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The Presidency of Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States

Assessing the legacy of a particular president, a specific approach is needed. For that matter, a presidency should be examined after a certain time has been passed, in order to neutrally evaluate the actions and the consequences, not for the four-year period, but for the history as a whole. In that sense, Jimmy Carter- the 39th president of the United States is a perfect example of such evaluation.

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American citizens in 1976 have elected as a president the man who proclaimed as the main slogan of his election campaign “I will never lie to you”, and then for four years in the White House, he sincerely tried to build the internal and the foreign policy on the principles of Christian morals, justice and observance of human rights. As a result Carter’s presidency has been recognized by many, as one of the most failed in the contemporary history of America, and after four years he has lost the elections for the second presidential term to Ronald Reagan with a devastating gap. Today, three decades after Carter’s inauguration, more and more people recognize that some changes and events in the United States and all over the world, thanks to Carter, have appeared irreversible, and the world became a bit better.

Jimmy Carter – the 39th US president, and the Nobel Prize winner for his work “to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development” was born on October 1st, 1924 in Plains, in the south of Georgia. He grew in this provincial small town in a rather well-founded family. His father was a politically conservative farmer who was growing peanuts, and his mother was, for that time and that region, an extremely educated person. A professional nurse, she worked at the age of 68 for two years in India in Peace Corps. It can be said that Carter learnt political activity from his mother, where during the presidency she was assigned the visible role of “the first mother”. At first, Jimmy Carter aimed for a career of an officer in the Navy, but his career ended in 1953 when his father has died and he decided to take over the peanut business in Plains. Achieving success in business, Carter still found time for the political and the social activity. Urged by fierce disputes on the civil rights of the black population, Carter firstly showed his political activity at a local level in the field of education. In 1963 a step was taken into the regional politics, where in the senate of the State of Georgia, he represented mainly a liberal position. However, when in 1970 he struggled for the post of the governor from the Democratic Party, he tactically looked for support from the opponents of the Civil Right movement. At the accession to office he has drawn the national attention when he declared that “the time of racial segregation was over “. After the advancement as a candidate, Carter surpassed President Ford among voters by 30%, and at the end he won with an advantage of 2%.

Carter’s form of government represented conscious reaction to the excesses of the “imperial” Nixon’s administration. In the day of inauguration, instead of going in a limousine, the way from the Capitol to the White house was taken on foot, the presidential yacht was sold, and the president carried his suitcases by himself. At first, Carter obtained a certain popularity with these symbolical gestures. The unusual style of Carter has challenged the Congress as well. Although, the Senate and the House of Representatives were in the hands of democrats, the leading politicians of the Democratic Party did not simply follow the President. In addition, the Congress on the basis of the reforms made after the Watergate scandal, became more despotic and could better affirm its independence from the president.

Probably, it would not have been so problematic if Carter did not undertake heavy internal and foreign-policy mortgages, which almost immediately demanded fast decisions. The economy has been strongly loosened after the war in Vietnam and the first oil crisis, where the index of inflation indicated the seriousness of situations.

Being conservative concerning the tax policy, Carter did not want to pursue a policy of deficit budget. Thus, the only thing remained was to raise the loan interest, which was also inefficient. Meanwhile, the new ” oil shock” with the lack of gas and the jump in prices caused internal political discontent which cast Carter in the summer of 1979 into the deepest crisis of his presidency.

By this time, the power policy directed toward economy which should have made the United States independent of energy import, already failed because of the opposition in the Congress. Additionally, statements for public health services and social security radical reforms practically did not find support among the party.

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A significant foreign policy success can be considered the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, which made possible the American-Egyptian rapprochement to which Kissinger was leading since 1973. Carter showed early enough that he was ready to search for new possibilities for Arab-Israeli conflict resolution. The awkwardly started efforts developed into a dialogue between Israel and Egypt, which Carter has resolutely accelerated by inviting the Israeli Prime Minister Begin and the Egyptian president Sadat to the country residence Camp David.

After the thirteen-day negotiations in which Carter as the intermediary played a main role, in September 1978, the peace agreement has been reached. The signing in “the White House Rose Garden” on 26th of March, 1979, was the highest point of Carter’s presidency. Although, the hope awakened by the Camp David agreement, owing to the Israeli-Egyptian consolidation to come to a resolution of the problems of Palestinians came short at first, the further course of the peace process would be inconceivable without Carter’s participation.

