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Tag: President Ronald Reagan

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library: Managing the Materials of a Modern Eight-Year Presidency

We’re wrapping up our American Archives Month series of blog posts about the Presidential libraries. The records created by Presidents while in office will become part of the National Archives and eventually will be used by researchers. Here’s how it happens!

Today’s post comes from Emily Niekrasz, an intern in the National Archives History Office in Washington, DC.

President Reagan Speaking at Podium during his trip to California at the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, November 21, 1988. (Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, National Archives)

President Reagan speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, November 21, 1988. (Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, National Archives)

At the groundbreaking ceremony for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, held on November 21, 1988, President Reagan proclaimed, “But I believe that scholars of good will . . . will judge our efforts well. But as for us, at present we can only say this: we have done our best and we pray it has been enough.”

At its conception, the future Reagan Library was faced with three major questions:

Where would the library be located?

How would this new institution cope with being the first to adhere to the rules of the Presidential Libraries Act of 1978?

And how would the director and staff manage the papers and gifts of a modern Presidency that lasted two full terms (the first since 1961)?

Last Page of President Reagan’s Groundbreaking Ceremony Speech for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, November 21, 1988. (Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, National Archives)

Last Page of Reagan’s groundbreaking ceremony speech, November 21, 1988. (Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, National Archives)

Just as the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library … [ Read all ]

“Not guilty by reason of….”

"President Reagan attends his first cabinet meeting after the assassination attempt," April 24, 1981 (Courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum)

In 2011, a lone gunman opened fire at a political event in Tucson, Arizona, killing six and severely wounding Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. In the aftermath of the tragedy, a federal judge ruled that the suspect charged in the Tucson shooting “was not mentally competent to stand trial.”

The attack and the later legal ruling were not an unprecedented event in American history. Less than three decades earlier on June 21, 1982, a federal court had found President Ronald Reagan’s would-be assassin not guilty by reason of insanity.

President Reagan was wounded when a bullet ricocheted off the Presidential limousine, puncturing his lung and lodging itself within an inch of his heart.

Secret Service agents rushed the President to George Washington University Hospital, where doctors performed successful surgery to remove the bullet. He fully recovered and was able to return to the Oval Office less than a month later, on April 25.

So what happened to John Hinckley, Jr.?

On June 21, 1982, a jury found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity. Hinckley had a history of mental illness and had exhibited increasingly erratic behavior in the months leading up to the shooting.

The public response to Hinckley’s acquittal was overwhelmingly negative. As a … [ Read all ]