Ronald Reagan - Essay Example

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This was a time which coincide two major events, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. These events can be characterized by the intensity of massive protests one after the other which…
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Ronald Reagan
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The 1960s was a tumultuous and politically dynamic political era in American history. This was a time which coincide two major events, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. These events can be characterized by the intensity of massive protests one after the other which clashed between ideologies. The chronology of the swift political changes in the state of California can be perceived in the changes in administration of the gubernatorial post. This can also serve as an evident proof that, at least in this state, there is no such thing as political party loyalty and that such could easily change depending on the most recent sentiment of the people whom they shall serve.
Edmund ‘Pat’ Brown has been known as the “Republican Giant Killer” after defeating no less than a future president in the person of Richard Nixon. The latter being a highly favored GOP member. The popularity of Nixon as a Republican frontrunner proved no moment when Brown was able to defeat him. He then served as California governor for two consecutive terms when he faced an opponent whom he gravely underestimated, an actor running for the first time for public office in the name of Ronald Reagan. Brown and Reagan have more things in contrast than being from two rival parties. Brown represented the proud Democrat who sees student activism as a healthy exercise of civic participation while Reagan outwardly denounces it and speaks that they should not belong in universities if all they would cause is unrest. The student protests were heavily denounced by Reagan who was heard by conservatives sharing the exact same sentiments.
Taxes in the state were excruciatingly high and unrest was evident. Dunnell provides a sensible explanation, “The postwar baby boomers were of age to vote, and the middle of the road voters in both parties were fed up with the bureaucrats protecting their jobs with expensive programs” (391). The people of California at that pivotal moment were looking for a change in administration and Reagan was able to offer exactly that. Brown had not anticipated the ability of Reagan to deliver good, if not great, speeches at times when it was what was called for. People had become disappointed with liberalism that Reagan’s outwardly conservative stance impressed itself as a better alternative. The failure of expensive social programs has taken its toll on taxpayers and the liberal take on communism as a foreign policy created in the gubernatorial race a chance to reconsider existing state policies by the incumbent governor. These two men represented the two most distinct voices of society and Reagan proved to be the more resounding winning him the election.
“Reagan based his campaign on the need to restore order in California, especially on university and college campuses, and he proved to be a smart candidate and deft campaigner” (Ehrman and Flamm 6). His first bid for public office proved to be a defining moment in his political career and his rise in the Republican Party. This was a time when people really took notice of his capabilities and his ability to make believers out of cynics through his sharp rhetorics. Suddenly, he was no longer just a fish out of water, an actor taking a shot as a governor. He represented a sentiment that many have been building up over the years with the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War. The Reagan era proved that there will always be a shift in political attitudes when what prevails is no longer a viable option.
Works Cited
Dunnell, John Peter. American Greatness: People and Events That Made America a Great Nation. [Bloomington, IN]: Xlibris, 2008. Google Books. Web. 1 Mar. 2013.
Ehrman, John, and Michael W. Flamm. Debating the Reagan Presidency. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009. Google Books. Web. 4 Mar. 2013. Read More
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