Friday, July 24, 2009
Ronald Reagan 100th Birthday
1911 - 2011
40. RONALD REAGAN 1981-1989
At the end of his two terms in office, Ronald Reagan viewed with satisfaction the achievements of his innovative program known as the Reagan Revolution, which aimed to reinvigorate the American people and reduce their reliance upon Government. He felt he had fulfilled his campaign pledge of 1980 to restore "the great, confident roar of American progress and growth and optimism."
On February 6, 1911, Ronald Wilson Reagan was born to Nelle and John Reagan in Tampico, Illinois. He attended high school in nearby Dixon and then worked his way through Eureka College. There, he studied economics and sociology, played on the football team, and acted in school plays. Upon graduation, he became a radio sports announcer. A screen test in 1937 won him a contract in Hollywood. During the next two decades he appeared in 53 films.
From his first marriage to actress Jane Wyman, he had two children, Maureen and Michael. Maureen passed away in 2001. In 1952 he married Nancy Davis, who was also an actress, and they had two children, Patricia Ann and Ronald Prescott.
As president of the Screen Actors Guild, Reagan became embroiled in disputes over the issue of Communism in the film industry; his political views shifted from liberal to conservative. He toured the country as a television host, becoming a spokesman for conservatism. In 1966 he was elected Governor of California by a margin of a million votes; he was re-elected in 1970.
Ronald Reagan won the Republican Presidential nomination in 1980 and chose as his running mate former Texas Congressman and United Nations Ambassador George Bush. Voters troubled by inflation and by the year-long confinement of Americans in Iran swept the Republican ticket into office. Reagan won 489 electoral votes to 49 for President Jimmy Carter.
On January 20, 1981, Reagan took office. Only 69 days later he was shot by a would-be assassin, but quickly recovered and returned to duty. His grace and wit during the dangerous incident caused his popularity to soar.
Dealing skillfully with Congress, Reagan obtained legislation to stimulate economic growth, curb inflation, increase employment, and strengthen national defense. He embarked upon a course of cutting taxes and Government expenditures, refusing to deviate from it when the strengthening of defense forces led to a large deficit.
A renewal of national self-confidence by 1984 helped Reagan and Bush win a second term with an unprecedented number of electoral votes. Their victory turned away Democratic challengers Walter F. Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro.
In 1986 Reagan obtained an overhaul of the income tax code, which eliminated many deductions and exempted millions of people with low incomes. At the end of his administration, the Nation was enjoying its longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity without recession or depression.
In foreign policy, Reagan sought to achieve "peace through strength." During his two terms he increased defense spending 35 percent, but sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union. In dramatic meetings with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, he negotiated a treaty that would eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles. Reagan declared war against international terrorism, sending American bombers against Libya after evidence came out that Libya was involved in an attack on American soldiers in a West Berlin nightclub.
By ordering naval escorts in the Persian Gulf, he maintained the free flow of oil during the Iran-Iraq war. In keeping with the Reagan Doctrine, he gave support to anti-Communist insurgencies in Central America, Asia, and Africa.
Overall, the Reagan years saw a restoration of prosperity, and the goal of peace through strength seemed to be within grasp.
For more information about President Reagan, please visit
Ronald Reagan Library and Museum
1. George Washington
2. John Adams
3. Thomas Jefferson
4. James Madison
5. James Monroe
6. John Quincy Adams
7. Andrew Jackson
8. Martin Van Buren
9. William Henry Harrison
10. John Tyler
11. James K. Polk
12. Zachary Taylor
13. Millard Fillmore
14. Franklin Pierce
15. James Buchanan
16. Abraham Lincoln
17. Andrew Johnson
18. Ulysses S. Grant
19. Rutherford B. Hayes
20. James Garfield
21. Chester A. Arthur
22. Grover Cleveland
23. Benjamin Harrison
24. Grover Cleveland
25. William McKinley
26. Theodore Roosevelt
27. William Howard Taft
28. Woodrow Wilson
29. Warren G. Harding
30. Calvin Coolidge
31. Herbert Hoover
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
33. Harry S. Truman
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower
35. John F. Kennedy
36. Lyndon B. Johnson
37. Richard M. Nixon
38. Gerald R. Ford
39. James Carter
40. Ronald Reagan
41. George H. W. Bush
42. William J. Clinton
43. George W. Bush
44. Barack Obama
40th President of the United States
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
Vice President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Jimmy Carter
Succeeded by George H. W. Bush
33rd Governor of California
January 3, 1967 – January 7, 1975
Lieutenant Robert Finch
John L. Harmer
Preceded by Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, Sr.
Succeeded by Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown, Jr.
