Skip links

Ronald Reagan Biography and Facts For Kids

Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States and the 33rd Governor of California. Born in Tampico, Illinois, raised in Dixon, Illinois, and educated at Eureka College Class of 1932 in Eureka. Broadway and Hollywood, Reagan recalled, seemed “as inaccessible as outer space.” So after graduation he decided to look for a job closer to home, in radio. After an unsuccessful search for work in Chicago, he applied for a position as a sports announcer at station WOC in Davenport, Iowa, He began a career as an actor, first in films and later television. Reagan served as president of the Screen Actors Guild, and later spokesman for General Electric (GE); his start in politics occurred during his work for GE. Originally a member of the Democratic Party, he switched to the Republican Party in 1962. After delivering a rousing speech in support of Barry Goldwater’s presidential candidacy in 1964, he was persuaded to seek the California governorship, winning two years later and again in 1970. Reagan’s election to the presidency in 1980 marked the convergence of two processes, neither of which would have seemed likely to most Americans even a few years earlier.

Fun Facts and Trivia about Ronald Reagan

When was Ronald Reagan born: February 6, 1911
Where was Ronald Reagan born: Tampico, IL
Where did Ronald Reagan go to college: Eureka College
What was Ronald Reagan’s job before he became president: Actor
Who was Ronald Reagan married to:Jane Wyman (divorced in 1948), Nancy Davis Reagan 1952
What number president was Ronald Reagan: 40th
What political party did Ronald Reagan belong to: Republican
Who was Ronald Reagan’s vice president: George H. W. Bush
When was Ronald Reagan president: 1981-1989
How many terms did Ronald Reagan serve: 2
When did Ronald Reagan die: June 5, 2004
How old was Ronald Reagan when he died: 93
Where is Ronald Reagan buried: California

Ronald Reagan Quotes

  • “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.”
  • “If you’re afraid of the future, then get out of the way, stand aside. The people of this country are ready to move again.”
  • “Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”
  • “Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States.”
  • “Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born.”
  • “History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.”
  • “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! “

What did Ronald Reagan Accomplish While in Office

1. Ronald Reagan’s biggest accomplishment in presidency was to improve the self confidence that America had by strengthening the nation’s economy.

2. He reduced inflation, increasing employment and cutting taxes to nearly 25 percent.

3. He was also instrumental in appointing the first female Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor.

4. Reaganomics: He endeavored to encourage entrepreneurship and limit the growth of social spending. In addition he reduced not just inflation but also regulations.

5. He also sent US troops to Grenada to prevent the communist takeover. This was the first time after Vietnam that US troops were sent abroad.

6. The Reagan administration also gave financial aid to paramilitary forces who were looking to overthrow socialist governments.

7. He encouraged new defense technology so that the US could confront the Soviet Union and its allies.

8. He forged a strong relationship with Britain, and met Mikhail Gorbachev four times with the view of reducing the nuclear weapons.

9. Reagan’s presidency is often known as Reagan Revolution as it caused political re-alignment not just within the US, but also abroad.

10. Many attribute the fall of the Iron Curtain to Ronald Reagan which shuttled in the end of the Cold War.

Ronald Reagan Speeches

Pre-presidential (to 1/20/81) including as Governor of California (1967-1975)
First Presidential Term (1/20/81-1/20/85)
Second Presidential Term (1/20/85-1/20/89)
Post-presidential (after 1/20/89)
Funeral Eulogies (June 2004)

View a list of Speeches and other Media Uses by Ronald Reagan

Timeline of the Life of Ronald Reagan

1911 Ronald Reagan was born in Tampico, IL
1932 Graduates Eureka College
1981 Reagan is inaugurated as the 40th President of the U.S.
1981 Air traffic controllers go on strike and are dismissed by President Reagan.
1981 Reagan hospitalized with a gunshot wound inflicted by John Warnock Hinckley, Jr.
1982 Unemployment hits 10.8 percent which is the worst in the US since the Great Depression.
1983 Reagan signs the Social Security Reform Bill into law.
1984 Scientists identify the AIDS virus.
1984 Reagan visits China.
1984 Reagan wins re-election by a landslide.
1985 Ronald Reagan is inaugurated for his second term in office
1986 The Chernobyl Power Station in the U.S.S.R. has the world’s worst nuclear accident.
1986 The space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after takeoff
1988 Reagan leaves office as the nation’s most popular President since FDR

Ronald Reagan’s Farewell Address To the Nation

Before I say my formal good-bye, maybe I should tell you what I’m up to now that I’m out of office. Well, I’m still giving speeches, still sounding off about those things I didn’t get accomplished while I was president.

High on my agenda are three things. First, I’m out there stumping to help future presidents – Republican or Democrat – get those tools they need to bring the budget under control. And those tools are a line-item veto and a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. Second, I’m out there talking up the need to do something about political gerrymandering. This is the practice of rigging the boundaries of congressional districts. It is the greatest single blot on the integrity of our nation’s electoral system, and it’s high time we did something about it. And third, I’m talking up the idea of repealing the Twenty-second Amendment, to the Constitution, the amendment that prevents a president from serving more than two terms. I believe it’s a preemption of the people’s right to vote for whomever they want as many times as they want.

So I’m back where I came in – out there on the mashed potato circuit. I have a feeling I’ll be giving speeches until I’m called to the great beyond and maybe even after. All it will take is for St. Peter to say, “Ronald Wilson Reagan, what do you have to say for yourself? Speak up.”

