• First Inaugural Address of Ronald Reagan

  • President Ronald Reagan

    Senator Hatfield, Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. President, Vice President Bush, Vice President Mondale, Senator Baker, Speaker O'Neill, Reverend Moomaw, and my fellow citizens:

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  • To a few of us here today, this is a solemn and most momentous occasion; and yet, in the history of our Nation, it is a commonplace occurrence.

  • President Ronald Reagan

    The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place as it has for almost two centuries and few of us stop to think how unique we really are.

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  • In the eyes of many in the world, this every-4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.

  • President Ronald Reagan

    Mr. President, I want our fellow citizens to know how much you did to carry on this tradition.

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  • By your gracious cooperation in the transition process, you have shown a watching world that we are a united people pledged to maintaining a political system which guarantees individual liberty to a greater degree than any other, and I thank you and your people for all your help in maintaining the continuity which is the bulwark of our Republic.

  • The business of our nation goes forward.

  • President Ronald Reagan

    These United States are confronted with an economic affliction of great proportions.

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  • We suffer from the longest and one of the worst sustained inflations in our national history.

  • It distorts our economic decisions, penalizes thrift, and crushes the struggling young and the fixed- income elderly alike.

  • It threatens to shatter the lives of millions of our people.

  • Idle industries have cast workers into unemployment, causing human misery and personal indignity.

  • President Ronald Reagan

    Those who do work are denied a fair return for their labor by a tax system which penalizes successful achievement and keeps us from maintaining full productivity.

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  • But great as our tax burden is, it has not kept pace with public spending.

  • For decades, we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children's future for the temporary convenience of the present.

  • To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals.

  • You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time.

  • Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we are not bound by that same limitation?

  • President Ronald Reagan

    We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow.

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