15 Interesting Facts about Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan is one of the most talked about presidents in history; he went
through a lot while in office and had one of the highest approval ratings. His
re-election campaign was more of a foregone conclusion than an actual race for
the presidency and after his death many are still looking for ways to connect
with the great man. Uncovering interesting facts has always been a good way to
get to know about an individual and everything they stand for, so here are some
interesting facts about Ronald Reagan you may or may not have known about.
15) Reagan Was Once
The consummate republican many other republicans look to as an example did not
actually start out as one and he is well known for supporting the efforts of
President Franklin D. Roosevelt to pass the New Deal. The quote from Reagan in
regard to the matter was, “I did not leave the Democratic Party the Democratic
Party left me”.
Those close to the president agree that it was his time spent as a General
Electric spokesman that made Reagan lean more toward a conservative bend. Even
in his conservative nature, what made Reagan such a beloved president was his
ability to straddle the line between the parties because he weighed out matters
carefully to assure they were given the attention they deserved.
Other accounts say it was his relationship with Nancy Davis that helped spur
him on to become a republican because Nancy was an actress well known for her
Republican ideals. The last Democrat that Reagan supported was Helen Gahagan
Douglas by helping her win a Senate seat in 1950, he later helped Nixon get
elected as President.
Add of Democrat Ronald Reagan as the General Electric
Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis engagement photo
Helen Gahagan Douglas Flyer
14) Reagan Did Not
Like Jelly Beans
Old Herman Goelitz Candy
By Jelly Belly,
Jelly beans were on just about every desk, in all his boardrooms and
anywhere Reagan was planning to spend a little bit of time. What you may not
know was that Reagan wasn't fond of them; he started eating jelly beans as a
means of giving up pipe smoking.
The first kind of jelly beans Reagan consumed were made from pectin and his
preferred jelly beans were made by the Herman Goelitz Candy Company until Jelly
Bellies started producing jelly beans in 1976. It was at this time that Reagan
made a switch to the ‘gourmet’ jelly beans. Prior to becoming the president, the
jelly beans consumed by Reagan were provided from Herman Roland and after being
elected as president, the candies were supplied directly by the Goelitz
headquarters in the Chicago area. In 1981 the inaugural festivities included a
new flavor of blueberry that had red white and blue colors, 3.5 tons were
shipped to the White House.
Jelly Belly factory and visitor center
By Amadscientist, via
The Inauguration of President Reagan
13) Did Not Like
One of the facts many people close to Ronald Reagan can agree on was that the
President was not a fussy eater. Having spent a lot of time on public-speaking
circuits, there was not a lot of room for debate about what was being served.
Reagan learned to eat just about anything that was put in front of him but he
never liked the taste of Brussels sprouts; Nancy Reagan also attests that the
president was not fond of tomatoes.
The White House kitchens were given strict instructions to avoid using
Brussels sprouts on the menu for internal meals and for state affairs. While
Regan was in office, the White House staff was able to make sure that he never
had to encounter any of the foods he disliked.
President Regan kept his least favorite foods a secret from the public
because he didn't want farmers who made their living from the foods he didn’t
favor to become alienated. All efforts to keep Brussels sprouts and tomatoes off
the president’s plate were done quietly but effectively to avoid any problems.
12) Thank Reagan for
Not Getting Lost
Just about everyone uses Global Positioning System (GPS) to get where they are
going; it is built into many electronic devices and is available as a separate
unit. They provide useful information about exactly where on the planet you are
and how to get where you need to go; all of this is thanks to Ronald Reagan.
While he did not create the technology for GPS, he was responsible for making it
available to the public.
The GPS technology was originally developed for use by the military to know
what troops, equipment, aircraft and vehicles were located at any given time.
The technology was demilitarized as a result of the Korean Airlines flight 007
being shot down by the Russians, it could not be identified and at that
time it was immediately clear just how necessary this technology was for
The technology went through extensive development in the hands of the
military and even more after it was made available to the public. What started
as a large device capable of being found by satellites is now small enough to
fit in your back pocket.
Devices that have GPS
Artist's rendition of HL7442, the KAL 747 lost during
11) Nominated Five
Supreme Court Justices
Most presidents think it is a red letter day if they are able to elect just one
justice to the Supreme Court but Ronald Reagan was able to make history by
electing five justices to this ethereal position. Two of the justices, Bork and
Ginsburg, were not confirmed but Kennedy, O’Connor and Scalia were. The
ability to put three people into position on the Supreme Court gave the
President considerable sway in policy making because the laws would not be
struck down as being unconstitutional due to the Supreme Court being
predominately right wing.
Of the three justices named, two have been iconic decision makers on a
variety of subjects. They have been able to provide considerable influence over
the decisions that have been made over the years, despite none of his appointees
ever stepped into the role of chief justice. This is just one of the many ways
in which Reagan has been able to maintain a position of authority in United
States politics even after leaving the office.
