Reagan Memorial Proposal
Reagan presidency is seen as one of the most influential administrations in
American history. President Reagan deserves a memorial on the National Mall for
the many accomplishments achieved during his two terms in office and the legacy
he left behind. This document will highlight what social, economic, and
political achievements Reagan secured during his time in office and how his
efforts lead to the downfall of the Soviet regime.
Reagan’s first term he moved on two key issues; tax cuts and military buildup.
The new president moved quickly to pass the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981.
Reagan’s tax act reduced personal income tax rates by 25 percent over three
years and cut the top marginal rate on individuals from 70 percent to 50
percent (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p.
233). The bill also outlined tax
brackets to keep rates constant with the income to inflation ratio (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 233).
Reducing federal regulation on the economy was also on Reagan’s agenda. He
appointed like-minded individuals to regulatory agencies to direct the national
economy (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p.
economy staggered in 1982 but strong a strong recovery was seen in 1983 and
continued into 1984. The GDP rose by 6.8 percent in 1984, which was the largest
one-year gain since the Korean War (Moss
& Thomas, 2013, p. 236). Inflation also dropped to 4 percent in 83
and 84 which was the lowest our economy had seen for over a decade (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 236).
The economic upswing experienced during Reagan’s first term continued
throughout his second term. Growth rates averaged 3-4 percent per annum, and
many corporations experienced record sales and profits (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 240).
stance on union labor was enforced when 11,500 Professional Air Traffic
Controllers’ Organization (PATCO) members started an illegal strike. President
Reagan fired the entire union and directed the secretary of transportation to
replace them (Moss & Thomas, 2013,
p. 234). The number of strikes per year dropped to an all-time low after
the decertification of PATCO (Moss
& Thomas, 2013, p. 235).
Reagan supported women’s rights by appointing women to a few highly visible
government seats. Appointing Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court marked
the first female jurist to be chosen in American history. (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 235).
Another influential position filled by a woman during the Reagan administration
was Jeane Kirkpatrick as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 235). Women
filled many other cabinet seats during Reagan’s time in office (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 235). Reagan
appointed over 400 federal judges and shifted the Supreme Court to the right
during his presidency. Besides O’Connor, he also appointed Antonin Scalia and
Anthony Kennedy as Associate Justices of the Supreme Court (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 244).
Appointing Associate Justice William Rehnquist, the most conservative member of
the court, as Chief Justice secured conservative values for years to come (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 244).
with Asian nations and the U.S. were shaky during the first term of Reagan’s
administration (Moss & Thomas,
2013, p. 250). In 1984, relations with China improved when Premier Zhao
Ziyang of the PRC visited the U.S. and established agreements in crucial areas
of industry, science, and technology (Moss
& Thomas, 2013, p. 250). President Reagan visited China and signed
pacts to pledge cultural exchanges between the two countries shortly after (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 250).
Reagan also worked with Japan to increase their defense cost and relieve the
financial burden from the American taxpayers (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 250). Canada was also on the
president’s radar. In 1984 a historic agreement was reached between the U.S.
and neighboring Canada to remove all trade barriers to open trade between the
two countries (Moss & Thomas,
2013, p. 253). The agreement made the Canadian-U.S. markets the largest
international free-trade zone in the world (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 253).
place in history was secured by his approach to foreign policy. His core belief
was that the United States was an exceptional nation with a mission to outlast
and ultimately destroy Communism and spread democracy throughout the world (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 247). He
used the CIA to counter terrorist threats and fight Soviet intervention in the
Middle East (Moss & Thomas, 2013,
p. 247). Significant progress was reached with the Soviet Union during
Reagan’s second term by working with their new leader Mikhail Gorbachev (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 247).
One major factor that aided negotiations with the communist regime was
successfully implementing Carter’s 1979 initiative to place 572
intermediate-range cruise and Pershing II missiles in Western Europe (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 248).
Reagan single-handedly escalated the arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet
Union by ordering the Pentagon to develop a Strategic Defense Initiative (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 249).
The new weapon would use space-based lasers to destroy enemy missiles in flight
(Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 249).
Later that year, A ten-day NATO exercise deemed Able Archer 83, centered on the
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in northern Belgium caused a
crisis between the two superpowers (Moss
& Thomas, 2013, p. 249). The Soviets responded by prepping their
nuclear arms and placing squadrons in Poland and East Germany on high alert (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 249).
Tensions settled when Able Archer 83 concluded on November 11th (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 249).
changed his approach to the Soviet Union and authorized the resumption of arms
negotiations in 1985 (Moss &
Thomas, 2013, p. 260). The Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and President
Reagan met in Geneva for a two-day summit conference but could not reach any
significant agreements on arms control (Moss
& Thomas, 2013, p. 260). A healthy relationship started to form
between the two leaders that would eventually result in the end of the Cold War
(Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 260). Agreements were nearly reached between the
two superpowers during a conference held in Iceland in October of 1986 (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 260).
Reagan was frustrated with the inability to reach an agreement and stood before
the Brandenburg Gate in divided Berlin on June 12, 1987, and presented a moving
speech (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p.
260). He professed “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you
seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek
liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev,
tear down this wall!” (Reagan, 1987).
December of 1987, the two superpowers signed a historic agreement know as the
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 261). It eliminated an entire class
of weapons and provided inspector for both nations to oversee the dismantling
and destruction of the intermediate-range missiles (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p. 261). The agreement between the two
nations relieved tensions and prompted the end of the Cold War in the coming
years (Moss & Thomas, 2013, p.
changed the political and economic climate throughout the nation and abroad.
His social reforms and foreign policies have molded our nation into what we are
today. Relieving tensions between the Soviet Union and U.S. prevented a
possible nuclear war to end all wars. All the accomplishments stated in this
document are valid reasons Reagan should have a monument in the National Mall.
Moss, G. D., & Thomas, E. A. (2013). Moving on: The American people since 1945 (5th ed.). United States,
R. (1987). President Reagans address at the Brandenburg
Gate Transcript. Retrieved