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Biographies Unit Biographies

Ronald Reagan 1911–2004
40th President of the United States

Born in Tampico, Illinois, Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. He was a strong, confident President. Soon after taking office, Reagan was shot by someone who was trying to assassinate him. He was rushed to the hospital. When his worried wife arrived, he greeted her with, “Honey, I forgot to duck.” His humor and courage made him popular with voters.

Reagan was elected at a time when the economy was weak. He worked with Congress to cut taxes and pass laws to help businesses grow. He cut government spending on housing programs and the environment. Reagan believed in a strong national defense, and he increased government spending on the military.

Reagan's policies had mixed results. Businesses prospered and millions of jobs were created. At the same time, the government spent much more money than it collected in taxes, leading to a large national debt.

Ronald Reagan's popularity remained high, though. People liked his positive attitude. When he died in 2004, many Americans mourned him.

Comprehension Check

On what did Reagan increase spending when he was President?

Critical Thinking

In what ways was Ronald Reagan a strong, confident President?