Ronald Reagan: professional, personal life and death –

Ronald Reagan He was president of the United States for two terms, from 1981 to 1988. He was a conservative politician who introduced neoliberal measures in the country and increased American interference in the fight against communism. Before becoming a politician, Reagan had been a renowned Hollywood actor in the 1940s.

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Birth and youth

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in Tampico, in the state of Illinois, in the United States, on February 6, 1911. His parents were John Edward Reagan, who worked as a salesman, It is Nelle Wilson Reagan. Ronald Reagan was the youngest child of the couple, who had only two children.

During his childhood, Reagan’s parents settled in different cities in Illinois, and in the 1920s they settled in Dixon, where Reagan spent some years of his life. He graduated from Economy It is Sociology from Eureka College, a university located in Eureka, Illinois.

Professional life

After graduating, Ronald Reagan got a job as a storyteller of sporting events. He initially worked for the University of Iowa and was later hired by different radio stations to narrate baseball games. In 1937, Reagan traveled to California on work, and there auditioned at the Warner Bros. studio.

After this test, Reagan began working as a actor, acting, first, in low-budget films. Over time, his performance began to be well evaluated, and he began to be cast in more important films, which made him one of the Hollywood’s most recognized actors in the early 1940s.

Ronald Reagan was president of the United States between 1981 and 1988, and his government introduced a series of neoliberal measures.

Ronald Reagan’s career as an actor was very successful, and he starred in 53 films throughout his Hollywood career. The peak of his fame was at the beginning of the 1940s, being interrupted by his call-up to the US army after the country entered World War II.

The call up took place in April 1942, but he was not sent to the front due to a myopia which made him incapable. Thus, Reagan was directed toward the “inside job” and acted in audiovisual productions for the US army during the war. At the end of 1945 he was released from service.

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After returning from the army, Reagan was unable to resume his film career and thus began to work on televisionwith emphasis on small audiovisual productions made by General Electric, a home appliance company in the United States where he worked for eight years.

Furthermore, Reagan began to introduce yourself into politics at the end of the 1940s. He was president of the Screen Actors Guild, a union representing actors and actresses in the United States, and contributed to the McCarthyite hysteria of the 1950s by denouncing actors he believed to be communists. O anticommunism It was one of the biggest milestones in Ronald Reagan’s life.

Political career

It is said that Reagan had a more progressive bent during his youth, but under the influence of his wife Nancy, he became a conservative. Thus, he began to align himself more and more with the values ​​of the Broken Republican. In 1960, he campaigned for Richard Nixon in the presidential race, and, in 1962, he officially joined the Republican Party.

In 1965, Reagan was convinced by members of the Republican Party to run as a presidential candidate. governor of California. In Reagan’s favor was his great rhetorical skill. In this election, his main opponent was Democrat Pat Brown. Reagan’s conservative platform won over voters, and he won the race with almost 58% of the votes.

Ronald Reagan remained in the position of governor of California for eight years, as he was re-elected in the 1970 race. From 1974, the last year of his term, he began to be considered as a presidential candidate by the Republicans.

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Reagan as president

In 1980, Ronald Reagan emerged victorious in the Republican Party primaries and became the presidential candidate. This year, the dispute went against Jimmy Carter, who was seeking re-election. Reagan’s victory was overwhelming: he had about eight million more voteswinning 489 of the Electoral College delegates (Carter won only 49).

In 1984, Ronald Reagan was elected to a second presidential term, and his victory was even more significant than the first. In this election, his main opponent was the Democrat walter Mondale. Reagan got almost 17 million more voteswinning a total of 525 Electoral College delegates (Mondale only obtained 13).

During his first term, Reagan already faced a major (and unexpected) challenge: he was the victim of a attempt in murder. On March 30, 1981, John Hinckley Junior shot the president six times, and one of the bullets hit him. He underwent emergency surgery to remove the projectile and, after 12 days in hospital, was discharged. The perpetrator of the attempted murder was acquitted because he suffered from mental problems and was sentenced to confinement in a psychiatric clinic.

Ronald Reagan’s government was marked as a period that inaugurated the implementation of neoliberal measures in the United States. Thus, what happened in this country after the Reagan government was the cutting of social programs to benefit the poor, the reduction of State regulations in the economy and labor relations, and the reduction of taxes for large companies.

Ronald Reagan cut taxes by 25% and reduced regulations in areas of the economy, environment and consumer rights|1|. He intensified measures that reduced workers’ rights and reduced their wages. Those who resisted precariousness through strikes began to be fired with the approval of the courts and the government.

The result of this policy was that North American workers began to work more and earn less. Furthermore, 20% of North American families experienced a decrease in their income and inequality soared in relation to the levels existing in the 1960s.|2|.

The Reagan administration was responsible for supporting Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War.

In the context of the Cold War, Ronald Reagan had very strong anti-communist rhetoric and acted directly to block the advancement of progressive, socialist or communist ideals in different parts of the world. United States interference in the sovereignty of other countries grew during his administration.

The Reagan administration supported the development of guerrillas who fought against left-wing groups, highlighting the case of the Contras, who fought against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. The Reagan government also gave support for Iraqi dictator Saddam Husseinin the war fought by Iran and Iraq from 1980 to 1988.

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Personal life and death

Over the course of his life, Reagan married twice. The two wives of the former US president were as follows:

  • Jane Wyman: they married in 1940 and divorced in 1949. From this marriage a daughter was born, Maureen Reagan. The couple also adopted a son, Michael Reagan.
  • Nancy Davis: They married in 1952 and remained so until Reagan’s death in 2004. They had two children, Patricia Ann Reagan and Ronald Prescott Reagan.

In the 1990s, Reagan discovered he had Alzheimer’s and lived with the disease for a decade. His health and memory deteriorated in the years following the discovery of the disease, and a pneumonia was the cause of his death, on June 5, 2004.


|1| PURDY, Sean. The American century. In.: KARNAL, Leandro (org.). United States History. São Paulo: Contexto, 2018. p. 258.

|2| PURDY, Sean. The American century. In.: KARNAL, Leandro (org.). United States History. São Paulo: Contexto, 2018. p. 260.

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By Daniel Neves
History teacher