President Ronald Reagan would have been one hundred years old this Sunday. My appreciation for his leadership increases with age. Below are my favorite Reagan quotes.
• Thomas Jefferson made a comment about the Presidency and age. He said that one should not worry about one’s exact chronological age in reference to his ability to perform one’s task. And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.
– Remarks at the Annual Salute to Congress Dinner, (1981-02-04)
• The size of the Federal budget is not an appropriate barometer of social conscience or charitable concern.
– Remarks at the Annual Meeting of the National Alliance of Business, (1981-10-05)
• From Stettin on the Baltic to Varna on the Black Sea, the regimes planted by totalitarianism have had more than thirty years to establish their legitimacy. But none — not one regime — has yet been able to risk free elections. Regimes planted by bayonets do not take root….If history teaches anything, it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly….Our military strength is a prerequisite to peace, but let it be clear we maintain this strength in the hope it will never be used, for the ultimate determinant in the struggle that’s now going on in the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas, a trial of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, the ideals to which we are dedicated.
– Speech to the House of Commons, (1982-06-08)
• When the chips are down and the decisions are made as to who the candidates will be, then the 11th commandment prevails and everybody goes to work, and that is: Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.
– Remarks in New York City at a Reception for Delegates to the State Republican Convention (1982-06-17)
• The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor. We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression — to preserve freedom and peace.
– “Star Wars” speech (1983-03-23)
• Some people work an entire lifetime and wonder if they ever made a difference to the world. But the Marines don’t have that problem.
– Letter to Lance Cpl. Joe Hickey (1983-09-23)
• I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.
– Debate with Walter Mondale (1984-10-21)
First Inaugural Address (1981):
• There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.
• If we look to the answer as to why for so many years we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on earth, it was because here in this land we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay the price.
• Above all, we must realize that no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have. It is a weapon that we as Americans do have. Let that be understood by those who practice terrorism and prey upon their neighbors.
• In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. 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. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden.
• I have only one thing to say to the tax increasers: Go ahead, make my day.
– Speech threatening to veto legislation raising taxes (1985-03-13)
• Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
– Remarks to the White House Conference on Small Business (1986-08-15)
• 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!
– Speech at the Brandenburg Gate. (1987-06-12)
• The ten most dangerous words in the English language are “Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”
– Remarks to Future Farmers of America (1988-07-28)
Farewell Address (1989):
• I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.
• Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way.