Ronald Reagan's Inaugural Address

Topics: Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, President of the United States Pages: 8 (3056 words) Published: April 6, 2010
In 1980 America was faced with an economic crisis for the ages and they chose Ronald Reagan to deal with it. By the end of Jimmy Carter’s presidency the interest rate was 15.26 percent, inflation was at 12.5 percent and unemployment at 7.1 percent and these rates were still on the rise.[1] Coupled with an economy that was not growing, these rates pushed the United States into a recession. Due to the current situation President Jimmy Carter had put us in, Ronald Reagan was elected in a landslide victory and at 69 he was the oldest elected president. Reagan was faced with a task comparable to Franklin Roosevelt and his inaugural address needed to reestablish confidence in the American economy. As well as the economic crisis, Reagan was handed a continuing crisis in the Middle East. This crisis not only included a hostage situation at the United States embassy in Iran but also growing tensions between Iraq and Iran. It was Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address that would cover these issues and give the American people the confidence they needed to get itself out of the current recession. He would call each and every American person a “hero” and speak to them as a whole group being affected by the current crisis. [2] He would look to make Americans “dream heroic dreams” and forget about the pessimistic views about the Carter administration.[3] Reagan knew that he was going to have to make an impact very quickly otherwise the American people would quickly turn on him and question their decision to elect him as president. In a sense, Reagan’s address is the beginning of the most vital part of American History in the late 20th century, which saved America from economic disaster. Just as Herbert Hoover was blamed for the Great Depression, Jimmy Carter had been blamed for the terrible situation our economy was in at the end of his term in 1980 and especially the Iran hostage crisis. Due to the nations woes at the time, President Carter was viewed as a weak leader and it was suggested that only new leadership would solve these problems.[4] The Republican Party used this as a large part of their platform for the presidential race. After being elected as the Republican nominee in July handily over George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan would soon go to work on building his platform on his ability to solve the economic crisis as well as the continuing situation in Iran. These two issues would quickly be the downfall of Jimmy Carter’s campaign, as Ronald Reagan would preach to America as a whole with his solutions to the hole that many believed Carter had dug. Reagan would run his economic platform deeply rooted in supply side economics. This school of economics was admired by Reagan and was explained that people would work more and be more efficient if taxes were lower and they were getting more money out of their paychecks. His version of this economic policy would soon be recognized as Reaganomics. Reaganomics was based on four basic principles, a budget reform plan to cut the rate of growth in federal spending, reduction in marginal taxes, a program of regulatory relief and a monetary policy that would restore stable currency.[5] He argued that if Americans paid a higher percentage of their income to taxes as their incomes increased, they would lose the incentive to work and save. This lost of incentive would hurt the economy due to lack of money to invest in American business.[6] As well as this focus on incentive in the private sector, Reaganomics also wanted to reduce government spending. Reagan would talk about cutting big government programs and said he would deliver a balanced budget for the first time in 11 years. He wanted to cut social programs and was a big advocate for states’ rights. He would continue to say he would “restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them.” Some of his remarks during his campaign some believe would hurt him but Jimmy Carter would continually be...

Bibliography: Boller, Paul F., and Ronald Story, Eds. A More Perfect Union. 6th ed. Vol. 2. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005.
Boyarsky, Bill. Ronald Reagan: His Life and Rise to Presidency. New York: Random House, 1981.
Cannon, Lou. President Reagan: the Role of a Lifetime. New York: PublicAffairs, 2000.
Diggins, John P. Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom and the Making of History. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007.
Grafton, John. 28 Great Inaugural Addresses: From Washington to Reagan. Dover Publications, 2006.
"People & Events: Carter 's "Crisis of Confidence" Speech." PBS Online. 23 Apr. 2008 .
Reagan, Ronald. An American Life. New York: Pocket Books, 1992.
Reagan, Ronald. Speaking My Mind. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989.
Reagan, Ronald. The Reagan Diaries. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.
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