Morality, Niebuhr, and The Soviet Union: A Window into the Conflicts, and Construction of Jimmy Carter's Morality
This essay will explore the moral construct of Jimmy Carter in a three-fold manner. First, looking at Jimmy Carter's interactions with his parents and community growing up in a small farming area, this section will explore the Southern Baptist roots and moral guidance that young Jimmy Carter developed under. The second section will focus on the born again experience that Carter had in 1966 after his loss of the Governor's race to Lester Maddox, and will explore what advantages this experience gave Carter on his path to the White House. The third section will outline the influence of Rienhold Niebuhr on Jimmy Carter and evaluate how the writings of Niebuhr helped to develop the moral thought of Jimmy Carter. Once the basic outline of Jimmy Carter's morality has been established the final section of this paper will look at how Carter's morality came into his political decisions as president. In order to gain insight into the complicated and often incidental circumstances that can derail a president's initiatives, especially in international relations, this final section will explicate how human rights and relations with the Soviet Union were interrelated during Carter's presidency. The construction of a morally based human rights initiative was one of the most profound aspects of Carter's Presidency coming out of an era of realist policies since the start of the Cold War. This section will explain how the moral importance of human rights for Carter directly affected the political loss of power in diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. This section will analyze how morality and political power, even when coupled with the best of intentions, can be thrown into conflict through extraneous circumstances that the president has no real control over.
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