James (Jimmy) Earl Carter

Thirty-Ninth President 1977-1981


Born: October 1, 1924 at Plains, Georgia.

Education: Attended Georgia Institute of Technology and graduated from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.

Occupation: Farmer and public official.

Religion: Baptist.

Family life: Married Margaret Rosalynn Smith in 1946. The young couple went to Norfolk, Virginia, Ensign Carter's first duty station after graduation. The Navy kept them on the move. Their sons were born in different places: John William in Virginia, James Earl III in Hawaii, and Donnel Jeffrey in Connecticut. The Carters' only daughter, Amy Lynn, was born in Georgia in 1967. From 1977 to 1978, she served as the Honorary Chairperson of the President's Commission on Mental Health. After returning home, Mrs. Carter wrote her autobiography, First Lady From Plains, published in 1984. She is a director of the Carter Center, where she manages an active mental health program and works with human rights, conflict resolution, and childhood immunization.

Political career: Elected to the Georgia State Senate, ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1966, but won in 1970. Limited by Georgia law to one term, he devoted his time from 1974- 1976 to his quest for the presidency.

Hightlights of his presidency: Mediated peace talks between Israel and Egypt at the Camp David Summit meeting. Promoted ratification of the Panama Canal Treaty. Last year in office marred by his inability to resolve the Iranian hostage crisis quickly.

Appearance: Medium height, graying hair, jowly but otherwise trim. Famous for his smile.


  • Inaugural Address
  • The Carter Center
  • Jimmy Carter and Human Rights: Behind the Media Myth
  • Jimmy Carter from the National Archives and Records Administration
  • National Historic Site
  • Jimmy Carter's Civil War Poem




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