Event Title

Ronald Reagan: Facts and Fallacies Regarding a Political About Face

Faculty Advisor

Michael Weis

Graduation Year

2020

Location

Room E104, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

4-4-2020 11:00 AM

End Date

4-4-2020 11:15 AM

Description

President Ronald Wilson Reagan is revered by conservatives. Ironically, he started his political career as a New Deal Democrat and an ardent supporter of FDR. He gradually changed political parties, it is accepted by the majority of historians, because of his union leadership with the Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG), his work at General Electric in the 1950s and his divorce from Jane Wyman and subsequent remarriage to Nancy Reagan, and his gradual turn to conservatism with age and loss of money as his acting career dried up. In the recent past, however, the once factually-based, or at least “objectivist” view of Reagan’s personal history, nuanced as it is, has been significantly challenged by some on the political right and their backers in the White House, especially the new rash of conservative “intellectuals,” such as the recently-pardoned Dinesh D’Souza. They assert that the true story of the Gipper’s political transformation is one in which, confronted with Communist infiltrators in his beloved Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG) during the beginning of the Cold War, he realized the folly of his liberal leanings. As conservatives would tell it, this caused him to leave the various Democratic Party-affiliated unions upon their “infiltration” by the Red Menace, sometimes at risk of his life. The pursuit of the truth about Ronald Reagan’s transformation from pro-communist liberal to neoconservative, is to learn how one can remake one’s personal history to fit one’s political persona, and in the process, further one’s political ambitions.

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Apr 4th, 11:00 AM Apr 4th, 11:15 AM

Ronald Reagan: Facts and Fallacies Regarding a Political About Face

Room E104, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

President Ronald Wilson Reagan is revered by conservatives. Ironically, he started his political career as a New Deal Democrat and an ardent supporter of FDR. He gradually changed political parties, it is accepted by the majority of historians, because of his union leadership with the Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG), his work at General Electric in the 1950s and his divorce from Jane Wyman and subsequent remarriage to Nancy Reagan, and his gradual turn to conservatism with age and loss of money as his acting career dried up. In the recent past, however, the once factually-based, or at least “objectivist” view of Reagan’s personal history, nuanced as it is, has been significantly challenged by some on the political right and their backers in the White House, especially the new rash of conservative “intellectuals,” such as the recently-pardoned Dinesh D’Souza. They assert that the true story of the Gipper’s political transformation is one in which, confronted with Communist infiltrators in his beloved Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG) during the beginning of the Cold War, he realized the folly of his liberal leanings. As conservatives would tell it, this caused him to leave the various Democratic Party-affiliated unions upon their “infiltration” by the Red Menace, sometimes at risk of his life. The pursuit of the truth about Ronald Reagan’s transformation from pro-communist liberal to neoconservative, is to learn how one can remake one’s personal history to fit one’s political persona, and in the process, further one’s political ambitions.