Jimmy Carter

James Earl Carter Jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American former politician who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as the 76th governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975 and as a Georgia state senator from 1963 to 1967. Since leaving office, Carter has remained engaged in political and social projects, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his humanitarian work.

Jimmy Carter
Official portrait, 1978
39th President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1977  January 20, 1981
Vice PresidentWalter Mondale
Preceded byGerald Ford
Succeeded byRonald Reagan
76th Governor of Georgia
In office
January 12, 1971  January 14, 1975
LieutenantLester Maddox
Preceded byLester Maddox
Succeeded byGeorge Busbee
Member of the Georgia State Senate
from the 14th district
In office
January 14, 1963  January 9, 1967
Preceded byDistrict established
Succeeded byHugh Carter
Personal details
Born
James Earl Carter Jr.

(1924-10-01) October 1, 1924 (age 98)
Plains, Georgia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse
(m. 1946)
Children
Parents
Residence(s)Plains, Georgia, U.S.
EducationUnited States Naval Academy (BS)
Civilian awardsList of honors and awards
Signature
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Navy
Years of service
  • 1946–1953 (active)
  • 1953–1961 (reserve)
RankLieutenant
Military awards

Born and raised in Plains, Georgia, Carter graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1946 with a Bachelor of Science degree and joined the United States Navy, serving on numerous submarines. After the death of his father in 1953, he left his naval career and returned home to Plains, where he assumed control of his family's peanut-growing business. He inherited comparatively little, because of his father's forgiveness of debts and the division of the estate amongst himself and his siblings. Nevertheless, his ambition to expand and grow the family's peanut farm was fulfilled. During this period, Carter was encouraged to oppose racial segregation and support the growing civil rights movement. He became an activist within the Democratic Party. From 1963 to 1967, Carter served in the Georgia State Senate, and in 1970 was elected as governor of Georgia, defeating former Governor Carl Sanders in the Democratic primary. He remained in office until 1975. Despite being a dark-horse candidate who was not well known outside of Georgia, he won the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination. In the 1976 presidential election, Carter ran as an outsider and narrowly defeated incumbent Republican president Gerald Ford.

On his second day in office, Carter pardoned all Vietnam War draft evaders by issuing Proclamation 4483. During his term, two new cabinet-level departments—the Department of Energy and the Department of Education—were established. He created a national energy policy that included conservation, price control, and new technology. Carter pursued the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal Treaties, and the second round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II). On the economic front he confronted stagflation, a persistent combination of high inflation, high unemployment and slow growth. The end of his presidency was marked by the 1979–1981 Iran hostage crisis, the 1979 energy crisis, the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the Nicaraguan Revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In response to the invasion, Carter escalated the Cold War when he ended détente, imposed a grain embargo against the Soviets, enunciated the Carter Doctrine, and led a 1980 Summer Olympics boycott in Moscow. He is the only president to have served a full term in office and not have appointed a justice to the Supreme Court. In the 1980 Democratic Party presidential primaries, he was challenged by Senator Ted Kennedy, but won re-nomination at the 1980 Democratic National Convention. Carter lost the 1980 presidential election in an electoral landslide to Republican nominee Ronald Reagan. Polls of historians and political scientists generally rank Carter as a below-average president. His post-presidential activities have been viewed more favorably than his presidency.

In 1982, Carter established the Carter Center, aimed at promoting and expanding human rights. In 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in co-founding the Center. He has traveled extensively to conduct peace negotiations, monitor elections, and advance disease prevention and eradication in developing nations. Carter is considered a key figure in the nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity. He has written over 30 books, ranging from political memoirs to poetry, while continuing to actively comment on ongoing American and global affairs, including the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. At 98 years old, Carter is both the oldest living and longest-lived president, as well as the one with the longest post-presidency, and his 76-year-long marriage makes him the longest-married president. He is also the third-oldest living person to have served as a state leader.


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