Biography (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: After a succession of failed presidencies over two decades, Reagan stemmed the general feeling of instability that had begun to surround the office. Almost by sheer personality and by effortlessly exuding an enormous self-confidence, Reagan reversed many of the negative images of the presidency.
Ronald Wilson Reagan was born February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois. He was the younger of two sons; his brother John Neil Reagan was born on September 3, 1909. His father, John Edward Reagan, was born July 13, 1883, in Fulton, Illinois; his father’s parents were born in County Cork, Ireland. His mother, Nelle Clyde Wilson Reagan, of English-Scottish ancestry, was born July 24, 1885, in Fulton, Illinois. When Reagan was ten years old, his family settled in Dixon, Illinois, after living in several other rural Illinois towns. Reagan’s father was a shoe salesman who was troubled by alcoholism and had difficulty holding a job. His mother loved the theater, and it was in Dixon, while attending high school, that Reagan first participated in acting. In 1928, he was graduated from high school, where he played basketball and football and was on the track team; he was also president of the student body. For seven summers during his high school and college years, he worked as a lifeguard at Lowell Park near Dixon.
Reagan won a scholarship which paid half of his living expenses, tuition, and...
(The entire section is 3046 words.)
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