Jimmy Carter and ‘Global Community’

  • John Dumbrell
Part of the American History in Depth book series (AHD)


On his first full day in office, 21 January 1977, Jimmy Carter issued an amnesty for Vietnam War draft resisters. Despite the efforts of peace activists at the 1976 Democratic convention, the amnesty did not amount to an absolute pardon. It did not, for example, apply to deserters.1 Nevertheless, Carter’s signal was clear. Here was the President as national healer: a ‘born again’ President inaugurating a ‘born again’ Presidency. Carter’s critique of the Vietnam War was couched not in terms of a glorious crusade gone awry, but attacked the underlying assumptions of preceding Democratic and Republican Presidents. In May, 1977, the new President delivered a speech at Notre Dame University, Indiana, in which he declared that his foreign policy would be ‘free of that inordinate fear of communism’ which had for so long underpinned US support for dictators in Southeast Asia and elsewhere:

For too many years we have been willing to adopt the flawed and erroneous principles of our adversaries, sometimes abandoning our values for theirs. We have fought fire with fire, never thinking that force is better quenched with water. This approach failed, with Vietnam the best example of its intellectual and moral poverty.2


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Copyright information

© John Dumbrell 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Dumbrell
    • 1
  1. 1.Keele UniversityUK

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