Jimmy Carter

January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981

The Election

-Jimmy Carter was Democratic

-Carters VP was Walter Mondalen

VS. Gerald Ford who was a Republican

-His VP was Bob Dale

-Electoral Votes: 297 to 240 Carter wins.

President & Humitarian

-He was a committed Christian

-President Carter displayed from the outset an overriding concern for “human rights” as the guiding principle of his foreign policy.

-In the African nations of Rhodesia and South Africa, Carter and his eloquent U.N. ambassador, Andrew Young, championed the oppressed black majority.

-The president’s most spectacular foreign-policy achievement came in September 1978 at Camp David, the woodsy presidential retreat in the Mary- land highlands.

-Relations between Egypt and Israel had deteriorated so far that another blowup in the misery-drenched Middle East seemed imminent.

-So grave was the danger that Carter courageously risked humiliating failure by inviting President



-Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel to a summit conference at Camp David.

-Skillfully serving as go between, Carter after thirteen days persuaded the two visitors to sign an accord (September 17, 1978) that held considerable promise of peace.

- Israel agreed in principle to withdraw from territory conquered in the 1967 war, and Egypt in return promised to respect Israel’s borders.

-Both parties pledged themselves to sign a formal peace treaty within three months.

-The president crowned this diplomatic success by resuming full diplomatic relations with China in early 1979 after a nearly thirty-year interruption.

-Carter also success- fully proposed two treaties turning over complete ownership and control of the Panama Canal to the Panamanians by the year 2000.

-Despite these dramatic accomplishments, trouble stalked Carter’s foreign policy. Overshadowing all international issues was the ominous reheating of the Cold War with the Soviet Union

-Détente fell into disrepute as thousands of Cuban troops, assisted by Soviet advisers, appeared in Angola, Ethiopia, and elsewhere in Africa to support revolutionary factions.

- Arms control negotiations with Moscow stalled in the face of this Soviet military meddling.

Economic and energy issues

-Prices had been rising feverishly, increasing at a rate of more than 10 per- cent a year by 1974.

- Crippling oil-price hikes from OPEC in that same year dealt the reeling economy another body blow.

-A stinging recession during Gerald Ford’s presidency brought the inflation rate down temporarily, but vir- tually from the moment of Carter’s inauguration, prices resumed their dizzying ascent, driving the inflation rate well above 13 percent by 1979.

-The soaring bill for imported oil plunged America’s balance of payments deeply into the red, as Americans paid more for foreign products than they were able to earn from selling their own goods overseas.

-The “oil shocks” of the 1970s taught Americans a painful but necessary lesson: that they could never again seriously consider a policy of economic isolation, as they had tried to do in the decades between the two world wars.

-For most of its history, America’s foreign trade had accounted for no more than 10 percent of gross national product (GNP).

-But huge foreign oil bills drove that figure steadily upward in the 1970s and thereafter.

-By the century’s end, some 27 percent of GNP depended on foreign trade.

-The nation’s new economic interdependence meant that the United States could not dominate international trade and finance as easily as it had in the post– World War II decades.

- Americans, once happily insulated behind their ocean moats, would have to master foreign languages and study foreign cultures if they wanted to prosper in the rapidly globalizing economy.

-Yawning deficits in the federal budget, reaching nearly $60 billion in 1980, further aggravated the U.S. ecomony’s inflationary ailments.

-Americans living on fixed incomes—mostly elderly people or workers without a strong union to go to bat for them—suffered from the shrinking dollar.

-People with money to lend pushed interest rates ever higher, hoping to protect themselves from being repaid in badly depreciated dollars.

-The “prime rate” (the rate of interest that banks charge their very best customers) vaulted to an unheard-of 20 percent in early 1980.

- The high cost of borrowing money shoved small businesses to the wall and strangled the construction industry, heavily dependent on loans to finance new housing and other projects.

-From the outset Carter diagnosed America’s economic disease as stemming primarily from the nation’s costly dependence on foreign oil.

Beginning of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979

-On November 4, 1979, an angry mob of young Islamic revolutionaries overran the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking more than 60 Americans hostage.

-When students overran the embassy and seized more than sixty Americans on November 4, it was not at all clear who they represented or what they hoped to achieve.

-In fact, a similar mob had briefly done the same thing nine months earlier, holding the American ambassador hostage for a few hours before members of Khomeini's retinue ordered him released.

-But this time, Khomeini saw a chance to consolidate his power around a potent symbol, and issued a statement in support of the action against the American "den of spies."

-The students vowed not to release the Americans until the U.S. returned the Shah for trial, along with billions of dollars they claimed he had stolen from the Iranian people.