Ronald Reagan

By in Leadership, Political Leaders

Reagan Addressing

By Dean Duggan

“The American dream is not that every man must be level with every other man. The American dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become.”

-Ronald Reagan


Ronald Reagan played a vital role in the history of the United States and the world in an era of constant terror. Reagan served as a beacon to a brighter future. He took charge during an economic crisis when America looked weak and decentralized. However, Reagan was a man who was determined and had perseverance. He quickly changed that mindset in the height of the Cold War. Because Reagan was able to communicate effectively, reflect critically, and rely on the help of a team to end all conflicts with the Soviet Union, tear down a wall separating a country, and lead America, as well as the world, into an era of peace and excellence. Reagan’s broad vision and clear direction made his political ideals appealing. But paradoxically, what made his policy victories possible was his willingness, when faced with political reality, to make pragmatic compromises without seeming to abandon his ideals.

Before Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the United States of America was going through a period of hardship. Other countries saw America as a weak nation, especially its military. It was rumored around the world that America was weak and inferior. The United States was also entering a period of economic turmoil. Taxes were high and jobs were not readily available. Around the world, the Soviet Union was taking advantage of their power by forcing Europe to follow their communist government ideas. As the freedom and democracy of our world shrank, the need for leadership and reliability grew. This is where Ronald Reagan came into action. He took office and change the dynamics of the world in 8 years. 



Reagan grew up in a background unfamiliar to most presidents. He grew up in a state of poverty whereas most presidents grew up in nobility and wealth. This gave Reagan an advantage because it allowed him to develop and grow having to fight teaching him many life lessons involved in the “Real World”.  This could have been another great contribution to Reagan being a good communicator and connecting to the public with widespread fame. One of Reagan’s greatest leadership qualities was his effective means of communicating with others. People- whether it is one of his assistants, a citizen, or powerful leader of another country- gave their ear and undivided attention to Reagan when he spoke and clearly cooperated with his requests. That is why the Cold War came to its peak of cooperation and compliance during Reagan’s time in office. 

Reagan’s terms began with chaos in the economy, mass inflation, incredibly high interest rates, and an enormous deficit. Reagan promised a complete turn around, he did just that. Reagan was always an honorable man, sticking to his word no matter the situation. His first goal was to bring back widespread Patriotism, optimism and faith in the United States. It was lost when America’s finances were run into a ditch and debt sprung out through the country. Reagan’s inspirational public speeches and motivational mindset brought America back on its feet. Americans were finally able to take pride in their country for being the powerhouse it always was. Reagan did this especially through the reaffirmation of the economic stronghold that is America. One quote that describes just how Reagan did this was by Mark Bell. ““Follower attribution of charismatic qualities to a leader is jointly determined by the leader’s behavior, expertise, and aspects of the situation” (Bell). Reagan’s behavior and leadership through this low point in American history helped bring the United States back to being the “Land of the Free” over his 8 years in office. 

Reagan’s most widespread accomplishment was bringing about the destruction of the Berlin Wall. He spoke in front of the wall to Europeans and Soviets in the name of democracy. Reagan spoke out about the injustices of communism and government control. He remained level headed and challenged many communist beliefs as well as challenging the Soviet Union’s leader, Mr. Gorbachev. Reagan spoke out for all citizens personally effected or even emotionally effected when he demanded Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” Those four words catapulted faith to all men women and children that Democracy has prevailed and the United States is the power house of the world. Reagan’s speech forever changed the world demonstrating that words will forever outweigh the strength of war because he stood for what he believed and what is right. 


Reagan has many positive memories left by him; however, not too many people really stop and examine what the flip side is. In 1986, Ronald Reagan signed a sweeping immigration reform bill into law. It was sold as a crackdown: There would be tighter security at the Mexican border, and employers would face strict penalties for hiring undocumented workers. However, the bill also made any immigrant who’d entered the country before 1982 eligible for amnesty — a word not usually associated with the father of modern conservatism.. Reagan is remembered as a tax cutter, but he signed some of the largest tax increases in U.S. history. He is remembered as standing firm against terrorism, yet he withdrew Marines from Lebanon after a terrorist bombing, and he traded arms for hostages. He championed huge increases in defense spending, yet he almost bargained away the U.S. nuclear stockpile. He believed in law and order, but he allowed his White House to break the law by selling arms to Iran and funding the Contras in Nicaragua. He was a staunch foe of communism, yet he led the country to a new understanding of Russia. Reagan was an incredible leader but he did not always stick to his guns. That could be looked at in two different ways though. He might be seen as weak because he caved many times, but he can also be seen as realistic for coming to compromises and realistic situations. 



“The American dream is not that every man must be level with every other man. The American dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become.”

-Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan has always been an inspirational leader to me since I was a little kid. Granted he was my grandmother’s favorite president and her bias might have led him to be my favorite president, but I still look at Reagan with high regard. He started his office in a time of uncertainty and chaos yet managed to lead this country out of chaos and into a period of excellence. Reagan turned a nearly broke and rundown country into the greatest super power to ever exist. He was able to cease the spread of communism and allow Democracy to flourish. In my eyes, I see Reagan as the most successful president because of all that he accomplished. The horrible economic status and issues of the Cold War were thrown on him from the president before him. He took this mess and turned it into a a shining example of greatness. He made the American Dream for many Americans and even more people not from America whose lives were changed by the betterment Reagan brought to the world. He ensured that no one will tell a person how to live every second of their waking life; he wanted everyone to experience freedom 



Dean Duggan, is 18 years old. He was born and raised in Long Beach, California. He graduated from Millikan High School, Class of 2014, and now currently goes to school in Staten Island, New York at Wagner College. He plays college football for Wagner and is looking to major with a degree in Biology in order to become a Physical Therapist. 




Bell, Mark R., “Charismatic Leadership Case Study with Ronald Reagan as Exemplar,” Emerging Leadership Journeys, Vol. 6, 66-74 (Regent University, 2013).

Brands, H.W.  “Reagan Reborn,” American History (Weider History Group, 2013) 46.

Pfiffner, James P., The Paradox of President Reagan’s Leadership (Center for the Study of the Presidency, 2013).

Robinson, Peter, Tear Down This Wall (New York: Weider History Group, 2003) 44.