The end of Carter’s presidency began in Tehran, where on 4th November, 1979 militant adherents of Ayatollah Khomeini took American embassy employees hostages. Carter’s first reserved reaction was accepted with understanding by the public. However, the longer t the Embassy’s employees were kept, the more there was a discontent with the feebleness of the American politics.

The capture of hostages in Tehran became a dominating theme of the following election struggle. In the main pre-election competition, Carter’s opponent, the conservative republican Ronald Reagan, oratorically mentioned the weak spots of the president. Reagan won 51 % of votes and 489 voices of members of elective board. It was only on the day of the inauguration day that American diplomats returned to the USA, after being 444 days captured as hostages.

Carter and his wife soon recovered from the election defeat and started the life as the former presidential couple which has brought them respect and love. Carter has built the presidential library in Atlanta, which is not only a depository of his documents and memoirs.

In the “Carter Center “- a center established by Carter, the former president with a staff of employees has been actively involved in solving international issues. As an intermediary, Jimmy Carter achieved several successes, where in 1994 during diplomatic mission to Haiti he worked to resolve the conflict involving the former president. Also, in the beginning of 1995, Carter mediated in the Bosnian conflict. He also brought attention as a human rights activist.

Assessing the legacy of a particular president, a specific approach is needed. For that matter, a presidency should be examined after a certain time has been passed, to neutrally evaluate the actions and the consequences, not for the four years, but the history as a whole. In that sense, Jimmy Carter- the 39th president of the United States is a perfect example of such evaluation.

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American citizens in 1976 have elected as a president the man who proclaimed as the main slogan of his election campaign “I will never lie to you”, and then for four years in the White House, he sincerely tried to build the internal and the foreign policy on the principles of Christian morals, justice and observance of human rights. As a result, Carter’s presidency has been recognized by many, as one of the most failed in the contemporary history of America, and after four years he has lost the elections for the second presidential term to Ronald Reagan with a devastating gap. Today, three decades after Carter’s inauguration, more and more people recognize that some changes and events in the United States and all over the world, thanks to Carter, have appeared irreversible, and the world became a bit better.

Jimmy Carter – the 39th US president, and the Nobel Prize winner for his work “to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development” was born on October 1st, 1924 in Plains, in the south of Georgia. He grew in this provincial small town in a rather well-founded family. His father was a politically conservative farmer who was growing peanuts, and his mother was, for that time and that region, an extremely educated person. A professional nurse, she worked at the age of 68 for two years in India in Peace Corps. It can be said that Carter learned political activity from his mother, where during the presidency she was assigned the visible role of “the first mother”. At first, Jimmy Carter aimed for a career as an officer in the Navy, but his career ended in 1953 when his father has died and he decided to take over the peanut business in Plains. Achieving business success, Carter still found time for political and social activity. Urged by fierce disputes on the civil rights of the black population, Carter firstly showed his political activity at a local level in the field of education. In 1963 a step was taken into the regional politics, were in the senate of the State of Georgia, he represented mainly a liberal position. However, when in 1970 he struggled for the post of the governor from the Democratic Party, he tactically looked for support from the opponents of the Civil Rights movement. At the accession to the office, he has drawn national attention when he declared that “the time of racial segregation was over “. After their advancement as a candidate, Carter surpassed President Ford among voters by 30%, and in the end, he won with an advantage of 2%.

Carter’s form of government represented a conscious reaction to the excesses of the “imperial” Nixon’s administration. On the day of the inauguration, instead of going in a limousine, the way from the Capitol to the White House was taken on foot, the presidential yacht was sold, and the president carried his suitcases by himself. At first, Carter obtained certain popularity with these symbolic gestures. The unusual style of Carter has challenged Congress as well. Although the Senate and the House of Representatives were in the hands of democrats, the leading politicians of the Democratic Party did not simply follow the President. In addition, Congress based on the reforms made after the Watergate scandal became more despotic and could better affirm its independence from the president.

Probably, it would not have been so problematic if Carter did not undertake heavy internal and foreign-policy mortgages, which almost immediately demanded fast decisions. The economy has been strongly loosened after the war in Vietnam and the first oil crisis, where the index of inflation indicated the seriousness of situations.

