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We all know that Reagan’s unyielding commitment to SDI convinced Mr. Gorbachev that the Soviet Union could not win an arms race with the United States and led to the end of the Cold War at the bargaining table and not on the battlefield.

Before Reagan introduced his Economic Tax Recovery Act of 1981, Heritage’s Mandate for Leadership study recommended a 30 percent across-the-board income-tax cut. The cuts, along with indexing, ignited the longest period of economic growth — some 20 years — in modern times.

Name a major issue of the past 30 years, and you will find that Heritage and its analysts played a significant role in almost every one, including the North American Free Trade Agreement, welfare reform, Osama bin Laden and homeland security, school choice, enterprise zones in the inner cities, farm subsidies and nuclear energy.

This explains why Mr. Feulner, who is stepping down as Heritage president after 36 years, remains optimistic, grounded in his faith in the American people. Heritage has and always will seek to inform the people, rouse the people and inspire the people.

If we do that, he says, paraphrasing Reagan, the people will remind Washington and its elected officials that we are not a government with a people. We are a people with a government.

Lee Edwards is the Heritage Foundation’s Distinguished Fellow of Conservative Thought. His most recent book is “Leading the Way: The Story of Ed Feulner and The Heritage Foundation” (Crown Forum, 2013).