Table of Contents
I. Introduction
II. The Ford Custodianship
III. The Trials of Jimmy Carter
IV. Human Rights and National Interests
V. Years of the Hostages
VI. Sources


I. Introduction
The effects of the Watergate scandal did not by any means end with the resignation of President Nixon and the imprisonment of some of his aides. Indirectly, Watergate was the cause of new laws leading to extensive changes in campaign financing. It was a major factor in the passage of amendments to the Freedom of Information Act in 1986, as well as laws requiring new financial disclosures by key government officials. In the aftermath of Richard Nixon's ignominious departure from office, many wondered weather faith in the presidency, and government as a whole, could easily be restored. The administrations of the two presidents who succeeded Nixon did little to answer
Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
those questions.
II. The Ford Custodianship
Gerald Ford inherited the presidency under unenviable circumstances. He had to try to rebuild confidence in the government after Watergate and restore economic prosperity in the midst of difficult domestic and international conditions. He enjoyed some success in the first of theses efforts but very little in the second. The new president's effort to establish his integrity was ruined by his pardoning of Nixon. In the aftermath of the Arab oil embargo of 1973, the OPEC cartel began to raise the price of oil-by 400 percent in 1974 alone. Ford retained Henry Kissinger as secretary of state and continued the general policies of the Nixon years. Late in 1974, Ford met with Leonid Brezhnev at Vladivostok in Siberia and signed an arms control accord that was to serve as the basis for SALT II, thus achieving a goal the Nixon administration had long sought.
III. The Trials of Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter assumed the presidency at a moment when the nation faced problems of staggering complexity and difficulty. He left office in 1981 one of the least popular presidents of the country. He surrounded himself in the White House with group of close-knit associates from Georgia; and in the beginning, at least, he seemed deliberately to spurn assistance from more experienced political figures. He moved first to reduce unemployment by raising public spending and cutting federal taxes. He appointed G. William Miller and then Paul Volcker, both conservative economists, to head the Federal Reserve Board, thus ensuring a policy of high interest rates and reduced currency supplies.
IV. Human Rights and National Interests
Among Jimmy Carter’s most frequent campaign promises was a pledge to build a new basis for American foreign policy, one in which the defense of “human rights” would replace the pursuit of “selfish interest. Domestic opposition to the treaties was intense, especially among conservatives who viewed the new arrangements as part of a general American retreat from international power. Middle East negotiations had seemed hopelessly stalled when a dramatic breakthrough occurred in November 1977. In Tel Aviv, he announced that Egypt was now willing to accept the state of Israel as a legitimate political entity. On September 17, Carter escorted the two leaders into the White House to announce agreement on a “framework” for an Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. On December 15, 1978, Washington and Beijing announced the resumption of formal diplomatic relations between the two nations. The treaty set limits on the number of long-range missiles, bombers, and
Iran Hostage Crisis
Iran Hostage Crisis
nuclear warheads on each side.
V. Years of the Hostages
By 1979, the Shah of Iran was hoping to make his nation a bulwark against Soviet expansion in the Middle East. In January 1979, the Shah fled the country. By late 1979, revolutionary chaos in Iran was making any normal relations impossible. In late October 1979, the deposed Shah arrived in New York to be treated for cancer. Days later, on November 4, an armed mob invaded the American embassy in Tehran, seized the diplomats and military personnel inside, and demanded the return of the Shah to Iran in exchange for their freedom. 53 Americans remained hostages in the embassy for over a year. Only weeks after the hostage seizure, on December 27, 1979, Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan. The combination of domestic economic troubles and international crises created widespread anxiety, frustration, and anger in the United States-damaging President Carter already low stranding with the public, and giving added strength to an alternative political force that had already made great strides.
VI. Sources
American History, Brinkley
http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/jimmycarter
http://www.spiritus-temporis.com/watergate-scandal/aftermath.html