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Ronald Reagan's Presidency: The Impact of an Alcoholic Parent

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Abstract

Ronald Reagan enjoyed a successful political career. Nevertheless, his political life was affected dramatically by the fact that he was the son of an alcoholic parent. Alcoholic parents leave deep marks on their children's lives, even after those children become adults. As president of the United States, Reagan clearly demonstrated these marks. He was aloof and distant, was often a disengaged leader, showed inordinate loyalty to associates even when such loyalty became problematic, was prone to live in a world of make-believe, married compulsive women, and craved approval and applause. Each of these behavioral characteristics was part of the psychological legacy left to this president by his long-dead alcoholic father. Some of them damaged his presidency greatly; others, however, may well have assisted it.

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