Jimmy Carter Essay

This essay has a total of 1544 words and 7 pages.

Jimmy Carter

The President of Peace
Jimmy Carter was born October 1, 1924, in the small farming town of Plains, Georgia, and
grew up in the nearby community of Archery. His father, James Earl Carter, Sr., was a
farmer and businessman; his mother, Lillian Gordy, a registered nurse. He was educated in
the Plains public schools, attended Georgia Southwestern College and the Georgia Institute
of Technology, and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval
Academy in 1946. On July 7, 1946, he married Rosalynn Smith. When his father died in
1953, he resigned a naval commission and returned to Plains. He became involved in the
affairs of the community, serving as chairman of the county school board and the first
president of the Georgia Planning Association. In 1962 he won election to the Georgia
Senate. He lost his first gubernatorial campaign in 1966, but won the next election,
becoming Georgiaís 76th governor on January 12, 1971. He was the Democratic National
Committee campaign chairman for the 1974 congressional elections (Hochman html). After
only serving one term as governor of Georgia he announced his candidacy for president of
the United States on December 12, 1974. He won his partyís nomination on the first ballot
at the 1976 Democratic National Convention, and was elected the 39th president of the
United States on November 2, 1976. During his presidency, Jimmy Carter made many
important foreign policy accomplishments, including the Panama Canal treaties, the
Diplomatic relations with China, and the Salt II treaty with the Soviet Union.

Jimmy Carterís first foreign policy accomplishment, and by the United States citizens, the
most popular, were the Panama Canal treaties. After more than eighty years after the
first official ocean-to-ocean transit of the Panama Canal, the United States and Panama
embarked on a partnership for the management, operation and defense of the Panama Canal.
Under two treaties signed in a ceremony at the OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C., on
September 7, 1977, the canal would be operated by the United States until the turn of the
century under arrangements designed to strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation
between the two countries. The treaties were approved by Panama in a plebiscite on
October 23, 1977, and the United States Senate gave its advice and consent to their
ratification in March and April 1978. The new treaties went into effect October 1, 1979

The new treaties, passed under the Carter administration and Panamaís head of state Omar
Torrijos would give Panama full control of the canal on December 31, 1999, at 12:00
midnight. All of the canalís assets would also be turned over to Panama (Lycos.com).

The ratification of the Panama Canal treaties was an important step involving a decrease
in Third World hostility toward the United States (Dumbrell 212). Carter and his advisors
agreed even before the inauguration that the canal negotiations should be an immediate
priority. If the United States did not successfully complete negotiations, which had been
going on since the Johnson administration, the government of Panama might create conflict
in the zone that would require drastic American action (Hargrove 123).

Another of President Jimmy Carterís foreign policy accomplishments was his normalizing
relations with the Peopleís Republic of China. Over the winter of 1977-1978 Carter
cultivated relations with Chinese officials in Washington, and solicited an official
invitation to visit China himself. However the president pulled back after his advisor
Mondale stated that it was too much to ask the senate to handle the Panama Canal treaties
and any new agreements with China at the same time. President Carter was thus told not to
be explicit about normalization, and that his visit to China was inconclusive. In the
Spring of 1978 president Carter decided that the Secretary of State Vance would visit
China. Vance would visit China but would not be authorized to negotiate about
normalization because Carter was afraid it might hurt developing relations with Russia and
Japan. The United States and the Soviet Union were beginning to negotiate a S.A.L.T.
(Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) treaty, and President Carter was determined not to
delay any SALT negotiations. Vance was not authorized to negotiate in China, but did a
good job of laying the groundwork for future agreements.

In the summer and Fall of 1978 president Carter negotiated the terms of normalization
directly with the Chinese through the United States ambassador to China, Leonard Woodcock.
Jimmy Carter believed that having better relations and stronger ties with China would
help bring negotiations with the Soviet Union to a successful end. Directly after
normalization terms concluded with China, president Carter pushed for a SALT treaty. By
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