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tv   The Presidency President Reagan 1981 Inauguration  CSPAN  August 26, 2021 8:03pm-8:28pm EDT

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>> i guess so. >> ronald reagan, a republican and former governor of california was sworn in as the 40th president of the united states on january 20th 1981. up, next we will see him take the oath of office administered by a supreme court chief justice warren burger and who hear president reagan's inaugural address. 1981 was the first time the inauguration took place on the west front of the u.s. capital which faces the national mall. our coverage is courtesy of the u.s. senate recording studio. [applause] >> governor, are you prepared to take the constitutional oath? place your left hand on the bible and raise your right hand to repeat after me. i, ronald reagan, do you solemnly swear that i will faithfully execute the office
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of the president of the united states. and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the united states. so help you god. i congratulate you, sir. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [applause] ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ [applause] >> the president of the united states. [applause] [applause] >> thank you. thank you. senator hadfield, mr. chief justice, mister president, vice president bush, vice president mondale, senator baker, speaker o'neill, reverend moma 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. the orderly transfer of authority is 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. in the eyes of many in the world, this every four-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle. mister president, i want our fellow citizens to know how much you did to carry on this tradition. by your gracious cooperation in the transition process, you have shown a watching world that we are united people,
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pledged to maintaining a political system which guarantees individual liberty to a greater degree than any other. i thank you and your people for all your help in maintaining the continuity which is the bulwark of our republic. [applause] the business of our nation goes forward. these united states are confronted with a economic affliction of great proportions. 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 fixed income of elderly alike. it threatens to shatter the lives of millions of our people. idle industries cast workers
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into unemployment, human misery and personal indignity. those who do work hard tonight affair returned by a tax system which penalizes successful achievement and keeps us from maintaining full productivity. 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 president. to continue this long trends is
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to guarantee tremendous social, political and economic upheavals. you and i, as individuals, can buy burrowing, live beyond our means. but that is only for a limited period of time. why then should we think that collectively, as a nation, we are not bound by that same limitation. you must act today in order to preserve tomorrow. and let there be no misunderstanding. we are going to begin to act. beginning today. [applause] the economic ills we suffer have come up on us over several decades. they will not go away in weekdays, weeks or months. but they will go away. they will go away because we as americans have the capacity now as we've had in the past to do whatever needs to be done, to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom. in this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem. government is the problem.
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[applause] from time to time we have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self rule. a government by the leaked group is superior, a government for, by, and up the people. but if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else. all of us to gather in and out of government must bear the burden, the solutions we seek must be equitable with no one group singled out pay a higher price. we hear much of special interest groups, but our concern must be for a special interest group that has been too long neglected. it knows no sectional boundaries or ethnic and racial divisions. it crosses political party
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lines. it is made up of men and women who raise our food, patrol our streets, man our mines, and teach our children, keep our homes and heal us when we are sick. professionals, industrialists, shopkeepers, clerks, cabbies, and truck drivers -- they are, in short, we, the people. this breed called americans. this administration's objective will be a healthy, vigorous growing economy that provides equal opportunities to all americans. putting america back to work means putting all americans back to work. ending inflation means freeing all americans from the terror of runaway living costs. we all must share in the productive work of this new beginning at almost share in that bounty of a revived economy. with the idealism and fair play which are the core of our
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system, and our strength, we can have a strong and prosperous america and at peace with itself and the world. as we begin, let us take inventory. we are a nation that has a government, not the other way around. this makes us special among the nations of the earth. our government has no power except for that credited by the people. it is time to check out reverse the growth of recovery meant, who shows signs of growing pass those that are government. it is my intention to curb the size and influence of the federal establishment and demand recognition of the distinction between the powers granted to the federal government and those reserved for the states or to the
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people. [applause] all of us need to be reminded that the federal government did not create the states. the states created the federal government. [applause] so there will be no misunderstanding, it is not my intention to do away with government. it is rather to make it work, work with us and not over us, to stand by our site, and not right on our back. government can and must provide opportunity, not smothering. foster productivity, not stifle it.
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if we look to the answer, as to why for so many years we achieved so much. no other people on earth, because here in this land, we unleash the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. freedom and the dignity of the individual has never been more available and assured here than any other place on earth. the price for this freedom at
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times has been high. but we have never been on willing to pay that price. it is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary growth of government. it is time for us to realize that we are two great nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. we are not, as some would have us believe, due to had never the decline. i do not believe in a faith that will fall on us no matter what we do. i do believe in a faith that will fall on us if we do nothing. so with all our creative energy and command, let us begin an era of national renewal. let us renew our determination, our courage and our strength. and let us renew our face and our hope. we have every right, to dream heroic dreams. those who say that we are at a time where there are no heroes, they just do not know where to look. you can see heroes every day going in and out of factory gates, and others a handful of numbers that produce enough food to feed all of us and the world beyond. you meet heroes across the counter.
