19 January 2009

The Great Communicator

Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the fortieth President of the United States and, at age 69, the oldest president to assume office.
When Reagan campaigned for office, the United States inflation rate was over 14% and unemployment was rising to reach a peak of 10.8% in 1982. Reagan enacted two major tax acts, lowering tax rates, to stimulate the economy during his terms, creating growth and lowering the unemployment rate. Despite his economic success, the national debt rose during his eight years from $700 billion to $3 trillion causing Reagan to reflect on the increased debt as the "greatest disappointment " of his presidency.

On foreign policy, he began a series of summits with Mikhail Gorbachev, laying the foundation for the Soviet reforms and arms agreements that ended the Cold War. He is known for his famous 1987 speech at Berlin Wall's Brandenberg Gate, where he challenged Gorbachev to "tear down this wall." The Wall came down two years later and the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.

Reagan's style of communication and humor endeared him with the title of the "Great Communicator" of which he stated in retrospect:

"I wasn't a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn't spring full blown from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation, from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries."

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