Being conservative concerning the tax policy, Carter did not want to pursue a policy of deficit budget. Thus, the only thing that remained was to raise the loan interest, which was also inefficient. Meanwhile, the new ” oil shock” with the lack of gas and the jump in prices caused internal political discontent which cast Carter in the summer of 1979 into the deepest crisis of his presidency.

By this time, the power policy directed toward the economy which should have made the United States independent of energy import already failed because of the opposition in Congress. Additionally, statements for public health services and social security radical reforms practically did not find support among the party.

A significant foreign policy success can be considered the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, which made possible the American-Egyptian rapprochement to which Kissinger was leading since 1973. Carter showed early enough that he was ready to search for new possibilities for Arab-Israeli conflict resolution. The awkwardly started efforts developed into a dialogue between Israel and Egypt, which Carter has resolutely accelerated by inviting the Israeli Prime Minister Begin and the Egyptian president Sadat to the country residence Camp David.

After the thirteen-day negotiations in which Carter as the intermediary played the main role, in September 1978, the peace agreement has been reached. The signing in “the White House Rose Garden” on the 26th of March, 1979, was the highest point of Carter’s presidency. Although the hope awakened by the Camp David agreement, owing to the Israeli-Egyptian consolidation to come to a resolution of the problems of Palestinians came short at first, the further course of the peace process would be inconceivable without Carter’s participation.

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The end of Carter’s presidency began in Tehran, where on 4th November 1979 militant adherents of Ayatollah Khomeini took American embassy employees hostages. Carter’s first reserved reaction was accepted with understanding by the public. However, the longer t the Embassy’s employees were kept, the more there was discontent with the feebleness of American politics.

The capture of hostages in Tehran became a dominating theme of the following election struggle. In the main pre-election competition, Carter’s opponent, the conservative republican Ronald Reagan, oratorically mentioned the weak spots of the president. Reagan won 51 % of votes and 489 voices of members of the elective board. It was only on the day of the inauguration day that American diplomats returned to the USA, after being 444 days captured as hostages.

Carter and his wife soon recovered from the election defeat and started their life as the former presidential couple which has brought them respect and love. Carter has built the presidential library in Atlanta, which is not only a depository of his documents and memoirs.

In the “Carter Center “- a center established by Carter, the former president with a staff of employees has been actively involved in solving international issues. As an intermediary, Jimmy Carter achieved several successes, wherein in 1994 during a diplomatic mission to Haiti he worked to resolve the conflict involving the former president. Also, at the beginning of 1995, Carter mediated in the Bosnian conflict. He also brought attention as a human rights activist.

Carter undertook difficult tasks in difficult conditions. Nevertheless, he achieved some long-term successes. In some matters he was ahead of the time: the energy program, public health services reforms, and social security reforms stand again on the political agenda. In foreign policy, the issues of human rights, along with the democratization and the normalization of relations with opponents in the cold war have paid off later. Perhaps, Carter has not performed well as a president, but as the initiator of perspective political actions, he deserves a lot of respect. Additionally, his post-presidential achievements position Carter among Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson as the third President to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Works Cited

Gunter, Michael M. “10 The Iranian Hostages Case: Its Implications for the Future of The International Law of Diplomacy.” Jimmy Carter: Foreign Policy and Post-Presidential Years. Ed. Herbert D. Rosenbaum and Alexej Ugrinsky. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994. 191-202. Questia. 2009. Web.

Jimmy Carter“. 2006. Usa-Presidents.Info. 2009. Web.

Rosenbaum, Herbert D., and Alexej Ugrinsky, eds. The Presidency and Domestic Policies of Jimmy Carter. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994. Questia. 2009. Web.

Thornton, Richard C. The Carter Years: Toward a New Global Order. New York: Paragon House, 1991. Questia. 2009. Web.

Troester, Rod. Jimmy Carter as Peacemaker: A Post-Presidential Biography. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1996. Questia. 2009. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 15). The Presidency of Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/the-presidency-of-jimmy-carter-39th-president-of-the-united-states/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 15). The Presidency of Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States. https://studycorgi.com/the-presidency-of-jimmy-carter-39th-president-of-the-united-states/

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