Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences

Document Type



Traditionally, the president is seen as getting his way when it comes to foreign-policy issues; however, with treaty making, an aspect very much related to foreign policy, things are different. Treaties are seen as salient, high-profile, and requiring direct positive action by the Senate. Presidents with high approval ratings would expect to have a relatively easy job at getting treaties approved by the Senate, but when a president is faced with low public approval, one of the most useful tools at his disposal to get Senate approval is not in play. The authors look at a case study of President Carter and the ratification of the Panama Canal Treaties to suggest what “weak” presidents can do to get their way.