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A Crisis in Confidence 1968-1980


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Title: A Crisis in Confidence 1968-1980

A Crisis in Confidence1968-1980
A Crisis in Confidence 1968-1980 (The Me Decade)
Chapter Introduction
This chapter will explain a crisis in confidence
in America. It will focus on how Nixon and the
Watergate scandal changed peoples perceptions of
government, the economic troubles of the Ford and
Carter years, and the foreign policy challenges
of the 1970s.
  • Section 1 Nixon and the Watergate Scandal
  • Section 2 The Ford and Carter Years
  • Section 3 Foreign Policy Troubles

Nixon's Domestic Policy and Fall
  • Describe Richard Nixons attitude toward big
  • Analyze Nixons southern strategy.
  • Explain the Watergate incident and its

Terms and People
  • silent majority - voters Nixon sought to reach,
    who did not demonstrate but rather worked and
    served quietly in Middle America
  • stagflation - the dual conditions of a stagnating
    economy and inflation
  • Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
    (OPEC) - group of countries which sell oil to
    other nations and cooperate to regulate the price
    and supply of oil
  • southern strategy - a plan to make the Republican
    Party a powerful force in the South by attracting
    the votes of blue-collar workers and southern

Terms and People (continued)
  • affirmative action - a policy that gives special
    consideration to women and minorities in order to
    make up for past discrimination
  • Watergate - the scandal that began with a
    burglary of Democratic Party headquarters and led
    to Nixons resignation
  • executive privilege - the principle that the
    President has the right to keep certain
    information confidential

What events led to Richard Nixons resignation as
President in 1974?
President Nixon won reelection in a landslide in
1972. Due to the Watergate scandal, however, he
left office in disgrace two years later. The
event changed Americans attitudes toward
government in a way that is still felt today.
He did it by working to appeal to the silent
majority, or those he called Middle Americans.
Nixon made a dramatic political comeback in 1968
when he won the presidency.
Nixon actually expanded the federal
governmentwhile he was in office.
Nixon tried to give power back to the state
governments but . . .
The economy was unstable during Nixons
Stagflation was the combination of a recession
and inflation.
Oil prices went up due to an embargo issued by
Nixon criticized the court-ordered busing of
children to schools outside their
neighborhoods. Nevertheless, Nixons civil
rights initiatives included affirmative action.
In the election of 1972, Nixon used a new
southern strategy.
Nixons strategy succeeded and he was reelected
in a landslide.
Watergate Scandal
  • On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested after
    breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic
    National Committee located in the Watergate Hotel
    in Washington, D.C. The burglars were not
    ordinary thieves. They carried wiretaps to
    install on telephones. They carried cameras to
    photograph documents. Four of the five criminals
    were anti-Castro Cubans who had been previously
    hired by the CIA. The fifth was James McCord, the
    security adviser for Nixon's campaign staff known
    as the Committee to Re-Elect the President, or
    CREEP. Although the incident failed to make the
    front pages of the major newspapers, it would
    soon become the most notorious political scandal
    in American history.

Watergate Scandal
  • In the heated climate of the late 1960s and early
    1970s, President Nixon believed strongly that a
    war was being fought between "us" and "them." To
    Nixon, "us" meant the conservative, middle- and
    working-class, church-going Americans, who
    believed the United States was in danger of
    crumbling. "Them" meant the young, defiant, free
    love, antiwar, liberal counterculture figures who
    sought to transform American values.
  • President Nixon's letter of resignation (above)
    is addressed to the Secretary of State who at
    the time was Henry Kissinger in keeping with a
    law passed by Congress in 1792. When Kissinger
    initialed the document at 1135 a.m., Nixon's
    resignation became official.
  • Nixon would stop at nothing to win this war of
    hearts and minds, even if it meant breaking the

Watergate Scandal
  • In 1971, a White House group known as the
    "Plumbers" was established to eliminate
    administration leaks to the press. Their first
    target was Daniel Ellsberg who had worked on the
    Pentagon Papers, a highly critical study of
    America's Vietnam policy. Ellsberg leaked the
    Pentagon Papers intended to be used internally
    by the government to the New York Times. The
    Plumbers vandalized the office of Ellsberg's
    psychiatrist, hoping to find discrediting
    information on Ellsberg to release to the public.

