Unveiling the Gipper: 10 Lesser-Known Facts About Ronald Reagan
Beloved by many and known as the “Great Communicator,” Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States, leading the nation from 1981 to 1989. His legacy, marked by conservatism, economic growth, and the end of the Cold War, still resonates today.
However, there is more to Reagan than meets the eye.
Here are 10 fascinating, lesser-known facts about this iconic American leader.
Get To Know The Gipper
Reagan Was A Lifeguard In His Youth
Long before his political career, Reagan was a lifeguard at a beach near his home in Dixon, Illinois. He reportedly saved 77 people from drowning during his seven summers on the job.
He Was Originally A Democrat
Yes, you read that right.
Reagan was initially a registered Democrat and campaigned for Democratic candidates. It wasn’t until the 1960s that he changed his political allegiance to the Republican Party.
Reagan Was An Actor Before Entering Politics
Before he turned to politics, Reagan enjoyed a successful acting career. He appeared in more than 50 films and served as the president of the Screen Actors Guild for several years.
He Survived An Assassination Attempt
Just 69 days into his presidency, Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr. Despite a punctured lung, Reagan recovered quickly, showcasing his remarkable resilience.
Oldest President To Take Office
Reagan holds the record for being the oldest person ever elected to the presidency. He was 69 when he first took office in 1981 and 73 when he was re-elected for a second term.
His Favorite Candy Was Jelly Beans
Reagan had an affinity for jelly beans, which was well-known among his staff. His favorite flavor was licorice.
Reagan Was The First Divorced President
Reagan was the first divorced man to serve as President. He and his first wife, actress Jane Wyman, divorced in 1949. He married Nancy Davis, his second wife, in 1952.
He Authored A Law That Abolished The ‘Right-To-Work’ Law In California
As Governor of California, Reagan signed the Mulford Act in 1967, which negated the “Right-to-Work” laws in the state. This was contrary to typical conservative values and something Reagan later regretted.
Reagan Loved to Ride Horses
An avid horseman, Reagan often spent time riding and working on his California ranch, Rancho del Cielo. His love for horses was a facet of his down-to-earth, cowboy image.
The “Star Wars” Initiative
In 1983, Reagan proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), often nicknamed “Star Wars.” The program aimed to build a space-based system to protect America from attacks by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles.
This President’s Day, we’re looking back to one of Frank Sinatra’s many appearances at the White House, including his 1985 Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony with Ronald Reagan. ?
(Courtesy Ronald Reagan Presidential Library) pic.twitter.com/XLdTCOxKdY
— Frank Sinatra (@franksinatra) February 18, 2019
A Generational President
Behind the familiar face of Reagan lies a rich and varied history filled with intriguing facts that many might not know. From his acting career to his jelly bean obsession, these lesser-known aspects of Reagan’s life provide a fuller picture of the man behind the presidency.
Reagan’s legacy, complete with its quirks and idiosyncrasies, continues to shape American conservatism today.
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