Reagan is widely believed (by historians, no less) to be one of the best presidents of the 20th century. He rebuilt the military, which was severely damaged by Vietnam (and LBJ's incompetence), and further damaged by Jimmy Carter (yes, he had to trade tax hikes to get Tip O'Neill to agree to it). He actions helped defeat the Soviet Union without firing a shot. He deregulated major sectors of the U.S. economy (some with bad results, but mostly with good results), and he put government unions in their place. He also made major reforms to Social Security, which no president since has had the courage to do. And his ability to inspire confidence in the U.S. with his speeches (after the "malaise" president) helped ignite the economy, which eventually resulted in the internet boom of the 1990's. He understood the value of compromise on policy, without compromise on principles. He actually worked with the opposition, not around them, like GWB and Obama did.