Ronald Reagan’s Presidency And Legacy Essay

1162 words - 5 pages

Many opinion polls in past years have asked the American public to rate who the greatest American Presidents were. Presidents who have contributed to the foundation of America, such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, regularly receive the top votes in the public’s and scholar’s opinions. However, scholars and the general population differ on just how great the remaining Presidents were. According to public opinion, Ronald Reagan was one of America’s greatest presidents, deserving of the highest praise, for “winning” the Cold War, establishing “Reaganomics,” and essentially making a massive headway in the war against communism. On the other hand, liberal scholars rank Reagan as one of the worst presidents claiming his policies as the cause of many problems today concerning Al-Qaeda, environmental issues, and the violence occurring in developing countries within Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The truth is that Ronald Reagan benefited America and impacted the world in a way that few presidents have, leaving behind a legacy through ending the Cold War, pulling America out of an economic recession, and continuing the fight for democracy in every country.
Détente: The easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. In reference to the Cold War, détente refers to the plan to reduce the tensions between America and the Soviet Union and reach a peaceful coexistence. President Reagan opposed détente and believed the policy was a symbol of American weakness and vulnerability in the eyes of the Soviets. He wanted to attain peace by a battle of strengths, building up America’s power through economics and military. He also theorized that the Soviet Union would collapse if challenged competitively by America; its government-controlled economy would not be able to successfully compete against a free-market economy. In doing this Reagan began the “arms race,” first bolstering the quantity and quality of America’s military technology, then daring the Soviet Union to match it. “I feel the Soviets are so defense minded, so paranoid about being attacked that without being in any way soft on them we ought to tell them no one here has any intention of doing anything like that. What the h--l have they got that anyone would want (Regan, Brinkley 199). The Soviet command economy could not withstand the difficulty of matching America’s military and technological advances and, facing U.S. supported uprisings throughout Europe, collapsed just as Reagan predicted.
In the 1970s, America was facing an economic recession coupled with high inflation (also known as stagflation) due to the ending of the Vietnam War. To worsen matters, the Yom Kippur War between Arab countries and supported-by-western-countries Israel ended with an Israeli victory and an Arab Oil Embargo on the West. The embargo caused oil prices to surge-almost tripling by the end of the decade. Oil prices are linked with inflation and unemployment rates and...

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