Research Paper on the Inaugural Address of Ronald Reagan
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In Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural speech, made in 1981, he addresses what is probably the greatest problem of modern-day America: money. For nearly a decade before taking office, the nation was plagued with economic problems, stemming from the following:
- Rampant inflation
- Increasing unemployment rates
- Economic competition from developing nations
- Our increasing dependence on foreign oil.
Throughout his presidency, numerous steps would be taken to combat these problems, all of which did not have a lasting positive impact. However, he sets the tone for his time as president in his inaugural speech, laying out his financial plans and promising the nation a solidly-built plan for addressing this growing crisis.
Reading Reagan’s speech today, one cannot help but see similarities to current problems. Reagan specifies that while individuals are capable of living beyond their means for a time, they eventually have to face the truth of their financial situation. He then connects to the government as a whole, specifying that those in Washington, D.C. cannot simply pass the buck to the next generation, hoping that the financial problems will somehow work themselves out on someone else’s watch. Instead, he promises to move forward, bringing America out of her growing economic disaster and transporting us to a time and place of great prosperity. He specifically states that “we must act today in order to preserve tomorrow,” something that many politicians today reiterate time and time again. While it seems as though few individuals in the government have heeded Reagan’s warning, and have instead continued to pass the burden onto the next generation, the notion of fiscal responsibility was a cornerstone of his political policies, and would manifest in many ways during his eight years in office.