More significant, however, was how those traits were made to work on behalf of his conservative agenda. By the end of his second term, despite widespread concern over budget deficits and several administration scandals, Reagan's presidency had wrought many significant changes.
Under his leadership, the nation had undergone major tax reforms, witnessed a significantly firmer American stance toward the Communist world, and experienced a sharp upturn in prosperity. Reagan left office enjoying a popularity that only a few of his outgoing predecessors had ever experienced.
This 1989 portrait of Ronald Reagan by Nelson Shanks is on view in the “America’s Presidents” exhibition at National Portrait Gallery, on the museum's first floor. Sid Hart, senior historian at the National Portrait Gallery, recently discussed the painting at a Face-to-Face portrait talk.
Listen to Sid Hart's Face-to-Face talk on Ronald Reagan (21:53)
Face-to-Face occurs every Thursday evening at the National Portrait Gallery. Sid Hart speaks again at the next Face-to-Face talk, on Thursday, May 7. He will discuss the portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Charles Wilson Peale, on view in the exhibition “Presidents in Waiting.” The talk runs from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. Visitors meet the presenter in the museum’s F Street lobby and then walk to the appropriate gallery.