Ronald Reagan picture

Ronald Reagan Event Timeline

Ronald Reagan (40) Event Timeline

01/20/1981-01/20/1989

11/04/1980

Election Day.  Reagan wins 91% of the Electoral College and 51% of the popular vote.

1981

 

01/20/1981

Inaugural Address

01/20/1981

52 American hostages in Iran released in exchange for ending trade sanctions

01/28/1981

Appoints William J. Casey as CIA Director

02/18/1981

Address to Joint Session of Congress proposing a program for economic recovery. 

03/10/1981

Message to Congress proposing budgetary revisions for FY 1982

03/30/1981

John Hinckley Jr attempts to assassinate President Reagan following Reagan’s remarks to the AFL-CIO.

04/11/1981

Reagan leaves the hospital.

04/24/1981

Lifts Soviet grain embargo in order to help America farmers; still condemning the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

04/28/1981

Address to Joint Session of Congress on Program for Economic Recovery

05/21/1981

Proposes to Congress a bipartisan effort to fix Social Security

06/05/1981

The US Centers for Disease Control identifies a rare illness that is afflicting primarily gay men.

07/07/1981

Nominates Sandra Day O’Connor, first woman Supreme Court Justice and makes Remarks.

08/03/1981

Air Traffic Controllers Strike, after failed negotiations with the federal government.  “I must tell those who fail to report for duty this morning they are in violation of the law, and if they do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated.”  Two days later, the FAA begins to fires striking workers.

08/13/1981

Signs Economic Recovery Tax Act

10/02/1981

Announces Strategic Weapons Renewal program.  Includes deploying 100 B-1 bombers as soon as possible; completing MX missile program.

11/18/1981

In Remarks to the National Press Club, discloses that he has sent a handwritten letter to Russian President Brezhnev of Russia in hopes for better relations, affirms his commitment to the Atlantic Alliance.  Announces proposed mutual reduction of convention intermediate-range nuclear and strategic forces.

12/16/1981

By Executive Order 12335, Creates National Commission on Social Security reform

12/23/1981

Addresses Nation;  welcomes Christmas season and warns Polish government against “waging war on its own people.”

12/27/1981

Condemns Soviet Forceful Occupation of Afghanistan

12/29/1981

Imposes sanctions on Poland and the USSR. Says blame lies heavily with Soviet Union.

1982

 

01/26/1982

Annual State of the Union Address

03/10/1982

Enforces embargo on Libyan oil imports, due to Libyan support of terrorism

05/31/1982

Announces Negotiations between US and Soviet Union in Geneva

06/08/1982

Addresses UK House of Common, where he remarks that Communism will end up on the “ash heap of history”

06/11/1982

Visits and gives speech in West Berlin

06/29/1982

Signs 25-Year Extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act

06/30/1982

Commissions Committee to investigate Federal waste In government spending, emphasizing the need to “drain the swamp.”

08/25/1982

Marines arrive in Lebanon to help manage conflict between Israel and Lebanon

09/03/1982

Signs Tax Equity & Fiscal Responsibility Act, which reduced the budget deficit through federal spending cuts and increased taxes

09/03/1982

Appoints Walter B. Wriston as Chairman of Economic Policy Board.  Wriston advocated for less of government intervention in banking.

10/15/1982

Signs Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act, allows more risky mortgage lending

1983

 

01/06/1983

Signs Gas Tax Bill, the first increase in federal gasoline taxes in 23 years, in order to improve the nation’s infrastructure

01/07/1983

Signs the Nuclear Waste Policy, which utilizes deep geologic reserves to dispose of nuclear waste as well as allocating money for nuclear research

01/15/1983

Receives Recommendations of National Commission on Social Security Reform

01/25/1983

Annual State of the Union Address

03/08/1983

Speaks to the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando Florida; warns against ignoring “the facts of history and the aggressive inpulses of an evil empire.” 

