President Jimmy Carter and the Camp David Accords: An analysis of moral and pragmatic policy

Kevin Michael Healy, Salve Regina University


On September 4, 1978, President Jimmy Carter of the United States, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel gathered in a remote mountain hideaway in Maryland in an attempt to resolve one of the most intractable of human conflicts. During the preceding thirty years, this conflict had resulted in four wars and many thousands of deaths. Moreover, because of their continued animosity Israel and the Arab world stood at the edge of a fifth war--a region-wide conflict that could easily draw the nuclear superpowers into a direct and catastrophic confrontation. From that gathering of the heads of state of three of the most militarily powerful and politically significant nations in the world, emerged the Camp David Accords--the first agreement for peace between Egypt and a free Jewish state in more than 2000 years and one that remains viable today. This dissertation will demonstrate that the Camp David Accords were forged by the unique convergence of two aspects of President Jimmy Carter's persona: the technological man--the pragmatic, detail driven, goal oriented politician who believed that everything was possible with the application of the correct techniques, and the humanist--the good, moral, religious and just man who believed in intercessional prayer and in the basic goodness and redemptive capabilities of his fellow man. The dissertation's theme centers on the motivating forces that led President Carter to invite Sadat and Begin to Camp David, as well as those that inspired his steadfast belief in his ability to convince the two warring parties to reach an agreement. Critical issues are analyzed: Carter's rapid decline in public opinion polls, Begin's victory in the Israeli elections, Sadat's trip to Israel and speech to the Knesset and the political influence in the US of powerful special interest lobbies. The role of the Christian, Judaic and Christian faiths in both the lives and political conduct of the three principals will also be discussed.

Subject Area

International law|International relations|History|Middle Eastern history|American history|Biographies

Recommended Citation

Healy, Kevin Michael, "President Jimmy Carter and the Camp David Accords: An analysis of moral and pragmatic policy" (1995). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI9600771.