(Kilton, Illinois, 1911 – Los Ángeles, 2004) Cuadragésimo presidente de los Estados Unidos de América (1981-1989). Tras una breve experiencia en la radio, fue actor profesional de cine, interviniendo en múltiples películas de Hollywood entre 1937 y 1964. Nunca llegó a ser una gran estrella, pero adquirió cierta notoriedad como presidente del sindicato de actores en la época de la caza de brujas de Joseph McCarthy (1947-54). Su trabajo posterior como presentador de televisión le proporcionó la popularidad que le faltaba para dar el salto a la política, integrándose en el Partido Republicano y alineándose con su corriente más conservadora (1962).

Dotado de un gran carisma para el electorado americano, Reagan fue elegido gobernador del Estado de California en 1966 (y reelegido en 1970). Con su prestigio intacto después de dos mandatos, decidió no presentarse a otra reelección para luchar por la nominación a la presidencia tras la caída de Nixon (1974). Habría de esperar para conseguirlo, pues en 1976 el partido prefirió presentar al presidente saliente (y ex vicepresidente de Nixon) Gerald Ford; Ford perdió las elecciones presidenciales frente a los demócratas, quedando abierto el camino para Reagan en la siguiente convocatoria.

Ronald Reagan ganó holgadamente las elecciones presidenciales de 1980, apelando al orgullo nacional americano después de la supuesta debilidad que se le achacaba a la administración de Jimmy Carter; se trataba de recuperar la confianza de los americanos en sus valores tradicionales, seriamente dañada por la Guerra de Vietnam (1969-74) y por el caso Watergate (1973). La capacidad de Reagan para la comunicación (relacionada con su experiencia de actor) le permitió encarnar las aspiraciones de liderazgo fuerte que albergaba el americano medio, proporcionándole una reelección sin complicaciones en 1984, a pesar de su avanzada edad.

Durante su presidencia (1981-1989) impulsó un programa de revolución conservadora que entroncaba bien con los vientos reaccionarios que alentaban el gobierno de Margaret Thatcher en el Reino Unido y el pontificado de Juan Pablo II en la Iglesia católica. Consistía en una política económica neoliberal a ultranza, acompañada de un rearme militar y una política exterior más agresiva, que permitieran relanzar la cruzada contra el comunismo en el mundo.

Financió y armó a los grupos contrarrevolucionarios de Centroamérica hasta forzar la caída del régimen sandinista en Nicaragua. Ordenó intervenciones militares en defensa de los intereses americanos en Granada (1983) y Libia (1986). Reforzó los vínculos con los aliados de la OTAN, de los cuales obtuvo apoyo para desplegar nuevos misiles de alcance medio en Europa (los euromisiles). E impulsó un salto cualitativo en la carrera de armamentos con su Iniciativa de Defensa Estratégica (o Guerra de las Galaxias), orientada a desarrollar nuevas armas que garantizaran la superioridad tecnológica occidental en un eventual conflicto nuclear con la Unión Soviética.

Aquel programa de rearme fue el detonante del colapso de la URSS, pues su estancamiento económico le impedía seguir el ritmo impuesto por Reagan en la carrera de armamentos: obligó a la URSS a firmar acuerdos de desarme nuclear y a abandonar Afganistán (1988), lo que equivalía a renunciar a seguir desempeñando un papel de gran potencia. En consecuencia, comenzó el proceso de desintegración del régimen soviético bajo Gorbachov, que arrastró el hundimiento del comunismo a escala mundial, con lo que los más ambiciosos sueños anticomunistas de Reagan se vieron colmados.

Al lado de ese éxito, la opinión pública americana consideró menores otros fracasos, como los cosechados al intentar doblegar al régimen integrista islámico de Irán (al cual el gobierno norteamericano llegó incluso a vender armas en secreto para financiar ilegalmente a la guerrilla contrarrevolucionaria de Nicaragua, evitando el control del Congreso, donde tenía mayoría la oposición demócrata).

En política económica el balance fue menos brillante, pues si bien hubo un cierto crecimiento en los primeros años (impulsado por una política ultraliberal con altos costes sociales), el déficit presupuestario no dejó de crecer y obligó a mantener tipos de interés altos que acabaron pesando sobre la economía real. A pesar de las dificultades económicas del final de su segundo mandato, Reagan mantenía popularidad suficiente como para optar a un tercero si esa posibilidad no estuviera prohibida por la ley; el prestigio de su administración facilitó la elección de su vicepresidente, George H. Bush, en las presidenciales de 1988. Reagan se retiró de la política en 1989, manifestándose poco después sus graves problemas de salud (enfermedad de Alzheimer), que probablemente se habían iniciado ya durante el mandato presidencial.

Phrases

-Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.

-Never let the things you can’t do stop you from doing what you can.

-We the people tell the government what to do. It doesn’t tell us.

-A people free to choose will always choose peace.

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

-We cannot stop at the foothills when Everest lies ahead.

-There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.

Ronald Reagan Quotes

-Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

-Inspiring Reagan Quotes
Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.

-We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.

-The years ahead will be great ones for our country, for the cause of freedom and the spread of civilization.

-Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.

-There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.

-The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.

-Somebody once said that life begins when you begin to serve. Maybe if there’s a feeling that you can be of service then you feel you have to do it.

-If no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?

-Most often it’s not how handsomely or eloquently you say something, but the fact that your words mean something.

-We must be cautious in claiming God is on our side. I think the real question we must answer is, are we on His side?

-Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.

