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The Life and Tenure of President Jimmy Carter
Transcript of The Life and Tenure of President Jimmy Carter
The 39th President of the United States [1977-81]
Preceded by Gerald Ford, succeeded by Ronald Reagan
Wife & 4 kids
Baptist In the Beginning...
Born and raised in Plains, Georgia (1st President born in a hospital)
Eldest of four children
The Carter Family itself first arrived in the US in 1635 and lived in Georgia (paternal side [great-grandfather served in the Confederate Army])
Growing Up and Early Adulthood
Gifted student early on; held a fondness for reading
Star in basketball at Plains High School
Member of the Future Farmers of America (Chapter Secretary)
Enrolled at Georgia Southwestern College, but later admitted in 1943 to the United States Naval Academy [graduated 59 out of 820 midshipmen]
Married Rosalynn Smith in 1946, four children ensued
Cousin of Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr. and June Carter Cash
Served on both surface ships and diesel-electric submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
Notably served under Hyman G. Rickover, who, next to his parents, was Carter's greatest influence
Heavily involved with nuclear submarines
Planned to make the Navy his permanent career until his father died, resulting in his return to his family's peanut farm, which he expanded and through which became wealthy
Also served as a Sunday School teacher during much of his life, stating Jesus Christ as his driving force in life.
Entrance into Politics
Served two terms in Georgia Senate from the 14th district, January 14, 1963 – 1966
Campaigned for governor in '66, not wanting to see a Republican governor; did not win, but received wish
Next campaigned in '70 and defeated Hal Suit to become the 76th Governor of Georgia
Term as Governor
Carter was the first officeholder in the Deep South to publicly speak out against segregation, saying that it has no place in the future of the state
Privately pro-life, but enforced the rulings of Roe v. Wade
Heavily reformed the state government, installing new precedents for elections (e.g. those based on the office seeker's merit, not political influence) and merging some 300 state agencies into 30; also significantly worked on reforming education and aid for schools/mentally handicapped children
Began influencing alternatives to the death penalty (and still does), especially the life prison sentence, which did not exist in Georgia
1976 Presidential Election
Only had a name recognition rate of 2% at the time, but persisted, even when his own mother responded, "President of what?"
Focal point of campaign: government reorganization (especially after Watergate)
"He traveled over 50,000 miles, visited 37 states, and delivered over 200 speeches before any other candidates even announced that they were in the race."
Through his astounding and extensive campaigning, the mass media ate him up and promoted him
Attacked Washington in speeches and proclaimed a religious salve to heal nation's wounds
Defeated Ford 297 to 240 EV, 50.1% to 48.0% PV; first President from the Deep South since 1848
"We have learned that more is not necessarily better, that even our great nation has its recognized limits, and that we can neither answer all questions nor solve all problems." ~Carter, Inauguration
The Tenure of President Jimmy Carter
President Carter's term is mainly characterized by inflation, recession, and bad diplomacy.
Upon entry, cut back many services: walked up to the White House from the Capitol in inaugural parade, cut back staff by 1/3, ceased the chauffeur service for Cabinet members, and put the presidential yacht up for sale.
Appointed no justices to the Supreme Court [only President to not do so], but did appoint 56 to the Court of Appeals and 203 to the US districts courts.
•Split the Department of Health, Education and Welfare into the Dept. of Education and the Dept. of Health and Human Services.
•Signed a major Civil Service Reform (1st in over 100 years).
•Declared unconditional amnesty for draft dodgers during the Vietnam War era.
•Airline Deregulation Act of 1978
•1st President to address gay rights, opposed The Briggs Initiative
•Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act – 103 million acres
•Federal government in deficit every year
•The 1979 Oil Crisis
•November 1978: strike of 37,000 workers in Iran, causes Shah of Iran to flee to US
•So began an oil crisis. Carter: “the moral equivalent of war” | July 15, 1979: Crisis of Confidence Speech (Malaise), Carter Doctrine in 1980
•Also caused mainly in part by Nixon’s leave from the gold standard and the sending of arms to Israel during the Yom Kippur War
•All that + OPEC limited supply of oil = oil crisis
•All of this created Dept. of Energy, National Energy Act and PURPA—Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act
Before the Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Treaty expired, signed the Camp David Accords: one of his best accomplishments as President
Other things people said he did wrong:
•Gave back Panama Canal to Panama amid turmoil within the country
•SALT II treaty: due to opposition, never ratified, but effects still happened
•Iran Hostage Crisis, oh boy….
•Actually achieved much more after being President than before:
•After finding his peanut farm $1 mil in debt, decided to take another path: The Carter Center
•“Advance human rights and alleviate unnecessary human suffering”
•“In 2002, President Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work ‘to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development’ through The Carter Center.”
•Only President to receive Nobel Peace Prize after tenure
•Habitat for Humanity: “devoted to building ‘simple, decent, and affordable’ housing”
•Reportedly saw a UFO in 1969, but later denied his submittal as him appeasing his daughter at the time to send in his "experience"