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BOOK 1- JANUARY 1 TO JUNE 22, 1979
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1980
FEDERAL REGISTER OFFICE
Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote that historians and politicians are "equally deceived" by their differing perspectives on public events. Historians, he wrote, tend to overemphasize the extent to which broad, impersonal forces shape events, neglecting the sometimes decisive role of specific, day-to-day developments.
Politicians, he remarked, suffer from the opposite handicap. “Living in the midst of disconnected daily facts, they are prone to imagine that everything is attributable to particular incidents, and that the wires they pull are the same as those that move the world."
This collection of Presidential papers, covering the first half of 1979, documents a number of landmark events—the historic Middle East peace treaty, ending thirty years of war between Israel and Egypt; the successful conclusion of the Multilateral Trade Negotiations; the first overhaul of the Federal civil service in a century. Together with earlier volumes, it chronicles each major event not as an isolated moment but as the culmination of a sustained effort.
These papers do something more. They permit the historian to see these breakthroughs as they occurred—in the context of the daily business of government. And they allow public officials like myself to see our actions not as a set of discrete steps, but as part of an historical continuum. In this way, these papers should enhance the view from both perspectives.