We started our research by looking for topics that were around 25-35 years old, and by reading the rule book. From the topics that we found daily we narrowed them down by looking at topics involving influential people. We picked topics that interested us. The topic we ended up choosing was the debate over the ratification of Carter-Torrijos treaty. This topic appealed to us because it involved a sitting President, President Carter, and a future President, Ronald Reagan who later defeated Carter in the Presidential election. We focused specifically on the debate within the U.S. senate over the ratification of the Carter-Torrijos Treaty.
We had a basic knowledge on the Carter-Torrijos treaty debate. From that point, we branched out on researching by going to our local libraries and finding good videos and websites online. We noticed that President Carter played a huge role in the debate so we got some of his books and contacted his library. They gave us information on how we can best use the National Archives. From our sources, we were able to find a great deal of information in different forms, like documents, videos, and books. Using the information we collected, we proceeded to create our presentation.
In the LBJ workshop we looked into the categories that interested us. We went to the exhibit, website, and documentary presentations. The website category for us was basically a mix of a documentary and exhibit. It allowed us to show written information and pictures while also showing videos too. Websites were the best for all of us because we could access it from almost everywhere. So if one person was not able to come for a meeting, they could still see and read the work that was done. A website also seemed to best fit our project, since we would easily be able to post videos and quotes from the web which added to our primary sources. It made research easier to collect. We finally decided upon website after considering all these advantages.
Our project is on the consequences, failures and success of the Carter-Torrijos treaty debate within the U.S. The main reason this topic fits into the NHD theme is because there was a mixture of debate and diplomacy involved in the ratification of the treaty in the U.S. Senate. Some of the consequences were that this debate divided the United States along the lines of Republicans and Conservatives against Democrats, Moderates, and Liberals. Many Senators who supported the treaty did not get re-elected. A failure of the treaty was that concessions made by the Carter Administration, to influence senators to support the treaty. During the debate, Infomercials were used extensively for the first time to influence public opinion. The debate in the U.S. Senate chamber was first broadcast over public radio (NPR) leading to future television broadcast of congressional debates on C-SPAN. Even though emotions ran high during the debate, everybody agrees today that handing over the Panama Canal was the "right thing to do".