Ronald Reagan Leading and Teaching America (Fall 2012)

Throughout time, the United States has had its ups and downs involving economics, world powers, and military over the time of its growing existence since 1776. Since the day the US was founded, it has been a country of many different descents coming together as one. As shown in Ronald “Dutch” Reagan, his parents, John and Nelle, are examples of Irish decents and immigrated to the US during the Potato Famine like many other Irish families. Shown throughout time, people do not remember you as a person or your exact actions; it is your words and ideals that get passed on for generations. Throughout this paper it will compare and contrast the choices made and done by past and present United States Presidents. Of any historical person in a position of power, Ronald Reagan understood this concept better than any other President with saying, “ What I’d like to do is go down in history as the president that made Americans believe in themselves again.” Mr. Reagan’s hope came true by the fact of his legacy still being carried on to this day.

Any leader of a nation, should be able to relate to all types of the people in its country whether they are rich, poor, educated, or uneducated, and of any or mixed descents. Ronald Reagan would turn out to be a prime candidate for being able to understand and relate to all of these examples. Ronald Reagan’s father, John, a shoe salesman, and mother Nelle, a mainstay of the Disciples of Christ church, were two Irish Immigrants seeking for a better life for themselves and their future children. Little did John and Nelle Reagan know at the time, that this decision would be pivotal in the success of this nation. On February 6th 1911, Ronald Reagan was born in an apartment above a bakery in the tiny town of Tampico, Illinois. He and his older brother, Neil, were brought up during a time of an economic crisis. They were taught how to survive and overcome a time of hardship. At the time fewer than seven percent of Americans went to college, and Reagan was determined to be one of the seven percent. With this choice of moving on and perusing college, this would be his first experience and test of a leadership role.

As many great leaders in history learned, one must truly understand and master the art of communication and persuasion. Before even enrolling into college, Reagan was on his way to mastering this art. Reagan’s love at that time, Margaret Cleaver, was planning to attend Eureka College, a small liberal arts school just southeast of Dixon. Meanwhile, Ronald had managed to save up four hundred dollars for college, though this was not enough. Later when driving Margaret to enroll at the college, he was able to convince the college president and football coach, to offer him a scholarship in order to cover half of his tuition. By Mr. Reagan doing this it showed he knew how to talk to people, be a leader, and give them what they want, but more importantly getting the outcome he aspired for. This is a crucial skill for any leader to have that cannot be taught in a classroom.

Any worldly leader must be able to handle, act on, and understand the pressures of mass attention from people. Reagan later demonstrated that he was up for the challenge. He showed this by spending two of his years as yearbook feature editor and in the student senate, along with three years as President of the Eureka Booster’s Club. Through college, Mr. Reagan had to maintain a C average in order to be eligible for football, in which he never strived for better as he would state, “There is more to education than academics.” This would be a pivotal moral in his candidacy, because as a President and worldly leader you must know how to resolve issues and how to communicate with others, and those skills cannot be taught in a book. With his passion and drive for success, Mr. Reagan’s ambitions would direct him to the spotlight of America as a potential President and movie star.

After graduating college, Mr. Reagan wanted to become an aspiring sports announcer through a friend, then a Hollywood talent agent brought him to Hollywood to make him a movie star. Mr. Reagan would go onto becoming an A-list movie star until he was called to service in World War II. The war would become the end of his A-list movie star career, even though over half of his fifty-three films would be made after the war. In later years he would run for President losing his first attempt to Jimmy Carter in 1977, and after that serve two terms as President. Given that information, it provides adequate background, knowledge, and examples of how President Ronald Reagan’s ideals would shape America then and now.

As President Reagan came into power, he was immediately faced with the challenges of an economical crisis in the United States, a technology superiority race with Soviet Union, and the Cold War. As stated earlier, in order to be a worldly leader one must master the art of communication, willing to accept the challenges faced by a nation, and understand how to handle and overcome situations at hand. President Reagan would soon demonstrate he was willing to accept the challenges the nation had faced him with.

