Year
1966
Month Day
June 07

Ronald Reagan nominated for governor of California

A former actor named Ronald Reagan receives the Republican nomination for governor of California on June 7, 1966. He won the election that November and was sworn in on January 2, 1967. Reagan’s tenure as the Golden State’s governor gave him credibility as a political leader, paving the way for his victory in the 1980 presidential election.

Reagan was born in Illinois and worked as a construction worker, lifeguard and radio announcer before becoming an actor. His first stint at political leadership was as president of the Screen Actors’ Guild from 1947 to 1952. Originally a Democrat, Reagan had grown dissatisfied with New Deal policies and in 1960 switched to the Republican Party. He then started putting his Hollywood fame to work campaigning for Republican candidates. Eventually, Reagan’s charisma and popularity as an actor and a rousing speech he delivered in support of presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964 convinced the California Republican Party to back him for governor in 1966.

Reagan served two terms as governor of California from 1967 to 1975, presiding over the tumultuous Vietnam War protest era of the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1969, he called on National Guard troops to quell a protest on the University of California at Berkeley campus, saying, “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with, no more appeasement.” His first two presidential campaigns, in 1968 and 1976, failed, but his stature as a national player in politics rose with both attempts. In 1980, he successfully challenged embattled Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter for the presidency, and ushered in an era of New Conservatism in American politics.

Reagan was the first actor to be elected president after two centuries dominated by lawyers and soldiers. He was also the only California governor to hold the office. He served as the 40th president for two terms between 1981 and 1989.

READ MORE: Ronald Reagan: His Life and Legacy

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Michael Skakel convicted of 1975 murder in Greenwich

On June 7, 2002, 41-year-old Michael Skakel is convicted in the 1975 murder of his former Greenwich, Connecticut, neighbor, 15-year-old Martha Moxley. Skakel, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, the wife of the late U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy, was later sentenced to 20 years to life in ...read more

Battle of Midway ends

On June 7, 1942, the Battle of Midway—one of the most decisive U.S. victories in its war against Japan—comes to an end. In the four-day sea and air battle, the outnumbered U.S. Pacific Fleet succeeded in destroying four Japanese aircraft carriers with the loss of only one of its ...read more

Gandhi’s first act of civil disobedience

In an event that would have dramatic repercussions for the people of India, Mohandas K. Gandhi, a young Indian lawyer working in South Africa, refuses to comply with racial segregation rules on a South African train and is forcibly ejected at Pietermaritzburg. Born in India and ...read more

King George VI becomes the first British monarch to visit the U.S.

King George VI becomes the first reigning British monarch to visit the United States when he and his wife, Elizabeth, cross the Canadian-U.S. border to Niagara Falls, New York. The royal couple subsequently visited New York City and Washington, D.C., where they called for a ...read more

Switzerland welcomes first drive-through bank

On June 7, 1962, the banking institution Credit Suisse—then known as Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (SKA)—opens the first drive-through bank in Switzerland at St. Peter-Strasse 17, near Paradeplatz (Parade Square) in downtown Zurich. Like many developments in automotive ...read more

First successful ascent of Denali

On June 7, 1913, Hudson Stuck, an Alaskan missionary, leads the first successful ascent of Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley) the highest point on the American continent at 20,320 feet. Stuck, an accomplished amateur mountaineer, was born in London in 1863. After moving to ...read more

Chief Seattle dies near the city named for him

Thirteen years after American settlers founded the city named for him, Chief Seattle dies in a nearby village of his people. Born sometime around 1790, Seattle (Seathl) was a chief of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes who lived around the Pacific Coast bay that is today called ...read more

“New York” magazine publishes the story that becomes “Saturday Night Fever”

Disco as a musical style predated the movie Saturday Night Fever by perhaps as many as five years, but disco as an all-consuming cultural phenomenon might never have happened without the 1977 film and its multi-platinum soundtrack featuring such era-defining hits as the Bee Gees’ ...read more

Actress Jean Harlow dies

On June 7, 1937, Hollywood is shocked to learn of the sudden and tragic death of the actress Jean Harlow, who succumbs to uremic poisoning (now better known as acute renal failure, or acute kidney failure) at the age of 26. Born Harlean Carpenter in Kansas City, Missouri, she ...read more

Earthquake destroys Jamaican pirate haven

On June 7, 1692, a massive earthquake devastates the infamous town of Port Royal in Jamaica, killing thousands. The strong tremors, soil liquefaction and a tsunami brought on by the earthquake combined to destroy the entire town. Port Royal was built on a small island off the ...read more

Lee Resolution presented to Continental Congress

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduces a resolution for independence to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia; John Adams seconds the motion. Lee’s resolution declared: “That these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States, ...read more