He has been called the most significant President of the 20th century. Ronald Reagan’s devotion to the American people and his unwavering commitment to managing both domestic and foreign affairs with sincerity, composure and efficiency provided a beacon of hope in an era that was marked by economic turmoil on the homefront and an impending threat of nuclear war. An analysis of Reagan’s life history, from a psychological standpoint, seeks to reveal the significant factors and influential events that may shed light on how he acquired the distinctive characteristics and how the interplay of how these factors subsequently shaped the extraordinary person he became.
It is necessary to consider the influence of heredity, certain family issues, social systems and environment on psychological development. Ronald Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in the small midwestern town of Tampico, Illinois to Nell (mother) and Jack (father) and older brother Neil. Jack Reagan was a salesman, a staunch Irish- Catholic, a Democrat, despised bigotry and racial discrimination, supported blue collar workers and instilled in his sons the same values. Possibly more influential to Ronald’s psychological development was that his father was also an alcoholic (Gilbert, 2007). This was very difficult aspect of Reagan’s childhood and he struggled to cope with his reality and make sense of his father’s behavior. Ronald's mother, Nelle was a very patient and nurturing woman who doted on her sons. She can be credited for familiarizing Ronald to theater and the stage by sharing with him her love of acting, as she was an actress herself. Being on stage and performing proved to be enjoyable for Ronald, so much so that he went on to star in various Hollywood movies. He even confessed that, “for a kid suffering childhood pangs of insecurity, the applause was music” (Will, 1990). She made a concerted effort to help them recognize that their fathers alcoholism, while upsetting and hard to...
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