Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Headed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1989, the Reagan Administration was conservative, steadfastly anti-Communist and in favor of tax cuts and smaller government. It also liked to think of itself as supportive of business interests and being tough on crime. During its two term tenure, it saw the release of American hostages in Tehran, an attempted assassination, economic recovery, increases in military spending to fight the Cold War, and a tripling of the national debt. The administration declared a renewed war on drugs, but was criticized for being slow to respond to the AIDS epidemic. One of Reagan's most controversial early moves was to fire most of the nation's air traffic controllers who took part in an illegal strike.
Instead of détente, the administration confronted the Soviet Union through arms reduction treaties, increased military spending, and supporting anti-communist rebel groups. Proposed programs, such as the Strategic Defense Initiative sought to outspend the USSR. Many Reagan supporters credit the Reagan administration with winning the Cold War, although the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union may have been due to internal problems.
Some foreign interventions, such as the one in Lebanon, ended in failure, while others, such as the invasion of Grenada, were successful. Involvement in the Iran-Iraq War at times favored Iraq, believing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was less dangerous. The Administration also engaged in covert arms sales to Iran in order to fund anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua. The resulting Iran-Contra Affair became a scandal to which Reagan professed ignorance. A significant number of officials in the Reagan Administration were either convicted or forced to resign as a result of the scandal.
On March 30, 1981, just 69 days into his Presidency, while leaving the Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC, President Reagan, Press Secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent, and District of Columbia police officer Thomas Delanty were shot by John Hinckley, Jr. Shortly before surgery to remove the bullet from his chest (which barely missed his heart) he remarked to his surgeons, "I hope you're all Republicans,"  and to his wife Nancy he jokingly commented, "Honey, I forgot to duck." Apparently he was quoting a remark made by boxer Jack Dempsey in 1926 explaining his loss of his heavyweight championship. After Dempsey lost to Gene Tunney, his wife Estelle Taylor asked him "What happened?" His reply was "Honey, I forgot to duck." Reagan often creatively quoted such witticisms.
As a politician and as President, he portrayed himself as being:
- in favor of tax cuts
- in favor of smaller government (with the exclusion of the military)
- in favor of removing regulations on corporations
- in favor of the use of force to protect U.S. interests
- supportive of business interests, both large and small
- tough on crime
Policies and decisions
He is credited with:
- increasing spending on national defense and pursuing other policies which contributed to the end of the Cold War
- deploying U.S. Pershing II missiles in West Germany in response to the Soviet stationing of SS-20 missiles near Europe
- negotiating the INF Treaty and initiating negotiations for the START Treaty with the Soviet Union
- proposing the Strategic Defense Initiative, a controversial plan to develop a missile defense system
- re-appointing monetarists Paul Volcker and later appointing Alan Greenspan to be chairmen of the Federal Reserve, ending the high inflation that damaged the economy under his predecessors Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford
- lowering taxes significantly (under Reagan, the top personal tax bracket dropped from 70% to 28% in 7 years ) and leading a major reform of the tax system
- providing arms and other support to anti-communist groups such as the Contras and the mujahideen
- selling arms to foreign allies such as Taiwan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq (see Iran-Iraq War)
- greatly escalating the "war on drugs"
- ordering the April 14, 1986 bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi in retaliation for an April 5 bombing of a West German nightclub frequented by U.S. servicemen, in which the Libyan government was deemed complicit
- signing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 which compensated victims of the Japanese American Internment during World War II
- firing air traffic controllers when they went on strike
Main article: Reaganomics
Part of President Reagan's first term in office focused on reviving an inherited economy exhibiting stagflation, a high rate of inflation combined with an economic recession. Partially based on supply-side economics (derided by opponents as "trickle down economics"), Reagan's policies sought to stimulate the economy with large across-the-board tax cuts. George H. W. Bush had called Reagan's economic ideas "voodoo economics" during the Republican primary campaign, prior to becoming his running mate. The tax cuts were to be coupled with commensurate reductions in social welfare spending, earning the scorn of many.
