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Ronald Reagan, “What Ever Happened to Free Enterprise”

“Will we, before it is too late, use the vitality and the magic of the marketplace to save this way of life, or will we one day face our children, and our children’s children when they ask us where we were and what we were doing on the day that freedom was lost?”

by Scott L. Vanatter

Before he was elected president Ronald Reagan delivered a series of speeches on various aspects of the American experience. He focused on core principles: our founding, our freedoms, our economy, and especially and repeatedly on the great promise of our being the Shining City on the Hill.

Thirty-five years ago this month, on November 10, 1977 , the future president spoke at the Ludwig Von Mises Memorial Lecture at Hillsdale College, Michigan. His remarks were titled, “What Ever Happened to Free Enterprise.” Continue reading


Mandates, Taxes, Spending Cuts and Crazy Talk

by George Landrith

After a long, tough campaign, Barack Obama won reelection by a slim 51% to 49%. Now Obama is claiming a broad mandate to increasing taxes and demands that Congress yield to his view that there must be a higher tax burden for the wealthiest Americans.

Obama is correct that he made tax increases an issue during his reelection campaign. But so did the Congressmen who comprise the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. GOP Congressmen won reelection opposing tax rate increases on any Americans. Continue reading


Ronald Reagan’s Economic Bill of Rights

“Taxation is forced labor; and if it goes beyond reasonable bounds, it is a yoke of oppression.”

by Scott L. Vanatter

Nearing the end of his presidency, Ronald Reagan laid out a final challenge to the nation, its leaders and citizens. He sought to a.) summarize the principles which made possible his record economic growth, and b.) lay out a clear path to secure economic growth into the future.

The president spoke at an Independence Day celebration at the Jefferson Memorial at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event on July 3, 1987. Continue reading


Ronald Reagan’s Address on the Explosion of the Challenger Shuttle

“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.”

by Scott Vanatter

The night the Challenger Shuttle exploded, January 28, 1986, President Reagan was due to deliver the annual State of the Union. The White House decided to postpone that speech and instead the president delivered one of the most memorable presidential messages. Reagan spoke from the Oval Office at the White House. The speech was written by Peggy Noonan.

Until that day, he said, “We’ve never lost an astronaut in flight; we’ve never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we’ve forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes….. We mourn their loss as a nation together. For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we’re thinking about you so very much.” Continue reading


Ronald Reagan’s 1957 Commencement Address Eureka College

From the beginning our nation was charged “with a responsibility to all mankind.”

by Scott L. Vanatter

In one of this first public speeches Ronald Reagan offered the Commencement Address at his alma mater, Eureka College. It was June 7, 1957, four months before Sputnik was put into orbit by the Soviet Union. America was in the height of the Cold War and Ronald Reagan was already speaking of American as a land of destiny, a theme he would return to again and again throughout his career as an elected official. “This is a land of destiny and our forefathers found their way here by some Divine system of selective service gathered here to fulfill a mission to advance man a further step in his climb from the swamps.”

He characterized the Founding Fathers as “a group of disturbed men,” who “met in the small Pennsylvania State House [as] they gathered to decide on a course of action. Behind the locked and guarded doors they debated for hours whether or not to sign the Declaration which had been presented for their consideration.”

So disturbed were they, that they risked all. “For hours the talk was treason and its price the headsman’s axe, the gallows and noose. The talk went on and decision was not forthcoming.” Continue reading


Ronald Reagan’s address: “Tear Down This Wall”

Our differences are not about weapons but about liberty.

by Scott L. Vanatter

The world has changed a couple times over since President Reagan spoke at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin on June 12, 1987. At the time the President’s staff debated whether to include the searing challenge to Mr. Gorbachev and to the Soviet Union. The President decided to issued the challenge. It provided the cultural impetus needed to cause the fall of the Wall. This impetus combined with economic and military factors combined to effect the change Reagan saw when he was asked what is strategy was to defeat Communism. He replied, “My strategy is: We win, they lose.”

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