The Third Century Begins
Most of these problems continued to plague the American nation during the presidency (1977-81) of Jimmy Carter, Democrat of Georgia, who defeated Ford in the 1976 election. Carter brought to the presidency an informality and sense of piety. He arranged negotiations for an Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty (signed in 1979) and guided the Panama Canal treaty through narrow Senate approval (1978). Carter also had to deal with shortages of petroleum that threatened to bring the energy-hungry U.S. economy to a standstill, with soaring inflation and interest rates, with the taking (1979) of U.S. hostages by Iranian militants, and with an international crisis precipitated by Soviet intervention (1979) in Afghanistan. His popularity waned as problems remained unsolved, and in 1980 the voters turned overwhelmingly to the conservative Republican candidate, Ronald Reagan.