Watergate Scandal
  • Later that year, Attorney General John Mitchell
    resigned to head CREEP. The campaign raised
    millions of dollars in illegal contributions and
    laundered several hundred thousand for plumbing
    activities. A White House adviser named G. Gordon
    Liddy suggested that the Democratic headquarters
    be bugged and that other funds should be used to
    bribe, threaten, or smear Nixon's opponents.
    After the arrest of the burglars, Nixon suggested
    the payments of hush money to avoid a connection
    between Watergate and the White House. He
    suggested that the FBI cease any investigation of
    the break-in. He recommended that staffers
    perjure themselves if subpoenaed in court.

Watergate Scandal
  • The Watergate cover-up was initially successful.
    Despite a headline story in The Washington Post
    by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein suggesting
    White House involvement, Nixon went on to win 49
    of 50 states in the November 1972 Presidential
    election against George McGovern.
  • When the burglars were tried in January 1973,
    James McCord admitted in a letter that members of
    the Nixon Administration ordered the Watergate
    break-in. A Senate committee was appointed to
    investigate, and Nixon succumbed to public
    pressure and appointed Special Prosecutor
    Archibald Cox to scrutinize the matter.

Watergate Scandal
  • Complicitous in the cover-up, many high-level
    White House officials resigned including Nixon's
    Chief of Staff, Bob Haldeman, and his Adviser on
    Domestic Affairs, John Ehrlichman. In an
    unrelated case, Vice-President Spiro Agnew
    resigned facing charges of bribery and tax
    evasion. Nixon's own personal counsel, John Dean,
    agreed to cooperate with the Senate and testified
    about Nixon's involvement in the cover-up. In a
    televised speech, Nixon assuredly told the
    American public "I am not a crook." It seemed
    like a matter of Nixon's word against Dean's
    until a low-level aide told the committee that
    Nixon had been in the practice of taping every
    conversation held in the Oval Office.

Watergate Scandal
  • Nixon flatly refused to submit the tapes to the
    committee. When Archibald Cox demanded the
    surrender of the tapes, Nixon had him fired.
    Public outcry pressed Nixon to agree to release
    typewritten transcripts of his tapes, but
    Americans were not satisfied. The tape
    transcripts further damaged Nixon. On the tapes
    he swore like a sailor and behaved like a bully.
    Then there was the matter of 17 crucial minutes
    missing from one of the tapes.
  • Finally, in U.S. v. Nixon, the Supreme Court
    declared that executive privilege did not apply
    in this case, and Nixon was ordered to give the
    evidence to the Congress.

Watergate Scandal
  • By this time, the House Judiciary Committee had
    already drawn up articles of impeachment, and
    Nixon knew he did not have the votes in the
    Senate to save his Presidency.
  • On August 8, 1974, Nixon resigned the office,
    becoming the first President to do so. His
    successor, Gerald Ford, promptly awarded Nixon a
    full pardon for any crimes he may have committed
    while in office. The press and the public cried
    foul, but Ford defended his decision by insisting
    the nation was better served by ending the long,
    national nightmare.
  • During his years in office, Nixon had brought a
    controversial end to the Vietnam War, opened
    communication with Red China, watched NASA put
    astronauts on the moon, and presided over a
    healing period in American history in the early
    1970s. Despite these many accomplishments,
    Watergate's shadow occludes Nixon's legacy.

Despite Nixons strong victory, the seeds of his
downfall were planted during a break-in of the
Democratic Party headquarters in 1972.
The Watergate scandal, as it came to be called,
changed everything.
Nixon denied any wrongdoing.
It was revealed that Nixon had been secretly
taping conversations in the Oval Office.
Nixon refused to turn over the tapes, citing
executive privilege.
The Supreme Court ordered him to turn them over.
The tapes proved Nixons involvement, so a House
committee voted to impeach him.
As a result, Nixon decided to resign in August of
1974, the first and only President ever to do so.
Nixon and Watergate
The Election of 1968
  • Richard Nixon only narrowly won the 1968
    election, but the combined total of popular votes
    for Nixon and Wallace indicated a shift to the
    right in American politics.
  • The 1960's began as an era of optimism and
    possibility and ended in disunity and distrust.
  • The Vietnam war and a series of assassinations
    and crises eroded public trust in government and
    produced a backlash against liberal movements and
    the Democratic party.

