Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2012

Document Type



This paper looks at the views of intellectuals regarding Jimmy Carter’s human rights foreign policy because Carter was the first president who overtly made human rights a part of his policies. He wanted the United States to be a champion of rights around the world. There has not been an extensive study as to what intellectuals during his presidency thought of his policies. To narrow the topic further, this essay focuses on the thoughts about U.S. policies toward Nicaragua. Research included looking at two American newspapers, numerous magazines and the opposition newspaper La Prensa in Nicaragua, digitally, as well as in print and on microfilm. Through this research, I found that intellectuals in the United States thought Carter’s policies were uneven in their application, by favoring allies and communist countries and condemning actions in Third World countries. Writers for La Prensa thought that human rights could and should be promoted by the United States; but by 1979, the writers for La Prensa had seen little beneficial change on the ground in Nicaragua. A consensus of writers in the United States and in Nicaragua was that if human rights were to be pursued as foreign policy, then it needed a concrete definition and severe consequences for those governments that violated the rights of their people.