Tags: Presidential History | Ronald Reagan Inaugural | Highlights | Speech | U.S. President

Ronald Reagan Inaugural Address Highlights: 7 Quotes From Speeches

Image: Ronald Reagan Inaugural Address Highlights: 7 Quotes From Speeches
President Ronald Reagan delivering his first inaugural address, 1981. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Friday, 20 Mar 2015 04:03 PM

After two failed attempts to secure the Republican nomination, Ronald Reagan earned the nod in 1980, and then unseated incumbent Jimmy Carter in the general election. Reagan spoke of government's role often, including during his two inaugural speeches.

As president, Reagan enacted supply-side economic policies, or "Reaganomics," that reduced tax rates to stimulate the economy, while controlling the cash supply to lower inflation.

He survived an assassination attempt by a deranged man looking to impress Jodi Foster, and served a second term in office.

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Here are seven quotes from his inaugural speeches:

1. "To a few of us here today this is a solemn and most momentous occasion, and yet in the history of our nation it is a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place, as it has for almost two centuries, and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this every 4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle."

2. "It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government. It is time for us to realize that we're too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We're not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing."

3. "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. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price."

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4. "That system has never failed us, but, for a time, we failed the system. We asked things of government that government was not equipped to give. We yielded authority to the National Government that properly belonged to States or to local governments or to the people themselves. We allowed taxes and inflation to rob us of our earnings and savings and watched the great industrial machine that had made us the most productive people on Earth slow down and the number of unemployed increase."

5. "We are creating a nation once again vibrant, robust, and alive. But there are many mountains yet to climb. We will not rest until every American enjoys the fullness of freedom, dignity, and opportunity as our birthright. It is our birthright as citizens of this great Republic, and we'll meet this challenge."

6. "My fellow citizens, our Nation is poised for greatness. We must do what we know is right and do it with all our might. Let history say of us, 'These were golden years — when the American Revolution was reborn, when freedom gained new life, when America reached for her best."

7. "So we go forward today, a nation still mighty in its youth and powerful in its purpose. With our alliances strengthened, with our economy leading the world to a new age of economic expansion, we look forward to a world rich in possibilities. And all this because we have worked and acted together, not as members of political parties, but as Americans."

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After two failed attempts to secure the Republican nomination, Ronald Reagan earned the nod in 1980, and then unseated incumbent Jimmy Carter in the general election. Reagan spoke of government's role often, including during his two inaugural speeches.
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