When Jimmy Carter entered the White House, he at first did not want to make the Panama Canal a major issue. However, as he became more centered on the quest for human rights, he felt he needed to act. Why did he make this crucial decision on the canal in 1977 and why was it so controversial? What is the Republican (i.e. Reagan) response to it? How did it fit into a Cold War framework? Do you agree or disagree with Carter's decision?