#40. Ronald Reagan. When we remember his presidency, we think of prosperity. His economic policies were dubbed “Reaganomics” and spurred economic growth. Starting his presidency in 1981, he went on to a second term in 1985, which he won by a landslide.
He was born February 6, 1911. He was raised in a poor family in Northern Illinois. After graduating from Eureka College in 1932, he went on to work as a sports announcer. After he moved to Hollywood in 1937, he became an actor. He has 80 credits according to imdb.com, his first credit being Love Is on the Air in 1937, and the last TV series he did was Death Valley Days in 1966. In 1940, he playyed George “The Gipper” Gipp in Knute Rockne, All American and the nickname “The Gipper” stuck throughout his career.
Reagan spent some time on active duty from 1942 to 1943. He was again ordered to temporary duty in New York City where he remained until the end of WWII. He returned to California the end of 1945. Due to his eyesight, he never was on duty outside of the United States.
In 1940, he married actress Jane Wyman. They had two children, Maureen and Christine (who only lived a day). They also adopted Michael who was born in 1945. Wyman filed for divorce in 1948. Reagan met Nancy Davis in 1949. They were married in 1952. They had two children, Patti (1952) and Ron (1958). People who knew them as a couple said they had genuine affection for each other and they never stopped courting.
Ronald Reagan started out as a Democrat but changed to the right in the 1950s and became a Republican in 1962 when he emerged as a conservative spokesman in Goldwater’s 1964 campaign. He supported Harry S. Truman and endorsed the campaigns of Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.
Reagan was Governor of California from 1967 to 1975. In 1976 he tried to become the Republican Party’s candidate for president against Gerald Ford. This attempt failed. In his 1980 bid against incumbent President Jimmy Carter, he stressed lower taxes to stimulate the economy, less government interference, state’s rights, and a strong national defense.
During his presidency, Reagan tried to bring back school prayer but it was once again banned by the Supreme Court. He continued to try to bring back prayer calling it a Moment of Silence. In March, 1981, there was an assassination attempt on him. He was quickly stabilized and released a couple weeks later from the hospital.
Reagan overhauled the income tax code in 1986 eliminating deductions and exempting low income earners. Overall, the years during Reagan’s presidency we saw peace and prosperity.