Today in history: May 31

The Week

In 1988, President Reagan gave a speech to Soviet students about freedom

May 31

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On this day. 1988: In Moscow, President Ronald Reagan told Soviet students about freedom — and of his hope that they would be able to experience it. Reagan's speech — one of the last major addresses of his presidency — had a valedictory tone, as the Cold War wound down.

Here is the full text of Reagan's speech and an excerpt below:

Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things. It is the continuing revolution of the marketplace. It is the understanding that allows us to recognize shortcomings and seek solutions. It is the right to put forth an idea, scoffed at by the experts, and watch it catch fire among the people. It is the right to dream — to follow your dream or stick to your conscience, even if you're the only one in a sea of doubters. Freedom is the recognition that no single person, no single authority or government has a monopoly on the truth, but that every individual life is infinitely precious, that every one of us put on this world has been put there for a reason and has something to offer.

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"Freedom... is the right to follow your dream or stick to your conscience, even if you’re the only one in a sea of doubters." – Ronald Reagan


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