Words Matter

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Presidential Words Matter: Ronald Reagan's Farewell Address

Season 3, Ep. 21

In January of 1989 after 8 years in office, President Ronald Reagan delivered his 34th and final Oval Office address.

His tenure was not without controversy - and there is much about Reagan and his policies for historians and commentators to rightly criticize.

But more than anything else Ronald Reagan understood the power and importance of words.

For his final presidential address Reagan wanted to end on a note of what had become his trademark - optimism.

All of his political life The Gipper had talked about America as a Shining City on a Hill. But he never really defined what he’d meant.

As he prepared to leave office - Reagan finally communicated that vision.

Pay attention to his words - in Reagan’s view America was made great by free trade and the contributions of immigrants.

“If that City had to have walls, those walls had doors and those doors were open to all who had the heart and the will to get here.”

It is a very different message than we hear from those who claim his legacy three decades later.

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