32 Ronald Reagan Quotes You Should Know

Famous Quotes by the 40th President of the United States

Picture of President Ronald Reagan posing at his oval office desk in 1984.
President Ronald Reagan posing at his oval office desk. (October 25, 1984). Picture courtesy the Ronald Reagan Library

Ronald Reagan served two terms as President of the United States, from 1981 to 1989. He was also the oldest person ever elected President, which was an issue during both elections. Known as "the Great Communicator," Reagan is often remembered for his quick wit and storytelling. Below you will find some of the funnier and more famous quotes by Ronald Reagan.

Reagan's Philosophy of Life

  • My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose - somehow we win out.
    — Quote by Ronald Reagan
  • All great change in America begins at the dinner table.
    — Quote by Ronald Reagan, Farewell Address to the Nation, delivered in the Oval Office (January 11, 1989)
  • Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.
    — Quote by Ronald Reagan
  • I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.
    — Quote by Ronald Reagan from his letter announcing his Alzheimer's disease to the American public (November 5, 1994)
  • When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat.
    — Quote by Ronald Reagan
  • Education is not the means of showing people how to get what they want. Education is an exercise by means of which enough men, it is hoped, will learn to want what is worth having.
    — Quote by Ronald Reagan
  • It's true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?
    — Quote by Ronald Reagan at the Gridiron Dinner (April 22, 1987)

    Well, I'm Not Going to Make Age an Issue

    • I did turn 75 today - but remember, that's only 24 Celsius.
      — Comment by Ronald Reagan right before he signed the Annual Economic Report of the President (February 6, 1986)
    • Thomas Jefferson once said, "We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works." And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.
      — Quote by Ronald Reagan
    • I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience.
      — Quote by Ronald Reagan during the Second Presidential Debate against Walter Mondale (October 21, 1984)

    Funny Quips as President

    • I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I'm in a cabinet meeting.
      — Quote by Ronald Reagan
    • Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement.
      — Quote by Ronald Reagan
    • How can a president not be an actor?
      — Response by Ronald Reagan when asked by a reporter "How can an actor run for President?" during the presidential campaign (1980)

    Humor Even After Being Shot

    • Please tell me you're all Republicans.
      — Comment by Ronald Reagan to the surgeons who were about to operate on him after the assassination attempt (March 30, 1981)
    • Honey, I forgot to duck.
      — Comment made by Ronald Reagan to his wife, Nancy Reagan, when she arrived at the hospital following the assassination attempt (March 30, 1981)

    Albert Einstein, Your Virtue, and Your Neighbor's Job: Reagan's View of Taxes and Economics

    • Even Albert Einstein reportedly needed help on his 1040 form.
      — Quote by Ronald Reagan, Address to the Nation on Tax Reform (May 28, 1985)
    • A recession is when a neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.
      — Quote by Ronald Reagan, Labor Day Address at Liberty State Park, Jersey City, New Jersey (September 1, 1980)
    • Balancing the budget is a little like protecting your virtue: You just have to learn to say "no."
      — Quote by Ronald Reagan, Remarks at Kansas State University at the Alfred M. Landon Lecture Series on Public Issues (September 9, 1982)
    • Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
      — Quote by Ronald Reagan, Remarks to the White House Conference on Small Business (August 15, 1986)

    Tear Down This Wall! Communism and the Soviet Union

    • Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
      — Quote by Ronald Reagan, Speech at the Berlin Wall (June 12, 1987)
    • How do you tell a Communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.
      — Quote by Ronald Reagan during Remarks at the Annual Convention of Concerned Women for America held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia (September 25, 1987)
    • If the Soviet Union let another political party come into existence, they would still be a one-party state, because everybody would join the other party.
      — Quote by Ronald Reagan, Remarks to Polish Americans in Chicago, Illinois (June 23, 1983)
    • I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.
      — Quote by Ronald Reagan during his Address to the Nation on National Security (March 23, 1983)

      Politics Isn't a Bad Profession

      • Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15.
        — Quote by Ronald Reagan
      • You know, it has been said that politics is the second oldest profession and I've come to realize over the last few years, it bears a great similarity to the first.
        — Quote by Ronald Reagan, Speech at Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Michigan (November 10, 1977)
      • Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.
        — Quote by Ronald Reagan

      Government Is the Problem

      • Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.​
        — Quote by Ronald Reagan at the National Conference of the Building and Construction Trades, AFL-CIO (March 30, 1981)
      • Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.
        — Quote by Ronald Reagan
      • Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.
        — Quote by Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address (January 20, 1981)
      • Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.
        — Quote by Ronald Reagan during his gubernatorial campaign (1965)
      • Government always finds a need for whatever money it gets.
        — Quote by Ronald Reagan, Address to the Nation on the Fiscal Year 1983 Federal Budget (April 29, 1982)


      • I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born.
        — Quote by Ronald Reagan during the Anderson-Reagan Presidential Debate in Baltimore (September 21, 1980)