December 06, 2017
IN HIS WORDS
Through his eight years in office, President Ronald Reagan created and implemented policies and programs that have gone on to shape the country for decades. While his legislative impact is undeniable, Reagan’s words are almost as emblematic of his presidency as his actions. After all, the Great Communicator didn’t earn that title for nothing.
Reagan’s speeches have inspired generations, in a variety of ways — from jumpstarting future leaders’ political careers to motivating you to protect your privacy by using this encrypted email service in the former president’s name. Reagan’s distinctive rhetoric and ability to adapt his tone and message to suit the country’s evolving needs made him an unparalleled communicator, and an effective leader.
Here are just a few of his most notable addresses:
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
Reagan’s 1987 speech at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin included a direct challenge to then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to dissolve the controversial barrier between East and West Berlin. Two years later, Gorbachev followed suit and began demolition. Click here to watch Reagan’s speech.
“A time for choosing”
In 1964, Reagan took to the television airwaves for a speech in support of Barry Goldwater’s presidential run. Reagan focused on the choice Americans had to make with that and other elections — not between parties, but between the paths for the county’s economic success or failure. That address catapulted Reagan to national prominence and helped him launch his own political career. To watch the speech, click here.
“There you go again”
Reagan pushed back against then-incumbent President Jimmy Carter in the final debate for the 1980 presidential election. After Carter blasted Reagan’s stance on health care, Reagan issued a fiery rebuttal that not only articulated his actual positions but demonstrated his no-nonsense approach to confrontation. Click here to view the speech.
Reagan invoked poet John Gillespie Magee to immortalize the victims of the Challenger Seven tragedy. He quoted from Magee’s sonnet “High Flight” to comfort a nation in mourning after the 1986 tragedy. Watch Reagan’s speech, click here.
“Government is not a solution to our problem”
With the famous line “Government is not a solution to our problem; government is the problem” in his first inaugural address, Reagan set the stage for his pending presidency. In this and many speeches to come, Reagan emphasized the power and responsibility Americans have for self-rule. Read the full speech, click here.
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