Born February 6, 1911
Died June 5, 2004 (aged 93)
Bel Air, Los Angeles, California
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) (1) Jane Wyman (married 1940, divorced 1948)
(2) Nancy Davis (married 1952)
Children Maureen Reagan
Michael Reagan (adopted)
Alma mater Eureka College
Religion Baptized Disciples of Christ, later attended Presbyterian churches
Service/branch United States Army
United States Army Air Force
Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975). Born in Tampico, Illinois, Reagan moved to Los Angeles, California in the 1930s. He began a career in filmmaking and later television, making 52 films and gaining enough success to make him a household name. Though largely a B film actor, he starred in both Knute Rockne, All American and Kings Row. Reagan served as president of the Screen Actors Guild, and later spokesman for General Electric (GE); his start in politics occurred during his work for GE. Originally a member of the Democratic Party, he switched to the Republican Party in 1962. After delivering a rousing speech in support of Barry Goldwater's presidential candidacy in 1964, he was persuaded to seek the California governorship, winning two years later and again in 1970. He was defeated in his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 as well as 1976, but won both the nomination and election in 1980.
As president, Reagan implemented sweeping new political and economic initiatives. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics," advocated reduced business regulation, controlling inflation, reducing growth in government spending, and spurring economic growth through tax cuts. In his first term he survived an assassination attempt, took a hard line against labor unions, and ordered military actions in Grenada. He was reelected in a landslide in 1984, proclaiming it was "Morning in America."
His second term was primarily marked by foreign matters, namely the ending of the Cold War, the bombing of Libya, and the revelation of the Iran-Contra affair. Publicly describing the Soviet Union as an "evil empire", he supported anti-Communist movements worldwide and spent his first term forgoing the strategy of détente by ordering a massive military buildup in an arms race with the USSR. Reagan negotiated with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, culminating in the INF Treaty and the decrease of both countries' nuclear arsenals.
Reagan left office in 1989. In 1994, the former president disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease earlier in the year; he died ten years later at the age of 93. He ranks highly among former U.S. presidents in terms of approval rating.
Radio and film
Reagan starred in Cowboy from Brooklyn in 1938.
After graduating from Eureka in 1932, Reagan drove himself to Iowa, where he auditioned for a job at many small-town radio stations. The University of Iowa hired him to broadcast home football games for the Hawkeyes. He was paid $10 per game. Soon after, a staff announcer's job opened at radio station WOC in Davenport, and Reagan was hired, now earning $100 per month. Aided by his persuasive voice, he moved to WHO radio in Des Moines as an announcer for Chicago Cubs baseball games. His specialty was creating play-by-play accounts of games that the station received by wire.
While traveling with the Cubs in California, Reagan took a screen test in 1937 that led to a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers studios. He spent the majority of his Hollywood career in the "B film" division, where, Reagan joked, the producers "didn't want them good, they wanted them Thursday." While often overshadowed by more famous actors, Reagan's films did receive many good reviews.
Reagan in Kings Row, which gave a brief boost to his career, in 1942
His first screen credit was the starring role in the 1937 movie Love Is on the Air, and by the end of 1939 he had already appeared in 19 films. Before the film Santa Fe Trail in 1940, he played the role of George "The Gipper" Gipp in the film Knute Rockne, All American; from it, he acquired the lifelong nickname "the Gipper." Reagan's favorite acting role was in 1942's Kings Row, in which he recites the line, "Where's the rest of me?," later used as the title of his 1965 autobiography. Many film critics considered Kings Row to be his best movie, though the film was condemned by New York Times critic Bosley Crowther.
Reagan called Kings Row the film that "made me a star." However, he was unable to capitalize on his success because he enlisted in the U.S. Army two months after its release. He never regained star status. After returning from World War II service, Reagan acted in Tennessee's Partner, This Is the Army, Dark Victory, Bedtime for Bonzo, Cattle Queen of Montana, Hellcats of the Navy and The Killers.
After completing fourteen home-study Army Extension Courses, Reagan enlisted in the Army Enlisted Reserve on April 29, 1937, as a private assigned to Troop B, 322nd Cavalry at Des Moines, Iowa. He was appointed Second Lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps of the Cavalry on May 25, 1937, and on June 18 was assigned to the 323rd Cavalry. His service number was 0 357 403.
Reagan was ordered to active duty for the first time on April 18, 1942. Due to his nearsightedness, he was classified for limited service only, which excluded him from serving overseas. His first assignment was at the San Francisco Port of Embarkation at Fort Mason, California, as a liaison officer of the Port and Transportation Office. Upon the approval of the Army Air Force (AAF), he applied for a transfer from the Cavalry to the AAF on May 15, 1942, and was assigned to AAF Public Relations and subsequently to the 1st Motion Picture Unit (officially, the "18th AAF Base Unit") in Culver City, California. On January 14, 1943 he was promoted to First Lieutenant and was sent to the Provisional Task Force Show Unit of This Is The Army at Burbank, California. He returned to the 1st Motion Picture Unit after completing this duty and was promoted to Captain on July 22, 1943.