Bork and Reagan
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Sandra Day O'Connor
Electoral Vote When Not on Ballot
During the Presidential race of 1976, President Ford and Jimmy Carter were
battling it out. When the votes were tallied, it came to the attention of those
in charge that Ronald Reagan had received an electoral vote but Reagan was not
even on the ballot at the time.
Electoral votes are supposed to follow the will of the popular vote, each
state has members of the Electoral College who ultimately vote the president
into power on behalf of the people. While this system is not always 100 percent
representative of what the popular vote is, it is an effective way to elect a
president. To receive an electoral vote when your name is not on the ballot is
unheard of and didn't happened before hand or since then after.
The electoral vote in question was cast by a “faithless voter” and was meant
more as a protest to the two individuals who were running for the office of
president. Many did not appreciate either of the two candidates on the ticket
and this may very well be the determining factor that led to Ronald Reagan
running for president just four years down the road.
9) Received the
Highest Number of Electoral Votes for Re-election
Ronald Reagan received the most electoral votes ever counted for a President in
U.S. history, which was 525. This was a direct result of the fact the popular
vote was 58.8% in favor of Ronald Reagan and that he won 49 of the 50 states.
President Reagan was very popular with the public and a majority didn't want
Walter Mondale taking over the presidency from Reagan.
Many close to the campaign and political experts have determined that the
United States public was enamored with the president, they could not see anyone
else running the country. It is a popular belief that Bush was only able to win
the presidency following Reagan because many hoped it would mean the
continuation of a great presidency but Bush wasn't re-elected due to a less than
stellar first term.
It is unlikely that any other politician will receive this number of
electoral votes in the future, since every ballot contains at least three
political candidates running for office. Sharing the electoral votes three ways
is not the only reason though; many doubt there will be another president as
loved as Reagan in office for a long time.
Reagan's Electoral Votes
8) Run as Governor
Surrounded by Brown
Ronald Reagan took the seat as the governor of California in his 1966 election
and was able to beat Democrat Governor Edmund G. Brown. Brown was excited to run
against Reagan, calling him an extremist and an aging Hollywood star. The
expectation was that the election would turn in favor of Brown because of the
inexperience Reagan was bringing to the election and the talk was about how easy
it was going to be to win against him.
Whether it was the fact that Reagan had already been the president of the
Screen Actors Guild (SAG) or that he was a natural, is for you to decide. What
came as a shock to Brown was that in deference to the 1965 polls that showed
Reagan as weak, Reagan was able to win the Governor position.
It appeared that Regan was going to make a run at the presidency after he
stepped down in 1974. Jerry Brown, Edmund Brown’s son, succeeded him in the
office. This led to a very unique appearance in the history books of Reagan
being preceded and succeeded by a Brown.
7) Heavy Influence
on Nuclear Arms Reductions
The Reagan era was right in the heart of the Cold War era when the United States
and the Soviet Union built up nuclear arsenals for protection against a nuclear
attack. It was an idea of aversion where each side hoped that the other side
would see they were serious by showing their teeth and hesitate to start any
trouble but all it did was cause a lot of tension.
Ronald Reagan was a big opponent of the Cold War and his position was so
strong that he was able to get over his dislike for communist regimes then hold
four summits with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The summits were a success
because Reagan was able to get the Soviet Union to agree to reduce their nuclear
At no time did Reagan give any indication he was fine with a communist regime
or the ideals held by those who did. It was an astonishing display of putting
aside politics for the greater good of the country and the world. After being
President, Reagan was called on to work out further arrangements for nuclear
scale backs with the Soviet Union and other countries.
6) Influential in
Tearing Down the Berlin Wall
One of the iconic moments in the ‘80s was the tearing down of the Berlin Wall
and Ronald Regan was part of it. Germany had constructed a wall to separate West
Germany from East Germany and Berlin was split by the wall that separated
democratic Germany from the parts of Germany devoted to Socialism. The wall went
through four versions before it was ultimately torn down; many viewed it as a
deterrence to unification of the German people and of the world as a whole.
Reagan was at the forefront of those opposed to the existence of the Berlin
Wall and he demanded that it be torn down in a 1987 speech. In the speech, he
says these famous words: “…tear down this wall!” and it was only two years
afterward that Germany decided to do that.
He was later given a bunch of credit for creating a strong voice for the
movement to unify Germany and that was just one more factor that led to the
overall approval of his presidency, despite that it wasn't his intention to be
the spokesperson for a liberal movement.
Berlin Wall 1975
By Edward Valachovic, via
Ronald Reagan's "Tear Down This Wall" speech
5) Ronald Reagan
Many candidates promise to keep more money in the hands of the public by
lowering taxes but it's not always a possibility with demands for government
dollars in a variety of different programs. It also doesn't help that most
efforts to lower taxes and spending are countered in congress. However, Ronald
Reagan was not plagued by these difficulties because there was no war to
shoulder and congress was stacked in his favor.
As a result of such positive factors, Reagan was able to lower the marginal
tax rate from 70 percent to 28 percent. This is a number that has not been seen
before and has not been seen since. While fluctuations can occur while any
president is in office, they generally are just fluctuations and return to
fairly high taxation rates.
