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A Time for Choosing

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October 27,1964

"I have spent most of my life as a Democrat. I recently have seen fit to follow another course. I believe that the issues confronting us cross party lines. Now, one side in this campaign has been telling us that the issues of this election are the maintenance of peace and prosperity. The line has been used, 'We’ve never had it so good.' But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity isn’t something on which we can base our hopes for the future."

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Ronald Reagan’s Announcement for U.S. Presidential Candidacy

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November 12,1979

"I am here tonight to announce my intention to seek the Republican nomination for President of the United States. I’m sure that each of us has seen our country from a number of viewpoints depending on where we’ve lived and what we’ve done. For me it has been as a boy growing up in several small towns in Illinois. As a young man in Iowa trying to get a start in the years of the Great Depression and later in California for most of my adult life."

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Presidential Debate with Jimmy Carter

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October 28,1980

"And I’m only here to tell you that I believe with all my heart that our first priority must be world peace, and that use of force is always and only a last resort, when everything else has failed, and then only with regard to our national security. Now, I believe, also that this meeting, this mission, this responsibility for preserving the peace, which I believe is a responsibility peculiar to our country, that we cannot shirk our responsibility as the leader of the Free World, because we’re the only one that can do it."

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Inaugural Address

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January 20,1981

"The business of our nation goes forward. These United States are confronted with an economic affliction of great proportions. We suffer from the longest and one of the worst sustained inflations in our national history. It distorts our economic decisions, penalizes thrift, and crushes the struggling young and the fixed-income elderly alike. It threatens to shatter the lives of millions of our people."

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Address to the Nation on the Economy

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February 5,1981

"I regret to say that we’re in the worst economic mess since the Great Depression. A few days ago I was presented with a report I’d asked for, a comprehensive audit, if you will, of our economic condition. You won’t like it. I didn’t like it. But we have to face the truth and then go to work to turn things around. And make no mistake about it, we can turn them around."

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Economic Recovery Program Before Congress

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February 18,1981

"All of us are aware of the punishing inflation which has for the first time in 60 years held to double-digit figures for 2 years in a row. Interest rates have reached absurd levels of more that 20 percent and over 15 percent for those who would borrow to buy a home.... Almost 8 million Americans are out of work. These are people who want to be productive."

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Economy Recovery Program Before Congress

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April 28,1981

"I have come to speak to you tonight about our economic recovery program and why I believe it’s essential that the Congress approve this package, which I believe will lift the crushing burden of inflation off of our citizens and restore the vitality to our economy and our industrial machine....Now, let’s talk about getting spending and inflation under control and cutting your tax rates."

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Press Conference with Reporters on the Air Traffic Controllers Strike

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August 3,1981

Question: "Do you think that they should go to jail, Mr. President, anybody who violates this law [government employees who participate in a strike against the U.S. government]?"
Reagan’s Answer: "I told you what I think should be done. They’re terminated."

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State of the Union Address

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February 26,1982

"Today marks my first State of the Union address to you, a constitutional duty as old as our Republic itself. President Washington began this tradition in 1790 after reminding the Nation that the destiny of self-government and the 'preservation of the sacred fire of liberty' is 'finally staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.'"

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Address to the British Parliament

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June 8,1982

"Each stop of this trip is important, but among them all, this moment occupies a special place in my heart and in the hearts of my countrymen—a moment of kinship and homecoming in these hallowed halls....We’re approaching the end of a bloody century plagued by a terrible political invention—totalitarianism....Regimes planted by bayonets do not take root."

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