After less than two years in office, Reagan rolled back a large portion of his corporate income tax cuts. Not only did Reagan retreat from proposed cuts in the Social Security budget, but he also appointed the Greenspan Commission which resolved the solvency crisis through reforms including increases in the payroll tax. Although Reagan achieved a marginal reduction in the rate of expansion of government spending, his overall fiscal policy was expansionary. Social programs grew apace at the behest of the Democratic-controlled Congress. Reagan's fiscal policies soon became known as "Reaganomics", a nickname used by both his supporters and detractors.
President Reagan's tenure marked a time of economic prosperity in the United States. GDP growth recovered strongly after the 1982 recession. Unemployment peaked at over 11 percent in 1982 then dropped steadily, and inflation dropped even more significantly. This economic growth generated greater tax revenue, although the new revenue did not cover an increased federal budget that included the military buildup and expansions of social programs. The result was greater deficit spending and a dramatic increase in the national debt, which tripled during Reagan's presidency. The U.S. trade deficit expanded significantly, particularly with buoyant Japan, economic inequality increased, and the overvalued U.S. dollar was distorting the world economy.
There is disagreement over how much Reagan's policies contributed to the severe recession that took place in 1982, the strong economic expansion that began late in his first term and ran throughout his second term, and the distribution of the benefits of economic growth among the rich and the poor.
Response to AIDS
Reagan's presidency saw the advent of HIV-AIDS as a widespread epidemic in the United States. Although AIDS was first identified in 1981, Reagan did not mention it publicly for several more years. Critics of Reagan typically state that he did not do so until 1987, but this claim is false, as he discussed funding for AIDS research in a press conference in 1985.   The death from AIDS of his friend Rock Hudson helped motivate Reagan to support more active measures to contain the spread of AIDS, although in retrospect those measures are still seen by Reagan's critics as inadequate.
Possibly in deference to the views of the powerful religious right, which saw AIDS as a disease limited to the gay male community and spread by immoral behavior, Reagan prevented his Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, from speaking out about the epidemic. When in 1986 Reagan finally authorized Koop to issue a report on the epidemic, he expected it to be in line with conservative policies; instead, Koop's Surgeon General's Report on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome greatly emphasized the importance of a comprehensive AIDS education strategy, including widespread distribution of condoms, and rejected mandatory testing. This approach brought Koop into conflict with other administration officials such as Education Secretary William Bennett.
Social action groups like ACT UP worked to raise awareness of the AIDS problem. In 1987, Reagan responded by appointing the Watkins Commission on AIDS, which was succeeded by a permanent advisory council, and subsequently (under the administration of President Clinton) by the "AIDS czar".
Many socially conservative commentators saw Reagan's handling of the AIDS crisis as a common sense approach to a problem they believed was caused by social immorality. Members of the gay and lesbian communities, and other people who had AIDS or knew someone who did, saw his policies as anything from politically motivated willful blindness to outright contempt for groups affected by the disease.
Regardless of the aesthetic merits (or lack thereof) of the administration's approach to the disease, discretionary spending by the Federal government on AIDS research programs for both prevention and treatment increased steadily during Reagan's two terms in office, and afterwards. 
Air traffic controllers
On August 5, 1981, Reagan fired 11,359 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored his order to return to work. Ironically, PATCO, the air traffic controllers union, had been one of the few unions that had supported Reagan over Carter in the election nine months previously. Reagan's handling of the strike proved to be a political coup for him when public opinion turned against the controllers and the union, who were perceived as being concerned more with money than with public safety.
The breaking of the strike also had a significant impact on labor-management relations in the private sector. Although private employers nominally had the right to permanently replace striking workers under the National Labor Relations Act, that option was rarely used prior to 1981, but much more frequently thereafter. Some, including Alan Greenspan, have credited Reagan's action restoring flexibility to the business environment that had prevented American companies from hiring and held back the economy.
"War on Drugs"
Reagan's policies in the "War on Drugs" emphasized imprisonment for drug offenders while cutting funding for addiction treatment. This resulted in a dramatic increase in the U.S. prison population. Critics charged that the policies did little to actually reduce the availability of drugs or crime on the street while resulting in a great financial and human cost for American society. Due to this policy and various cuts in spending for social programs during his Presidency, some critics regarded Reagan as indifferent to the needs of poor and minority citizens. Nevertheless, some surveys showed that illegal drug use among Americans declined significantly during Reagan's presidency, leading supporters to argue that the policies were successful.
