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Sep 09

A Constitutional President: Ronald Reagan and the Founding

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From the very beginning to the very end of his Presidency, Ronald Reagan was guided by the first principles of the American Founding, especially the idea of ordered liberty. In the opening paragraphs of his first inaugural address in 1981 – much of which he personally drafted – President Reagan echoed the preamble of the Constitution, calling on “We the people” to do whatever needs to be done to “preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom” – America. Eight years later, in his farewell address to the American people, the President said that the American Revolution was “the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words, ‘We the people.’”

Under all circumstances, Reagan looked to the Constitution as his North Star. In his State of the Union speeches, Reagan referred to the Constitution more than any other president in the preceding 50 years – an average of 16 times per speech. A survey of his presidential papers reveals 1,270 references to the Constitution during his eight years in the White House – and another 113 mentions of the Declaration of Independence. In this forum, with two former Reagan cabinet members and two published Reagan historians, we will discuss how the principles of The Founding and the Constitution provided the foundation for Reagan’s presidency and ultimately influenced his every decision.

More About the Speakers

Jim Miller
Senior Advisor, Husch Blackwell, LLC and former Director of Office of Management and Budget, the Reagan Administration

Steve Hayward
F. K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, and Author of The Age of Reagan

Lee Edwards
Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought, B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles & Politics, The Heritage Foundation

Hosted By

Edwin Meese III Edwin Meese III

Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow Emeritus Read More