Ronald Reagan (February 6, 1911 - June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981-1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967-1975). Before entering politics, Reagan was also a sports broadcaster, a lifeguard, a newspaper columnist, a motion picture actor, head of the Screen Actors Guild, a television actor, and a motivational speaker. His speaking style, which was widely regarded as well delivered and persuasive, earned Reagan the nickname "The Great Communicator" from the media. The inability of the numerous scandals during his tenure, including the Iran-Contra Affair, the bombing in Beirut, and convictions of officials in his administration, to negatively impact his approval ratings earned him the nickname, "Teflon President."
Reagan defeated incumbent President Jimmy Carter to win the election of 1980, carrying along the first Republican-dominated U.S. Senate in 26 years. His economic policy of supply-side economics, popularly known as "Reaganomics" is noted for a 25ut in the income tax, reduction in inflation, reduction in interest rates, increased military spending, increased deficits and national debt, a temporary solution to the Social Security issue, elimination of loopholes in the tax code, continued deregulation of business, a sharp recession in 1981-1982 followed by a very robust economic expansion starting in '82. In other domestic issues he failed in his efforts to significantly change social policies such as welfare and abortion during his presidency, but he did move the federal judiciary to the right through appointments to the Supreme Court and other federal courts. From beginning to end he emphasized his skepticism concerning the ability of the federal government to remedy problems.
His supporters and many opponents credit him for restoring psychological optimism to an America that seemed in deep malaise in 1980. In foreign policy his administration is noted for the vast buildup of the military and change from containment of the Soviet Union to confrontation. Reagan was committed to the ideologies of democratic capitalism and anti-communism. Many historians consider Reagan to be a leading figure in orchestrating the collapse of Soviet Communism in 1991 ; he held a dominant position in the emergence of the American conservative movement. He was reelected in a landslide in the 1984 presidential election, and left office with high approval ratings. The decade of the 1980s is at times referred to as the ""Reagan Era"."
Reagan was the victim of an assassination attempt on March 30, 1981 by John Hinckley Jr. He was the only U.S. President to be struck by an assassin's bullet while in office as President and survive. He received a state funeral after his death in Bel-Air, California in 2004 at the age of 93, after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for a decade.