Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter on bicycle. Plains, Georgia, USA, on President's Day 2008. Photo by Jud McCranie

Jimmy Carter on bicycle. Plains, Georgia, USA, on President's Day 2008. Photo by Jud McCranie

Jimmy Carter was the thirty-ninth President of the United States. He served from 1977-1981. He was born on October 1, 1924 in Plains, Georgia. Carter was the first president that was born in the Deep South. Carter was a peanut farmer and had virtually no experience with the federal government. The only position within the federal government prior to becoming President was working in the US Navy’s nuclear submarine program.

Carter graduated from Annapolis and after some time in the Navy quit to take over the family peanut farm as well as other family businesses. After about 10 years of running family businesses, Carter was elected for the Georgia state senate. He served in the senate from 1963-1967. Then he became the governor of the state from 1971-1975.

Carter had just graduated from Annapolis and surprised his sister, Ruth, by asking her to set him up with her best friend, Rosalynn Smith. After the first date, Carter told that he had met the girl that he would marry. Carter married Rosalynn Smith in July, 1946. They had four children, John, James Earl III, Jeffrey and Amy.

Carter then put in his hat for the Presidential nomination. Carter lacked the general know-how of how Washington politics worked, which initially worked to his advantage as the American public was still trying to heal from the Nixon scandals. Carter offered a different type of politician as a born-again Christian with a genuine concern for the poor.

Carter’s Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance made an announcement that the foreign aid was reduced to several countries due to their poor human rights. This action was done just one month into Carter’s administration and clearly highlighted his focus on human rights and care for the poor.

The country was still trying to get over the Nixon scandal and the economic outlook was bad when Carter put in his bid for President. Carter tried to deal with stagflation (increased inflation and no growth in consumer spending), by raising taxes and cutting spending but Carter’s plan failed. Interest rates soared to a high of 21%.

Carter, a Democrat, reorganized some government institutions. He was successful in adding new cabinet members, including new positions for education and energy. Carter did not always work well within in the Washington system. For instance, Carter did not heed the advice of the Democratic party leaders, the most notable being Tip O’Neill, Speaker of the House, which was necessary to get executive initiatives through.

The oil prices had increased while Carter was in office as a result of the Yom Kippur War. OPEC had banned oil exports to the US as well as other countries that supported Israel. This has a bad effect on inflation moving the rate into double digits, interest rates soared and unemployment rates remained high.

Carter deregulated oil prices in the US. This, coupled with the reduced production, made the price skyrocket and caused huge long lines at gas stations. Although Carter did not create the energy crisis, he seemed to take the blame for it.

Foreign affairs under Carter were met with some opposition. He was able to make a treaty giving back the Panama Canal, bettered the relations with China, and also worked with Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin on peace talks that were held at Camp David.

Some of Carters’ decisions were not very popular. When Afghanistan was invadeded by the Soviet Union, Carter responded with a grain embargo. Then he had the Moscow Olympics boycotted and suspended the SALT II talks.

Some Americans also blamed Carter for the Iranian hostage crisis. Carter originally formed a policy of not allowing the exiled dictator of Iran into the US. However, the Shah of Iran needed cancer treatment and Carter granted his request on humanitarian grounds. A group of angry Iranians in Teheran stormed the US embassy and took 52 American hostages. The group said their release would only take place after the extradition of the Shah. Carter tried to rescue the hostages in a military rescue but failed.

Since leaving the Presidency, Carter continues to focus on international human rights. Carter has been active with Habitat for Humanity. He also continues to oversee a number of different political elections around the world.

Carter participated in the mediation of the end of the Nicaraguan civil war between the Contra rebels and the Sandinistas. He was part of the international team of observers of Panama’s elections, declaring it a fraud. He attempted to work with disputes in Sudan and Ethiopia. Carter also was invited from President Kim II Sung to go to North Korea and returned with an outline to end the nuclear weapons program. Carter then brought a letter to Kim Young Sam, President of South Korea requesting a summit meeting to discuss reunification.

Carter still lives in Plains, Georgia. In fact, Carter still teaches a Sunday school class after church. Carter has written a number of books and has enjoyed woodworking, making various pieces of furniture.

Jimmy Carter Facts

  • President No.: 39th
  • When did Jimmy Carter serve? 1977-1981
  • What was Jimmy Carter’s party? Democratic
  • Where was Jimmy Carter from? Plains, Georgia
  • Who was Jimmy Carter’s wife? Rosalynn Smith Carter
  • When was Jimmy Carter born? October 1, 1924
  • Which college did Jimmy Carter attend? United States Naval Academy, Union College
  • What was Jimmy Carter’s Jobs Before President? Peanut farmer and broker, Governor of Georgia, State Senator
  • What was Jimmy Carter’s height? 5 feet, 9.5 inches
  • What was the population when Jimmy Carter was president? 226,542,199
  • What hobbies did Jimmy Carter have? Canoeing, fishing, jogging, skiing, softball, swimming, tennis
  • What pets did Jimmy Carter have? His daughter had a cat
  • What transportation did Jimmy Carter use? Helicopter, airplane, car
  • How did Jimmy Carter communicate? Telephone, typed letter


Jimmy Carter Inaugural Address

Jimmy Carter State of the Union Addresses

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