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35), a person that fought for the people and talked in ways that encouraged people to have a positive outlook, even when all was or was not well with the internal financial workings of the government (Cannon, 2001; Sharpe & Pemberton, 1998)).
Cannon (2001) is among many noting the presidency led by Reagan cast a "long shadow" on the American people. His achievements were accomplished through hard work and dedication (Sharpe & Pemberton, 1998). He managed to create a "symbiotic relationship" with Russian leader Gorbachev and achieved the creation of the INF treaty, which marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War and the Soviet people and Union as a country (Cannon, 2001, p. 2). While this may seem well it had grave economic consequences for the U.S., but also good ones, including a reduction in military spending thanks to peacetime, with only 3% of the budget allocated to military spending during the early presidential years. His followers used the context of "staying the course" to help transform the huge accumulated budget deficits left by Reagan so a "string of surpluses" arose from them (Cannon, 2001, p. 2). Politically, Reagan ran the House on a platform known as the "contract with America" developed by Newt Gingrich, where the idea that there was no limit on what could be done was created (Cannon, 2001, p. 2).
Ronald Reagan's charismatic leadership left a positive outcome on most of his disciples. Many feel that Reagan became an idol of sorts particularly among the Republican people, someone who people exalted (Sharpe & Pemberton, 1998). He was a champion, a very popular president that came into power with even Democratic legislators and members of Congress supporting crucial political decisions made by Reagan, as evidenced by the landslide victory he won in the 1984 presidential election where many independents and democrats voted for Reagan, suggesting the democrats had little power at least in the short-term to regain the House or equal representation in government for the time-being (Cannon, 2001; Sharpe & Pemberton, 1998). His followers had a few obstacles to overcome, including handling the budget deficit. Bush was inspired to follow in Reagan's footsteps, focusing on cutting taxes to emulate the victories many perceived Reagan as achieving (Sharp & Pemberton, 1998). Ronald Reagan left a legacy as someone who made equal opportunity, someone who held strong family values, and someone who could successfully rebuild the nation's economy, power and pride with time (Sharpe & Pemberton, 1998; Henry & Ritter, 1992).
Personal Review and Conclusions
On leaving office, Reagan left the American people with "pleasant reminiscences about their spectacular President" although most would agree the time for change had come, despite their admiration (Sharpe & Pemberton, 1998, p. 198). As Young (2004) so eloquently puts, Ronald Reagan put to rest the "self-doubts" many Americans held during the 1970s, achieving much political accomplishment during his career and helping to heal the "wounded pride" of American that accumulated during the Carter and Nixon administrations (p. 50). His popular "Reaganomics" would be one of his personal goals and achievements, to strengthen the economy by promoting investment, allowing prosperity to "trickle-down" as the president stated, even though this left the U.S. eventually on the "brink of a steep recession" (Young, 2004, p. 50). Some problems surfacing during his presidency included cuts in welfare spending, homelessness, and the increasing use of drugs throughout the U.S. (Young, 2004, p. 50). Still, from his own mouth, Reagan states, "I'm deeply honored to address the American people" (Reagan, 1985, p. 305).
This final statement by the president sums up his term in office. Reagan, despite his deficits, was a charismatic and memorable leader one the American people would credit as victorious for years following his presidency.
Cannon, L. (2001). Ronald Reagan: The presidential portfolio a history illuminated from the collection of the Ronald Reagan library and museum. New York: Public Affairs.
Henry, D., & Ritter, K. (1992). Ronald Reagan: The great communicator. New York:
Reagan, R. (1985). Address by President Ronald Reagan.…[continue]
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