The Carter Presidency


Domestic Policy

Blue collar workers usually Democrat, Carter cause problems for labour so people began to change

Unions felt Carter should pay less attention on inflation and more on unemployment

Felt he was unsupportive of the National Health Insurance Bill, Ferderal Minimum Wage and the Humphrey-Hawkins proposal.

December 1977, 165,000 United Mine Workers went on strike, as they felt mine owners didin't recognise their right to go on strike to prostest contracts and safety.

This lasted 3 months with coal stocks falling to emergency levels, schools closed and there was shortened working weeks in the east. After 109 days the miners went back to work, however the damage had already been done with 2/3 feeling Carter had handled it badly.

Problems revolved around energy, 1979 OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) increase oil prices dramatically, causing inflation, by 1980 loans interest rates were at 20%, people unable to finance homes or cars, Carter took the blame.

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Social Policy

Carter sensitve to women, at least one women candidate considered for each cabinet position, with two appointed and more women in high up position than any president before him.Simliar policy for minority groups, one minority put forward for each cabinet position, however many blacks turned down, 28 blacks and hispanics

Supported the Equal Rights Amendment ERA passed by Congress in 1972, however left campaigning to his wife, which annoyed voters, others were annoyed that he opposed federal funding to abortion except in cases of ****, incest or endanger of the mother's life

Federal Equal Economic Opportunites Commission worked aganist discrimination in the labour force, with the Public Works Act 1977, saying minorites should get 10% of federal grants for public work. 

BAKKE Vs Regents of the University of California 1987 (Supreme Court Case), Bakke (30,white) said Davis Medical School was discriminating against him as minority students with lower grades than him got in and he didn't due to allocated places for  minority students, it was ruled uncontitutional as was unfair to him.This made African Americans unhappy

Congressional Black Caucus group resented budget cutting, but favoured the expanision of social welfare programmes. The Humphrey-Hawkins bill helped blacks as it said the federal government should be the last resort employer during the recession. Final act October 1978, more watered down than orginal, blacks unhappy that it took so long.

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Economic Policy

Major theme- growing energy crisis, US self-sufficent economically after WW2 but depended on middle east oil in 1970's with more than half imported

Harsh winters 1976-7 shortage of natural gas, leading to schools and factories having to close, fuel stations shut on Sundays with reduced opening hours causing long queues and riots. First riots Levittown, Pennsylvania- trucks barricaded motarwaysand 100 injured in 2 nights of violence.

Proposed legisation 1978 but Congress modified it beyond recognistion, it failed because Carter hadn't Congress, failing to lobby Congress with voters unwilling to pay high prices for fuel, unimpressed by the way he handled things

April 1978, polls showed that 63% Americans believed that inflation was the greatest concern, Carter wasn't very good at handling things with a 32% approval. 

Inflation meant more expensive mortgages, loans, food and energy, Carter tried to cut government spending to help the situation but it didn't, much to the dislike of Labour, Congress and business, adding to the problems

Unemployment rose by summer 1980 it was at 8.2 million, Business communities feared Carter's ability, to manage the economy, worried that his energy proposals would damage industry, mount deficits, and a negative impact on the dollar causing it to slump in global markets

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Blacks suffered during the great recession, many black teenagers reported for snow-shovelling work in Washington DC in 1979 and found that the jobs had all ready been filled - protests occured in which they broke into and looted stores.

Black officals blamed Carter for not helping the poor and unemployed

Economic problems caused major racial violence, in Liberty City Miami, Florida after four white policemen were accused of beating a black man to death, three days of violence followed with looting, shooting, overturing of cars and burning of property. 16 people died, 400 were injured and $100,000,000 property was damaged

Blacks felt Carter did little to help, he publicised his visit to South Bronx to show his anixety over blighted urban areas but it wasn't enough he also supported several mayoral recommendations for national legislation, yet he never planned to spend money on cities just improving existing programs.

