Good Essay On The Life Of Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan is known today as a conservative icon, one that many Republicans look to for inspiration. Reagan’s accomplished many things as president, ranging from Reagonomics, cutting the size of government, dealing harshly with the USSR, and bringing an end to the Cold War. His famous economic policy, the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act, pledged to cut government spending by three dollars for any dollar increased due to taxes (Ehrman 61). Furthermore, he was well known before his days as president because was a governor of California and a former actor. In the end, Reagan embodied the conservative movement of the 1980s. The odd part about the rise of Reagan was that he was raised as Democrat, and gradually shifted towards conservative values. It was a slow process and took until 1964 working for Barry Goldwater, to complete the shift.
Ronald Reagan’s early years were a gradual process in which he aligned his basic core beliefs with conservative political ideology and became a major conservative leader as both Governor and President.
Growing up through his childhood and early years, Ronald Reagan was a Democrat. His family was heavily influenced by President Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. Nevertheless, Reagan’s family instilled certain core values that would eventually conflict with his political beliefs. At first, Reagan did not align these values with politics and lived in a conflicted state regarding his actions and political beliefs. This is because Reagan, even from his early days, was raised to believe in freedom and independence. According to Reagan himself, “America, above all places, gives us the freedom to make our dreams come true (Reagan 28).” Reagan strongly believed in the American dream and the idea that anyone in America can pursue their dreams, doing what they love in order to make money. The only reason this did not carry over into his political beliefs is because he simply was not interested in politics and did not put much thought into this matter. According to Reagan, “I had become a Democrat by birth, I suppose (Reagan 66)." Reagan just went along with his parents’ views and did not initially question why his parents were Democrats, and that he should be one as well. This idea carried Reagan through young adulthood until particular events got him thinking more in depth about his political ideology.
As Reagan did not put much thought into his political beliefs in relation to his actually ideology, Reagan apparently favored many New Deal programs created by FDR. Reagan also appeared to admire FDR’s personality as his leadership skills resonated with Reagan. Accounts of Reagan’s early years even suggest that Reagan would pretend to give speeches and portray the confidence exuded by FDR. Another reason for this is because of his family’s struggles during the Great Depression. Reagan dad struggled to find work, and eventually found a job due to one of the programs created by the New Deal (Reagan 34). Reagan had strong ties to his father, and when he saw that his father was able to obtain a job due to the government, Reagan did not question this government’s role and went along with supporting Democratic principles. This would change, however, as Reagan attained national fame as an actor and began working for major corporations, including General Electric.
Ehrman, John. The Eighties: America in the Age of Reagan. New Haven: Yale UP, 2005. Print.
Reagan, Ronald, and Kiron K. Skinner. Reagan: A Life in Letters. New York: Free, 2003. Print.
Reagan, Ronald. An American Life. Simon & Schuster Hardcover ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011. Print.
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