Reagan’s Legacy 30 Years Later

October 15, 2019


Though it may be hard to believe, it’s been three full decades since President Ronald Reagan left office — but his impact is continuing to be felt. That’s because the Reagan legacy was rooted in a number of foundational American beliefs — freedom, equality, and independence — and he set into motion a series of policies and programs that were constructed around those lasting principles.

Many of today’s young voters weren’t even alive when President Reagan left the White House, but the America that they have always known was indelibly changed by him. When Reagan took office, the country was at the brink — on a number of fronts. The economy was on a downturn, tensions with the Soviet Union and other foreign powers were at unprecedented highs and the country’s increasing global focus was leaving millions of Americans in limbo, dashing morale, and patriotic pride. Reagan saw the writing on the wall and sought to instill an entirely new approach to what it meant to be American, which would ultimately fuel the Reagan legacy for years to come.

He instituted major tax reforms, including tax cuts that have been credited with reinvigorating the American economy. Jobs creation was another focus, as was moving away from government-assistance programs, efforts that got many Americans back to work and helped strengthen real estate, education, and many other markets. Reagan took a hardline approach to conflicts with the Soviet Union and is considered the driving force behind the easing of Cold War tensions. His Strategic Defense Initiative gave the American military the shot in the arm it deserved and helped reestablish the country as the global power it is today.

All of that work was centered on the concept of “America first,” an idea that has seen a resurgence in recent years. Reagan knew that it was important to solidify the country’s position on the global stage, but also to first and foremost invest in the American people themselves, particularly the hardworking middle class.

By doing so, Reagan elevated national pride, a sentiment that has inspired and shaped generations of Americans — and made the Reagan legacy a cornerstone of American history.


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