Reagan Lesson - Multimedia

A Time for Choosing
October 27, 1964

"I have spent most of my life as a Democrat. I recently have seen fit to follow another course. I believe that the issues confronting us cross party lines. Now, one side in this campaign has been telling us that the issues of this election are the maintenance of peace and prosperity. The line has been used, 'We’ve never had it so good.' But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity isn’t something on which we can base our hopes for the future."

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Ronald Reagan’s Announcement for U.S. Presidential Candidacy
November 12, 1979

"I am here tonight to announce my intention to seek the Republican nomination for President of the United States. I’m sure that each of us has seen our country from a number of viewpoints depending on where we’ve lived and what we’ve done. For me it has been as a boy growing up in several small towns in Illinois. As a young man in Iowa trying to get a start in the years of the Great Depression and later in California for most of my adult life."

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Presidential Debate with Jimmy Carter
October 28, 1980

"And I’m only here to tell you that I believe with all my heart that our first priority must be world peace, and that use of force is always and only a last resort, when everything else has failed, and then only with regard to our national security. Now, I believe, also that this meeting, this mission, this responsibility for preserving the peace, which I believe is a responsibility peculiar to our country, that we cannot shirk our responsibility as the leader of the Free World, because we’re the only one that can do it."

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Inaugural Address
January 20, 1981

"The business of our nation goes forward. These United States are confronted with an economic affliction of great proportions. We suffer from the longest and one of the worst sustained inflations in our national history. It distorts our economic decisions, penalizes thrift, and crushes the struggling young and the fixed-income elderly alike. It threatens to shatter the lives of millions of our people."

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Address to the Nation on the Economy
February 5, 1981

"I regret to say that we’re in the worst economic mess since the Great Depression. A few days ago I was presented with a report I’d asked for, a comprehensive audit, if you will, of our economic condition. You won’t like it. I didn’t like it. But we have to face the truth and then go to work to turn things around. And make no mistake about it, we can turn them around."

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Economic Recovery Program Before Congress

February 18, 1981

"All of us are aware of the punishing inflation which has for the first time in 60 years held to double-digit figures for 2 years in a row. Interest rates have reached absurd levels of more that 20 percent and over 15 percent for those who would borrow to buy a home.... Almost 8 million Americans are out of work. These are people who want to be productive."

Economy Recovery Program Before Congress

April 28, 1981

"I have come to speak to you tonight about our economic recovery program and why I believe it’s essential that the Congress approve this package, which I believe will lift the crushing burden of inflation off of our citizens and restore the vitality to our economy and our industrial machine....Now, let’s talk about getting spending and inflation under control and cutting your tax rates."

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Press Conference with Reporters on the Air Traffic Controllers Strike

August 3, 1981
Question: "Do you think that they should go to jail, Mr. President, anybody who violates this law [government employees who participate in a strike against the U.S. government]?"
Reagan’s Answer: "I told you what I think should be done. They’re terminated."

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State of the Union Address

February 26, 1982

"Today marks my first State of the Union address to you, a constitutional duty as old as our Republic itself. President Washington began this tradition in 1790 after reminding the Nation that the destiny of self-government and the 'preservation of the sacred fire of liberty' is 'finally staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.'"

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Address to the British Parliament
June 8, 1982

"Each stop of this trip is important, but among them all, this moment occupies a special place in my heart and in the hearts of my countrymen—a moment of kinship and homecoming in these hallowed halls....We’re approaching the end of a bloody century plagued by a terrible political invention—totalitarianism....Regimes planted by bayonets do not take root."

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State of the Union Address

January 25, 1983

"As we gather here tonight, the state of our Union is strong, but our economy is troubled. For too many of our fellow citizens—farmers, steel and auto workers, lumbermen, black teenagers, working mothers—this is a painful period. We must all do everything in our power to bring their ordeal to an end."

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“Evil Empire” Speech (Address to National Association of Evangelicals)

March 18, 1983

"The other day in the East Room of the White House at a meeting there, someone asked me whether I was aware of all the people out there who were praying for the President. And I had to say, 'Yes, I am. I’ve felt it.'”

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Address on Defense and National Security

March 23, 1983

"The subject I want to discuss with you, peace and national security, is both timely and important. Timely, because I’ve reached a decision which offers a new hope for our children in the 21st century, a decision I’ll tell you about in a few minutes. And important because there’s a very big decision that you must make for yourselves. This subject involves the most basic duty that any President and any people share, the duty to protect and strengthen the peace."

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Address to the Nation on Events in Lebanon and Grenada

October 27, 1983

"Now, in these past several days, violence has erupted again, in Lebanon and Grenada....Why should our young men be dying in Lebanon? Why is Lebanon important to us?....Two hours ago we released the first photos from Grenada. They included pictures of a warehouse of military equipment—one of three we’ve uncovered so far."

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State of the Union Address

January 25, 1984

"America is back, standing tall, looking to the eighties with courage, confidence, and hope. The problems we’re overcoming are not the heritage of one person, party, or even one generation. It’s just the tendency of government to grow, for practices and programs to become the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this Earth. [Laughter]"

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Address at the Republican National Convention (Presidential Nomination Acceptance)

August 23, 1984

"I will campaign on behalf of the principles of our party which lift America confidently into the future. America is presented with the clearest political choice of half a century. The distinction between our two parties and the different philosophy of our political opponents are at the heart of this campaign and America’s future."

