The story of Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States, has the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. Reagan’s is a tale of humble beginnings, a rise to fame and entry into an exclusive cadre of Hollywood elite, a progression into politics, a bold bid for the office of governor, then president, an assassination attempt, and not to mention an admirable and courageous career as leader of the free world.
Ronald Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in the small town of Tampico, Illinois to Edward “Jack” Reagan, a shoe salesman, and Nellie Wilson Reagan. The Reagan family lived in a series of small Illinois towns before settling in Dixon, Illinois. After a robust high school and college career, having played multiple sports, served as student council president and acted in school productions, Reagan began work as a radio sports announcer in 1932. Five years later, during a trip to Southern California to cover the Chicago Cubs’ spring training, Reagan decided to try his hand at acting. A screen test for a Hollywood contract launched his acting career; over the next 20 years, Reagan appeared in over 50 films and became the president of the Screen Actors Guild.
Reagan soon found his politics shifting from liberalism to conservatism over the issue of Communism in the film industry. He toured the country, espousing the values of conservatism and the dangers of too much government control and uninhibited spending: concerns which he would carry into his future political career. In 1966 and again in 1970, Reagan was elected governor of California. Ten years later, Reagan was chosen as the Republican Presidential candidate; after a successful campaign, he took office on January 20th, 1981. Less than three months later, an assassination attempt almost took the new president’s life. “Honey, I forgot to duck,” was Reagan’s wry response to his wife, showcasing his signature good-nature and wit. Despite taking a bullet to the lung, Reagan was back to work just a few weeks later.
During his time as president, Ronald Reagan sought to reduce federal taxes in order to spur economic growth: a policy coined “Reaganomics.” His time in office was marked by a period of economic prosperity. On an international front, Reagan was faced with escalating tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. He oversaw a buildup of U.S. weapons and troops and provided aid to anti-communist movements. During his second term in office, Reagan sought to ease tensions with the Soviet Union through diplomatic relations with the newly appointed leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, encouraging Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. The domestic prosperity and easing of international tensions achieved during Reagan’s time as president helped to solidify his legacy as one of the most beloved presidents of the modern age.
At Mercury One, we are lucky enough to own a tie bar signed by Ronald Reagan. A wonderful piece that we feel reflects his life well.
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