Elections: Ronald Reagan

Quote of the Day:

"We are never defeated unless we give up on God." - Ronald Reagan 

"We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions." - Ronald Reagan 

Day 18 VoCaBulary:

  • tax
  • voice
  • women
  • bill
  • reappointment
  • requirements
  • referendum
  • legislature

Ronald Reagan:

Ronald Reagan is best known for being president during the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. He's also famous for his economic policy called "Reaganomics" as well as for being a Hollywood movie star who became president.

Ronald Reagan grew up in Illinois. He lived in several small towns growing up because his father, a salesman, moved the family around a lot. As a child, his family called him "Dutch" because his father thought he looked like a Dutchman. Ronald was athletic and gifted in acting. He went to Eureka College in Illinois where he was student body president and played a number of sports including football and swim team.

Reagan's first job out of college was as a radio announcer in Iowa. In 1937 he took a screen test and landed an acting job with Warner Brothers Films. He appeared in a number of films over the next several years including Knute Rockne: All American, Kings Row, and Dark Victory.

His Hollywood career was interrupted by World War II when, in 1942, he was ordered to active duty. He spent the next four years in the army where he worked stateside on promotional films for the war.

As Reagan grew older he became more involved in politics. First he was part of the Democratic Party and then moved over to the Republicans as his views changed. In 1966 he ran for Governor of California and served for two terms. In 1980 he ran for President of the United States and won over incumbent President Jimmy Carter.

Ronald Reagan's goal as president was to "go down in history as the President who made Americans believe in themselves again". In the years prior to his presidency the United States had experienced high inflation, unemployment, and rapidly rising gas prices. In addition, several American citizens were being held hostage in Iran and they had been there for over a year. Reagan wanted people to feel confident in their own abilities and to not rely on the government to take care of everything.

In order to try and get the American economy moving, Reagan made a number of changes to try and get employment up and inflation down. First he cut taxes and a variety of government programs. At the same time, he put money into strengthening the military. In 1980, the year before he took office, the inflation rate was 13.5%. Eight years later, when he left office, the inflation rate was at 4%. Unemployment rates continued to rise over his first year and half as president and then steadily declined over the next 6 years.

Reagan became sick from Alzheimer's disease in his old age. He died at his home in Bel Air, California on June 5, 2004.

Discovering Elections:

Who was Ronald Reagan? What political party was he affiliated with, and when did he serve as president? What was his religious affiliation? Describe his life and contributions to American history in your journal. 

Whom did President Ronald Reagan have to campaign against when he was running to become president of the United States? 

Which of our former presidents was an actor before being elected president? Which former president was a writer before becoming president?

What is the Electoral College and how is it used during a presidential election? What purpose does it have during elections? What is the swing state in elections and how does it impact the Electoral College vote?

Create your own election campaign poster or drawing for your favorite candidate. What is the message that you would like for people to know about your candidate?

What was unique about the American presidential election of 2004? Which candidate won the poplar vote and which candidate won the Electoral College vote? What were the exact percentages of each of these?

What are some fo the way that you can get involved in an election camapgin? 

Which presidential election had the highest percentage of eligible voter participation since 1930? Who won that election? Which election had the lowest percentage of voter participation since 1930? Who won that election?>