Ronald Reagan (died June 5, 2004) was the first professional actor to become an American president. A conservative Republican, he was elected to office in part because of dissatisfaction over a weak economy. Reagan's legacy includes unprecedented federal budget deficits fueled by tax cuts made at the same time the federal budget grew, due to massive increases in military spending (which the Soviet Union could not match). Conservatives credit him with winning the Cold War against the Soviet Union. However, critics fault his involvement in the Iran-Contra arms scandal and his support for the anti-Soviet Mujahideen in Afghanistan (part of which went on to become the basis for Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda).
"Reagan is the one who freed presidential politics from the last vestiges of an obligation to make sense, and quickly ushered in the era where presidents are nothing but products, feel-good media creations that cheerlead for the active governmental maintenance of superstitions and traditional 'values'. He is a saint to people who were desperate to find reasons to feel good about being conservative."—Jon Tviete.
In 1980, when campaigning to become U.S. President, Reagan wrote to a North Carolina tobacco farmer reassuring him of his strong support for the tobacco industry. "I also want to assure you that my Administration will end what has become an increasingly antagonistic relationship between the Federal government and the tobacco industry. The Carter Administration has all too often singled out the tobacco industry for selective criticism and damaging restrictions. … I can guarantee that my own Cabinet members will be far too busy with substantive matters to waste their time proselytizing against the dangers of cigarette smoking," Reagan wrote. 
Published Works about Ronald Reagan
- Lou Cannon, President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime. Public Affairs, ISBN 1891620916.
- Lou Cannon, Govenor Reagan: His Rise To Power, Public Affairs, ISBN 1586480308.
- Lou Cannon, Ronald Reagan: The Presidential Portfolio, Public Affairs, ISBN 1891620843.
- Mark Green and Gail MacColl, There He Goes Again: Ronald Reagan's Reign of Error, Pantheon Books, New York 1983.
Related SourceWatch Resources
- America is a shining city upon a hill
- evil empire
- Inter-American Foundation during the Reagan era
- Peter Hannaford
- Reagan doctrine
- Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
- Wikipedia article on Ronald Reagan.
- Official Whitehouse bio.
- Ronald Reagan Biography, USA-Presidents.info.
- Ronald Reagan featured in 1953 advertisement for Chesterfield cigarettes.
- RonaldReagan.tk - a pro Reagan website - little in the way of authored content, mostly hot-links to other sites, but many public domain photographs.
By Ronald Reagan
- "Letter to Mr Galloway," Bates No TIMN0089856, September 24, 1980.
Articles & Commentary
- Michael Kranish and Murray Waas "Reporters Battle Over Final Report on Iran-Contra," Boston Globe, November 27, 1993.
- Robert Parry, "Rating Reagan," Consortiumnews, June 7, 2004.
- "Ronald Reagan's Legacy," The Economist, June 10, 2004. Subscription required.
- Robert Parry, "Reagan & the Salvadoran Baby Skulls," Consortiumnews, January 30, 2007.
- Jerome Doolittle, "Bush's Role Model," Bad Attitudes, April 7, 2007.
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