Speech at the Brandenburg Gate. (12 June 1987)
1980s, Second term of office (1985–1989)
Context: General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
Ronald Reagan quotes
Birthdate: 6. February 1911
Date of death: 5. June 2004
Other names: Ronald Wilson Reagan, Ronald Regan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was an American politician and actor who served as the 40th President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Before his presidency, he was the 33rd Governor of California, from 1967 to 1975, after a career as a Hollywood actor and union leader.
Raised in a poor family in small towns of northern Illinois, Reagan graduated from Eureka College in 1932 and worked as a sports announcer on several regional radio stations. After moving to Hollywood in 1937, he became an actor and starred in a few major productions. Reagan was twice elected President of the Screen Actors Guild—the labor union for actors—where he worked to root out Communist influence. In the 1950s, he moved into television and was a motivational speaker at General Electric factories. Reagan had always been a Democrat until 1962 when he became a conservative and switched to the Republican Party. In 1964, Reagan's speech, "A Time for Choosing", supported Barry Goldwater's foundering presidential campaign and earned him national attention as a new conservative spokesman. Building a network of supporters, he was elected Governor of California in 1966. As governor, Reagan raised taxes, turned a state budget deficit to a surplus, challenged the protesters at the University of California, ordered National Guard troops in during a period of protest movements in 1969, and was re-elected in 1970. He twice ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for the U.S. presidency in 1968 and 1976; four years later, he easily won the nomination outright, becoming the oldest elected U.S. president up to that time, defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter in 1980.
Entering the presidency in 1981, Reagan implemented sweeping new political and economic initiatives. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics", advocated tax rate reduction to spur economic growth, control of the money supply to curb inflation, economic deregulation, and reduction in government spending. In his first term he survived an assassination attempt, spurred the War on Drugs, and fought public sector labor. Over his two terms, the economy saw a reduction of inflation from 12.5% to 4.4%, and an average annual growth of real GDP of 3.4; while Reagan did enact cuts in domestic discretionary spending, tax cuts and increased military spending contributed to increased federal outlays overall, even after adjustment for inflation. During his re-election bid, Reagan campaigned on the notion that it was "Morning in America", winning a landslide in 1984 with the largest electoral college victory in American history. Foreign affairs dominated his second term, including ending of the Cold War, the bombing of Libya, and the Iran–Contra affair. Publicly describing the Soviet Union as an "evil empire", and during his famous speech at the Brandenburg Gate, President Reagan challenged Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!". He transitioned Cold War policy from détente to rollback, by escalating an arms race with the USSR while engaging in talks with Gorbachev, which culminated in the INF Treaty, shrinking both countries' nuclear arsenals. Reagan's presidency came during the decline of the Soviet Union and just ten months after the end of his term, the Berlin Wall fell, Germany reunified the following year, and on December 26, 1991, nearly three years after he left office, the Soviet Union collapsed.
When Reagan left office in 1989, he held an approval rating of sixty-eight percent, matching those of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and later Bill Clinton, as the highest ratings for departing presidents in the modern era. He was the first president since Dwight D. Eisenhower to serve two full terms, after a succession of five prior presidents did not, some under unusual circumstances. Although he had planned an active post-presidency, Reagan disclosed in 1994 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease earlier that year. He appeared publicly for the last time at the funeral of Richard Nixon. He died ten years later in 2004 at the age of 93. Reagan had the third-longest life out of all the presidents, after George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford. An icon among Republicans, he is viewed favorably in historian rankings of U.S. presidents, and his tenure constituted a realignment toward conservative policies in the U.S.
Quotes Ronald Reagan
Speech at the Brandenburg Gate. (12 June 1987)
„Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.“
Speech in Jersey City, New Jersey (1 September 1980) http://www.slate.com/id/2201249/
Context: Let it show on the record that when the American people cried out for economic help, Jimmy Carter took refuge behind a dictionary. Well, if it's a definition he wants, I'll give him one. A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.
„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.“
Remarks in Arlington, Virginia http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1987/092587b.htm (25 September 1987)
1980s, Second term of office (1985–1989)
Anderson-Reagan Presidential Debate (21 September 1980) http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29407
Context: With regard to the freedom of the individual for choice with regard to abortion, there's one individual who's not being considered at all. That's the one who is being aborted. And I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born.
To his wife, Nancy, while in hospital shortly after he was shot in an assassination attempt (30 March 1981). Reagan is believed to have been quoting the words of boxer Jack Dempsey to his wife after he lost to Gene Tunney in 1926. http://www.rd.com/content/openContent.do?contentId=26804
1980s, First term of office (1981–1985)
„Although I held public office for a total of sixteen years, I also thought of myself as a citizen-politician, not a career one.“
Address to the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce (10 July 1991)
Context: Although I held public office for a total of sixteen years, I also thought of myself as a citizen-politician, not a career one. Every now and then when I was in government, I would remind my associates that "When we start thinking of government as 'us' instead of 'them,' we've been here too long." By that I mean that elected officeholders need to retain a certain skepticism about the perfectibility of government.