During his 1980 campaign, Reagan pledged that if given the opportunity, he would appoint the first female Supreme Court justice. That opportunity came in his first year in office when he nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Potter Stewart. In his second term, Reagan elevated William Rehnquist to succeed Warren Burger as chief justice and named Antonin Scalia to fill the vacant seat. All of these appointments were confirmed by the Senate with relative ease. However in 1987 Reagan lost a significant political battle when the Senate rejected the nomination of Robert Bork. Anthony Kennedy was eventually confirmed in his place.
Reagan also nominated a large number of judges to the United States district court and United States court of appeals benches: most of these nominations were not controversial, although a handful of candidates were singled out for criticism by civil rights advocates and other liberal critics, resulting in occasional confirmation fights.
Both his Supreme Court nominations and his lower court appointments were in line with Reagan's express philosophy that judges should interpret law as enacted and not "legislate from the bench". By the end of the 1980s, a conservative majority on the Supreme Court had put an end to the perceived "activist" trend begun under the leadership of Earl Warren. However, general adherence to the principle of stare decisis left most of the major landmark case decisions (such as Brown, Miranda, and Roe v. Wade) of the previous three decades still standing as binding precedent.
Foreign Policy and the Cold War
Reagan forcefully confronted the Soviet Union, marking a sharp departure from the policy of détente observed by his predecessors Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter. Sensing that planned economies could not compete against market economies in a renewed arms race, he made the Cold War economically and rhetorically hot.
Reagan's Defense Secretary, Caspar Weinberger, oversaw the massive military buildup that represented his policy of "Peace Through Strength." The administration revived the B-1 bomber program canceled by the Carter administration and began production of the MX "Peacekeeper" missile. In response to Soviet deployment of the SS-20, Reagan oversaw NATO's deployment of the Pershing II missile in West Germany despite widespread protests.
One of Reagan's more controversial proposals was the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a defense system which he hoped would make the U.S. invulnerable to nuclear missile attack by the Soviet Union. By stationing these defenses in outer space the U.S. could circumvent the ABM_treaty, but this proposal soon led opponents to dub SDI "Star Wars."
Critics of SDI argued that the technological objective was unattainable in practical terms, and that the attempt would be likely to accelerate the arms race, as well as increasing the instability of future international crises. Other critics saw the extraordinary expenditures involved in the multiple distinct SDI programs as a military-industrial boondoggle. Supporters respond that even the threat of SDI forced the Soviets into unsustainable spending to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent; Reagan himself suggested it would take decades for the program to be carried out. The program was supported by his successor, George H. W. Bush, though not eagerly pursued. Bill Clinton also supported it, though not actively. President George W. Bush supports a less ambitious National Missile Defense system.
The withering arms race was often matched with militant rhetoric which inspired dissidents and true believers, but also startled allies and alarmed critics. In a famous address on March 8, 1983, he called the Soviet Union an "evil empire" that would be consigned to the "dustbin of history." After Soviet fighters downed Korean Airlines Flight 007 on September 1, 1983, he labeled the act an "act of barbarism... [of] inhuman brutality." Later in his presidency, while speaking in front of the Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987 he challenged reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall." 
Third, Reagan announced support for anti-communist groups including armed insurgencies against communist governments. When the Polish government suppressed Solidarity movement under Lech Walesa in late 1981, Reagan imposed economic sanctions on the People's Republic of Poland. In a policy which became known as the Reagan Doctrine, his administration actively funded "freedom fighters" such as the mujahideen in Afghanistan and the Contras in Nicaragua.
Many Reagan supporters, including former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and some historians, credit him with winning the Cold War; this, however, is disputed, as the Soviet Union had shown signs of internal collapse (such as worker revolt in Poland which led to Solidarity) by the 1970s, before Reagan took office. Others also attribute the collapse of communism in 1989 in Central Europe and the Soviet Union to the mounting Soviet economic crisis and problems stemming from the economic and political reforms initiated by Soviet President Gorbachev. More recent review of Soviet records indicate that Soviet military spending did not rise, thus the "arms race" may not have had the crushing economic effect that it is often portrayed as having.