The Election of 1968
  • Nixon campaigned as a champion of the "silent
    majority," the hardworking Americans who paid
    taxes, did not demonstrate, and desired a
    restoration of "law and order.
  • He vowed to restore respect for the rule of law,
    reconstitute the stature of America, dispose of
    ineffectual social programs, and provide strong
    leadership to end the turmoil of the 1960's.

Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
  • Daniel Ellsberg was an employee of the Defense
    Department who leaked a classified assessment of
    the Vietnam War in 1971.
  • The 7,000 page document came to be known as the
    Pentagon Papers.
  • They cast doubt on the justification for entry
    into the war and revealed that senior government
    officials had serious misgivings about the war.
  • When the New York Times and Washington Post began
    to publish the Pentagon Papers, the Nixon
    Administration sued them.
  • The Supreme Court ruled that the papers could
    continue to publish the documents.

The White House Plumbers
  • After the release of the Pentagon Papers, the
    White House created a unit to ensure internal
  • This unit was called the Plumbers because they
    stopped leaks.
  • In 1971 they burglarized the office of Daniel
    Ellsbergs psychiatrist, seeking material to
    discredit him.
  • It was later revealed that Nixons domestic
    advisor John Ehrlichman knew of and approved the

Howard Hunt
G. Gordon Liddy
James McCord
Chuck Colson
The Watergate Break-in
  • When initial polls showed Nixon in the Election
    of 1972 in a close race, the Plumbers turned
    their activities to political espionage.
  • On 17 June 1972, 5 men were arrested while
    attempting to bug the headquarters of the
    Democratic Party inside the Watergate building in
    Washington D.C.
  • One of the men arrested, James McCord, was the
    head of security for the Republican Party.
  • The Nixon campaign denied any involvement.

Woodward, Bernstein and the Washington Post
  • Watergate came to public attention largely
    through the work of Bob Woodward and Carl
    Bernstein, investigative reporters from the
    Washington Post.
  • Despite enormous political pressure, Post editor
    Ben Bradlee, publisher Katherine Graham, Woodward
    and Bernstein, aided by an enigmatic source
    nicknamed Deep Throat kept the story in the
    public consciousness until Nixons resignation.

Watergate Enters the Nixon Campaign
  • The break-in was eventually tied to the Nixon
    reelection campaign through a 25,000 check from
    a Republican donor that was laundered through a
    Mexican bank and deposited in the account of
    Watergate burglar Bernard Barker.
  • Later it was discovered that Former Attorney
    General John Mitchell, head of Nixons Committee
    to Re-Elect the President, (CREEP) controlled a
    secret fund for political espionage.
  • Mitchell would later go to prison for his role in
    the scandal

The Election of 1972
  • Despite the growing stain of Watergate, which had
    not yet reached the President, Nixon won by the
    largest margin in history to that point.

The Watergate Investigations Judge John Sirica
  • Watergate came to be investigated by a Special
    Prosecutor, a Senate committee, and by the judge
    in the original break-in case.
  • Judge Sirica refused to believe that the burglars
    had acted alone.
  • In March 1973, defendant James W. McCord sent a
    letter to Sirica confirming that it was a
  • Siricas investigation transformed Watergate from
    the story of a third-rate burglary to a scandal
    reaching the highest points in government.

Senate Investigation and the Oval Office Tapes
  • The Senate began hearings into Watergate in May
  • The hearings were televised in their entirety.
  • They focused on when the President knew of the
  • In June 1973, former White House legal counsel
    John Dean delivered devastating testimony that
    implicated Nixon from the earliest days of

Senate Investigation and the Oval Office Tapes
  • The Administration was eager to discredit Dean
    and his testimony so it began to release factual
    challenges to his account.
  • When former White House aide Alexander
    Butterfield was asked about the source of the
    White House information, he revealed the
    existence of an automatic taping system that
    Nixon had secretly installed in the Oval Office.
  • These tapes would become the focus of the

The Saturday Night Massacre
  • The Administration reached an agreement with the
    Senate Watergate Committee that its Chairman
    would be allowed to listen to tapes and provide a
    transcript to the Committee and to Special
    Prosecutor Archibald Cox.
  • The deal broke down when Cox refused to accept
    the transcripts in place of the tapes.
  • Since the Special Prosecutor is an employee of
    the Justice Department, Nixon ordered Attorney
    General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox.

