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The Ford and Carter Presidencies
IB History of the Americas
American Foreign and Domestic Policy
President Gerald Ford
38th President of the United States
Now, therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States, pursuant to the
pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have
granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard
Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has
committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from July
September 8, 1974.
Ford Travels a Rough Road
Ford Tries to “Whip”
◦ Unsuccessfully asks public to
cut back use of oil, gas, save
◦ Cuts government spending;
urges higher interest to
restrict credit
Whip Inflation◦ “Tight money” policy triggers
Grassroots program designed to combat
inflation by encouraging personal saving
and disciplined spending
Ford’s Foreign Policy
Carrying Out Nixon’s Foreign Policies
◦ Ford continues negotiations with China, Soviet Union
◦ between Eastern, Western Europe Signs Helsinki
The Accords' "Declaration on Principles Guiding Relations between Participating States"
Sovereign equality, respect for the rights inherent in sovereignty
Refraining from the threat or use of force
Inviolability of frontiers
Territorial integrity of States
Peaceful settlement of disputes
Non-intervention in internal affairs
Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought,
conscience, religion or belief
Equal rights and self-determination of peoples
Co-operation among States
Fulfillment in good faith of obligations under international law
Ford’s Foreign Policy
Ongoing Turmoil in Southeast Asia
◦ Vietnam cease-fire breaks down; Ford asks
Congress for $722 million in aid to South
◦ Congress refuses; South Vietnam surrenders
in 1975
◦ Cambodia seizes U.S. merchant ship Mayagüez
◦ Ford uses big military response; 41 die to
rescue 39, is criticized
Operation Frequent Wind
Evacuation by
helicopter of
American civilians
and "at-risk"
Vietnamese from
Saigon, South
Vietnam, on 29–
30 April 1975
Carter Enters the White House
Mr. Carter Goes to
◦ Jimmy Carter promises
to restore integrity to
- defeats Ford by narrow
Carter Enters the White House
◦ Has down-to-earth style;
holds “fireside chats” on
radio, TV
◦ Does not make deals with
Congress; relies on Georgia
◦ Both parties in Congress
join to sink Carter budgets,
major reforms
Carter’s Domestic Agenda
Confronting the
Energy Crisis
◦ Carter offers energy
proposals; oil-, gas-states,
auto makers resist
◦ National Energy Act—
conservation, U.S.
energy sources
◦ National Energy Act,
conservation cut foreign
oil dependence
Carter’s Domestic Agenda
The Economic Crisis
◦ Violence in Middle East creates
fuel shortage; OPEC raises prices
◦ Carter tries various methods,
none work; gives “malaise”
◦ 1980 inflation 14%, standard of
living drops; people lose
Carter’s Domestic Agenda
A Changing Economy
◦ From 1950s automation, foreign competition
reduce manufacturing jobs
◦ Service sector expands, higher paying jobs
require education, skills
Carter’s Domestic Agenda
Carter and Civil Rights
◦ Carter hires more African Americans, women
than previous presidents
◦ Many civil rights groups disappointed because
few laws passed
◦ 1978 Bakke case, Supreme Court strikes
affirmative action quotas
- allows race as one factor in university
A Human Rights Foreign Policy
Advancing Human
◦ Carter’s foreign policy
promotes human
◦ Cuts off aid to some, not
all, allies that mistreat
own citizens
A Human Rights Foreign Policy
Yielding the Panama Canal
◦ Panamanians resent having country split in
two by foreign power
◦ 1977 treaty gives control of canal to Panama
on Dec. 31, 1999
◦ Agreements improve relations between U.S.,
Latin America
A Human Rights Foreign Policy
The Collapse of
◦ Carter’s insistence on
human rights strains
relations with U.S.S.R.
◦ SALT II talks delayed;
Carter, Brezhnev finally
sign June 1979
Salt II
SALT II helped the U.S. to discourage the
Soviets from arming their third generation
ICBMs of SS-17, SS-19 and SS-18 types
with many more Multiple independently
targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs).
A Human Rights Foreign Policy
The Collapse of Détente
◦ SALT II meets sharp opposition in Senate
◦ December, Soviets invade Afghanistan; Carter lets
Triumph and Crisis in the
Middle East
The Camp David
◦ 1978 Carter hosts talks
between Anwar el-Sadat,
Menachem Begin
◦ Camp David Accords
forge peace between
Israel, Egypt:
- Israel withdraws from
Sinai Peninsula
- Egypt recognizes Israel’s
right to exist
Triumph and Crisis in the
Middle East
The Iran Hostage
◦ Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini leads
overthrow of Shah
- establishes an Islamic
◦ Carter supports Shah
of Iran Mohammad
Rezā Shāh Pahlavī;
allows him entry to
U.S. for cancer
The Iran Hostage Crisis
◦ Students seize U.S. embassy, take 52 hostages;
demand shah back
◦ Carter refuses; standoff ensues; intense secret
negotiations follow
◦ Captives released Jan. 1981, shortly after Ronald
Reagan sworn in