“Well, sir, unaccustomed as I am . . .”

My fellow Americans:

This is the thirty-fourth time I’ll speak to you from the Oval Office and the last. We’ve been together for eight years now, and soon it’ll be time for me to go. But before I do, I wanted to share some thoughts, some of which I’ve been saying for a long time.

It’s been the honor of my life to be your president. So many of you have written the past few weeks to say thanks, but I could say as much to you. Nancy and I are grateful for the opportunity you gave us to serve.

One of the things about the presidency is that you’re always somewhat apart. You spend a lot of time going by too fast in a car someone else is driving, and seeing the people through tinted glass – the parents holding up a child, and the wave you saw too late and couldn’t return. And so many times I wanted to stop and reach out from behind the glass, and connect. Well, maybe I can do a little of that tonight.

People ask how I feel about leaving. And the fact is, “parting is such sweet sorrow.” The sweet part is California, and the ranch and freedom. The sorrow – the good-byes, of course, and leaving this beautiful place.

You know, down the hall and up the stairs from this office is the part of the White House where the presidents and his family live. There are a few favorite windows I have up there that I like to stand and look out of early in the morning. The view is over the grounds here to the Washington Monument, and then the Mall and the Jefferson Memorial. But on mornings when the humidity is low, you can see past the Jefferson to the river, the Potomac, and the Virginia shore. Someone said that’s the view Lincoln had when he saw the smoke rising from the Battle of Bull Run. I see more prosaic things: the grass on the banks, the morning traffic as people mark their way to work, now and then a sailboat on the river…..

….We’ve done our part. And as I walk off into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for eight years did the work that brought America back. My friends: We did it. We weren’t just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger. We made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all.

And so, good-bye, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Read his full farewell address

Ronald Reagan Challenger Speech

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.

Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But, we’ve never lost an astronaut in flight; we’ve never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we’ve forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle; but they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.

For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we’re thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, ‘Give me a challenge and I’ll meet it with joy.’ They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us….

…The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’

Read the full speech.

Ronald Reagan Foundation

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the promotion of individual liberty, economic opportunity, global democracy, and national pride. It sustains the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, the Center for Public Affairs, the Presidential Learning Center and The Air Force One Pavilion. Located in Simi Valley, California the Library houses over 55 million pages of Gubernatorial, Presidential and personal papers and over 40,000 gifts and artifacts chronicling the lives of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. It now also serves as the final resting place of America’s 40th President.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation

Main Contact Information

40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley, CA 93065

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum

Main Contact Information

List of Movies and TV Series Ronald Reagan Was In

Death Valley Days (TV series)
1964 Kraft Suspense Theater (TV series)
1964 The Killers (TV movie)
1963 Wagon Train (TV series)
1963 Heritage of Splendor (short)
1954-1962 G.E. True Theater (TV series)
1961 The Dick Powell Theater (TV series)
1961 The Young Doctors
1961 Zane Grey Theater (TV series)
1960 Startime (TV series)
1960 The DuPont Show with June Allyson (TV series)
1957 Hellcats of the Navy
1956 General Electric Summer Originals (TV series)
1955 Tennessee’s Partner
1954 Cattle Queen of Montana
1953-1954 The Ford Television Theatre (TV series)
1954 Prisoner of War
1953-1954 Schlitz Playhouse (TV series)
1953-1954 Lux Video Theatre (TV series)
1953 The Revlon Mirror Theater (TV series)
1953 Medallion Theatre (TV series)
1953 Law and Order
1953 Tropic Zone
1952 Hollywood Opening Night (TV series)
1952 She’s Working Her Way Through College
1952 The Winning Team
1952 Hong Kong
1951 Bedtime for Bonzo
1951 The Last Outpost
1951 Storm Warning
1951 The Big Truth (short)
1950 Nash Airflyte Theatre (TV series)
1950 Louisa
1949 The Hasty Heart
1949 The Girl from Jones Beach
1949 Night Unto Night
1949 John Loves Mary
1947 The Voice of the Turtle
1947 That Hagen Girl
1947 Stallion Road
1943 This Is the Army
1943 The Rear Gunner (short)
1943 Cadet Classification (short)
1943 For God and Country (short)
1942 Beyond the Line of Duty (short)
1942 Desperate Journey
1942 Juke Girl
1942 Mister Gardenia Jones (documentary short)
1942 Kings Row
1941 Nine Lives Are Not Enough
1941 International Squadron
1941 Million Dollar Baby
1941 The Bad Man
1940 Santa Fe Trail
1940 Tugboat Annie Sails Again
1940 Knute Rockne All American
1940 Murder in the Air
1940 An Angel from Texas
1940 Brother Rat and a Baby
1939 Smashing the Money Ring
1939 The Angels Wash Their Faces
1939 Hell’s Kitchen
1939 Naughty But Nice
1939 Code of the Secret Service
1939 Dark Victory
1939 Secret Service of the Air
1938 Going Places
1938 Brother Rat
1938 Girls on Probation
1938 Boy Meets Girl
1938 The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse
1938 Cowboy from Brooklyn
1938 Accidents Will Happen
1938 Swing Your Lady
1938 Sergeant Murphy
1937 Hollywood Hotel
1937 Love Is on the Air