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Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter, Jr.), thirty-ninth President of the United States, was born October 1, 1924, in the small farming town of Plains, Georgia, and grew up in the nearby community of Archery. His father, James Earl Carter, Sr., was a farmer and businessman: his mother, Lillian Gordy Carter, was a registered nurse.
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 later did graduate work in nuclear physics at Union College. During his naval career, he served as a submariner in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and rose to the rank of Lieutenant (Senior Grade), working under Admiral Hyman Rickover in the development of the nuclear submarine program.
On July 7, 1946, he married Rosalynn Smith. When his father died in 1953, he resigned his naval commission and returned to Plains. He worked his own farm, and he and his wife Rosalynn operated Carter’s Warehouse, a general-purpose seed and farm supply company. He became involved in the affairs of the community, serving as chairman of the county school board and the first president of the Georgia Planning Association. 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. 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. Noteworthy 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 Lands Act.
Mr. Carter published an autobiography, Why Not the Best in 1975 (revised 1996), and A Government as Good as Its People in 1977 (revised 1996). Since his Presidency, he has published eleven books, several of which are now in revised editions. These books are; Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President, 1982, 1995; Negotiation: The Alternative to Hostility, 1984; The Blood of Abraham, 1985, 1993; Everything to Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life, (written with Rosalynn Carter), 1987, 1995; An Outdoor Journal, 1988, 1994; Turning Point: A Candidate, a State, and a Nation Come of Age, 1992; Talking Peace: A Vision for the Next Generation, 1993, 1995; Always a Reckoning, 1994; The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer illustrated by Amy Carter, 1995; Living Faith, 1996, and Sources of Strength: Meditations on Scripture for a Living Faith, 1997.
In 1982, he became University Distinguished Professor at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and founded the Carter Center in Atlanta. Actively guided by President Carter, the nonpartisan and nonprofit center addresses national and international issues of public policy. Carter Center fellows, associates and staff join with President Carter in efforts to resolve conflict, promote democracy, protect human rights, and prevent disease and other afflictions. Through the Global 2000 program, the center advances health and agriculture in the developing world. In 1991, President Carter launched The Atlanta Project (TAP), a community wide effort to attack the social problems associated with poverty.
The permanent facilities of The Carter Center were dedicated in October 1986, and include the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, administered by the National Archives and Records Administration . Also open to visitors is the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains, administered by the National Park Service.
President Carter has served on the board of directors, and he and Rosalynn are regular volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that helps needy people in the United States and in other countries renovate and build homes for themselves. He also teaches Sunday School and is a deacon in the Maranatha Baptist Church of Plains. For recreation, he enjoys fly-fishing, woodworking, jogging, cycling, and tennis.
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