Jimmy Carter and the Restoration of Presidential Dignity


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About the Book

The office of the President of the United States was plagued by scandals in the early 1970s. When Jimmy Carter ran for office in 1976, the nation was still struggling to process the Vietnam War and Watergate. Questionable presidential decisions prolonged a quagmire in Asia, Richard Nixon’s illegal surveillance broke the people’s trust, and Gerald Ford’s subsequent pardon of Nixon irrevocably sullied his relationship with the American people. Jimmy Carter sought to be the transparent, trustworthy leader that the nation demanded. Based on archival research and government documents, this book explores the steps Carter took during his presidency and how Congress reacted to them. Though Carter was not elected for a second term, this detailed history makes the case that his legacy has been misrepresented, and that he should not be remembered as a failed president, but as a man who restored dignity to an office burdened by controversy.

About the Author(s)

Jason Friedman is a global dynamics instructor at The Winchendon School in Winchendon, Massachusetts.

Bibliographic Details

Jason Friedman

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 223
Bibliographic Info: 7 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7438-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3844-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Preface 1
Introduction 2
1. The Carter Way: Creating a Tone of Openness and Responsiveness 13
2. The Path to Forgiveness: Draft Dodgers and the Debate Over Amnesty 31
3. Trimming the Trappings of Office: Presidential Yacht Sequoia and Jimmy Carter’s Arsenal of Austerity 49
4. Water Project Cancellations: Public Works Appropriations and Parochial Interests 71
5. Jimmy Carter and the Reinstatement of Draft Registration 97
6. Jimmy Carter and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance 110
7. Jimmy Carter and the Legislative Veto: Fighting an Encroachment on Federal Comity 128
Conclusion 155
Postscript: Donald Trump and New Questions of Presidential Dignity 159
Chapter Notes 167
Bibliography 201
Index 209

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Basing his research on an excellent array of archival material and government documents, Friedman brings to light six specific executive actions that reflect Carter’s compatibility with the transformational changes of the presidency, exposing the differences between campaign rhetoric and governance within the inherently conflictual nature of executive-legislative relations….recommended”—Choice