• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Remembering Reagan’s Legacy and Applying It Today

    President Ronald Reagan addresses the 15th Annual March for Life by telephone

    Tomorrow, Feb. 6, is the 99th anniversary of the birth of Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States. Although it has been 21 years since President Reagan completed his second term and left the White House, he still remains a figure of great interest to many Americans, including a large number of young people who were not even born during the time he was president.

    New books come out about Reagan every year. The more research that is done about him, the greater the appreciation of what he accomplished and of him as a person. During 2008 Reagan was the president whose name was most mentioned in the debates of both parties, as an example of an effective leader the candidates wished to follow. Since he left office, Ronald Reagan has been the standard to which subsequent presidents have been compared. In numerous polls Reagan has been selected as one of the outstanding presidents in the history of the country.

    Why this continuing interest and favorable treatment of a president from the 20th century—in many ways more favorable treatment than he received from the media while he was in office? The answer lies in both the accomplishments he achieved while in office and his leadership style, which inspired and encouraged the American people.

    The history of the Reagan presidency shows how he revitalized the United States economy at a time of one of the most serious crises since the Great Depression of the 1930s. His program of lower tax rates across the board, regulatory reform, stable monetary policy, and slowing the growth of federal spending, produced the longest peacetime period of economic growth in the history of the nation. On the international front his strategy and actions rebuilt our national defense capabilities, restored the position of the U.S. in world leadership, and took the courageous actions that ultimately led to the end of the Cold War, with the cause of freedom winning.

    Equally important in endearing him to the American people was Reagan’s style of leadership. He had a vision of where America should be going and he was able to communicate that vision to the American people. It depended greatly on his concept of why America was good and why the American people had achieved so much in what has been a relatively new nation on the face of the earth. He admired the Founders and was able to relate their ideas of liberty, civic virtue, and opportunity to the people of the current generation. Even in difficult times, his cheerfulness and optimism gave the people the hope that, as he would put it, “America’s best days are yet ahead.”

    As with any president, not everything went well and Reagan faced many challenges, political opposition, and disappointments. Yet his faith in God and his faith in the American people enabled him to maintain his posture of enthusiastic leadership and ultimately to prevail over numerous obstacles.

    As we look back a quarter-century to an era of great challenge at home and abroad, and to a time when America needed a great leader, we can be thankful that we had a president who was equal to the task.

    This remembrance of President Reagan was originally published in The Daily Caller this morning.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to Remembering Reagan’s Legacy and Applying It Today

    1. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      Reagan's legacy could never applied to the political climate in Washington today.

      In Reagan's time, honor and honesty was still part of our American values. Now, with Marxist and Socialist in the White House and Congress, those values have

      no place in our society. As long as Obama and his ilk is in office, we will never

      be able to apply Reagan's legacy to this nation.

    2. Randy,SA TX says:

      why is anyone in their right mind calling reagan a honorable and honest president.he committed horrible acts in latin america especially nicaragua.

    3. Ric Davidge Former D says:


      I'm so delighted you continue to be a player. We only met twice while I was in DC, but both times are memerable.

      Best wishes from Alaska.

    4. Ed-Sugar Land says:

      It is sad that we have such weak leadership in our government today. Great men and women like President Reagan are still around, they are just not in office. We could duplicate President Reagan but we as conservatives and independents can and will have another strong leader in the Oval Office. It is unfortunate that we have to contend with obama and his cronies. Rahm emanual, Eric holder, Nancy pelosi, Harry reid and I can on and on. I am sure as President Reagan looks down upon this Nation, he shakes is head with disappointment and wonderment on how we allowed ourselves to get put into this situation. I pray every day that we can take our Country back and I know we will.

    5. Charles N.Y. says:

      Reagan went from being an actor to the president, Obama will go from being a president to being an actor,that's what he does best. Obama will go down in history as one of the worst president's in American history.

    6. Louis L Cesar F LEVY says:

      One of his best qualities, as fit our forefathers, was his Faith in God. It also manifested by this meticulous consultations with knowledgeable people before taking serious decisions.

    7. Randy,SA TX says:


    8. Randy,SA TX says:

      where my post?