Lowering taxes was never a strong campaign speech with Reagan but it was a
promise he was serious about. This is why Bush felt the need to reiterate that
he would not create any new taxes when he was trying to run for president after
Reagan. This was a promise he was not able to keep and ultimately led to his
short stay in office of only one year.
Reagan outlining plan for
Tax Reduction Legislation on July 1981
4) Inflation Rate
Inflation occurs when the public has little faith in the dollar and another
important achievement for Ronald Reagan was his ability to lower the inflation
rate The less the public feels secure in the government or economic factors, the
more they feel items are worth. Inflation dropped from a staggering 12.5 percent
to only 4.4 percent while Reagan was in office.
The reason for the drop in inflation can be attributed to several factors but
most point out ‘Reaganomics’ as a reason for the change. This was an economic
model introduced by Ronald Reagan in an effort to stabilize and improve the
economy. This model harkened back to the New Deal, which was a program Reagan
supported through Franklin D. Roosevelt. The other nicknames for the economic
model were: supply-side economics, used by proponents, and trickle-down
economics, used by opponents. The economic model was designed to: reduce
spending, reduce federal income, reduce capital gains taxes, reduce
government regulation and control money supply.
It obviously worked, regardless of what it's name was. Reagan was able to
claim one of the best drops in inflation and did it all with the approval of
most of the population. Unfortunately, the inflation rate went up when Bush was
elected into office.
Reagan speaks about his economic plan
3) Only President to
No president in the history of the United States has entered into office after a
divorce, despite several presidents have been elected without a wife on the
campaign trail with them. James Buchanan was the only president to have been
elected and to have left office without ever being married. Grover Cleveland was
a bachelor when elected president but subsequently married while in office.
Chester Arthur, Martin Van Buren, Andrew Jackson, and Thomas Jefferson were
widowed before being elected as president; these presidents did not remarry
while in office. Woodrow Wilson, Benjamin Harrison, and John Tyler all lost
their wives while in office.
The distinction between all of these other presidents and Reagan is that none
of them chose to leave their wives. The original marriage to Jane Wyman occurred
in the early 1940s but was not destined to last. They were divorced in 1948 and
Reagan moved on to marry Nancy Davis, who is now known as Nancy Reagan. As
mentioned earlier, it was the marriage to Nancy that led Ronald Reagan to join
the Republican Party.
There is no shame in being divorced; it was just an anomaly in the history of
the office. Only time will tell if another President will ever be in the same
predicament, but it is unlikely.
|Martin Van Buren
2) Reagan Was
Partially Deaf in One Ear
The image of the president is always one of health and vigor, which is why it is
a surprise to many to discover he was deaf in one ear. His hearing was lost when
he was filming in the late 1930s due to a gun that was fired too close to his
ear and he immediately lost partial hearing in it. The damage done to his ear
never healed but Reagan was still able to function by turning his head whenever
he needed to hear anything better.
His partial loss of hearing in one ear lead to his support of Michael Jackson
after being burned in the filming of the famous Pepsi commercial; he sent a
letter to Jackson wishing him luck in his recovery from being burned.
The loss of hearing was never made public to maintain the appearance of a
healthy President; this continued even after he left office and made it
difficult when the family wanted to announce his failing health. It came as a
shock to many to discover how long Ronald Reagan had been dealing with health
issues because of how private it was kept.
Michael Jackson 1988
By Zoran Veselinovic, via
1) Reagan’s Last
Movie was The Killers
The Killers poster
In 1964, Reagan was featured in his last film called The Killers. Reagan was the
star of many original films over the years but he was predominantly known for
his roles in Western films. While there were rumors that Reagan was originally
offered the position to star in Casablanca, this was found to be only a rumor
because Humphrey Bogart was always intended to play the lead role in the film.
This does not mean to say that Reagan was not approached for other films
after The Killers or even after becoming president. Reagan’s insistence not to
star in any more films was a decision to insure he would be held in higher
regard for political office. While the expectation was not that he would star in
a film that would embarrass him, there was a concern about being involved with
any film makers who had political affiliations.
Reagan is not the last movie star to run for political office, Arnold
Schwarzenegger recently became the governor of California. As of yet, no other
film star has risen to the office of president. The ease by which Reagan was
able to accomplish this feat is testament to his political cunning and his
ability to curry favor with the public.
By Gage Skidmore, via
Many feel Ronald Reagan was taken from the world too early and that he still had
a lot to offer. While this may never be known, what is for sure is there is
still so much to learn about this amazing individual. An actor who aspired to
greatness in everything he did and brought these aspirations of greatness to
politics; he deserves to be remembered for everything he accomplished as well as
everything he was capable of.
These 15 facts are highly interesting but they only begin to scratch the
surface of the man Ronald Reagan was. Regardless of political affiliation or
cultural background, it is impossible to deny the accomplishments of this man.
It is no wonder there is still so much interest in his life years after his
passing and decades after his time as President.
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