Reagan had close friendships with many other conservative political leaders across the globe, especially Margaret Thatcher in Britain, and Brian Mulroney in Canada. Reagan had a great desire for establishing personal relationships with other heads of state, often inviting them to his ranch or to Camp David for casual retreats.
As part of the policies that became known as the "Reagan Doctrine," the United States also offered financial and logistics support to the anti-communist opposition in central Europe (most notably the Polish Solidarity movement) and took an increasingly hard line against Communist regimes in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, and Nicaragua.
Reagan considered the anti-Communist rebel groups such as the Contras and Afghan mujahideen to be freedom fighters and the "moral equivalent of our [America's] founding fathers" fighting against Communism. In contrast he considered socialist forces and enemies of U.S. geopolitical allies such as the Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, Palestinian guerrillas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and left-wing guerrillas fighting right-wing military dictatorships in Honduras and El Salvador to be terrorists. The Reagan administration also considered guerrillas of the ANC's armed wing Mkhonto we-Sizwe (MK or Spear of the Nation) and other anti-apartheid militants (e.g. the PAC) fighting the apartheid government in South Africa to be terrorists, despite many people throughout the world (most likely including the black majority in South Africa) considered the freedom fighters.
This has led some to charge that Reagan was undertaking secret and illegal guerrilla wars to unseat socialist governments around the globe. Perhaps his most controversial action in this respect was his administration's support of the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
Nicaragua and Latin America
During the 1980s the Reagan administration sponsored a campaign of political violence by Contra guerrillas (a proxy paramilitary based in Honduras and Costa Rica, largely consisting of former Somoza regime soldiers) against the socialist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. The resulting insurgency killed over 50,000 people, mostly civilians.
Under the Carter Administration, the Sandinistas had received tacit U.S. support in their coup against the previously U.S.-backed right-wing military dictatorship of the Somoza dynasty, which had ruled the country for several decades. An interim, coalition Junta took power in 1979 and the Sandinista leader, and in 1984 Daniel Ortega became Nicaragua's first elected President. As the years progressed, the Oretega government became more socialist, with the more moderate factions of the coalition being expelled from government. Suppression of political dissent increased, as did accusations of state-sponsored human rights abuses. As well, Ortega was an open supporter of Fidel Castro's Cuba and many members of the Sandinista government sought to model Nicaragua along similar lines.
The leftist nature of the Sandinista government and its support for Cuba distressed many in the Reagan administration, who viewed the country as a key Cold War battleground, in danger of becoming a Communist proxy state. As a result, covert support began to flow to the anti-Sandinista Contra rebels, whom Reagan had described as "the moral equal of our founding fathers."
However, the Contras were condemned as terrorists by many. They were accused of attacking farms and other civilian targets, as well as murdering, torturing and mutilating civilians and committing other war crimes, as documented by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.  The Contras were also accused of being involved in illicit drug-trafficking. Leftist critics such as Noam Chomsky and others have accused the U.S. government of inciting the Contras to attack civilians, and providing them with the positions of the Nicaraguan Army to avoid engagement with the security forces.
Critics of Reagan argue that this constituted state sponsorship of terrorism and an attempt to overthrow an elected government. Nicaragua decided to take their case to the World Court in Nicaragua v. United States. In an unprecedented decision in the history of world justice, the World Court sanctioned the U.S. for "unlawful use of force" for "sponsoring paramilitary activity in and against Nicaragua", ordering the U.S. government to pay billions of U.S. dollars in compensation. Father Miguel D'Escoto , Foreign Minister under the Sandinista government, supposes that the U.S. owes his country between 20 and 30 billion U.S. dollars. 
Supporters of Reagan claim the Sandinista regime was neither democratic nor harmless, but rather a Communist dictatorship in the making, supported both militarily and economically by Cuba and the Soviet Union. The administration refused to participate in the World Court proceeding and dismissed the outcome as partisan and irrelevant.
Due to the pressures of the covert Contra war, the Sandinista President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega eventually held the country's second elections, which he and his party lost, thus ending Nicaragua's brief period of socialist rule. Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, a former Junta member who led a 19-party "anti-Sandinista" alliance was elected in his place.
Through its desire to combat leftist governments and Marxist insurgencies in the region the Reagan administration was accused of sponsoring right-wing military dictatorships throughout Latin America. The CIA and U.S.-based School of the Americas, similarly were accused by some as having trained Honduran and other Latin American military officers and future death squad paramilitary members in torture and assassination techniques to fight insurgencies.
