Remarks at the Annual Convention of the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida, March 8, 1983

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March 8, 1983

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This is the "evil empire" speech that was often quoted as defining my attitude toward the Soviets. At the time it was portrayed as some kind of know-nothing, archconservative statement that could only drive the Soviets to further heights of paranoia and insecurity.

For too long our leaders were unable to describe the Soviet Union as it actually was. The keepers of our foreign-policy knowledge - in other words, most liberal foreign-affairs scholars, the State Department, and various columnists - found it illiberal and provocative to be so honest. I’ve always believed, however, that it’s important to define differences, because there are choices and decisions to be made in life and history.

- Ronald Reagan -