electoral College (489 to 49) and capturing almost 51 percent of the popular vote. At age 69, Reagan was the oldest person elected to the U.S. presidency.

In his inaugural speech on January 20, 1981, Reagan rhetorically announced that "government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem." He called for an era of national renewal and hoped that America would again be "a beacon of hope for those who do not have freedom." On the domestic front, President Reagan advanced policies that reduced social programs and restrictions on business. Tax cuts were implemented to stimulate the United States' economy. By 1983, the nation's economy had begun to recover and, according to many economists, entered a seven-year period of prosperity. The most pressing foreign policy issue of Ronald Reagan's first term was the Cold War. He implemented the "Reagan Doctrine," which provided aid to anti-communist movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 1987, the Americans and Soviets signed a historic agreement to eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles. That same year, Reagan spoke at Germany's Berlin Wall, a symbol of communism, and famously challenged Gorbachev to tear it down. In November 1984, Ronald Reagan was re-elected in a landslide, Reagan carried 49 of the 50 U.S. states in the election, and received 525 of 538 electoral votes—the largest number ever won by an American presidential candidate. In November 1994, Reagan revealed in a handwritten letter to the American people that he had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Nearly a decade later, on June 5, 2004, he died at his Los Angeles home at age 93, making him the nation's longest-lived president at that time.(In 2006, Gerald Ford surpassed him for this title.)

Source: http://www.biography.com/people/ronald-reagan-9453198

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