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Foreign Policy

Base on human rights, cutting aid to dictators who violated human rights. 1978 pro-American government in Nicaragua and Iran collapsed, the fall of the Shah in Iran was bad for Carter

Panama Canal Treaty- despite objections Carter signed treaty to return canal to panama, 31st December 1999, yet the US still had the right to protect it

Camp David Accords- September 1978, Carter's crowning moment, meet with the Israel PM and Egyptian president in Camp David Maryland, agreed peace between the two countries, Nobel Peace Price award

SALT II- Carter and soviet leader signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks 1979 imposing the limit on strategic weapons of the two countries but it was withdrawn from Congress after the Soviets invaded Afgahanistan to maintain a communist government. 

Carter also boycotted the Moscow Olympics, prohibited sales of grain to the soviet union, however soviets still stayed in Afgahanistan until 1988, when troops were recalled. Voter felt Carter didn't do enough

Carter Doctrine- Stated US would use military force to prevent Soviet Union from expanding further into the Middle East

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Foreign Policy Continued

Iran Hostages- the Shah in Iran fell in 1979, a major ally in the US, who fled to the US to recieve caner treatment

In November 1979, Iraian militants seized the US embassy in Terhan, after Carter protested the women and children were released by the Iranian government however 53 white men remained hostage. Carter tried to negociate their release by stopping Americans buying Iranian oil and froze Iranian assets, causing his approval rate to rocket to 61%

April 1980, he attempted a military rescue, however one helicopter broke down, one lost in a sandstorm and one developed a hydrolics fault, thus the mission was aborted. then one of the helicopter crashed setting fire to the others, eight Americans died and four were badly burnt

Cuban leader said anyone unhappy with his communist regime could leave the country, April 1980, thus Carter let 125,000 refugees into the US eventhough the March 1980 Refugees Act said that America couldn't take more than 19,000 annually.

No provisions were made for the extra people, with tent cities springing up in Florida, many Americans were unhappy with this, especially when refugees began to clash with national guard and destroy federal buildings. 60% opposed the influx

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Even though he wasn't tainted by watergate he was invovled in other scandals, the worst 'Billygate' 1980

His brother Billy was a Red-Neck, a poorly educated working class southerner who were characterised as being racist and beer drinkers, his humour made him a popular talk show guest and lecturer

January 1979, on a visit to Libya his pro-Libya and pro-Arabs was taken as being anti-semitism, causing a fuss, Carter demanded his brother had no control over him and he had no control over him brother, but it still made him look bad

After spending time in an alcohol treatment centre, sober nad short of money, he registered as a foreign agent for Libya recieving a $220,000 'loan' from their government, investigations took place by senate and justice department, media speculating that the president was involved, later it was revealed by hte senate that he hadn't, trying to suggest that Billy contacts were purly to help free the hostages. It was too late the public saw Carter as being incompetent

Catalytic converters and unleaded gasoline were introduced during the 70's, this cut car pollution by 75%. A Consumer Product Safety Commision had been set up with flocks of midlle class liberals flocking to join environmental organisations whose membership rose, 1960-125,000, 1970- 1,000,000, 1980- 2,000,000

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Other continued

During Carters time two events increased environmental awareness, Love Canal, near Niagara Falls became a 'peril' after industrial waste oozed up from the ground leading to high rates of miscarriages and birth defects in the local area, who were relocated in 1978

1979, Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania the radioactive core of the nuclear reactor overheated and melted, the radioactive steam was confined to the interior of the reactor and no-one was hurt but it turned American people away from nuclear energy so they became more dependent on oil

Carter was the firsty president to successfully campaign for the environment, obtaining legisation to prevent chemicals from: polluting the environment, control surface mining, protecting the outer continental shelf, expand National Parks and wilderness land (1980 Alaska Lands Act), re-authorise the clean air and clean water acts and seek alternative sources of energy.

Carter's energy programme was too ambitous however as many Americans didn't want to pay more for petrol

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