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when you're on both sides of that counter. there are entrepreneurs, with faith in themselves and faith in an idea, who create new jobs, new wealth and opportunities. there are individuals, and families who pay taxes to support the government, and whose voluntary gifts support church, charity, culture and education. their patriotism is quiet, but deep. their values sustain our national life. i have used the worst the words they and their, i've used i could see you and your. because i'm addressing the heroes of when i speak. you the citizens, and this blessed land. your dreams, your hopes and your goals, are going to be the dreams, the hopes and the goals of this administration. so help me god. [applause] we shall reflect the compassion that is part of your makeup, and how can we love our country,
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and not love our countrymen. and loving them, to reach a hand when they fall. he'll them when they are sick, and provide opportunity to make themselves sufficient, so they will be equally in fact and not just in theory. can we solve the problems confronting us? will the answer is an emphatic yes. to paraphrase winston churchill, i did not take the oath i just took with the thought of presiding over the world's strongest the dissolution of the world's strongest economy. in the days of head i will propose removing roadblocks that it slowed economy and reduce practicality. steps we taken aimed at restoring the balance between the various levels of government.
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progress may be slow, and we will measure progress in feet, not miles, but we will progress. it is time to really awaken this industrial giant, to get government back within its means, and to lighten our punitive tax burden. and these will be our first priorities, and on these principles there will be no compromise. [applause] on the eve of our struggle for independence, a man who might have been one of the greatest among the founding fathers. dr. joseph warren, president of the massachusetts congress said to his fellow americans, our country is in danger. but not to be despaired of. on you, depend the fortune of americans. you are to decide the important questions, upon which rests the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. act worthy of yourselves. well i believe the americans of today, are ready to act worthy of ourselves.
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ready to do much must be done to ensure happiness and liberty for ourselves and our children, and our children's children. and as we renew ourselves, here in our own land, we will be seen as having greater strength, throughout the world. we will again be the exemplary of freedom and a beacon of hope, for those who do not now have freedom. to those neighbors and allies, we share our freedom, we will strengthen our historic ties, and assure them of our support and firm commitment. we will match loyalty, with loyalty.
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we will strive for mutually beneficial relations, we will not use our friendship to impose on their sovereignty, for our own sovereignty is not for sale. as for the enemies of freedom, those who are potential adversaries, they will be reminded that piece is the highest aspiration of the american people. we will negotiate for it, sacrifice for it, we will not surrender for it. not now or ever. [applause] our forbearance should never be misunderstood, and our reluctance for conflict should not be misjudged as a failure of will, and when action is required to preserve our national security, we will act. we will maintain sufficient strength to prevail if need be. knowing that if we do so, we have the best chance of never having to use that strength. above all, we must realize that no arsenal or no weapons in the
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arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage, a free men and women, and it is a weapon our avatar or adversaries in today's world do not have. it is a weapon, that we as americans do have. let that be understood, by those who practice terrorism, and pray upon their neighbors. i'm told that tens of thousands of prayer meetings are being held on this day to, and for that i'm deeply grateful.
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we are a nation under god, and i believe god intended for us to be free. it would be fitting and good i think, if each inaugural day in future years, it should be declared, a day of prayer. this is the first time in our history, that the ceremony has been held as you've been told, on the west front of the capital. standing here, one faces eight magnificent vista. we opening up on the city's special beauty and history. and at the end of this open mall, are those shrines to the giants on whose shoulders we stand. directly in front of me, the monument to a monumental man, george washington father of our country. a man of humility, who came to greatness, reluctantly.
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he led america out of revolutionary victory, into infant nationhood. off to one side, the stately rim oriole to thomas jefferson. the declaration of independence flames with his eloquence. and then beyond the reflecting pool, the dignified columns, of the lincoln memorial. whoever would understand, in his heart, the meaning of america would find it in the life of abraham lincoln. beyond those monuments to heroism, is the potomac river, and on the far shore, the sloping hills of arlington national cemetery, with its row upon row, of simple white markers, bearing crosses or stars of david. they add up to only a tiny fraction of the price, that has been paid for our freedom. each one of those markers, is a monument to the kind of hero that i spoke about earlier. what their lives ended, in places like the belleau wood, omaha beach, solerno and halfway around the world, canal, tara, pork chop hill, the chosen river war, and in 100 rice paddy's and jungles, of a place called vietnam. under one such marker, lies a
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young man, martin, who left his job in a small town barbershop in 1917, to go to france with the famed rainbow division. there on the western front, he was killed, trying to carry a message between battalions, under heavy artillery fire. we are told, that on his body was found a diary, on the flyleaf, under the heading my pledge, he had written these words. america, must win this war. therefore i will work, i will say, i will sacrifice, i will endure, i will fight cheerfully and do my utmost as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on that alone. on me alone. the crisis we are facing today, does not require of us the kind
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of sacrifice, that martin and so many thousands of others were called upon to make. it does require, however, our best effort and our willingness to believe in ourselves, and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds. to believe that, together, with god's help we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us. and after all, why shouldn't we believe that? we are americans. god bless you and thank you. [applause] thank you very much. [applause]
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>> up next on the presidency, ronald reagan gives his first press conference, nine days after taking the oath of office on january 20th, 1981. questions about the recently resolved iranian hostage crisis and its aftermath dominated a discussion that range from domestic affairs to the new administration's foreign policy priorities. president reagan met with the press and old executive office building next door to the white house. this video is courtesy of the ronald reagan presidential library in sydney valley, california. >> how do you do? i have a brief opening statement here before i take your questions. yesterday, secretary of the


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