    9. bigdave, ocala fl says:

      Rather than the idiotic, lamebrain, as -usual-demorat-politics of a stimulus/borrowlus'screwus package, REAGAN would have given us steep tax cuts across the board, thereby putting MO MONEY, thats right, MO MONEY into the pockets of the people, who would then spend it on goods/services creating a need for manufacturing and new hires, then money back to the government called TAX RECEIPTS you BRAINDEAD DEMOCRATS! This is simple economics here! Let the PEOPLE SPEND THEIR OWN MONEY rather than the morons in government…and STOP the idiotic "community reinvestment act"! Its killing us! Even a caveman can do this, but then even he is over the head of a liberal!

    10. Hester Tetreault, Wa says:

      President Reagan's wise words are as inspiring and relevant today as they were when he was our president. I remember him today with love and deep gratitude.

    11. Pingback: A BIRTHDAY TO REMEMBER : Stop The ACLU

    12. Will Carameta, Garne says:

      Isn't it funny how the left concidered Ronald Ragan and George Bush as simple and stupid. Yet these simple and stupid men accomplished some of the greatested things in our time. Yet,God said " I will take the simple and confound the wise". I belive that there are more simple men and woman with God given greatness amoung us. So let's thank God for this great country and simple men and women.For only through these men and woman will God grant the freedom and prosperty that we seek.

      Thanks, Will Carameta

    13. Gene Berman Gibbstow says:

      Though relatively little known, by the time Reagan was elected President, he had become absorbed in the study of Economics. This was not a brand-new area for him–he had an Economics major in college. But he later became an enthusiastic adherent of what is known as the "Austrian School" and was a constant reader of its core thinkers, such as Bastiat, Hayek, and, of course, von Mises (d. 1973) Soon after taking office, he held a small dinner party in the White House to honor Mrs. von Mises, the widow.

      One thing you can be sure of. Were he alive today to hear people lauding him for "defeating the USSR," Reagan would actually be embarrassed. Given a chance, he'd explain that the complete collapse of the USSR and the manner in which it went down–"like a house of cards"–were actually just as had been predicted by von Mises back in 1920 (though he'd cautioned that, because brutality had a certain, though limited, effectiveness, it might take the passage of quite some timer)–completely on the basis of what Austrian economists call "the inability of a socialist commonwealth to perform economic calculation."

      One other thing to be remembered about the man is that his well-known speech, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" was vehemently discouraged by every single one of his advisors and speechwriters; he had not a single supporter for the utterance of those now-immortal, world-changing words. That is political courage of a rare kind.

    14. ACE SEZ BISHOP, CALI says:

      I wonder if President Reagan could be as effective today as in the 80's—the evil power of the press (printed and tv) now -a-days is so powerfully persauive (we seem to have a Country of libs and non-libs in majority) The lame stream media could destroy Reagan like they did to President Bush

      I truly hope Sarah Palin does not run for public office because from day one (as President?) she'd become ineffective as happened to the Govenor's office in Alaska–all the frivilous and fraudulent lawsuits that she had to respond to by court order -muzzled her working agenda–and would be even worse when you consider there'd be 49 more states to hassle her time in office Mrs Palin and the 'first dude' are a true breath of fresh air in the political scene in the USA—

      Who better could she trust to check the facts and suggest ways to go than her husband–he had her back as it should be and proves nothing illicit occured.

      Just the libs and Palin haters can twist a great relationship into something bad–

      PS–she can make more money as a public speaker—i.e. Rush Limbaugh

    15. Cynthia Criswell, Ga says:

      While we all long for the days of Reagan's strong principles and leadership, the fact is that now we must all work hard to bring people like him into government. Ed-Sugar Land said "Great men and women like President Reagan are still around, they are just not in office." We need to start at the local and state levels and take back our country one office at a time. If we turn our backs and shrug our shoulders and say it can't be done, then we're doomed. The current lack of leadership in all levels of our government will continue to morph these great United States into a country that none of us will recognize.

    16. Randy,SA TX says:

      whats going on with my post??

    17. Robert, Los Angeles says:

      While the malevolent power of the press is powerful on the feeble-minded, even they cannot keep the people from feeling in their bones that something is seriously wrong with the Obama administration. The press is likewise powerless against the feelings in the people's bones when they recognize a great leader like Reagan, or presumably Palin. One could even call that feeling in your bones God telling you something.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.