James Earl Carter
|James Earl Carter|
January 20, 1977 — January 20, 1981
|Preceded by||Gerald Ford|
|Succeeded by||Ronald Reagan|
|Birthdate||October 1, 1924|
Carter grew up in the small town of Plains, Georgia. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and served in the U.S. Navy nuclear submarine fleet under Admiral Hyman Rickover. After the death of his father, James Earl Carter, Sr., he returned home with his wife Rosalynn and took over the family peanut farming and warehousing business.
Carter was and is to this day a devout Baptist.
Carter became involved in local politics in part because of his conviction that racial segregation was no longer a viable option for the American South, a position he held largely because of the influence of his mother, who had been one of the few "liberal" whites in Plains. Upon his election as governor of Georgia, he rose to national prominence as a reformer and a representative of the so-called "New South." His decision to seek the US presidency was initially viewed as quixotic, but in the wake of the Watergate scandals and the resignation of Richard M. Nixon, Carter's homespun manner, honesty, and idealism appealed to millions of Americans. In 1977, he became the first US president from the "Deep South" since prior to the Civil War.
Carter's presidency was marked by a period of American supremacy being challenged abroad and economic recession and stagflation striking at home. In the midst of the 1980 campaign, a pro-U.S. dictatorship was toppled by the 1979 Iranian Revolution and fifty-two hostages were taken inside the American embassy by Islamic revolutionaries after Carter gave sanctuary to exiled dictator Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. With the international outrage at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan later the same year, Carter appeared impotent, as America saw its influence declining abroad. Inflation and interest rates reached their highest levels since World War II as the administration freed domestic oil prices in response to rising prices from OPEC. Despite Carter's own Democratic Party controlling both Houses of Congress, and the White House he failed to reform the tax system, and to reduce the size of the government bureaucracy, as promised during the 1976 campaign, or to pass the Martin Luther King holiday. Among his administration's actions were the Panama Canal treaties, the Camp David Accords, and the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union. His administration oversaw the founding of the Departments of Energy and Education and enacted strong legislation on environmental protection.
During the Presidential campaign of 1976 campaign, Carter made frequent references to the "Misery Index". The concept simply adds together the rates of inflation and unemployment, and by the summer of 1976 the Misery Index was 13.57%. Carter stated that no man responsible for giving the country a misery index that high had a right to even ask to be President. However by 1980, the last year of Carter's presidency, the Misery Index had reached an all-time high of 21.98%.
Many have accused Carter of ordering a cover-up of the events at Three Mile Island following the near meltdown of that nuclear plant. He has also been criticized for not doing enough to promote his stated human rights foreign policy stance in his administration, such as continuing to support the Indonesian government even while it was implicated in the commission of acts of genocide in the occupation of East Timor.
Interest in extraterrestrial life and UFOs
President Carter claims to have witnessed an unidentified flying object in 1969; he remains the only U.S. President to have formally reported a UFO. He filed a report with the International UFO Bureau in Oklahoma City after a request from that organization.  During his presidential campaign, Carter promised to release the truth about any alleged UFO cover-up.
Through Stanford Research Institute, Mr. Alfred Webre was Principal Investigator for a proposed civilian scientific study of extraterrestrial communication presented to and developed with interested Carter White House staff. This took place during the period from May 1977 until the fall of 1977.
President Carter, official statement placed on the Voyager spacecraft for its trip outside our solar system, June 16, 1977: "We cast this message into the cosmos . . . Of the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, some - - perhaps many - - may have inhabited planets and space faring civilizations. If one such civilization intercepts Voyager and can understand these recorded contents, here is our message: We are trying to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope some day, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of Galactic Civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination and our goodwill in a vast and awesome universe."
The many problems during Carter's presidency and the fact that he failed to deal with them decisively, made him an unpopular president and contributed to his landslide re-election defeat. He was defeated in the 1980 presidential election by Ronald Reagan by nearly ten percentage points. Republicans also gained control of the Senate for the first time in twenty-five years as a result of the country's anger toward Democrats because of Carter's failures. The electoral college vote was a landslide, with 489 votes (representing 44 states) for Reagan and 49 for Carter (representing 6 states and the District of Columbia).
In the decades since he left office, Carter gained new respect as an international mediator and peacemaker and has used his position as a former president to further many charitable causes. In 1982 he founded the Carter Center as a forum for issues related to democracy and human rights. He has also travelled extensively to monitor elections, conduct peace negotiations, and establish relief efforts. In 2002, Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize for his "efforts to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development." Unusually for a US statesman, he has been vocal in his criticism of Israel's treatment of Palestine going so far as to use the term 'apartheid'.
Books by Jimmy Carter
- Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (2006) ISBN 0743285026
- The Hornet's Nest: A Novel of the Revolutionary War (2003) ISBN 0743255429
- The Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (2002) ISBN 0743250680
- An Hour Before Daylight (2001) ISBN 0743211936
- Christmas in Plains : Memories (2001) ISBN 0743224914
- The Virtues of Aging (1998) ISBN 0345428269
- Sources of Strength: Meditation on Scripture for a Living Faith (1997) ISBN 0812929446
- Living Faith (1996) ISBN 0812927362
- Turning Point (1995) ISBN 051713750X
- Everything to Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life by Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter (1987) ISBN 0394558588
- Blood of Abraham (1985) ISBN 555009519X
- Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President (1982) ISBN 0553050230
- Why Not the Best? (1975) ISBN 0805455612
dailyKos diaries and discussions
- Jimmy Carter's Lost Vision: The Solution to War on Terrorism Fri Jan 28th, 2005 at 00:29:53 EST by Descrates
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