President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter was the 39th President of the United States.
Source: Library of Congress
Source: Library of Congress
Served as President: 1977-1981
Vice President: Walter Mondale
Age at inauguration: 52
Born: October 1, 1924 in Plains, Georgia
Married: Rosalynn Smith Carter
Children: Amy, John, James, Donnel
What is Jimmy Carter most known for?
Jimmy Carter is known for being president during a time of high inflation and rising energy costs. He is also known for being the first president from the Deep South in over 100 years.
Jimmy Carter grew up in Plains, Georgia where his father owned a peanut farm and a local store. Growing up he worked at his father's store and enjoyed listening to baseball games on the radio. He was a good student in school and also an excellent basketball player.
After graduating from high school, Jimmy went to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. In 1946 he graduated and entered the Navy where he worked on submarines including the new nuclear powered submarines. Jimmy loved the Navy and had planned to spend his career there until his father, James Earl Carter Sr., died in 1953. Jimmy left the Navy to help with the family business.
Begin, Carter (Center) and Sadat
Photo by Unknown
Before He Became President
As a prominent local businessman, Carter became involved in local politics. In 1961 he turned his eye to state politics and ran for the state legislature. After serving on the Georgia legislature, Carter ran for governor in 1966. He lost his first bid for governor, but ran again in 1970. This time he won.
Governor of Georgia
Carter was governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975. During that time he became known as one of the "New Southern Governors". He called an end to racial segregation and hired a number of minorities into state positions. Carter also used his business experience to reduce the size of the state government, cutting costs and emphasizing efficiency.
In 1976 the Democrats were looking for a candidate for president. Previous liberal candidates had lost decidedly, so they wanted someone with moderate views. In addition, due to the recent Watergate scandal, they wanted someone from outside of Washington. Carter was a perfect fit. He was an "outsider" and a conservative southern Democrat. Carter won the 1976 election becoming the 39th U.S. president.
Jimmy Carter's Presidency
While being an "outsider" helped to get Carter elected as president, it did not help him on the job. His lack of Washington experience caused him to not get along well with the Democratic leaders in congress. They blocked many of Carter's bills.
Carter's presidency was also marked by escalating economic problems. Inflation and unemployment rose dramatically with many people losing their jobs. Also, the price of gas skyrocketed. There was even a shortage of gas to the point where people would line up for hours at the gas station just to try and get gas for their cars.
Carter was able to get some things accomplished, however, including establishing the Department of Energy, creating the Department of Education, pardoning citizens who had avoided fighting in the Vietnam War, and fighting for human rights throughout the world.
Camp David Accords
Perhaps Jimmy Carter's greatest success as president was when he brought Israel and Egypt together at Camp David. They signed a peace treaty called the Camp David Accords. Egypt and Israel have been at peace ever since.
Iran Hostage Crisis
In 1979, Islamist students attacked the U.S. embassy in Iran and took 52 Americans hostage. Carter tried to negotiate their release for well over a year. He also tried a rescue mission, which failed miserably. His lack of success in freeing these hostages was seen as weakness and contributed to him losing the 1980 election to Ronald Reagan.
Carter was still a young man when he left office. He has written many books and taught classes at Emory University. He has also been involved in world diplomacy working for peace and human rights. In 2002 he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
by Tyler Robert Mabe
Fun Facts About Jimmy Carter
- He was the first person from his father's side of the family to graduate from high school.
- He was a speed reader and could read up to 2000 words per minute.
- His great-grandfather was a member of the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
- In response to the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan, he had the U.S. boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics.
- Carter has often criticized the policies of sitting presidents, something most ex-presidents have opted not to do.
- He was the first president to be born in a hospital.
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Watch a video and listen to Jimmy Carter talk about his childhood
Biographies for Kids >> US Presidents for Kids