“I am not frightened by what lies ahead and I don’t believe the American people are frightened by what lies ahead. Together, we’re going to do what has to be done.”
by Scott L. Vanatter
On election night November 4, 1980 Ronald Reagan revealed that he had expected “a cliffhanger.” Perhaps the fact that he had previously worked as an actor colored the language he used that night.
He said he was humbled not just because of the large margin of victory, but also the mere fact of being elected. “Even if it had been the cliffhanger that all of us, I think, were expecting, it would have been the same way.”
Reagan said he would keep “the trust you have placed in me sacred and I give you my sacred oath that I will do my utmost to justify your faith.”
He went on to relate a story of Abraham Lincoln the night he won the same office. “You know, Abe Lincoln, the day after his election to the presidency, gathered in his office the newsmen who had been covering his campaign and he said to them, ‘Well boys, you’re troubles are over now, mine have just begun.’ I think I know what he meant.”
Reagan said that Lincoln “may have been concerned [about] the troubled times in which he became president, but,” he went on to say, “I don’t think he was afraid. He was ready to confront the problems and the troubles of a still youthful country, determined to seize the historic opportunity to change things.
I AM NOT AFRAID
In the face of the Soviet Union, high unemployment, high inflation, and high taxes, he declared of himself, “I am not frightened by what lies ahead and I don’t believe the American people are frightened by what lies ahead. Together, we’re going to do what has to be done.” Confidently he stated, “We’re going to put America back to work again.”
TAP THE GREAT AMERICAN SPIRIT
Returning to the theme he constantly spoke on, he reiterated his goal to, “aim to try and tap that great American spirit that opened up this completely undeveloped continent from coast to coast and made it a great nation, survived several wars, survived a Great Depression, and we’ll survive the problems we face right now.
Click here to see the transcript of his brief speech that night.