Ronald Reagan by Aaron Shikler

Ronald Reagan (detail) by Aaron Shikler / Oil on paper, 1980 / National Portrait Gallery; gift of Time magazine

One Life: Ronald Reagan

July 1, 2011 - May 28, 2012

When Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1980, it was the conventional wisdom, after what was viewed as four failed presidencies, that the office had outgrown the individual and needed to be changed or perhaps held jointly. Within a short time after Reagan became president, however, whether one agreed with his policies or not, there was no doubt about his capacity and command of the office, and the discussion about the need to change the office of the president ended. This fact alone altered the course of the nation’s history; Reagan’s two terms, moreover, would include much else of great consequence.