Ronald Reagan Was elected president of the United States in 1980 and won a second term in 1984. He had served two terms as governor of California before he became president. In 1980, Ronald Reagan defeated President Jimmy Carter, the Democratic candidate. In 1984, Reagan defeated former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, the Democratic nominee, in a landslide. The president won 525 electoral votes, more than any other presidential candidate in the nation's history. Before Reagan entered politics, he had been an actor nearly 30 years. He appeared in more than 50 movies.
When Reagan became president, the nation faced serious problems. Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union had reached their lowest point in years following a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979. Reagan strengthened the military systems of the United States and its allies in Western Europe. This angered the Soviet Union. The Reagan administration also increased U.S.
involvement in Central America. It gave military equipment to troops fighting Communist-supported forces in El Salvador and Nicaragua. In 1987, Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed a treaty that led to a reduction of certain U.S. and Soviet nuclear arms.
At home, Reagan had to deal with high inflation, a recession, and high unemployment. He won congressional approval of large federal income tax cuts to help stimulate the economy. By the end of Reagan's first term, rapid inflation had ended, unemployment had fallen, and the economy had made a strong recovery. But federal expenses so greatly exceeded income that budget deficits (shortages) reached record levels.
Reagan was a skillful campaigner and a gifted speaker. He stressed such traditional values as work, the family, patriotism, and self-reliance. At the age of 69, Reagan was the oldest man ever elected president. But he looked far younger...