Chapter 9 – The Strategy Gains Force: The Second Term

We believed then and now: There are no limits to growth and human progress when men and women are free to follow their dreams. And we were right to believe that. Tax rates have been reduced, inflation cut dramatically, and more people are employed than ever before in our history.

We are creating a nation once again vibrant, robust, and alive. But there are many mountains yet to climb. We will not rest until every American enjoys the fullness of freedom, dignity, and opportunity as our birthright. It is our birthright as citizens of this great Republic. . . .

[Freedom as World’s Only Hope to Conquer Oppression and Poverty] Today, we utter no prayer more fervently than the ancient prayer for peace on Earth. Yet history has shown that peace does not come, nor will our freedom be preserved, by good will alone. There are those in the world who scorn our vision of human dignity and freedom. One nation, the Soviet Union, has conducted the greatest military buildup in the history of man, building arsenals of awesome offensive weapons. . . .

We strive for peace and security, heartened by the changes all around us. Since the turn of the century, the number of democracies in the world has grown fourfold. Human freedom is on the march, and nowhere more so than in our own hemisphere. Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit. People, worldwide, hunger for the right to self-determination, for those inalienable rights that make for human dignity and progress.

Americans must remain freedom’s staunchest friend, for freedom is our best ally and it is the world’s only hope to conquer poverty and preserve peace. Every blow we inflict against poverty will be a blow against its dark allies of oppression and war. Every victory for human freedom will be a victory for world peace.

So, we go forward today, a nation still mighty in its youth and powerful in its purpose. (headings added)2

Reagan’s State of the Union Address: “A Second American Revolution” and “The American Miracle”—February 1985. Reagan extended the themes of his Inaugural Address with his first second-term State of the Union Address—American Revolution II,” delivered to the Congress on February 6, 1985. The following excerpts focus on Reagan’s first term achievements and his future gains in economic, defense, and foreign policy, and in what he envisioned as a second American revolution.

[Invigorated U.S. Economy and Record Growth—“The American Miracle”] Four years ago we said we would invigorate our economy by giving people greater freedom and incentives to take risks and letting them keep more of what they earned. We did what we promised, and a great industrial giant is reborn.

Tonight we can take pride in 25 straight months of economic growth, the strongest in 34 years; a 3-year inflation average of 3.9 percent,         the lowest in 17 years; and 7.3 million new jobs in 2 years, with more of our citizens working than ever before.

New freedom in our lives has planted the rich seeds for future successes. . . . The time has come to proceed toward a great new challenge       —a second American Revolution of hope and opportunity. . . . There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human         spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect. Already, pushing down tax rates has freed our economy to vault forward     to record growth.

In Europe, they’re calling it “the American Miracle.” . . . We stand on the threshold of a great ability to produce more, do more, be more. . . .

[Our economy] doesn’t need rest and supervision; it needs new challenge, greater freedom. And that word “freedom” is the key to the           second American revolution that we need to bring about.

[Defense, Foreign Policy, Leadership, SDI] . . . We must not relax our efforts to restore military strength. . . . National security is                 government’s first responsibility. . . . We only have a military-industrial complex until a time of danger, and then it becomes the arsenal of     democracy. Spending for defense is investing in things that are priceless—peace and freedom. . . .

Just as we’re positioned as never before to secure justice in our economy, we’re poised as never before to create a safer, freer, more               peaceful world. Our alliances are stronger than ever. Our economy is stronger than ever. We have resumed our historic role as a leader of       the free world. And all of these together are a great force for peace. . . . For the past 20 years we’ve believed that no war will be launched       as long as each side knows it can retaliate with a deadly counterstrike. Well, I believe there’s a better way of eliminating the threat of             nuclear war. It is a Strategic Defense Initiative aimed ultimately at finding a nonnuclear defense against ballistic missiles. It’s the most           hopeful possibility of the nuclear age. . . .

[Freedom . . . We Cannot Play Innocents Abroad] . . . We declare anew to our fellow citizens of the world: Freedom is not the sole             prerogative of a chosen few; it is the universal right of all God’s children. . . . Victories against poverty are greatest and peace most secure     where people live by laws that ensure free press, free speech, and freedom to worship, vote and create wealth.

[Book pg. 190]