Evil Empire

This study guide will help you analyze Ronald Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech  (1982). In addition to help with your analysis, you can find a summary of the text and ideas for putting it into perspective.

Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) was an American politician and member of the Republican party. He served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. In his 1982 speech delivered to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, Reagan mainly focuses on the contrast between totalitarianism and democracy and argues for defending the latter.


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide:  

Audience and medium

Reagan delivers his speech to members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom in June 1982, as part of his European tour. Reagan’s address was also the first speech given by a US president to both houses of the British Parliament, the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Because the two main parties of the British Parliament had opposing views when it came to Reagan, only the members of the governing Conservative party were present in the majority, while the opposing Labour party had only a few members present.

Nevertheless, Reagan specifically addresses Britain as a whole in his speech: 

The British people know that, given strong leadership, time, and a little bit of hope, the forces of good ultimately rally and triumph over evil. Here among you is the cradle of self-government, the Mother of Parliaments. Here is the enduring greatness of the British contribution to mankind, the great civilized ideas: individual liberty, representative government, and the rule of law under God.

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Evil Empire

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