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Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975). Born in Illinois, Reagan moved to Los Angeles, California in the 1930s, where he was an actor, president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and a spokesman for General Electric (GE). His start in politics occurred during his work for GE; originally a member of the Democratic Party, he switched to the Republican Party in 1962. After delivering a rousing speech in support of Barry Goldwater's presidential candidacy in 1964, he was persuaded to seek the California governorship, winning two years later and again in 1970. He was defeated in his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 as well as 1976, but won both the nomination and election in 1980.
As president, Reagan implemented new political initiatives as well as economic policies, advocating a limited government and economic laissez-faire philosophy, but the extent to which the implementation of these ideas was successful is debated. The supply side economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics", included substantial tax cuts implemented in 1981. After surviving an assassination attempt and ordering military actions in Grenada, he was re-elected in a landslide victory in 1984.
Reagan's second term was marked by the ending of the Cold War, as well as the revelation of the Iran-Contra affair. The president ordered a massive military buildup in an arms race with the Soviet Union, forgoing the previous strategy of détente. He publicly portrayed the USSR as an "evil empire" and supported anti-Communist movements worldwide. Despite his rejection of détente, he negotiated with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to shrink both countries' nuclear arsenals. Reagan left office in 1989; in 1994 the former president disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He died ten years later at the age of ninety-three, and ranks highly among former U.S. presidents in terms of approval rating.
Involvement with Scottish Rite Masonry
In 1985, Washington correspondent Paul Fisher learned of a letter the Grand Commander of the Grand Lodge of New York had sent to Congressman Jack Kemp, a 32nd degree Freemason, imploring Kemp to ask Reagan if he was would accept membership in Scottish Rite Masonry of the Northern Jurisdiction. The offer was declined at the time. In April 1988, the Scottish Rite of the Southern Jurisdiction announced that Reagan had accepted membership in the Scottish Rite, reprinting a letter in which Reagan offered his "sincere gratitude for the framed certificate of membership and other tokens of friendship" presented to him at a ceremony in the White House on February 11, 1988. "I am honored to join the ranks of the sixteen former Presidents in their associations with Freemasonry." The Wilmette Park Lodge, however, notes that "The title of Freemason can only be conferred by a Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons." As this was not done at the White House ceremony (a full ceremony would have taken up an entire day of the President's time) Reagan, while an honorary member of the Imperial Council of the Shrine, and a Scottish Rite Mason, never achieved the actual title Freemason.
Statue in Budapest, Hungary
- ↑ Fisher, Paul A. Behind the Lodge Door: Church, State and Freemasonry in America. Rockford, Illinois: TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., 1994 (252-253).
- ↑ United States Presidents who were Freemasons - Wilmette Park Lodge No. 931
- ↑ Veronica Gulyas. Ronald Reagan Statue Unveiled in Budapest - Emerging Europe Real Time The Wall Street Journal. June 29, 2011. Accessed December 20, 2012.
- ↑ http://www.origo.hu/itthon/20110629-felavattak-ronald-reagan-egykori-amerikai-elnok-szobor-budapest.html