U.S. History: Ronald Wilson Reagan

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Colin Nardella
Mr. Conroy
AP U.S. History

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois to Nelle and John Reagan. Reagan graduated from Eureka College and studied economics and sociology during his four years there. Eureka College, located in Illinois, was founded by abolitionists who belonged to the Christian Church religious movement (Eureka College). Reagan, a member of the Christian Church himself, based many of his political stances on the values he took from his religion and the college he attended. Before entering into politics, Reagan started out as a radio sports announcer and later became a prominent actor and a television host. During Reagan’s acting career, he became president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1947-1952, which was dealing with suspicions of communist infiltration at the time. After his acting career, he hosted the popular television show, General Electric Theater (“American President Ronald Reagan”). From Reagan’s time in public service, he was able to gain fame in his acting career. Reagan is most known for surviving an assassination that was attempted by John Hinckley, a mentally disturbed young man from Colorado. What’s extremely disturbing was the reasoning behind his assassination. Hinckley attempted to murder the president not for a political agenda or because he was a part of another party, but mainly for the attention of the actress Jodi Foster. On March 30 1981, after being gunned down, Reagan was rushed to the local emergency room, and while facing death Reagan still kept his character and jokingly asked the surgeons in the emergency room if they were republicans. As a result of his recovery from the traumatic event, Reagan not only pulled through quickly, his popularity among the American people highly increased as he returned to work at the White House (“American President Ronald Reagan”). Yet with the good comes the bad, Reagan’s popularity rate wouldn’t stay high for a long period of time due to the decisions that would have a major negative impact on the nation economically, as well as socially. A few months after coming back to office Reagan, was confronted with a major crisis. In the month of August in 1981, the U.S. air controllers went on strike because they felt they served a substantial amount to their government. Therefore, they felt they deserved to be on U.S. government pay-roll, even though at the moment, they were on a pay-roll through a different union. One would think that Reagan would see where the air controllers’ frustrations resulted from, and yet instead of coming to agreement Reagan pulled something extremely dramatic. He came to the decision to fire each air controller that went on strike. Reagan then replaced these skilled gentlemen with individuals who were nowhere near qualified and labeled as “scabs”. As a result of his negative actions, the commercial flight industry would soon face even more hardships (“American President Ronald Reagan”). This was just the tip of the iceberg that lowered his popularity rate. Reagan continued with actions that just kept disappointing the American people each and every time his actions did not meet his domestic policy goals. What Reagan failed to address, was not the economic issues in the United States, but the fact that his actions were negatively affecting the social issues in the country as well (“The Reagan Administration”).

When it came to the major AIDS crisis in the United States and the controversial drug issue in the United States, Reagan refused to accept that these two topics were deemed to be critical issues among the people. What’s highly disturbing is the fact that while the AIDS epidemic was hitting the country at full force, the United States’ own president was denying the fact that it was an epidemic even with all the facts in front of him (“American President Ronald Reagan”). President Reagan looked at...
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