Values-based foreign policy: The administrations of Jimmy Carter and George W Bush

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


International Studies

First Committee Member

Roger Kanet, Committee Chair


Personal values have guided many national leaders throughout the history of the United States, however some leaders have imposed their personal moral beliefs onto national policy including the nation's foreign policy. A link between personal values, including religious beliefs, and international politics was evident in the administrations of both President Jimmy Carter and President George W. Bush. While President Carter pursued a foreign policy with international human rights as its load-bearing pillar, President Bush has pursued a foreign policy based on the fundamentalist Christian doctrine that divides the world into good versus evil and leaves little room for reflection or doubt. While both of these presidents imposed their personal values onto the nation, the interpretation of each of their convictions appears to rest at opposite corners of religious politics. How did the personal values of both President Carter and President Bush affect their foreign policies in actual practice?Using a case study from each administration, this dissertation will examine the foreign policies of both presidents and will also look at the influence of their moral convictions in the construction and implementation of their foreign policy agendas. This dissertation asks the questions; what were the beliefs these leaders interjected into their foreign policies, and what were the effects of the policies they chose?


History, United States; Political Science, General; Political Science, International Law and Relations; Political Science, Public Administration

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