REAGAN, Ronald. Autograph manuscript, a draft of a speech delivered 4 January 1966 during the California gubernetorial campaign, n.p., [January 1966]. 16½ pages, folio (13 x 8½ in.), lined legal paper, on rectos only, page 11 composed of three taped segments, revisions to some thirty-five sentences, and 10 descriptive marginal notes in red pencil, possibly in another hand, in fine condition.
REAGAN ANNOUNCES THAT "AS OF NOW I AM SEEKING THE REP[UBLICAN] NOMINATION FOR GOV[ERNOR]"
A handwritten draft of a lengthy and highly significant Reagan speech during the 1966 California gubernatorial race. At the age of fifty-five, Reagan had a decided advantage when he entered the race against incumbent Edmund G. (Pat) Brown: he "began his career as a celebrity" (Lee Cannon, President Reagan, New York, 2000). Reagan approached the race with the same skills he'd developed as an actor--the ability to make a speech, deliver a punchline and face cameras and crowds with charisma. Reagan's long speech attempts to situate both the state of California and himself within the larger picture of American politics. "Someone has said--Calif. isn't a place-- it's a way of life. Well that's true and it's a good way..." Reagan's speech is wide-ranging and broad, covering some of the state's most critical issues: large increases in population and the resulting bugetary concerns; loss of manufacturing to other states and Mexico; crime; education; the California water project; a lengthy review of property tax and the unique place of California in America.
Reagan's characteristic disapproval of big government is in full display, following a quotation ostensibly from Lincoln: "'A man may be loyal to his govt. & still be opposed to the peculiar prin[ciples] & practices of the admin. in power.' A Big brother or paternalistic govt. can solve many problems for the people but I don't think we'll like the price it charges--ever increasing power over us and ever decreasing individual fr[ee]d[o]m. A great society must be a free society and to be truly great & really free it must be a creative society calling on the genius and power of it's [sic] people." The idea of the "Creative Society" was central to Reagan's bid for the governor's office; throughout the campaign he made reference to it as a "constructive alternative" to Johnson's "Great Society." In 1968, he published an expanded discussion of his ideas in a book entitled Creative Society.
Reagan counters the arguments made by those who would have California give up statehood and establish itself as an administrative district of the Federal government: "Certainly we have a rightful claim on Fed. funds it's our money in the first place. Calif. is one of the so-called rich states which not only pays into the kitty everything it takes out but puts in a share for other states. It's time we made a greater protest about the strings attached to our money before we are allowed to use it... The time has come for us to strengthen both representative govt. and self govt. -- the two are not the same but they go hand in hand." Towards these ends, Reagan proposes to set up a state-wide program to provide leadership and guidance in affairs, asking business, labor, financial and educational institutions "for the best brains available to modernize our govt. structure." That these minds can revolutionize government "is true above all in the problem which is or certainly should be of greatest concern... There must be no lack of equal opportunity..."
In the final section, he considers the two-party system. "I was a Dem[ocrat] most of my life until I found I could no longer follow the leadership of that party as it turned from the traditional precepts of Jefferson, Jackson & Cleveland. I believed then & still believe that anything whether it be management, labor or govt. which imposes unfairly on the freedom of the individual is tyranny & must be opposed... Now I have come to a decision that even a short time ago I would have thought impossible to make and yet I make it with no lingering doubts or hesitations. As of now I am a candidate seeking the Rep[ublican] nomination for Gov[ernor]." Reagan outlines his background and experience, stating that his loyalties are to the citizens of California: "I have no committments to anyone but you and to my belief that the safety of our state and our nation shall be entrusted to the care of the people." Reagan had been a registered Democrat until 1962. In November 1966, Reagan was elected over Brown with 58 percent of the vote. After his inauguration in 1967, he promptly imposed a hiring freeze on state employees and cut the budget of state agencies by 10 percent across the board.