Ronald Reagan, Inaugural Address (1981) in Voices of Freedom
Ronald Reagan’s inaugural addressing 1981 on Voices of Freedom is a call for the Americans to remember the previous achievements that were made by the founders of America. They believed that freedom was majorly founded on self or individual government. Reagan insists that reliance on the system of government should not be encouraged in the American Society since it is retrogressive. In his view, “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem” (Foner 321). Every American, whether ordinary or special should bear the state of a hero because he/she contributes to the well-being of the economy. The growth of the government, on the other hand, limits the freedom of persons hence affecting the American economy.
Ronald Reagan’s main drive towards expressing his views is the economic woes that America has been facing for quite a long time. In his speech, Reagan believes that the irresolute foreign policy forms part of the drawbacks for the economic state of America. He finds the strength to address these factors from previous addresses that were made by past leaders including Franklin Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. Reagan emphasizes with great care the achievements as well as the responsibilities of the Americans. He goes against Franklin D. Roosevelt’s belief by insisting on the fact that power should be returned to the people and the states.
Reagan finds the confidence in expressing himself since he follows the constitution and believes in it. In his view, “Our Government”, he insists, “has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed” (Foner 321). In his view, the old American Constitution had several restraints like insisting on limited government; however, it allowed for the freedom of individuals to work for the positive progress of the country. Reagan believes that the main problem hurting the Americans is the government body. The government does not offer any solution for the well being of the American society.
Despite the fact that Ronald Reagan’s views may bring change to the entire American society, he may face several risks. For instance, his emphasis on the fact that the government is the main problem the Americans are facing may expose him to the danger of political evasion. Expressing such views as the lack of need for the government may also cause the risk of a political demonstration within the American society. For instance, he takes a stand against his predecessors claiming that government is the problem. He openly attacks the New Deal hence exposing him to the risk of a reduction in his popularity as a leader.
In his time of presidency, through the inaugural Address, Reagan tries to address the temptation that has faced the American society. He states, “From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?” (321). He summarizes the agenda of the Founder’s of America as people who insisted on liberty, self-government, and equality. He addresses on the importance of exemplary freedom among the Americans.
During the earlier days, before Ronald Reagan became the president of America, the existing leaders such as Washington and Lincoln believed in leadership through humility. Reagan’s message goes in line with the spirit of these powerful leaders. It reflects the acceptable values and perspectives of leadership during this time in history. In his words, he affirms “I believe God intended for us to be free” (Foner 323). This is an aspect that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln insisted during their days. He goes on to propose that the day of inauguration “should be declared a day of prayer” (Foner 322). With this perspective that he attains from the past leaders, Reagan takes an oath to bring transformation in the federal government. He resolves to fight to his best to ensure the people of America; his intended audience, receive their freedom.
Reagan, the 40th president of America achieves his intended goals, which he outlines in the inaugural speech. He succeeds, as the president by ensuring patriotism as well as hard work becomes part of the American society (Dunham 56). These two values are recounted as being part of the Founding Father’s vision. He equally succeeded in his emphasis on the movement of family values within the society, which were aimed at countering the upheavals during the 1960s. Through his ideas, the Cold War that had occurred after the World War II came to an end (Donaldson 221). Additionally, he was able to ensure the end to the communism pursuit for domination. Reagan’s ideas on economics have brought about a cut on taxes as well as a restraint on domestic spending. This restraint has worked effectively in ensuring an economic rise that has stayed on for more than two decades. Reagan’s presidency had inherited an inflation index and a high unemployment rate; however, his skills during his tenure ensured an end to inflation and a reduction in the number of unemployed people (McKay 87).
Donaldson, Robert. Modern America: A Documentary History of the Nation since 1945. NY: Routledge, 2014. Print.
Dunham, Montrew. Ronald Reagan: Younger Leader. London: Simon and Schuster, 2013. Print.
Foner, Eric. Voices of Freedom: A Documentary History, Volume 1. London: WW Norton & Company Incorporated, 2013. Print.
McKay, David. American Politics and Society. NY: John Wiley & Sons, 2013. Print.