However, near the end of his term Reagan was instrumental in supporting Latin America's historic transition to stable democracy, giving generous foreign aid packages to states that held free elections.
In early June of 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon with massive force, driving all the way to Beirut and putting the Palestinian fighters and residents, as well as the Lebanese civilian population of that city, under siege. On June 6, the United States joined a unanimous U.N. Security Council Resolution demanding that Israel withdraw from Lebanon and that the border cease-fire be observed by all parties. Amidst a great international furor the scene was set for a common American-French-Italian military intervention, Israel justified its breech of the previous cross-border cease-fire by citing the attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador in London and a build-up of Palestinian armaments in South Lebanon.
In August, an agreement between the Lebanese government and the United States defined the mandate for a Multinational Force (inluding 800 U.S. Marines) as "to provide appropriate assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces as they carry out" responsibilities for the safe evacuation of the departing PLO, the safety "of the persons in the area" (generally interpreted to mean the Palestinian non-combatants remaining in Beirut), and to "further the restoration of the sovereignty and authority of the Government of Lebanon over the Beirut area." The deployment was to be for 30 days or less.
On August 25, the Marines went ashore in Beirut, four days after the French troops arrived. The PLO evacuation was completed without significant incident. The Marines redeployed to their ships on September 10. Following September 16, hundreds of Palestinian civilians were massacred in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut.
On September 20 a horrified President Reagan announced the formation of a new Multinational Force in consultation with France and Italy. He defined the mission as "enabling the Lebanese Government to resume full sovereignty over its capital." Reagan continued that for the Multinational Force "to succeed it is essential that Israel withdraw from Beirut." The president said that the purpose of this Force was "not to act as a police force, but to make it possible for the lawful authorities of Lebanon to do so themselves."
The deployment of the 1,800 United States Marines began on September 29. A day before, President Reagan told a press conference: "And the Marines are going in there into a situation with a definite understanding as to what we're supposed to do. I believe that we are going to be successful in seeing the other foreign forces leave Lebanon. And then at such time as Lebanon says that they have the situation well in hand, why, we'll depart."
On April 18 1983, a car bomb exploded at the U.S. embassy in Beirut, killing 17 U.S. foreign service and military personnel and over 40 Lebanese employees and citizens. The technique employed driving a vehicle packed with explosives to the front entrance for detonation there by a suicide bomber.
The result of intense American diplomatic efforts, on May 17, Lebanon and Israel signed an agreement ending the State of War between the two countries and providing for a phased Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, contingent on the withdrawal of Syrian and Palestinian forces.
On October 23, just after dawn, 241 Marines died when a truck packed with explosives blew up a Marine barracks at Beirut International Airport. At that same moment a similar explosion blew up a French military barracks a few kilometers away, killing 56 French troops. The October 23 suicide bombers used the identical technique that had been used six months earlier to blow up the American embassy.
The attack was extremely demoralizing for the United States, and although Reagan initially stated he would "resist those who seek drive us out of that area", the continued Marine presence in Lebanon became very unpopular among the American public, who compared the military mission in the former French colony with the Vietnam War. On February 7 1984, President Reagan announced that he had asked for a plan for redeployment of the Marines from Beirut to ships offshore. On February 7 and 8, more than 100 U.S. embassy employees and all embassy dependents were evacuated from Beirut. On February 26, redeployment of the last Marines serving with the Multinational Force from their positions in Beirut to ships offshore was completed.
Grenada and Angola
In 1983, Reagan ordered a formal military invasion, dubbed Operation Urgent Fury, of the small island nation of Grenada after a military coup within the ruling Marxist-Leninist New Jewel Movement, led by Bernard Coard against Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.
In 1986, representing the global promise he felt was inherent in the success of the Reagan Doctrine, Reagan invited anti-Communist Angolan leader Jonas Savimbi to the White House, where he spoke of Savimbi winning "a victory that electrifies the world." Conservatives and influential foreign policy analysts at the Heritage Foundation vigorously supported the Reagan doctrine, leading to the flow of American weapons to anti-Communist paramilitary groups on several continents.