03-10-1983

In Proclamation 5030 establishes the Exclusive Economic Zone (extending to a distance of 200 nautical miles) of the United States.

03/23/1983

Strategic Defense Initiative, asking the scientific community to create a defense system in space that would render nuclear weapons useless

04/18/1983

Terrorist Attack on US embassy in Beirut, kills 17 US foreign service personnel and more than 40 Lebanese.

04/20/1983

Signs Social Security Amendments of 1983;  raising the age of retirement and the payroll tax.

05/17/1983

Lebanon, Israel, and the United States agree to a phased Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

06/18/1983

Nominates Paul Volcker for second term as Federal Reserve Chairman.

09/01/1983

Korean Air Flight 007 Shot Down after Pilot Accidentally Flies into Soviet Airspace, all 269 passengers are killed and tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union rise dramatically.

10/23/1983

Suicide bomber drives a truck into US military barracks in Lebanon, killing 241 military personnel.

10/25/1983

United States Invades Grenada, seeks to respond to the request of six other Caribbean nations and to rescue American students living on the island.

10/27/1983

Address to the Nation on events in Lebanon and Grenada.

11/02/1983

Signs Act making the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. a Federal Holiday

12/19/1983

Sends Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld to meet President Saddam Hussein in effort to normalize relations with Iraq.

1984

 

01/25/1984

Annual State of the Union Address

02/08/1984

United States Bombs Syrian Controlled Area in Lebanon, in retaliation for prior Syrian attack.

04/04/1984

Calls for an international ban on chemical weapons following Iraqi use of mustard gas on the Iranians.

04/23/1984

The Department of Health and Human Services announces finding virus that may cause AIDS.

08/30/1984

Space Shuttle Discovery takes off on maiden voyage.

07/17/1984

Signs the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, establishing 21 as the legal drinking age.

07/18/1984

Signs the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.

08/23/1984

Accepts Republican nomination for a second term as President.

10/15/1984

Signs the Central Intelligence Agency Information Act, which allows the public to view declassified documents.

10/30/1984

Signs the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984, which creates a negotiating authority for both the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement as well as the US-Israel Free Trade agreement.

10/31/1984

Assassination of Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, the first and only female Prime Minister of India.

11/06/1984

Election Day, Reagan wins 59% of the popular vote and 98% of the electoral vote.  Defeats former Vice-President Walter Mondale.

1985

 

02/06/0985

State of the Union Address.

01/20/1985

Oath of Office administered at the White House by Chief Justice Warren Burger.

01/21/1985

Second Inaugural Address; Delivered from the Rotunda of the Capitol. Inaugural parade cancelled due to bitterly cold weather in Washington, D.C.

02/06/1985

Vetoes Emergency Farm Credit Bill, citing mass increases to the deficit.

03/01/1985

Remarks to the Conservative Political Action Committee.  Famous line:  “. . . the freedom fighters of Nicaragua.  You know the truth about them. You know who they're fighting and why. They are the moral equal of our Founding Fathers and the brave men and women of the French Resistance. We cannot turn away from them, for the struggle here is not right versus left; it is right versus wrong.”

03/11/1985

Gorbachev becomes General Secretary of Soviet Communist Party, giving Americans hope for successful negotiations with a younger leader.

05/01/1985

Issues Executive Order 12513 imposing an embargo on imports from Nicaragua, due to aggressive acts from the Sandinista government and links with the Soviet Union.

05/04/1985

Attends Bonn Economic Summit timed to coincide with 40th Anniversary of the end of World War II.

05/05/1985

Remarks at Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, Germany

05/05/1985

Remarks at Bitburg Air Base, Germany.  Followed a visit to the military cemetery with German war dead including members of the SS.  His remarks included this passage:  “Well, today freedom-loving people around the world must say: I am a Berliner. I am a Jew in a world still threatened by anti-Semitism. I am an Afghan, and I am a prisoner of the Gulag. I am a refugee in a crowded boat foundering off the coast of Vietnam. I am a Laotian, a Cambodian, a Cuban, and a Miskito Indian in Nicaragua. I, too, am a potential victim of totalitarianism.”

