Ronald Reagan — An Icon of Conservatism

Ronald Reagan -- An Icon of Conservativism

( – Ronald Reagan was a staunch defender of liberty and America, and he fought relentlessly against the Soviet Union. An eternal optimist, Reagan believed in the goodness of America and its people. He once said, “what is right will always eventually triumph and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.”

The 40th President of the United States is celebrated as an icon of conservatism. His speeches and witty words are not just imprinted on the conservative movement but on America itself. In his 1981 inauguration speech, Reagan told America that government was not the solution to America’s problems. It “is the problem.” By the end of his presidency, he transformed the tax system, created a model for economic success, and showed the strength of peace.

Redefined Conservatism

In 1964, Reagan lost the primary to be the Republican candidate for the presidential election. However, he was invited to give a speech at the Republican National Convention that would forever change his life, and redefine conservatism. In “A Time for Choosing,” he spoke of prosperity and hope, and how no nation can endure a stifling tax policy that robs the people of their money while spending it wildly. He asked if America was willing to give up self-government, and challenged the nation not to think in terms of left or right, but “up or down.”

Reagan introduced to America his idea that a bigger government isn’t a better government. He warned against the dangers of liberalism and socialism. He said liberals wanted to use the government to control people and warned that healthcare would be the means to start the process.

In an instant, the speech transformed conservatism and created a new movement that would usher Reagan into the presidency fifteen years later.

America First

Many are surprised to learn that Donald Trump did not coin the term, “Make America Great Again.” Ronald Reagan used it in his 1980 campaign. As America struggled with crippling inflation and a damaged economy, Reagan called for the country to re-focus its attention on its people. He understood that only when America takes proper care of itself can it lift up other nations.


In 1980, inflation was at a staggering 13.5%. In 1982, it fell to below 5%. He was the first president to focus on tax cuts to the middle class, and his economic policies prioritized private sector initiatives over government expansion. The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 and the Tax Reform Act of 1986 overhauled the tax system and resulted in one of the greatest economic booms in US history.

Foreign Policy

Regan transformed foreign policy in the fight against the Soviet Union. He believed in peace through strength and sought to build the largest, most lethal military in world history. His efforts to fortify coalitions and take a stand against the Soviets ultimately paved the way for the fall of the communist regime.

Reagan changed the conservative movement and the trajectory of America. Today, Republicans continue to follow his lead. Reagan’s legacy is a reminder that good government comes through lower taxes, less government, few restrictions on individuals and businesses, and a strong military.

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