Archibald Cox
The Saturday Night Massacre
  • When Richardson refused, he was fired.
  • Nixon ordered Deputy Attorney General William D.
    Ruckelshaus to fire Cox .
  • When he refused, he was fired.
  • Nixon then ordered Solicitor General Robert Bork
    (who was later nominated for the Supreme Court by
    Reagan) to fire Cox and he complied.
  • The Washington Post reported on the Saturday
    Night Massacre.

Robert Bork
The Smoking Gun Tapes
  • When the Supreme Court forced Nixon to surrender
    the tapes.
  • Nixon was implicated from the earliest days of
    the cover-up
  • authorizing the payment of hush money
  • attempting to use the CIA to interfere with the
    FBI investigation.
  • One tape has an 18 ½ minute gap.
  • Nixons secretary Rosemary Woods demonstrated how
    she could have inadvertently erased the tape, but
    no one bought it.
  • The smoking gun tapes, were released in August
    1974, just after the House Judiciary Committee
    approved Articles of Impeachment against Nixon.

Nixon Resigns
  • On 27 July 1974, the House Judiciary Committee
    approved Articles of Impeachment against Nixon.
  • The House was to vote on the matter soon.
  • Nixon conceded that impeachment in the House was
    likely, but he believed that the Senate vote to
    remove him would fail.
  • On 5 August 1974, when the smoking gun tape
    became public, a delegation from the Republican
    National Committee told Nixon that he would not
    survive the vote in the Senate Trial vote.
  • On 9 August 1974, Richard Nixon became the first
    American president to resign.

Ford announcing the pardon
  • More than 30 government officials went to prison
    for their role in Watergate.
  • Richard Nixon was not one of them.
  • In September 1974, President Gerald Ford gave
    Nixon a full pardon.
  • Woodward and Bernstein won the Pulitzer Prize.
  • They collaborated on 2 books, All the Presidents
    Men and The Final Days.
  • In 1976 All the Presidents Men was adapted into
    an Oscar winning film.
  • The identity of Deep Throat was kept secret until
    W. Mark Felt unmasked himself in 2005.

Nixons farewell departure August 9, 1974
  • Watergate had a lasting impact on the country.
  • It shook the publics confidence in its
  • It showed that the system of checks and balances
    worked. Not even the President was above the law.

Post-Watergate Government Reforms
  • Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments (1974)
  • Freedom of Information Act Amendments (1974)
  • Government in the Sunshine Act (1976)
  • Ethics in Government Actof 1978

Ford and Carter Domestic Policy
  • Evaluate the presidency of Gerald Ford.
  • Assess the domestic policies of Jimmy Carter.
  • Analyze how American society changed in the

Terms and People
  • Gerald Ford - became President in 1974 after
    Nixons resignation
  • pardon - officially give forgiveness
  • Jimmy Carter - a former governor of Georgia who
    was elected President in 1976
  • Christian fundamentalist - a person who believes
    in a strict, literal interpretation of the Bible
    as the foundation of the Christian faith

Terms and People (continued)
  • amnesty - political pardon
  • televangelist - minister who preached on

What accounted for the changes in American
attitudes during the 1970s?
Compared to the turbulent 1960s, the 1970s
appeared uneventful. However, the 1970s brought
many social, economic, and cultural changes. Many
felt those changes put America on the wrong track.
  • The Ford Interlude
  • Nixon's vice president, Gerald Ford (appointed to
    replace Agnew), was an unpretentious man who had
    spent most of his public life in Congress. His
    first priority was to restore trust in the
    government. However, feeling it necessary to head
    off the spectacle of a possible prosecution of
    Nixon, he issued a blanket pardon to his
    predecessor. Although it was perhaps necessary,
    the move was nonetheless unpopular.
  • In public policy, Ford followed the course Nixon
    had set. Economic problems remained serious, as
    inflation and unemployment continued to rise.
    Ford first tried to reassure the public, much as
    Herbert Hoover had done in 1929. When that
    failed, he imposed measures to curb inflation,
    which sent unemployment above 8 percent. A tax
    cut, coupled with higher unemployment benefits,
    helped a bit but the economy remained weak.

