Reviewing Reagan

Life and Work of Ronald Reagan

What better time to learn more about Ronald Reagan, than in May, or more precisely, May 17, exactly 30 years after the then President of the United States delivered a “special speech” at Notre Dame?  Reagan did not hold his position for long, having been inaugurated in January 1981 and shot a few weeks later on March 30 and very nearly lost his life during emergency surgery.  Currently on exhibition at the Shapell Manuscript Foundation, is something that quite accurately depicts the richness of the man’s life: “Ronald Reagan: Celebrating the Centennial of His Birth 1911-2011.”  The exhibition began in February and will be available for viewing until June of this year.  On show are manuscripts, letters and signed photos which “celebrate various aspects of the remarkable life and character of Ronald Reagan, the 40th U.S. President.”

Through the Shapell Manuscript Foundation exhibition, viewers will be privy to the United States’ President’s attitudes and feelings, both positive and negative.  Through the letters visitors can learn about his staunch “presumption of racial equality” and via his manuscripts it will become clear how he “decried riots, lawlessness and a coercive state.”  There is also a photo of the man by the Berlin Brandenburg Gate, with the inscription, “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!”  Another letter being exhibited is one that was composed a little while after he survived his shooting when he said (in typical Reagan style) that he was feeling fine, at a point at which he nearly lost his own life.

Reagan’s “Rich” Life

Those familiar with American politics will enjoy viewing the exhibition as Ronald Reagan’s presidency itself has been described as both the “Reagan Revolution” and the “Age of Reagan.”  This is largely due the political realignment in America and further abound that supported the type of conservatism specific to his politics as well as his belief in free markets.  In addition, under Reagan’s administration, there was much energy dedicated to the destruction of Soviet Communism, which did actually occur, just as he was leaving office.

So there is a lot for which Reagan can be remembered and this is a particularly significant time to take a look at the Shapell Manuscript Foundation’s exhibition celebrating the “rich diversity” of the man’s work and life.