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„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, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.“
„Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.“
As cited in The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World (2007), Alan Greenspan, Penguin Press, Chapter 4 (Private Citizen), p. 87 : ISBN 15942 01315
„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; to your confidence rather than your doubts.“
1980s, Second term of office (1985–1989), Farewell Address (1989)
Context: 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; to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way.
„It does require, however, our best effort and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds, to believe that together with God's help we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us. And after all, why shouldn't we believe that? We are Americans.“
1980s, First term of office (1981–1985), First Inaugural address (1981)
Context: Directly in front of me, the monument to a monumental man, George Washington, father of our country. A man of humility who came to greatness reluctantly. He led Americans out of revolutionary victory into infant nationhood. Off to one side, the stately memorial to Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence flames with his eloquence. And then, beyond the Reflecting Pool, the dignified columns of the Lincoln Memorial. Whoever would understand in his heart the meaning of America will find it in the life of Abraham Lincoln.
Beyond those monuments to heroism is the Potomac River, and on the far shore the sloping hills of Arlington National Cemetery, with its row upon row of simple white markers bearing crosses or Stars of David. They add up to only a tiny fraction of the price that has been paid for our freedom. Each one of those markers is a monument to the kind of hero I spoke of earlier. Their lives ended in places called Belleau Wood, the Argonne, Omaha Beach, Salerno, and halfway around the world on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Pork Chop Hill, the Chosin Reservoir, and in a hundred rice paddies and jungles of a place called Vietnam.
Under one such marker lies a young man, Martin Treptow, who left his job in a small town barber shop in 1917 to go to France with the famed Rainbow Division. There, on the western front, he was killed trying to carry a message between battalions under heavy artillery fire.
We are told that on his body was found a diary. On the flyleaf under the heading, "My Pledge," he had written these words: "America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone."
The crisis we are facing today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice that Martin Treptow and so many thousands of others were called upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds, to believe that together with God's help we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us. And after all, why shouldn't we believe that? We are Americans.
„The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor.“
1980s, First term of office (1981–1985), Address on the Strategic Defense Initiative (1983)
Context: The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor. We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression — to preserve freedom and peace.
Since the dawn of the atomic age, we have sought to reduce the risk of war by maintaining a strong deterrent and by seeking genuine arms control. Deterrence means simply this: Making sure any adversary who thinks about attacking the United States or our allies or our vital interests concludes that the risks to him outweigh any potential gains. Once he understands that, he won't attack. We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression.
This strategy of deterrence has not changed. It still works. But what it takes to maintain deterrence has changed. It took one kind of military force to deter an attack when we had far more nuclear weapons than any other power; it takes another kind now that the Soviets, for example, have enough accurate and powerful nuclear weapons to destroy virtually all of our missiles on the ground. Now this is not to say that the Soviet Union is planning to make war on us. Nor do I believe a war is inevitable — quite the contrary. But what must be recognized is that our security is based on being prepared to meet all threats.
There was a time when we depended on coastal forts and artillery batteries because, with the weaponry of that day, any attack would have had to come by sea. Well, this is a different world and our defenses must be based on recognition and awareness of the weaponry possessed by other nations in the nuclear age.
We can't afford to believe that we will never be threatened. There have been two world wars in my lifetime. We didn't start them and, indeed, did everything we could to avoid being drawn into them. But we were ill-prepared for both — had we been better prepared, peace might have been preserved.
The Soviet Buildup For 20 years, the Soviet Union has been accumulating enormous military might. They didn't stop when their forces exceeded all requirements of a legitimate defensive capability. And they haven't stopped now.
„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.“
On growing up in a small town, as quoted in Who was Ronald Reagan? (2004) by Joyce Milton, p. 9
Context: You get to know people as individuals. 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.
„The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn't die in vain.“
1960s, A Time for Choosing (1964)
Context: The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn't die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well, it's a simple answer after all. You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, "There is a price we will not pay." There is a point beyond which they must not advance. This is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater's "peace through strength." Winston Churchill said that "the destiny of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits — not animals." And he said, "There is something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."
„Nature it seems also produces oxides of nitrogen. As a matter of fact nature produces 97% of them.“
Radio commentary (August 1975)
Context: Right now our main effort is directed toward oxides of nitrogen which comes out of automobile tail pipe and cause the photochemical reactions which color the air a muddy brown. There is no question they are a problem in areas like L. A. where we have a more or less constant temperature inversion trapping the air. But Dr. [John] McKetta lists the findings in his field as his no. 3 shock & surprise. Nature it seems also produces oxides of nitrogen. As a matter of fact nature produces 97% of them.