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Presidential Debate with Walter Mondale - October 7, 1984

October 7, 1984

"I have a plan—not a secret plan. As a matter of fact, it is the economic recovery program that we presented when I took office in 1981. It is true that earlier, working with some very prominent economists, I had come up, during the campaign, with an economic program that I thought could rectify the great problems confronting us—the double-digit inflation, the high tax rates that I think were hurting the economy, the stagflation that we were undergoing."

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Presidential Debate with Walter Mondale - October 21, 1984

October 21,1984

"How anyone could think that any sane person would believe you could call back a nuclear missile, I think is as ridiculous as the whole concept has been. So, thank you for giving me a chance to straighten the record."

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Second Inaugural Address

January 21, 1985

"We’ve lighted the world with our inventions, gone to the aid of mankind wherever in the world there was a cry for help, journeyed to the Moon and safely returned. So much has changed, and yet we stand together as we did two centuries ago."

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State of the Union Address

February 6, 1985

"I come before you to report on the state of our Union, and I’m pleased to report that after 4 years of united effort, the American people have brought forth a nation renewed, stronger, freer, and more secure than before. Four years ago we began to change, forever I hope, our assumptions about government and its place in our lives. Out of that change has come great and robust growth—in our confidence, our economy, and our role in the world."

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Address to the Nation on the Upcoming Soviet-United States Summit Meeting in Geneva

November 14, 1985

"My mission, stated simply, is a mission for peace. It is to engage the new Soviet leader in what I hope will be a dialog for peace that endures beyond my Presidency. It is to sit down across from Mr. Gorbachev and try to map out, together, a basis for peaceful discourse even though our disagreements on fundamentals will not change."

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Challenger Disaster

January 28, 1986

"Ladies and gentlemen, I’d planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger."

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State of the Union Address

February 4, 1986

"I have come to review with you the progress of our nation, to speak of unfinished work, and to set our sights on the future. I am pleased to report the state of our Union is stronger than a year ago and growing stronger each day. Tonight we look out on a rising America, firm of heart, united in spirit, powerful in pride and patriotism. America is on the move!"

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Address to the Nation on the U.S. Air Strike Against Libya

April 14, 1986

"At 7 o’clock this evening eastern time air and naval forces of the United States launched a series of strikes against the headquarters, terrorist facilities, and military assets that support Mu`ammar Qadhafi’s subversive activities. The attacks were concentrated and carefully targeted to minimize casualties among the Libyan people with whom we have no quarrel."

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Normandy Commemoration/D-Day Tribute

June 6, 1986

"We’re here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. … We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but 40 years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon."

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Address to the Nation on Independence Day

July 4, 1986

Address to the Nation on the Meetings with Gorbachev

October 13, 1986

"We proposed the most sweeping and generous arms control proposal in history. We offered the complete elimination of all ballistic missiles—Soviet and American—from the face of the Earth by 1996. While we parted company with this American offer still on the table, we are closer than ever before to agreements that could lead to a safer world without nuclear weapons."

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Remarks on Signing the Tax Reform Act of 1986

January 27, 1987

"May I congratulate all of you who are Members of this historic 100th Congress of the United States of America. In this 200th anniversary year of our Constitution, you and I stand on the shoulders of giants—men whose words and deeds put wind in the sails of freedom....Though there are changes in the Congress, America’s interests remain the same."

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Memorial Service for USS Stark Crew Members

May 22, 1987

"Our task today is simple and sad: to remember, to pay tribute to those we loved. For some of us here today, our love is the unquenchable, unforgetting love of a wife or child for a fallen father, of a mother or father for a fallen son. For others of us, this love, while more distant, is still anguished and grieving; ours is a love for a fallen countryman who died so that we, a free people, might live and this great nation endure."

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Berlin Wall Speech/Remarks on East-West Relations

June 12, 1987

"As long as [Brandenburg] gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind....Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

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Remarks on Signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

December 8, 1987

"I believe this treaty represents a landmark in postwar history, because it is not just an arms control but an arms reduction agreement. Unlike treaties of the past, this agreement does not simply establish ceilings for new weapons: It actually reduces the number of such weapons. In fact, it altogether abolishes an entire class of U.S. and Soviet nuclear missiles."

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State of the Union Address

January 25, 1988

"If anyone expects just a proud recitation of the accomplishments of my administration, I say let’s leave that to history; we’re not finished yet. So, my message to you tonight is put on your workshoes; we’re still on the job."

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Remarks at a Meeting of the White House Conference for a Drug Free America

February 29,1988

Farewell Speech

January 11, 1989

"One of the things about the Presidency is that you’re always somewhat apart. You spend a lot of time going by too fast in a car someone else is driving, and seeing the people through tinted glass—the parents holding up a child, and the wave you saw too late and couldn’t return. And so many times I wanted to stop and reach out from behind the glass, and connect. Well, maybe I can do a little of that tonight."

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