Whatever the occasion for the speeches presented here, which span seven years of my presidency, I have always tried to speak plainly about the enduring values upon which this nation was founded: faith in God, commitment to democracy, the quest for peace, limited government, reliance on the free enterprise system, and an unyielding belief in human freedom as the essential key to human achievement and the progress of mankind. I believe as fervently in these core values today as I did when I spoke to the nation on the eve of the 1980 presidential election, and years earlier, in 1964, when I first spoke nationally on behalf of another candidate for President, my good friend Barry Coldwater. I have sometimes been accused of being overly optimistic in my speeches about America and the future, but I make no apologies. Faith and freedom are not wishful thinking, but, quite simply, the most powerful forces in the world today. Democracy, freedom, economic opportunity---these are not uniquely American concepts, but ideas that lift the hearts and compel the allegiance of peoples throughout the world. And they are the lodestars that have guided my presidency.
Achievement, after all, can only be built on aspiration and hope, not pessimism. Seven years ago, when I first took office as President, who would have believed that we could sign an agreement with the Soviets not only to stop building additional nuclear weapons, but indeed to eliminate some of them? Yet, last year we took that important step with the signing of the INF Treaty. This truly historic treaty eliminates---for the first time---an entire class of U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons. Realism is essential, but democracy rests upon the rock of hope, the belief in a future of greater freedom and opportunity for succeeding generations. When the children of the world turn their faces to the light, let them see a sunrise. We owe them no less. I offer this collection of speeches as the expression of my belief in the values at work in the United States and the world today, and of my vision of a world of peace, democracy and individual freedom that millions of men and women are striving daily to build. As I so often end my speeches---thank you and God bless you. Ronald Reagan President of the United States of America