Jimmy Carter 1977-1981

Jimmy Carter
Former peanut farmer and Gov. of Georgia
Promised he would never lie to the American people
In the Election of 1976 Carter and Ford squared off over energy,
inflation, and unemployment
Carter won by a close margin
He talked to the American people through FDR like “fire-side” chats by
radio and TV
Carter’s Domestic Policies:
The Draft – Evaders and Deserters
 Wanted to end divisions in the country
 Gave full pardons to draft evaders
 No pardons to deserters
 Few protested the pardons (put Vietnam behind us)
 The economy in the 1970s was struggling
 Inflation and recession  stagflation
 Carter favored deregulation of sectors of the economy
o Dismantled the telephone monopoly
o Deregulated airlines, trucking, and natural gas
 American economy dependent on cheap oil
 1970s OPEC raised oil prices
 Carter encouraged conservation and research into synthetic fuels
 1978 – signed a bill ending price controls on natural gas and gave credits
to taxpayers for fuel conservation
 1980 Congress imposed a windfall-profits tax on the oil industry
Three – Mile Island
March, 1979, the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania
broke down and was at risk for a nuclear meltdown
Accident caused widespread fear
Some Americans doubted nuclear energy was safe
Carter set up a commission t investigate and nuclear power facilitirs were
held to stricter safety standards
Civil Rights
 Carter appointed more women and African Americans to his
administration than any other previous administration
 Appointed Andrew Young as US Ambassador to the UN
 Although in Bakke vs. the University of California an affirmative action
program was ruled unconstitutional
Carter’s foreign policy:
Human Rights
 President Carter believed most of the world’s problems could be cured if
human rights were respected
 He made human rights the centerpiece of his foreign policy
 Publicly criticized the Soviet Union and South Africa for their humanrights policies
 Most countries that violated human rights no longer received U.S. foreign
 Criticism of his policy?
o Naïve
o Harmed vital U.S. interests in the world
o Too selective in his criticism of some countries
Panama Canal Treaty
 Panama Canal Treaty gave the canal back to panama on December 31,1999
 Carter approved the treaty
 Republican conservatives opposed the treaty
 Senate ratified in 1978
Camp David Peace Accords
 Israel founded in 1948
 Egypt refused to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist
 1977 Anwar Sadat (Egypt) traveled to Israel and proposed peace talks
 By 1978 talks were at an impasse
 Carter invited Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin to Camp David
 For 13 days, the three leaders negotiated
 Two agreements were signed
o Set conditions for general peace talks in the Middle East
o Conditions for peace between Egypt and Israel
o 1979 – a peace treaty was signed between Egypt and Israel
Soviet Union
 1979 attempted to improve on SALT I by negotiating SALT II and
imposing additional limits on certain nuclear weapons
 Conservative Republicans and Democrats opposed SALT II – it died in the
 Carter formally recognized the People’s Republic of China as the sole
legitimate government of China
 1979 trade and cultural contacts between the U.S. and the PRC increased
Hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism
1979 – militants kidnapped the U.S. ambassador in Kabul – he was later
killed – Carter cut off U.S. aid
There was a Soviet backed government installed in Afghanistan
S.U. wanted to protect the government against fundamentalists and
Carter protested the invasion
1980 – Carter tried to isolate the S.U.
Suspended gain and high-technology sales to the Soviets
Boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow along with 60 other
Carter’s policy was unpopular
o Farmers in Midwest hurt by the embargo
o Athletes denied the opportunity to compete
o Ineffective – did not force Soviets out
Iranian Hostage Crisis
 In 1950s the U.S. restored the Shah of Iran to his throne
 Shah supplied the U.S. with cheap oil and purchased millions of dollars of
U.S. weapons
 1978 Shah was overthrown by a Islamic fundamentalist movement led by
the Ayatollah Khomeini (a radical Moslem cleric)
 The Shah became seriously ill – no western country would admit him
 President Carter relented and allowed the Shah to enter the U.S. for cancer
 Nov. 4, 1979, Khomeini’s followers seized the U.s. embassy in Tehran
taking 52 hostages
 Demanded extradition of the Shah to Iran for trial – Carter refused
 Carter – expelled Iran’s diplomats, froze Iranian assets, banned U.S.
imports of Iranian oil, and imposed economic sanctions
 Crisis dragged on through the winter of 1980
 Khomeini became a hated figure in U.S.
 Yellow ribbons symbolized captivity
 April 24, 1980 – Carter ordered a military rescue of the hostages – the
mission failed when two helicopters collided, and 8 servicemen died.
 Shah went to Egypt and died in July, 1980
 Hostages released on January 20,1981 – held for 444 days