Fifty-six years ago this week, Ronald Reagan endorsed the Republican senator Barry Goldwater for president of the United States, during his famous “A Time For Choosing” speech on October 27th, 1964. Although Goldwater did not win in that election, Reagan helped breathe new life into the Republican party for generations to come by winning over the American people with his ideas, and his optimism for the future of the country.
In that speech Reagan, outlined Goldwater’s vision for the nation and spoke of the divergent paths that the two presidential candidates intended to lead the country down. “If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth… This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves,” Reagan said.
By contrast, a vote for the incumbent, Lyndon Johnson, called for a weakened economy, more regulations, inflation, a war on profit incentives, and the promotion of the welfare state. It meant an acceptance of “The Great Society,” the expansion of a centralized government, and a ruling class of politicians and unelected bureaucrats, that would pick winners and losers, and dictate how its citizens should live their lives. “The full power of centralized government — this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize,” Reagan said.
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