Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
James Addison Baker III (born April 28, 1930), American politician and diplomat, was Chief of Staff in the President Ronald Reagan's first administration, and Secretary of State in the administration of President George H. W. Bush and as United States Secretary of the Treasury from 1985 to 1988 in the second Reagan administration. He is also the founder of the James Baker Institute.
Born in Houston, Texas, Baker was educated atThe Hill School and Princeton University, receiving a bachelor's degree in 1952. He then served in the United States Marine Corps for two years as a lieutenant, after which he attended the University of Texas School of Law, where he received his J.D. in 1957. Baker became employed with the law firm Andrews & Kurth, where he remained until 1975.
He served as Undersecretary of Commerce under President Gerald Ford in 1975 and ran Ford's unsuccessful election campaign in 1976. Baker ran an unsuccessful race in 1978 to become State Attorney General of Texas.
After serving as George H.W. Bush's campaign manager in the 1980 Republican primaries, Baker was named White House Chief of Staff by President Reagan in 1981. He served in that capacity until 1985. Due to Reagan's passive management style, Baker is seen as wielding a high degree of influence over the successes and failures of the first Reagan administration, particularly in domestic policy. After managing Reagan's wildly successful reelection campaign in 1984, Baker was appointed Secretary of the Treasury in January of 1985 — he "switched roles" with the former Secretary of the Treasury, Donald Regan, who replaced Baker as Chief of Staff. During the Reagan administration Baker also served on the Economic Policy Council, where he was instrumental in achieving the passage of the administration's tax and budget reform legislation package in 1981.
Baker served on Reagan's National Security Council, and remained Treasury Secretary through 1988, during which year he also served as campaign chairman for Bush's successful presidential bid.
Bush appointed Baker Secretary of State in 1989, in which position he continued to serve through 1992, being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991. From 1992 to 1993 he was named Bush's Chief of Staff. He is credited as a leading architect of the peaceful transition from communism to democracy in Europe beginning in 1989. Together with President Bush, Chancellor Helmut Kohl and German Foreign Minister Genscher he is one of the inspirators of German reunification.
He helped to construct the 34-nation alliance that fought alongside the United States in the Gulf War.
In March 1997 Baker became the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara . In June 2004 he resigned from this position, frustrated over the lack of progress in reaching a complete settlement acceptable to both the government of Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front.
Baker served as chief legal advisor for George W. Bush during the 2000 election campaign and oversaw the Florida recount. He is currently (as of 2004) a senior partner at the law firm of Baker Botts and senior counsel to the Carlyle Group.
In late 2003 he was drafted by the President to assist in the operations of the US-led occupation of Iraq. He is also a special envoy to the president to persuade other countries to relieve Iraqi debts.
He and his wife, the former Susan Garrett, have eight children.
|- style="text-align: center;" | width="30%" |Preceded by:
Donald Regan | width="40%" style="text-align: center;" |United States Secretary of the Treasury
1985–1988 | width="30%" |Succeeded by:
Nicholas F. Brady
|- style="text-align: center;"
| width="30%" |Preceded by:
George P. Shultz | width="40%" style="text-align: center;" |United States Secretary of State
1989–1992 | width="30%" |Succeeded by:
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