When the Iran-Iraq War broke out following the Iranian Islamic revolution of 1979, the United States initially remained neutral in the conflict. However, as the war intensified, the Reagan administration would covertly intervene to maintain a balance of power, supporting both nations at various times.
From the early 1980s until the end of the Reagan administration, the United States sponsored Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, because the administration believed him to be a less dangerous and radical leader than Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran. The U.S. and its allies gave financial and tactical support to Iraq, and some trade was permitted in which chemical and biological materials were exported to the Iraqis. These materials, primarily agricultural supplies, were ostensibly provided for humanitarian purposes, but the administration knew that these would ultimately be used to make chemical weapons and biological weapons. The Iraqis in turn used these against Iranian ground troops and Kurdish guerrillas and civilians. Several commentators have since argued that Iraq could not possibly have invaded Kuwait in 1991 if not for the support Saddam received from the U.S. and its allies, although others cite Soviet influences in Iraq as being far more significant, particularly in the area of weaponry, as the Iraqi tank, missile, artillery and airborne forces relied almost exclusively on Soviet hardware.
Concurrent with the support of Iraq, the Administration also engaged in covert arms sales to Iran. Certain factions of the Reagan cabinet believed that supporting various non-government militia forces in Iran could perhaps provoke an internal coup by more moderate forces who could depose Khomeini.
Main article: Iran-Contra Affair
During his administration, there was a major scandal and investigation of his administration's covert support of the wars in Iran and Nicaragua in what came to be known as the Iran-Contra Affair. Two members of administration, National Security Advisor John Poindexter and Col. Oliver North had hatched an elaborate plot to sell arms to the Iranian government and give the profits to the anti-Communist Contras guerillas in Nicaragua, who were engaged in a bloody civil war. Both actions were contrary to acts of Congress. Reagan professed ignorance of the plot, but admitted that he had supported the initial sale of arms to Iran, on the grounds that such sales were supposed to help secure the release of Americans being held hostage by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon. A less significant reason for the deal explicated by Reagan officials was the chance of provoking a coup d'état against Khomeini by moderate military officers.
Reagan quickly called for the appointment of an Independent Counsel to investigate the wider scandal. His cooperation with counsel helped Iran-Contra from seriously damaging his presidency; it was found that the President was guilty of the scandal only in that his lax control of his own staff resulted in his ignorance of the arms sale. Although Reagan himself was considered personally honest by most Americans, other scandals occurred involving bribery, corruption, and influence peddling among some of Reagan's aides and subordinates, resulting in a significant number of officials in the Reagan Administration either being convicted or forced to resign their posts to avoid prosecution. The failure of these scandals to damage Reagan's reputation led Representative Patricia Schroeder to dub him the "Teflon President", a term that has been occasionally attached to later Presidents and their scandals.
Islamic mujahideen guerrillas were covertly supported and trained, and backed in their jihad against the occupying Soviets by the CIA. The agency sent billions of dollars in military aid to the guerrillas.
Reagan praised the mujahadeen as freedom fighters battling an evil empire, stating, "To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom. Their courage teaches us a great lesson—that there are things in this world worth defending. To the Afghan people, I say on behalf of all Americans that we admire your heroism, your devotion to freedom, and your relentless struggle against your oppressors." (March 21, 1983 ).
In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, some of these actions have been re-examined and become more controversial. Some say this support of radical Islamists led to the rise of the oppressive Taliban regime and Al-Qaeda.  It has also been alleged that Osama bin Laden, the future Al-Qaida leader, received training by the CIA or an allied intelligence agency.
As Reagan was the oldest person to be inaugurated as president (age 69), and also the oldest person to hold the office (age 77), his health, although generally good, became a concern at times during his presidency.
On July 13, 1985, Reagan underwent surgery to remove polyps from his colon, causing the first-ever invocation of the Acting President clause of the 25th Amendment. On January 5, 1987, Reagan underwent surgery for prostate cancer which caused further worries about his health, but which significantly raised the public awareness of this "silent killer."
- U.S. presidential election, 1976
- U.S. presidential election, 1980
- U.S. presidential election, 1984
- Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California
- October Surprise
- History of the United States (1980-1988)
- List of things named after Ronald Reagan
- 600-ship Navy
- Ronald Reagan on Wikiquote
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