Reagan's legacy at 100, from 3 very different perspectives





WASHINGTON - Had he lived just a few years longer, Ronald Reagan would have turned 100 this Sunday. In his memory, the nation will honor his mark on history - and debate his legacy.

His widow, Nancy Reagan, will lay a wreath at the Reagan library in California, where the 40th president was buried when he died in 2004 at the age of 93. A group of F-18s from the USS Ronald Reagan will salute him from the air.

In Washington, the city where he made his greatest impact, politicians will salute his tenure. One of them is President Barack Obama, who, though a liberal who yearns to undo much of Reagan's domestic record, admires the way Reagan changed the course of history....

Sean Wilentz is a professor of history at Princeton University and the author of the book "The Age of Reagan." He wrote there that while he was sometimes critical of Reagan's leadership, after deep study of his record, "my views have ripened over time."

In an interview, Wilentz said Reagan was the most important political figure of the last 30 years.

He includes him in august company.

"In American political history, there have been a few leading figures ... who for better or worse have put their political stamp indelibly on their time," Wilentz wrote in his book. "They include Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt - and Ronald Reagan."...


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