In January 1944, Captain Reagan was ordered to temporary duty in New York City to participate in the opening of the sixth War Loan Drive. He was re-assigned to the 18th AAF Base Unit on November 14, 1944, where he remained until the end of World War II. He was recommended for promotion to Major on February 2, 1945, but this recommendation was disapproved on July 17 of that year. He returned to Fort MacArthur, California, where he was separated from active duty on December 9, 1945. By the end of the war, his units had produced some 400 training films for the AAF.
SAG president and television
Television star Ronald Reagan as the host of General Electric Theater.
Reagan was first elected to the Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild in 1941, serving as an alternate. Following World War II, he resumed service and became 3rd Vice president in 1946. The adoption of conflict-of-interest bylaws in 1947 led the SAG president and six board members to resign; Reagan was nominated in a special election for the position of president and subsequently elected. He would subsequently be chosen by the membership to seven additional one-year terms, from 1947 to 1952 and in 1959. Reagan led SAG through eventful years that were marked by labor-management disputes, the Taft-Hartley Act, House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) hearings and the Hollywood blacklist era.
Amid the Red Scare in the late 1940s, Reagan provided the FBI with names of suspects whom he believed to be communist sympathizers within the motion picture industry. Reagan testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee on the subject as well. A fervent anti-communist, he reaffirmed his commitment to democratic principles, stating, "I never as a citizen want to see our country become urged, by either fear or resentment of this group, that we ever compromise with any of our democratic principles through that fear or resentment."
Though an early critic of television, Reagan landed fewer film roles in the late 1950s and decided to join the medium. He was hired as the host of General Electric Theater, a series of weekly dramas that became very popular. His contract required him to tour GE plants ten weeks out of the year, often demanding of him fourteen speeches per day. He earned approximately $125,000 per year (about $1 million in 2008 dollars) in this role. His final work as a professional actor was as host and performer from 1964 to 1965 on the television series Death Valley Days.
Marriages and children
Governor of California, 1967–1975
Ronald and Nancy Reagan celebrate Reagan's gubernatorial victory at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.
California Republicans were impressed with Reagan's political views and charisma after his "Time for Choosing" speech, and nominated him for Governor of California in 1966. In Reagan's campaign, he emphasized two main themes: "to send the welfare bums back to work," and in reference to burgeoning anti-war and anti-establishment student protests at the University of California at Berkeley, "to clean up the mess at Berkeley." He was elected, defeating two-term governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, and was sworn in on January 3, 1967. His swearing-in occurred at 9 minutes past midnight. Reagan explained in 1988 that this time was chosen because his predecessor, Edmund G. Brown, "had been filling up the ranks of appointments and judges" in the days before his term ended. Professor Marcello Truzzi, a sociologist at Eastern Michigan University who studied the Reagans' interest in astrology, regarded this explanation as "preposterous", as the decision to be sworn in at that odd time of day was made six weeks earlier, and was based on advice from Reagan's long-time friend, the astrologer Carroll Righter.
In his first term, he froze government hiring and approved tax hikes to balance the budget. Shortly after the beginning of his term, Reagan tested the presidential waters in 1968 as part of a "Stop Nixon" movement, hoping to cut into Nixon's Southern support and be a compromise candidate if neither Nixon nor second-place Nelson Rockefeller received enough delegates to win on the first ballot at the Republican convention. However, by the time of the convention Nixon had 692 delegate votes, 25 more than he needed to secure the nomination, followed by Rockefeller with Reagan in third place.
The Reagans meeting with then-President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon in July 1970
Reagan was involved in high-profile conflicts with the protest movements of the era. On May 15, 1969, during the People's Park protests at UC Berkeley, Reagan sent the California Highway Patrol and other officers to quell the protests, in an incident that became known as "Bloody Thursday." Reagan then called out 2,200 state National Guard troops to occupy the city of Berkeley for two weeks in order to crack down on the protesters. When the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped Patty Hearst in Berkeley and demanded the distribution of food to the poor, Reagan joked, "It's just too bad we can't have an epidemic of botulism."
