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Jimmy Earl Carter

Gov. Jimmy Earl Carter

  • January 12, 1971 - January 14, 1975
  • Democratic
  • October 1, 1924
  • Georgia
  • United States Naval Academy
  • Married Rosalynn Smith; four children
  • President
  • Navy
  • 2002 Nobel Peace Prize


JAMES “JIMMY” EARL CARTER Jr. was born in a small farming town called Plains in Sumter County, Georgia, on October 1, 1924. He was educated in the Plains public schools, attended Georgia Southwestern College and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and received a B.S. degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1946. He served in the Navy from 1947 to 1953 as a submariner, serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and rising to the rank of lieutenant. Chosen by Admiral Hyman Rickover for the nuclear submarine program, he was assigned to Schenectady, New York, where he took graduate work at Union College in reactor technology and nuclear physics, and served as senior officer of the pre-commissioning crew of the Seawolf.  When his father died in 1953, he resigned his naval commission and took his family back to Plains. He took over the Carter farms, and he and Rosalynn operated Carter’s Warehouse, a general-purpose seed and farm supply company. He quickly became a leader of the community, serving on county boards supervising education, the hospital authority, and the library. In 1962 he won election to the Georgia Senate. He lost his first gubernatorial campaign in 1966, but won the next election, becoming Georgia’s 76th governor on January 12, 1971. During his tenure, he served on the National Governors’ Conference Executive Committee. He was the Democratic National Committee campaign chairman for the 1974 congressional elections.  On December 12, 1974, he announced his candidacy for President of the United States. He won his party’s nomination on the first ballot at the 1976 Democratic National Convention, and was elected President on November 2, 1976. Jimmy Carter served as President from January 20, 1977 to January 20, 1981. Significant foreign policy accomplishments of his administration included the Panama Canal treaties, the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel, the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union, and the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. He championed human rights throughout the world. On the domestic side, the administration’s achievements included a comprehensive energy program conducted by a new Department of Energy; deregulation in energy, transportation, communications, and finance; major educational programs under a new Department of Education; and major environmental protection legislation, including the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.



Governors of the American States, Commonwealths and Territories, National Governors’ Conference, 1974.

Jimmy Carter Library

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