Ronald Reagan: Icon of the Right

By: Nathan Chandler

As a child, Reagan's father called him by what name?

Reagan's dad took to calling him "Dutch" due to his roly-poly appearance and shaggy haircut. Later in life, of course, Reagan had a very clean-cut look.

Reagan was a die-hard Republican from his earliest days.

As a young person, Reagan leaned more towards the Democrat side of politics. He didn't officially become a Republican until 1962.

In what state did Reagan serve as governor?

Reagan was first elected governor of California in 1966, and he served two terms in the post.

Who served as Reagan's vice president?

After serving as Reagan's vice president for eight years, George H.W. Bush was elected to one term as president.

Who did Reagan defeat in the 1980 presidential election?

Carter defeated Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential election, but was trounced by Reagan in 1980.

Who did Reagan defeat in the 1984 presidential election?

Reagan won 49 states in the landslide election, with Mondale only winning Washington, D.C., and his home state of Minnesota.

Before his political career, Reagan was well-known for his accomplishments in what profession?

Reagan started acting in Hollywood B movies. In just two years, he worked his way up to a starring role in a feature film.

Which of the following was one of Reagan's nicknames?

Along with The Gipper, Reagan was often called Ronnie, Dutch, Teflon Ron and The Great Communicator.

Reagan earned his nickname "The Gipper" from his role in what movie?

In the film, which chronicled the life of famed Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne, Reagan played one of Rockne's players, George "The Gipper" Gipp.

Reagan grew up in what state, also known as the Land of Lincoln?

The Reagans moved multiple times during Ronald's childhood. He spent much time in the town of Dixon, which currently has a population of less than 20,000.

Reagan said that his best acting came in a movie called "Kings Row." Why didn't it make him a movie star?

In "Kings Row," Reagan stood out in his role as an amputee -- but then World War II captured the nation's attention. Reagan went into the military and his movie career stalled.

An accident while filming a movie caused Reagan to lose part of what sense?

During filming for one movie, a gun was fired near his head. His hearing never fully recovered…but he didn't wear a hearing aid until he became president.

What did Reagan do to cut back on his smoking habit?

Reagan chowed down on jelly beans like crazy to cut back on smoking -- and they had to be Jelly Belly jelly beans.

John Hinckley Jr. tried to assassinate Reagan in 1980 as part of a plot to impress which actress?

After watching Foster's portrayal of a young prostitute in the movie "Taxi Driver," the mentally imbalanced Hinckley Jr. decided to impress her…by shooting Reagan.

In which part of the body did Hinckley shoot Reagan?

Hinckley shot Reagan in the chest, but prompt medical attention prevented the president from suffering long-term injury. Another victim was not so lucky.

Which man was hurt most seriously during Hinckley's rampage?

James Brady, White House Press Secretary, was shot in the head and partially paralyzed. He succumbed to his injuries 33 years later, in 2014, when his death was pronounced a homicide by the medical examiner.

Which country did Reagan call an "evil empire"?

In 1983, Reagan decided to escalate the rhetoric against the Soviets, calling their country an "evil empire." It's safe to say that the U.S.S.R. disagreed with that assertion.

Reagan's first marriage was to what popular actress?

Reagan's first marriage (to Wyman) ended in 1949. Three years later he married Nancy Davis, who was with him for the rest of his life.

Reagan is the only U.S. president to divorce a wife.

Marital stability was long a hallmark of U.S. presidents, making Reagan an outlier. His 1949 divorce made him the only president to divorce from a spouse…until Donald Trump, whose third wife became First Lady.

In 1976, Reagan lost his bid to win the Republican presidential nomination to which man?

Gerald Ford beat Reagan for the Republican party's nomination. Ford took on Jimmy Carter in the general election … and lost.

In 1982, Reagan announced a war on what?

Reagan took up the banner of President Nixon regarding illegal substances by escalating the "War on Drugs." Nancy Reagan joined in the effort by starting the "Just Say No" campaign.

In 1986, Reagan authorized combat operations against which country?

Reagan pounced on a Berlin terrorist bombing as an opportunity to attack Libya. The United Nations condemned America's bombing of the small African country.

In which branch of the military did Reagan serve?

Reagan wound up in the Army Air Force. He served during the World War II era and climbed his way to the rank of captain.

Reagan saw combat duty as part of his stint in the Air Force.

Reagan never even left American soil during the war. Instead, he worked with public relations, an experience that helped shape his showbiz credentials.

What was Reagan's first-ever job?

Reagan's first real employment was as a lifeguard. As the legend goes, he saved dozens of people from drowning.

In 1992, Reagan was assaulted by a man who was protesting what issue?

Richard Springer was an anti-nuke protester who interrupted a Reagan speech. He grabbed an award that had been presented to Reagan and smashed it to the ground … and the shattered pieces injured the president. Fortunately for Springer, law enforcement believed that he didn't mean to hurt anyone.

In 1994, Reagan announced that he suffered from what problem?

In 1994, Reagan went public with the fact that he had Alzheimer's. He had previously survived skin cancer, but in the end, it was Alzheimer's that drastically reduced his quality of life.

In 1969, Reagan sent out law enforcement in large numbers to quell protests at which facility?

In 1969, University of California - Berkeley was a hotbed of counterculture protests, including those regarding Arab-Israeli relations. Reagan sent in the highway patrol and a violent clash resulted. One student died.

Reagan appointed which of the following Supreme Court justices?

Reagan promised to appoint the first female Supreme Court justice, and with O'Connor he did just that. She was appointed in 1981.

After leaving office, where did the Reagans retire?

The Reagans retired at the famous Reagan Ranch in California. They lived there from 1989 until Ronald's death in 2004.

Explore More Quizzes

Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Ronald Reagan started out as West Coast celebrity who became a hero of the Republican party. He was not only governor of California, but he also served two terms as U.S. President. His eight years in office left behind a complicated legacy, but one that is roundly celebrated by conservatives. How much do you know about Ronnie Reagan?

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!