Illinois History Minutes

January 20 Illinois History Minute


It’s January 20th, which was the first-term inauguration day for two presidents from Illinois --- Republican Ronald Reagan, and Democrat Barack Obama. Reagan took the oath of office in 1981 and said that he wanted a smaller federal government that would work with Americans, not over them. 

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem.” - Ronald Reagan

But in 2009, former Illinois senator Barack Obama used his first inaugural address to challenge the concept that big government was the problem. 

"The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified." - Barack Obama

Voters elected both Reagan and Obama to second terms as president.