Vice President Gerald Ford became President after
Nixons resignation in 1974. He faced the worst
economic problems that America had experienced
since the Great Depression.
Although Ford worked hard to solve the countrys
problems, his Whip Inflation Now (WIN) program
did not succeed. As unemployment grew, his
popularity declined rapidly.
The struggling economy and frustrations over
Gerald Fords pardon of Nixon led to Jimmy
Carters win in the 1976 presidential election.
Carter cast himself as an outsider and had the
support of Christian fundamentalists. He
presented himself as a citizens President with
no ties to professional politicians, which
appealed to many voters after the Watergate
  • The Carter Years
  • Jimmy Carter, former Democratic governor of
    Georgia, won the presidency in 1976. Portraying
    himself during the campaign as an outsider to
    Washington politics, he promised a fresh approach
    to governing, but his lack of experience at the
    national level complicated his tenure from the
    start. A naval officer and engineer by training,
    he often appeared to be a technocrat, when
    Americans wanted someone more visionary to lead
    them through troubled times.
  • In economic affairs, Carter at first permitted a
    policy of deficit spending. Inflation rose to 10
    percent a year when the Federal Reserve Board,
    responsible for setting monetary policy,
    increased the money supply to cover deficits.
    Carter responded by cutting the budget, but cuts
    affected social programs at the heart of
    Democratic domestic policy. In mid-1979, anger in
    the financial community practically forced him to
    appoint Paul Volcker as chairman of the Federal
    Reserve. Volcker was an "inflation hawk" who
    increased interest rates in an attempt to halt
    price increases, at the cost of negative
    consequences for the economy.

  • Carter also faced criticism for his failure to
    secure passage of an effective energy policy. He
    presented a comprehensive program, aimed at
    reducing dependence on foreign oil, that he
    called the "moral equivalent of war." Opponents
    thwarted it in Congress.
  • Though Carter called himself a populist, his
    political priorities were never wholly clear. He
    endorsed government's protective role, but then
    began the process of deregulation, the removal of
    governmental controls in economic life. Arguing
    that some restrictions over the course of the
    past century limited competition and increased
    consumer costs, he favored decontrol in the oil,
    airline, railroad, and trucking industries.
  • Carter's political efforts failed to gain either
    public or congressional support. By the end of
    his term, his disapproval rating reached 77
    percent, and Americans began to look toward the
    Republican Party again.

Crises and Carters inexperience reduced the
effectiveness of his presidency.
  • As he had no close allies in Washington, his
    legislation rarely passed in Congress without
  • Carter grappled with the energy crisis and
  • He granted amnesty to Americans who had evaded
    the draft during the Vietnam War. This was highly
    unpopular with many Americans.

The Sunbelt gained more political influence.
The nations demographics changed due to
immigration and Americans moving south and west.
Life in America changed in other ways
  • There was more premarital sex, more drug use, and
    a higher divorce rate.
  • The 1970s gained the nickname the me decade as
    people focused on themselves.

One of the most popular television shows of the
1970s was All in the Family. The characters
debated hot-button social issues. The show
signaled a move away from nostalgia and escapism.
A resurgence of fundamental Christianity occurred
as a response to the shift in values.
  • Televangelists reached millions.
  • Religious conservatives formed alliances with
    political conservatives.

  • Something was terribly wrong in America in the
  • The United States was supposed to be a
    superpower, yet American forces proved powerless
    to stop a tiny guerrilla force in Vietnam.
    Support for Israel in the Middle East led to a
    rash of terrorism against American citizens
    traveling abroad, as well a punitive oil embargo
    that stifled the economy and forced American
    motorists to wait hours for their next tank of
  • A hostile new government in Iran held fifty-two
    American citizens hostage before the eyes of the
    incredulous world. The détente with the Soviet
    Union of the Nixon years dissolved into bitter
    animosity when a second arms control agreement
    failed in the Senate and a Soviet army of
    invasion marched into Afghanistan. The United
    States military juggernaut seemed to have reached
    its limits.

