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The Legacy of Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

RONALD REAGAN (1911–2004)
Fortieth president of the United States

“No, democracy is not a fragile flower. Still it needs cultivating. If the rest of this century is to witness the gradual growth of freedom and democratic ideals, we must take actions to assist the campaign for democracy.”

Note to Teachers

The one-hundredth birthday of Ronald Reagan, America's fortieth president, was February 6, 2011. This centennial is a suitable occasion for teaching and learning about Ronald Reagan's contribution to America's constitutional, political, and civic tradition. Thus, the Center for Civic Education and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation have collaborated to produce this lesson. The lesson challenges students to reflect on principles at the core of civic education in the United States, such as constitutional government, the rule of law, popular sovereignty, individual rights to liberty, and responsible citizenship. These principles pervaded the political writings, speeches, and actions of Ronald Reagan. They anchored his leadership of America during two presidential terms, 1981-1989. And they are a lasting legacy to the American people.

Purpose of the Lesson

This lesson traces Ronald Reagan's ascent from obscurity to the pinnacle of political power in the United States. It also examines the constitutional, political, and civic principles associated with the public life of Ronald Reagan before and during his presidency. Ronald Reagan's principles and their consequences are his legacy to America.

When you have completed this lesson, you should be able to

• describe experiences that formed the character and personality of young Ronald Reagan;

• explain Ronald Reagan's rise to the presidency of the United States;

• define and explain Ronald Reagan's principles pertaining to limited government, rule of law, popular sovereignty, individual rights to liberty, free enterprise, responsible citizenship, and presidential leadership;

• analyze and evaluate President Reagan's policies for economic recovery;

• analyze and evaluate President Reagan's policies to end the Cold War;

• understand Ronald Reagan's legacy to the nation.













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