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Ronald Reagan-Overview

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Ronald Reagan was a fascinating man well before he became a fascinating president. Jules Tygiel offers a rare semi-unbiased look into Ronald Reagan's life before, during and after his presidency. Tygiel confronts the reader with the perception of Reagan as a person with no depth or unique ideas of his own, and gives us all the tools in Reagan's life that molded such a personality. Tygiel offers detailed analysis of Reagan's life and gives the reader a chance to explain for themselves Reagan's abrupt change in political beliefs and liberal ideals. While at times utterly confusing, it is also not difficult to understand Reagan's stance of the moment when you remember his desire to please and be seen in the most admirable light by others. While reviewing Reagan's life one cannot help but be either incensed or envious of his uncanny ability to escape reality and deliver fantasy to an eager people.

Tygiel states that Reagan's abrupt political changes seem to have no rhyme or reason to support them. However, Tygiel also implies that Reagan's political changes were initially deceptive and later opportunistic. Reagan's father, Jack Reagan, is portrayed as an Irish Catholic alcoholic which Ronald Reagan referred to as his father's "weakness." Tygiel displays Jack Reagan as a hard-working, semi-ambitious man who had a problem with alcohol. Jack Reagan's personal beliefs were strongly aligned with the Democratic Party.

Tygiel mentions Jack Reagan's refusal to patronage shops with known anti-Semitic views. Jack Reagan was willing to inconvenience himself in order to make a political statement. In contrast, while Ronald Reagan stated to have his father's same democratic beliefs, he was not as willing to inconvenience himself to make a political statement. Tygiel gives the example of the African-American players on Ronald Reagan's school football team being denied lodging in a hotel. The coach was furious and insisted that the entire team sleep on the bus and make a political stand by doing such.

Ronald Reagan instead offered the African-American players a room in his home to avoid such a controversial issue. This causes one to question Ronald's true political beliefs. Tygiel also questions the true democratic beliefs of Ronald when Jack Reagan dies. While demonstrating the sense of betrayal felt by Jack Reagan when his son Neil starts speaking about his republican beliefs, Tygiel shows how deep Jack Reagan's political beliefs travel. Tygiel states that Ronald felt a sense of relief when his father passed away, because he no longer had to fear disappointing him with his political views.

It is difficult to imagine that Ronald Reagan was afraid of disappointing his father in any aspect. Tygiel displays Ronald's relationship with his father as being virtually nonexistent throughout his childhood. Jack Reagan did not participate in nor did he support any of Ronald's extracurricular activities. According to Tygiel, Ronald was close to his mother and shared her views regarding religion and morality. Tygiel gives the reader the sense that Ronald was if not ashamed of his father, definitely not especially proud of his father. This contradicts the implication that Ronald was holding on to democratic beliefs because he did not want to risk disappointing his father.

In fact, Ronald had moved from being the son of Jack Reagan to being the financial caretaker of Jack Reagan. That shift in responsibility would have certainly made it easier for Ronald Reagan to assert his own individual beliefs. However, Tygiel also implies that Ronald Reagan did not possess his own individual beliefs.
Tygiel mentions many prominent figures whose influence helped shape Ronald Reagan's views on politics and the world. Tygiel mentions Reagan's love for reading because it gave him the ability to provide quotes and sound very factual. However, the influences provided by such figures as Dick Powell who was a staunch Republican Conservative seemed to catch Ronald Reagan's attention. Tygiel tries to be unbiased in account of Ronald Reagan, but at times he implies that Reagan's beliefs changed depending on who conversed with him last. Tygiel also makes Reagan's political beliefs dependant on his current status in life.

Reagan was an avid supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal in the 1930s. This comes to no surprise due to the employment provided to the Reagan family as a result of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. Jack Reagan found steady and sufficient employment by working his way up the ladder of New Deal programs. This gave the Reagan family the stability that they had by then been long without. However, there is no reason for Ronald Reagan's support of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal that is not connected with the employment it provided his father. There is no depth to Ronald Reagan's support of democratic principles and the New Deal.

There is no passionate argument from Ronald Reagan in support of democratic principles. While one can argue that his support for conservative principles were not as much about passion as an opportunity for advancement, the fact remains that Reagan gives in depth reasoning for his support of conservative principles.
Tygiel makes an honest attempt to show Ronald Reagan's life in an unbiased light without satirical quips from the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party. However, his efforts still manage to leave readers of Ronald Reagan and the Triumph of American Conservatism without a clear sense of what Ronald Reagan actually believed in and what he supported despite his beliefs. Tygiel tells us in the beginning of his book that Ronald Reagan is a very confusing character who appears to be without depth.

Bibliography

Tygiel, Jules. Ronald Reagan and the Triumph of American Conservatism. Second Ed. Mark C.
Carnes. San Francisco: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006.

Craig Cunningham is a published author in the areas of family and criminal law.  In addition to being an attorney, he is also a professor and will educate his clients regarding their case and the law. Clients are able to reach him through several outlets such as, email, cell phone, office line and fax. He will never keep his clients in the dark. With any new developments, he will definitely keep clients informed. For more information please visit at www.cunninghamlaw.cc

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