“We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we’re in a time when there are no heroes, they just don’t know where to look.” Ronald Reagan spoke these words with enthusiasm and assurance. Ronald Reagan is one of the greatest political figures of the twentieth century and he is the oldest president elected when he took office as the fortieth president. He has fulfilled this image through his childhood, accomplishments, and by making a difference.
Ronald Reagan’s traits of becoming a hero began in his early childhood years and though his primary and secondary schooling. Ronald did not grow up during an easy time in U.S. history; he grew up during the Great Depression. This took a toll on his family, as his father was unemployed and their family was just making ends meets. Ronald knew that he wanted to go to college after attending Dixon High School, as a result of having this goal he began working in order to pay for his schooling. He worked as a life guard at Rock River in Dixon Illinois where he grew up. “He is said to have saved a total of seventy-seven lives!” (Ronald Reagan The White house). Ronald held a tough exterior during these hard times by working for himself and his family and by keeping his vision on his future. Ronald was not only involved in his community; he was also a proactive member at Dixon High School by being involved in many extracurricular activities such as Track, Football, school plays, and speech just to name a few. His involvement in many after school activities and working led him to have poor grades in high school. Ronald definitely made up for his grades in high school when he attended Eureka College where he was involved in campus politics, theatre and sports. His leadership was demonstrated through his title of captain of the swimming team and president of Eureka’s student body. His heavy schedule in school activities did not hold Ronald back with grades this time. He was an attentive student studying subjects that in the future would benefit him; economics and sociology (Reagan Conservatism). Ronald was viewed as a leader by his peers and as someone who wouldn’t settle for anything but the best. This shows through a revolt he started due to the president of the college trying to have faculty cutbacks. Once this was announced, Ronald gathered his peers together to start a revolt against the president (Eureka Alum). Ronald was on his way to becoming a successful politician.
Ronald Reagan not only excelled in his childhood years, but also as an adult. His accomplishments and successes continued on through his career and personal life. After graduating Eureka College, Reagan made a career in radio announcing for the Chicago Cubs. During the baseball season, the Cubs were heading out west to play a game in California. Ronald tagged along too, being the announcer and also doing a screen test for Warner Brothers Studio (Sanders 1). After he auditioned and performed well, Reagan was offered a seven year contract with the studio which guaranteed him a lucrative career and a position with one of the most well known studios in the United States. While working, Ronald Reagan was in many films including: John Loves Mary, The Killers, Bedtime for Bonzo, The Voice of the Turtle, and Cattle Queen of Montana (Rosenburg 1). “Reagan starred in over fifty films” (gather.com) which showed that someone from a small town with mediocre grades in high school can accomplish much through hard work and dedication to college and one’s career. Ronald took his acting skills to good use by applying them to the U.S. army when he was drafted during World War II. “His near-sightedness kept him from the front so he spent three years in the army working for the Motion Picture Army Unit making training and propaganda films.” (Rosenburg 1). Also during the war Ronald had to leave behind his four children from both his marriages with Jane Wyman and his second wife Nancy Davis. Even though Ronald could not fight for the country physically, he still did his part in helping as much as he could. “Reagan’s film career had slowed down and he was fired by General Electric to host a television program and to make celebrity appearances at GE plants.” (Rosenburg 1). This job exposed Reagan to people around the country as he was making speeches constantly. Near the end of this career, he began actively supporting Nixon’s campaign for president in 1960 who was running for the democratic position for president. However, in 1962 Ronald Reagan changed his views and switched political parties and became a Republican (Ronald Reagan’s life). Once a thriving republican, Ronald ran for governor of California and was elected where he had two main ideas: “To send the welfare bums back to work” and “To clean up the mess at Berkley” (early political career). After becoming governor of California, the word was out that Ronald Reagan might be running for president in the 1980 elections. He did run as the republican candidate and won. He served for two presidential terms. Ronald Reagan’s early career in broadcasting, acting, and politics shaped him as a great candidate for the president of the United States of America.
Lastly, Ronald Reagan’s accomplishments led him to be one of the most influential republican presidents in the history of the United States. The presidents before Reagan: LBJ, Nixon, Ford, and Carter brought down America’s faith in government, but Ronald was here to restore that faith. During his presidency Ronald created what is known today as Reaganomics. This program “emphasized low taxes, decreased economic regulation, low social services spending, and high military spending.” (investorwords). Reagan’s view through Reaganomics argues that he believes in free markets, which are markets that are freed from government regulation. He felt that more government power was detrimental to our economy and that small businesses were vital to growing our economy. This anti-government view expressed his dedication to having conservative views and for wanting the best for our country. As a result, he lowered taxes that was funded by borrowing and reduced government spending, excluding military spending, which seemed crucial at the time of events. If you lower government spending and regulation then in return you increase business investment which overall increases the aggregate demand of the country, which is a good thing because overall it can increase land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship. “The number of jobs increased by 16 million; federal revenue increased 15 percent
” (mediamatters). Ronald Reagan restored America’s economy through his conservative views and his dedication to renovating the country. Reagan also dealt with some very difficult times during his first term as president. “Reagan was shot on March 30, 1981 by John W. Hinckley, Jr. outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C.”(history1990’s.com) Ronald survived with good humor and high spirits about his assassination attempt. His positive attitude inspired people throughout the country to keep high hopes and to not give up when the going gets tough. Reagan’s presidency was anything but average.
As one can see, Ronald Reagan can be idolized as a political and an everyday hero. He had a positive upbringing, made many achievements in his adult life, and by changing the United States for the better. His childhood years were the building blocks to the future successes he would accomplish, his personal life before presidency reflected his zealous personality, and as president he has renewed our country in the 1980’s. Ronald Reagan restored America’s faith in the United States government.