President Reagan saw the economic crisis of his time as an opportunity to stimulate the American economy. President Reagan would impose the Reagan Doctrine, which would increase diplomatic, military, and economic pressure on the Soviet Union. The Reagan Doctrine being imposed, this created mass amounts of jobs for American citizens in military production, gave the United States military superiority over the Soviet Union, and most of all boosted the United States economical situation. This ideal would end up being so powerful that the Soviet Union President, Mikail Gorbachev, adopted it with the same principles and called it “Perestroika”, meaning reconstruction and reorganization. The United States would then prevail as the military super power of the world with the fall of the Soviet Union. Following the policies put into place by President Reagan, it would jump-start the United States economy throughout the next decade and continue to leave the United States as the military super power. President Reagan would prove to the nation, and the world, he was willing to accept the situation presented at hand and find a way for the United States to prevail over problems then and into the future. As human beings we cannot live forever, though it is our names and our legacies that can live out our mortal self.

Comparing the time of President Reagan’s candidacy through the 1980’s to today’s democratic approach, they both have faced many similar issues such as economic downfall, war, and competition for superiority in world power and strength. Even though both face similar issues, their approach to a solution varies.

When President Reagan came into office after President Carter he stated, “We have to recapture our dreams, our pride in ourselves and our country, remind the people of their own greatness.” President Reagan did not look to blame previous administration or any American class for the downfalls of the country. He looked to rejuvenate the people and country and remind them of the American dream. President Reagan did what he aspired to do, he accepted the situation at hand and looked to stimulate the people’s and countries pride and superiority. Today’s democratic leader does not take this approach in fixing the nations struggles. As the Democratic Vice President blames previous administration for downfalls of the country he states, “Ladies and gentlemen they put two wars on credit card. Not paying a penny, not paying a penny, even though I introduced legislation to pay for that war. They voted against it.” He later goes on to say, “they added another trillion dollar tax cut for the very wealthy.” He said this to the people at Wa-Ke Hatchee Park Recreation Center in Fort Myers, Florida in 2012. This approach leans to put the blame for our countries failures on a class of its own people. For example, the Nazi party blames its failures on the Jewish people of Germany, the exile of Jewish people and the Israelites by the Roman Empire. Though the way it was dealt with by the Nazi party and Roman Empire is a much more extreme approach, the ideals of the blame on a certain class of its own people seem to be similar. During President Reagan’s time in office he looked not to blame its people for the problems, though looked for ways uplift all of the countries people. As time has shown, President Reagan’s approach worked for years in his presidency and in years after his presidency. As for the Nazi party, putting the blame on some of its own people failed dramatically. As history has shown, it is those who lead a country as a whole succeed and look to the countries future success as their primary objective.

Throughout the years, even after the fall of the Soviet Union from the Cold War, America and Russia have competed extensively upon national defense and missile defense. After the Reagan Doctrine was put into place, it put the United States in National Defense even after the Cuban Missile Crisis, from then until present day. President Reagan’s Doctrine was implemented to strengthen the country then and into the future. In today’s society, nation’s and people’s attention have turned to immediate gains rather than exponential gain.

During a bilateral meeting in the month of March 2012 located in Seoul, South Korea a conversation between the United States President and the Russian President was picked up about the U.S. President asking the Russian President for more space because he would have more flexibility after the election. This was in regard to the continuous issue of missile defense between the two nations. Instead of looking to solve an issue that has gone on for years, and most likely will continue without putting any attention on it, was asked to be put on hold in order to meet more immediate issues. Looking for immediate gain the goal was to put future issues on hold. During President Reagan’s time, he looked to solve issues the most effective and lasting of ways, and history shows these ideals worked for some time. Throughout time it is shown when long term issues are resolved it is those that make the greatest gain for a country. True success in solving an issue is met when there is a long-term resolution rather than short term.

In conclusion, President Reagan’s legacy shaped the United States during his candidacy and into today. A great leader looks to solve issues that will benefit the nation as a whole, and not just in the moment, as shown by the Reagan Doctrine, the outcome of the cold war, the long-term resolutions, and a nation uniting as a whole. President Reagan helped shape the United States into what it is today. Though Ronald Reagan’s mortal self is no longer here, his name, his ideals and his legacy still stands.


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