-Each day is different, and you get up, put one foot in front of the other, and go, and love; just love.

-I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there’s purpose and worth to each and every life.

-The future doesn’t belong to the faint-hearted; it belongs to the brave.

-Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It seeps through the walls topped by barbed wire, it wafts across the electrified borders.

-Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.

-Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears.

-The societies that have achieved the most spectacular, broad-based progress are neither the most tightly controlled, nor the biggest in size, nor the wealthiest in natural resources. No, what unites them all is their willingness to believe in the magic of the marketplace.

Ronald Reagan Quotes

-Trust the people. This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire post-war period, contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development.

-We believe faith and freedom must be our guiding stars, for they show us truth, they make us brave, give us hope, and leave us wiser than we were.

-Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.

-Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things. It is the continuous revolution of the marketplace. It is the understanding that allows to recognize shortcomings and seek solutions.

-Freedom is the recognition that no single person, no single authority or government has a monopoly on the truth, but that every individual life is infinitely precious, that every one of us put on this world has been put there for a reason and has something to offer.

-Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay the price.

-Freedom It is the right to dream — to follow your dream or stick to your conscience, even if you’re the only one in a sea of doubters.

-We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we will always be free.

-Our military strength is a prerequisite to peace, but let it be clear we maintain this strength in the hope it will never be used

Ronald Reagan Quotes

-There are no easy answers but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.

-Great nations have responsibilities to lead, and we should always be cautious of those who would lower our profile, because they might just wind up lowering our flag.

-Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.

-The dreams of people may differ, but everybody wants their dreams to come true. And America, above all places, gives us the freedom to do that.

-America is the moral force that defeated communism and all those who would put the human soul itself into bondage.

-A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.

-We Americans don’t want war, and we don’t start fights.

-Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States.

-The time has come to turn to God and reassert our trust in Him for the healing of America…our country is in need of and ready for a spiritual renewal.

-Without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure.

-I believe now, as I alway have, that America’s strength is in ‘We the People.’

Ronald Reagan Quotes

-While I take inspiration from the past like most Americans, I live for the future.

-I hope the people on Wall Street will pay attention to the people on Main Street. If they do, they will see there is a rising tide of confidence in the future of America.

-It is time to realize we are too great a nation for small dreams. We’re not — as some would have us believe — doomed to an inevitable fate.

-The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

-Governments tend not to solve problems, only to rearrange them.

-History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.

-No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!

-The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.

-Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.

-Protecting the rights of even the least individual among us is basically the only excuse the government has for even existing.

-The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would steal them away.

-Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

Ronald Reagan Quotes

-I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited.

-Democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.

-Today, if you invent a better mousetrap, the government comes along with a better mouse.

-Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.

-When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.

-I used to say that politics was the second-oldest profession. I have come to know that it bears a gross similarity to the first.

-Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.

-It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.

-The Democrats say that the United States has had its days in the sun, that our nation has passed its zenith. My fellow citizens, I utterly reject that view.

-Being free and prosperous in a world at peace. That’s our ultimate goal.

-Draft registration destroys the very values that our society is committed to defending.

-I consider all proposals for government action with an open mind before voting ‘no.’

-Our Constitution is to be celebrated not for being old, but for being young.

-Common sense told us that when you put a big tax on something, the people will produce less of it. So we cut the people’s tax rates, and the people produced more than ever before.

Ronald Reagan Quotes

-When you see all of the smoke billowing up from the Democrats, ladies and gentlemen, I’d follow the advice of their nominee: Don’t Inhale.

-Education is not the means of showing people how to get what they want. Education is an exercise by means of which enough men, it is hoped, will learn to want what is worth having.

-You can never underestimate the ability of the Democrats to wet their finger and hold it to the wind.

-The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.

-Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.

-The size of the federal budget is not an appropriate barometer of social conscience or charitable concern.

-One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project.

-The West will not contain Communism; it will transcend Communism. We will not bother to denounce it, we’ll dismiss it as a sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written.

-How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

-It was leadership here at home that gave us strong American influence abroad, and the collapse of imperial Communism.

-I have seen the rise of fascism and communism. Both philosophies glorify the arbitrary power of the state… But both theories fail. Both deny those God-given liberties that are the inalienable right of each person on this planet, indeed, they deny the existence of God.

-The great dynamic success of capitalism had given us a powerful weapon in our battle against Communism: money.

-The march of freedom and democracy . . . will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.

-Let us resolve that we will stop spreading dependency and start spreading opportunity; that we will stop spreading bondage and start spreading freedom.

-The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally, not a 20 percent traitor.

-Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re just braver five minutes longer.

-They say hard work never hurt anybody, but I figure why take the chance.

-If we ever forget that we are one nation under God then we will be a nation gone under.

-There are some who’ve forgotten why we have a military. It’s not to promote war, it’s to be prepared for peace.

-Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.’ And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.

-Many a man has failed because he had his wishbone where his backbone should have been.

-I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.

-You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.

-I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I’m in a cabinet meeting.

-I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.

-I did turn 75 today – but remember, that’s only 24 Celsius.

-Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement.

-I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon.

-One way to make sure crime doesn’t pay would be to let the government run it.

-The taxpayer – that’s someone who works for the federal government but doesn’t have to take the civil service examination.

-An economist is someone who sees something that works in practice and wonders if it would work in theory.

-I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.

-I am very proud to be called a pig. It stands for pride, integrity and guts.

-You know, by the time you reach my age, you’ve made plenty of mistakes if you’ve lived your life properly.

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