06/14/1985

Hezbollah, a terrorist organization, Hijacks a Flight Bound to Rome, and kills a Navy Seal onboard as well as taking other individuals hostage. 

07/13/1985

Cancerous polyp is removed at Bethesda Naval Hospital; during the procedure, George H. W. Bush is acting president.

07/13/1985

Announces planned summit meeting with Gorbachev in November, in Geneva, Switzerland

09/09/1985

Executive Order 12532 imposes trade sanctions on South Africa.

09/17/1985

In a news conference, in his first public reference to the AIDS Epidemic, Reagan says he has been supporting research on AIDS for more than four years.

11/19/1985 – 11/21/1985

Reagan and Gorbachev Meet At the Geneva Summit. This was the first of several summits between the leaders;  the first US/USSR summit since 1979.  This session was at the Chateau Fleur d’Eau which featured a very large fireplace.  The two leaders were photographed in affable conversation in large easy chairs in front of the fireplace—thus, “the fireside summit.”

11/21/1985

Speech to Joint Session of Congress on Geneva Summit.

12/12/1985

Signs the Gramm Rudman Hollings Balanced Budget Act, requires automatic spending cuts if federal agencies exceed their budget.

1986

 

01/28/1986

Address to the Nation concerning the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion which killed all seven members on board.

02/04/1986

State of the Union Address to Joint Session of Congress.

04/16/1986

Report to Congress on 04/14/1986 Air Strike Against Libya, responding to their government sponsorship of terrorist activities.

04/30/1986

White House statement about 04/24/1986 explosion at Chernobyl Power Plant which killed 31 people and spread radiation as far as Sweden.

05/19/1986

Signs Firearm Owner Protection Act which asserted a Second Amendment right to personal firearm ownership;  prohibited the sale or possession of a “machinegun.”

05/25/1986

Hands Across America Day, 5 million people form human chain from NYC to Long Beach to raise money to fight poverty.

06/27/1986

The International Court of Justice Rules that the United States Violates International Law by Aiding Contras.

09/26/1086

Vetoes the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, which was intended to encourage South Africa to end apartheid; argues that the Act harms those it intends to help.

10/01/1986

Signs the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, which drastically altered the command structure of the United States military.

10/02/1986

Signs the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 passed over his veto. “Our administration will, nevertheless, implement the law. It must be recognized, however, that this will not solve the serious problems that plague that country.”

10/11/1986 – 10/12/1986

Reagan and Gorbachev Meet at the Reykjavik Summit in Iceland.  Talks failed when Reagan refused to compromise on the Strategic Defense Initiative.

10/13/1986

Address to the Nation on Reykjavik Summit.

10/18/1986

Signs Appropriations Act authorizing aid for the Contras (a rebel guerilla group opposing the Sandinista government of Nicaragua ) under certain conditions not to include military advice or training. 

10/22/1986

Signs Memorandum certifying that the Contras meet the conditions for aid.

10/22/1986

Signs Tax Reform Act of 1986, lowering the highest tax rate from 50 to 28 percent.  “Fair and simpler for most Americans, this is a tax code designed to take us into a future of technological invention and economic achievement, one that will keep America competitive and growing into the 21st century.”

11/03/1986

Iran-Contra Affair becomes publicly known for the first time.

11/04/1986

Midterm Elections:  Democrats gain majority in the Senate.

11/06/1986

Signs the Immigration Reform Control Act of 1986, which helped immigrant workers achieve legal status.

11/13/1986

Address to the Nation on Iran Arms and Contra Aid controversy. “We did not—repeat—did not trade weapons or anything else for hostages, nor will we.”

11/19/1986

Presidential news conference substantially focused on Iran-Contra.

