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Ronald Reagans legacy as president is nearly unparalleled in American history due to his domestic and foreign policy leadership. Reagans contrarian insistence on advocating limited government and supply-side economics drew much bipartisan criticism, causing the Great Communicator to take his argument that lowering taxes would encourage economic growth directly to the people. The result? Congress granted $750 billion in tax cuts in 1981. The Reagan Revolution had begun. By mid-1983, the nations economy was booming.
On President Reagans first day in office, the Iran Hostage Crisis finally came to an end. Fifty-two American embassy personnel held hostage by a defiant Iran during the last four hundred-plus days of the Carter administration were freeda definite win for all Americans. But Reagan soon was widely criticized for insulting Russias leaders by calling the Soviet Union the evil empire. Later, Reagan was criticized at home and abroad for challenging Soviet premier Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.
Reagans most criticized proposal of all, however, was his insistence on developing his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)space weapons to defend America from incoming Soviet nuclear missiles. Domestic critics dismissed his proposal as a Star Wars fantasy (but the Soviets feared SDI). By December 1991, it was clear that Reagans Star Wars fantasy helped cause the bankruptcy and total collapse of the Soviet Union, bringing a peaceful end to the decades-long Cold War.