  • At home, the news was no better. The worst
    political scandal in United States history forced
    a president to resign before facing certain
    impeachment. Months of investigation turned into
    years of untangling a web of government deceit.
    Details of illegal, unethical, and immoral acts
    by members of the White House staff covered the
    nation's newspapers. Upon resignation, the
    president was granted a full and complete pardon.
    Many Americans wondered what happened to justice
    and accountability.
  • The booming economy sputtered to a halt.
    Inflation approached 20 and unemployment neared
    10 a combination previously thought to be
    impossible. Crime rates rose as tales of the
    decaying inner cities fell on deaf ears. A
    nuclear disaster of unspeakable proportions was
    barely averted at the Three Mile Island fission
    plant in Pennsylvania..

  • Many Americans coped with the current ailments by
    turning inward. Outlandish fashion and outrageous
    fads such as streaking, mood rings, and pet rocks
    became common. Younger Americans finished their
    workweeks and sought escape in discotheques.
    Controversy surrounding "decaying morality"
    surfaced with regard to increased drug use,
    sexual promiscuity, and a rising divorce rate. As
    a result, a powerful religious movement turned
    political in the hopes of changing directions
    toward a more innocent time.
  • The United States celebrated its bicentennial
    anniversary in 1976 without the expected
    accompanying optimism. Instead, while many
    reflected on the past laurels of American
    success, an overarching question was on the minds
    of the American people what had gone wrong?

Ford and Carter Foreign Policy
  • Compare the policies of Gerald Ford and Jimmy
    Carter toward the Soviet Union.
  • Discuss changing U.S. foreign policy in the
    developing world.
  • Identify the successes and failures of Carters
    foreign policy in the Middle East.

Terms and People
  • Helsinki Accords - a document that put the
    nations of Europe on record in favor of human
    rights, endorsed by the United States and the
    Soviet Union in a 1975 meeting
  • human rights - the basic rights that every human
    being is entitled to have
  • Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II) - an
    agreement between the United States and Soviet
    Union to limit nuclear arms production
  • boat people - people who fled communist-controlled
    Vietnam on boats, looking for refuge in
    Southeast Asia, the United States, and Canada

Terms and People (continued)
  • sanctions - penalties
  • developing world - the poor nations of Asia,
    Africa, and Latin America
  • Camp David Accords - agreements that provided the
    framework for a peace treaty between Egypt and
  • Ayatollah Khomeini - a fundamentalist Islamic
    cleric who took power in Iran when the Shah fled
    in 1979

What were the goals of American foreign policy
during the Ford and Carter years, and how
successful were Fords and Carters policies?
The Vietnam War caused many Americans to question
the direction of the nations foreign
policy. Debates about détente, human rights, and
which regimes deserved American support became
part of the national conversation.
  • In foreign policy, Ford adopted Nixon's strategy
    of detente. Perhaps its major manifestation was
    the Helsinki Accords of 1975, in which the United
    States and Western European nations effectively
    recognized Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe in
    return for Soviet affirmation of human rights.
    The agreement had little immediate significance,
    but over the long run may have made maintenance
    of the Soviet empire more difficult. Western
    nations effectively used periodic "Helsinki
    review meetings" to call attention to various
    abuses of human rights by Communist regimes of
    the Eastern bloc.