11/25/1986

Announces Review of National Security Council’s role in Iran-Contra Affair. “This report led me to conclude that I was not fully informed on the nature of one of the activities undertaken in connection with this initiative.”

12/01/1986

Remarks at Meeting with Tower Commission Special Review Board.

12/02/1986

Address to the Nation on the Investigation of Iran-Contra.  Requests appointment of an independent counsel.  “If illegal acts were undertaken, those who did so will be brought to justice.”

1987

 

01/08/1987

Acknowledges the 10th Anniversary of Charter 77, a document signed by Czech activists affirming civil rights

01/27/1987

State of the Union Address to Joint Session of Congress.

02/04/1987

Water Quality Control Act Passes Over Reagan’s Veto.  Reagan had vetoed the bill on 01/30/1987 saying that “the real issue is the Federal deficit.”

02/26/1987

Tower Commission, an independent investigation into the administration’s sale of weapons to Iran, concludes with report.

02/27/1987

Don Regan resigns as Chief of Staff; Senator Howard Baker named as replacement.

03/04/1987

Address to the Nation on Iran-Contra.  “A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not.”

05/17/1987

USS Stark attacked in Persian Gulf (later attributed to Iraq).

05/18/1987

Reagan statement on attack on USS Stark.

06/02/1987

Alan Greenspan nominated as Federal Reserve Chairman after resignation of Paul Volcker.

06/08/1987 – 06/10/1987

Attends G7 Summit in Venice.  A series of statements were released on East-West Relations, Terrorism, and the Persian Gulf.

06/12/1987

Visits West Berlin. In speaking at the wall, Reagan saysCome here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

06/15/1987

Address to the Nation on the Venice Economic Summit. 

07/01/1987

Nominates Robert Bork to the Supreme Court to fill the seat of Louis Powell  who had resigned 6/26/1987. 

07/03/1987

Announces America’s Economic Bill of Rights, financial initiatives styled after the Bill of Rights.

08/12/1987

Address to the Nation on Iran-Contra.

10/19/1987

Stock market crash.

10/23/1987

The Senate failed to confirm Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork by a vote of 42-58.

11/18/1987

Congressional Committee concludes Iran-Contra investigationt, corroborating the Tower report.

12/08/1987-12/10/1987

Washington Summit:  Gorbachev and Reagan Sign Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which attempted to eliminate all intermediate missiles from Europe.

12/10/1987

Address to the Nation on the US-Soviet Summit Meeting.

1988

 

01/02/1988

Signs United States-Canada Free Trade Agreement.

01/25/1988

Annual State of the Union Address.

01/06/1988

Signs Executive Order to Assist the Nicaraguan Democratic Resistance.

01/06/1988

Signs the Agricultural Credit Act of 1987, in order to help farmers facing financial crisis.

05/23/1988

Addresses Citizens of Western Europe.

05/29/1988 – 06/03/1988

Moscow Summit with Gorbachev; Ratification of INF Treaty.

07/01/1988

Signs Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988.

10/13/1988

Signs the Family Support Act, which amends federal laws regarding child support.

10/25/1988

Signs Act creating the Department of Veterans Affairs.

11/08/1988

Election Day; Vice President George H. W. Bush is elected President winning 79% of the electoral vote and 53% of the popular vote. Bush was first sitting Vice President since Martin Van Buren to become President in an election (rather than due to the President’s death or resignation).

11/10/1988

Signs the Undetectable Firearms Act, which makes illegal guns undetectable by metal detectors.

12/08/1988

Final News Conference.

1989

 

01/03/1989

Proposes Whistleblower Protection Legislation.

01/03/1989

Makes Recommendations Regarding the International Convention and Protocol on Terrorist Acts at Sea.

1/11/1989

Farewell Address to the Nation.

 

Last edited 11/18/2020

Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan Event Timeline Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/346008

Filed Under

Categories

Simple Search of Our Archives