Early in 1967, the national debate on abortion was beginning. Democratic California state senator Anthony Beilenson introduced the "Therapeutic Abortion Act," in an effort to reduce the number of "back-room abortions" performed in California. The State Legislature sent the bill to Reagan's desk where, after many days of indecision, he signed it. About two million abortions would be performed as a result, mostly because of a provision in the bill allowing abortions for the well-being of the mother. Reagan had been in office for only four months when he signed the bill, and stated that had he been more experienced as governor, it would not have been signed. After he recognized what he called the "consequences" of the bill, he announced that he was pro-life. He maintained that position later in his political career, writing extensively about abortion.
Despite an unsuccessful attempt to recall him in 1968, Reagan was re-elected in 1970, defeating "Big Daddy" Jesse Unruh. He chose not to seek a third term in the following election cycle. One of Reagan's greatest frustrations in office concerned capital punishment, which he strongly supported. His efforts to enforce the state's laws in this area were thwarted when the Supreme Court of California issued its People v. Anderson decision, which invalidated all death sentences issued in California prior to 1972, though the decision was later overturned by a constitutional amendment. The only execution during Reagan's governorship was on April 12, 1967, when Aaron Mitchell's sentence was carried out by the state in San Quentin's gas chamber.
Reagan's terms as governor helped to shape the policies he would pursue in his later political career as president. By campaigning on a platform of sending "the welfare bums back to work," he spoke out against the idea of the welfare state. He also strongly advocated the Republican ideal of less government regulation of the economy, including that of undue federal taxation.
1976 presidential campaign
Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), also Simpson-Mazzoli Act (Pub.L. 99-603, 100 Stat. 3359, signed by President Ronald Reagan on November 6, 1986) is an Act of Congress which reformed United States immigration law. The Act made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit illegal immigrants (immigrants who do not possess lawful work authorization), required employers to attest to their employees' immigration status, and granted amnesty to certain illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously. The Act also granted a path towards legalization to certain agricultural seasonal workers and immigrants who had been continuously and illegally present in the United States since January 1, 1982.
1 Legislative background and description
2 Critics of the Act
3 Effect upon the labor market
5 See also
6 External links
Legislative background and description
Romano L. Mazzoli was a Democratic representative from Kentucky and Alan K. Simpson was a Republican senator from Wyoming who chaired their respective immigration subcommittees in Congress. Their effort was assisted by the recommendations of the bipartisan Commission on Immigration Reform, chaired by Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, then President of Notre Dame University. The law criminalized the act of knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant and established financial and other penalties for those employing illegal aliens under the theory that low prospects for employment would reduce illegal immigration. It introduced the I-9 form to ensure that all employees presented documentary proof of their legal eligibility to accept employment in the United States.
These sanctions would only apply to employers that had more than three employees and that did not make a sufficient effort to determine the legal status of their workers.
The first Simpson-Mazzoli Bill was reported out of the House of Senate Judiciary Committees. The bill failed to be received by the House, however, where civil rights advocates were concerned over the potential for abuse and discrimination against Hispanics, growers' groups rallied for additional provisions for foreign labor, and the Chamber of Commerce persistently opposed sanctions against employers.
The second Simpson-Mazzoli Bill finally passed both houses in 1984, but it came apart in the conference committee over the issue of cost. This year marked an important turning point for the reform effort. First, employer opposition to employer sanctions began to subside, placated at least in part by the "affirmative defense" clause in the law which explicitly releases employers from any obligation to check the authenticity of documents presented to them. Second, agricultural employers shifted their focus from opposition to employer sanctions to a concerted campaign to secure alternative sources of foreign labor. As opposition to employer sanctions waned and growers' lobbying efforts for extensive temporary worker programs intensified, agricultural worker programs began to outrank employer sanctions component as the most controversial element of reform.
The following year, Senator Simpson reintroduced the bill that Congressional opponents were now calling "The Monster from the Blue Lagoon". By September, this Senate version had already passed.
Critics of the Act
The legislation is frequently cited by opponents of illegal immigration as a failure in that undocumented workers were granted amnesty under the plan. It was estimated that over 2.7 million individuals were given a path to legal status from the 1983 IRCA
Effect upon the labor market
According to one study, the IRCA caused some employers to discriminate against workers who appeared foreign, resulting in a small reduction in overall Hispanic employment. Another study stated that if hired, wages were being lowered to compensate employers for the perceived risk of hiring foreigners.
The hiring process also changed as employers turned to indirect hiring through subcontractors. "Under a subcontracting agreement, a U.S. citizen or resident alien contractually agrees with an employer to provide a specific number of workers for a certain period of time to undertake a defined task at a fixed rate of pay per worker". "By using a subcontractor the firm is not held liable since the workers are not employees. The use of a subcontractor decreases a worker's wages since a portion is kept by the subcontractor. This indirect hiring is imposed on everyone regardless of legality".