Ronald Reagan, one of our greatest presidents, was a fascinating man who began his life in the humblest of ways.

Roanld Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois. He was born in a second floor apartment on February 6, 1911 to John Edward “Jack” Reagan and Nelle Wilson Reagan. His father was a strong Irish Catholic whereas his mother was of a Scottish background. Ronald had one brother – Neil “Moon” Reagan.

In his early childhood, his father nicknamed Ronald “Dutch” due to his overweight appearance and resemblance to the fat little Dutchman. This is a nickname that stayed with him for many years.

His childhood was not stable and his family moved many times while he was growing up. He lived in several towns scattered across Illinois. This constant moving around helped him develop skills to adapt to new environments and people.

During his early years, he developed his core belief in the essential goodness of people. This belief system was in large part due to his mother. Ronald’s mother was able to install her optimistic faith in all people into his psyche. Because of this faith, he was strongly opposed to the rampant racism he was exposed to when growing up. He even took it upon himself to try to redress wrongs personally (with the support of his mother.)

In the late 1920s, the Reagans moved to Dixon where he attended Dixon High School and became interested in sports, acting and storytelling. He also had his first job at River Rock as a lifeguard. In 1926, he saved a remarkable 77 people. He knew the number because he kept track of each rescue by making a notch on a wooden log for each person he saved.

These and similar childhood experiences shaped Reagan’s core belief systems – systems that served him well in his future careers as an actor and politician. His interests in sports, acting and storytelling, combined with the iron willed belief in the goodness of man, gave him the unflappable belief system that made him a great President.

Today, the only way to experience Ronald Reagan is through his movies and political speeches. To see the best of this great man, you need only view Ronald Reagan’s Greatest Speeches collection.

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