Reagan was elected president in 1980, after beginning his public life as an actor and then becoming governor of California. In naming him Man of the Year for 1980, TIME described President Reagan's mandate: "To control inflation, to reduce unnecessary governmental influence in private lives and in business, to reassert America's prominence in the world."
Reagan was adept at handling the media and at conveying his message to the American public. He held summit talks with Soviet leaders negotiating arms reductions while pursuing his anti-communist agenda. Reagan and Soviet leader Yuri Andropov were named TIME's Men of the Year for 1983. His administration secretly sold arms to Iran; this led to extensive congressional hearings on the "Iran-Contra Deal" but did little damage to his popularity. Reagan left a conservative legacy through several appointments to the Supreme Court.
Researched by Joan Levinstein, the Time Inc. Research Center
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