Both the presidencies of Gerald R. Ford and Jimmy Carter were considered to be unsuccessful. They brought nearly no progress to the nation and their foreign and domestic policies achieved little. Both of these “weak” presidencies were unable to bring about any long withstanding or significant changes to the United States. President Ford and President Carter often are viewed in negative manner because of their inability to bring about any lasting, positive changes in either domestic or foreign policy during their presidencies.
The domestic policies of President Ford reflected his conservative outlook. He did little to promote any kind of positive movement or any sort of welfare or public-interest measures. In fact, he vetoed a series of environmental, social welfare, and public-interest measures, that would have greatly benefited society. Jimmy Carter, on the other hand, never really developed a personal political philosophy. Though adept at working on specific problems, he struggled to maintain a clear larger political vision. Congress ignored his proposals for administrative reforms in the civil service and the executive branch of government. His calls for a national health-insurance program, an overhaul of the welfare system, and reform of the income tax laws fell flat. His problems arose from his own political clumsiness but possibly even more from the limitations imposed by a conservative electorate.
In foreign policy issues, Carter proved to be a little more successful than in domestic issues. He urged increased attention to human rights and his secretary of state, Cyrus Vance, worked to combat abuses in many countries. In Latin America, he sough improved relations with Panama and his administration even completed negotiations on treaties transferring the Panama Canal and the Canal Zone to Panama by 1999. In dealing with China and the Soviet Union, Carter sought improved relations. With China, though things were still rocky, the period of total...
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