Gerald Ford continued Nixons policies of détente
with the Soviet Union after he took office in
The United States continued disarmament talks
with the Soviets that led to SALT II.
Ford also endorsed the Helsinki Accords, a
document that put major nations on record in
support of human rights.
The United States sought to put the Vietnam War
in the past.
South Vietnam fell to the communists. Many of the
refugees who took to the sea, or boat people,
eventually found refuge in the United States and
Early in his presidency, Jimmy Carter continued
Nixons and Fords policies toward the Soviet
In June 1979, Carter signed the SALT II arms
control treaty despite opposition from many
Americans who believed it jeopardized U.S.
security. The Senate held heated debates about
whether to vote for the treaty, which angered the
Soviet Union.
Despite the signed treaty, the Soviet Union
invaded Afghanistan to support its communist
government. Carter withdrew SALT II from Congress
and imposed sanctions on the Soviets.
Jimmy Carter changed the course of American
foreign policy by declaring that it would be
guided by a concern for human rights.
Carters beliefs about human rights changed the
way that the U.S. dealt with countries in the
developing world. The U.S. stopped sending money
to countries that ignored their citizens rights,
such as Nicaragua.
Carter also decided to return the Panama Canal
Zone to Panama by 1999. Although some Americans
feared that this would weaken national security,
the Canal Zone treaties were ratified in 1978,
and Panama now has full control of the canal.
  • Carter's greatest foreign policy accomplishment
    was the negotiation of a peace settlement between
    Egypt, under President Anwar al-Sadat, and
    Israel, under Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
    Acting as both mediator and participant, he
    persuaded the two leaders to end a 30-year state
    of war. The subsequent peace treaty was signed at
    the White House in March 1979.

Carter helped to negotiate a peace agreement
between Egypt and Israel known as the Camp David
Egypt became the first Arab nation to officially
recognize the nation of Israel.
  • 1978 Camp David Accords
  • Peace agreement between Egypt and Israel

  • After protracted and often emotional debate,
    Carter also secured Senate ratification of
    treaties ceding the Panama Canal to Panama by the
    year 2000. Going a step farther than Nixon, he
    extended formal diplomatic recognition to the
    People's Republic of China.
  • But Carter enjoyed less success with the Soviet
    Union. Though he assumed office with detente at
    high tide and declared that the United States had
    escaped its "inordinate fear of Communism," his
    insistence that "our commitment to human rights
    must be absolute" antagonized the Soviet
    government. A SALT II agreement further limiting
    nuclear stockpiles was signed, but not ratified
    by the U.S. Senate, many of whose members felt
    the treaty was unbalanced. The 1979 Soviet
    invasion of Afghanistan killed the treaty and
    triggered a Carter defense build-up that paved
    the way for the huge expenditures of the 1980s.
  • Carter's most serious foreign policy challenge
    came in Iran. After an Islamic fundamentalist
    revolution led by Shiite Muslim leader Ayatollah
    Ruhollah Khomeini replaced a corrupt but friendly
    regime, Carter admitted the deposed shah to the
    United States for medical treatment. Angry
    Iranian militants, supported by the Islamic
    regime, seized the American embassy in Tehran and
    held 53 American hostages for more than a year.
    The long-running hostage crisis dominated the
    final year of his presidency and greatly damaged
    his chances for re-election.

In Iran, fundamentalist Islamic clerics led by
Ayatollah Khomeini seized power.
Radical students took over the U.S. Embassy and
held 66 Americans hostage.
President Carter failed to win all of the
hostages releaseevidence to some that his
foreign policy was not tough enough.
After the Iranian government took 52 Americans
hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979,
President Carter mounted a rescue effort that
ended in tragedy. Eight American pilots
participating in "Operation Eagle Claw" lost
their lives when two aircraft collided.
  • April 198100FaFailed Rescue attemp
  • Failure on the desert floor
  • Aborted U.S. hostage rescue attempt April 1980

The hostage crisis showed that the Soviet Union
was no longer the only threat to America.
Conflicts in the Middle East threatened to become
the greatest foreign policy challenge for the
United States.
Chapter Summary
Section 1 Nixon and the Watergate Scandal
Richard Nixon was reelected in 1972 by a
landslide due in part to his southern strategy.
The Watergate scandal caused him to resign the
office in disgrace two years later and changed
how Americans felt about their government.
Section 2 The Ford and Carter Years
During the Ford and Carter years, Americans dealt
with a struggling economy as many of the social
and cultural changes begun in the 1960s took
hold. Some felt the nation had gone off the right
track as peoples values and lifestyles changed.
Chapter Summary (continued)
Section 3 Foreign Policy Troubles
During the Ford administration, Nixons foreign
policies were continued. Carter put more emphasis
on human rights in his dealings with the
developing world. When radicals in Iran took 66
American hostages, the United States realized
that the Middle East might be a bigger threat
than the Soviet Union.
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