Jimmy Carter

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Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter by Abrams.jpg
39th President of the United States
From: January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
Vice PresidentWalter Mondale
PredecessorGerald Ford
SuccessorRonald Reagan
76th Governor of Georgia
From: January 12, 1971 – January 14, 1975
PredecessorLester Maddox
SuccessorGeorge Busbee
Information
Party Democrat
Spouse(s) Rosalynn Carter
Religion Baptist

Jimmy Carter (formally James Earl Carter, Jr., born 1924) was the 39th President of the United States of America, defeating Republican Gerald Ford in 1976. Carter was a Democrat who served from 1977-1981, after being a one-term Governor of Georgia. At that time, the Georgia Constitution did not permit the Governor to succeed himself. After a failed presidency marked by disasters in the economy and foreign affairs, and poor leadership, Carter was defeated for reelection in 1980 by Ronald Reagan, as the nation moved sharply more conservative.

Coming out of nowhere in 1976, Carter promised a restoration of honesty to Washington after Watergate, and built a coalition that included most of the South, thanks to his strong support among blacks and his considerable support (in 1976 only) among fellow white Baptists.

In an October 2000 survey of 132 prominent professors of history, law, and political science, Carter's presidency was rated in the "Below Average" group; he ranked 30th, with a mean score of 2.47 out of 5.00.[1] This survey, sponsored by the Wall Street Journal and the conservative Federalist Society, ranked Carter ahead of Richard Nixon, and below George H.W. Bush.

Carter has been unusually active as an ex-president, serving as an election monitor in many emerging democracies, working with Habitat for Humanity, and as a self-proclaimed "peace advocate", was recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize. Carter considers his accomplishments in his post-presidency as "superior" to his fellow office-holders.[2][3][4] In recent years, he has become very controversial because of his vicious attacks against Israel and his alleged anti-semitic sentiments.

Contents

Early Life

Carter was born and raised on his father's farm in Georgia. He entered the Naval Academy at Annapolis and graduated from there in 1946. Shortly afterwards, on July 7, he married Rosalynn Smith. Carter worked in submarines, attaining the rank of lieutenant, until he resigned in 1953. He became a peanut farmer afterwards. [5] Carter entered politics by running for the Georgia State Senate. He almost lost a close race against Homer Moore, but Carter beat him in the final tally.

Governor of Georgia

In 1966 Carter unsuccessfully sought the Democrat nomination for Governor of Georgia. This failure significantly affected Carter personally by influencing him to turn to religion for comfort, convincing him that he had been "born again."[6] Carter did succeed in his second bid for Governor in 1970. Racism was a major factor in his campaign, in which he criticized his primary challenger Carl Sanders for paying tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., in an effort to depress Sanders's white vote. Carter said "I have no trouble pitching for [George] Wallace votes and black votes at the same time, I can win this election without a single black vote." [7] Carter was elected governor, with almost no African American support. For the next four years he presided over state affairs. He presented himself as a populist, the representative of the people as opposed to special interests. Carter emphasized welfare reform, educational advance and budget reform. Once pro-life, he changed his position and supported the legalization of abortion and worked to replace capital punishment in Georgia with life in prison. In 1974, the Georgia Constitution prohibited the Governor from seeking a consecutive term, and Carter was succeeded by Joe Frank Harris. The Georgia Constitution was amended in 1976 to permit the Governor to serve two consecutive terms, and Harris was re-elected in 1978.

1976 Presidential Campaign

Main Article: United States presidential election, 1976

Carter had decided well before his term as Governor ended to run for the Presidency in 1976. His campaign, which began in early 1975, stressed Washington's defects such as the Watergate affair in 1974. He campaigned on a widespread call for change. In the Democrat primary, Carter was able to defeat George Wallace in the southern primaries and established himself as a person who could win the south and reestablish Democrat control of the White House. He won the primary because of his inspiring and well organized campaign. [8] Running against President Gerald Ford in the general election, Carter had little experience in national politics, however he used that to his benefit by promising to restore honesty and morality to government. On election day, Carter edged out Ford with 50 percent of the vote to 48 percent.

Presidency (1977-1981)

President Carter's inauguration, 01/20/77
On taking office Carter proposed radical energy programs, redistributive tax reform, public campaign financing, a consumer protection agency (that Ralph Nader had long championed), labor law reform, and enactment of the Equal Rights Amendment. He fought with fellow Democrats in Congress and achieved little or nothing. Meanwhile "stagflation" hit the economy hard, as energy shortages, slow growth, escalating inflation and very high interest rates sapped the economy.

It was worse in foreign affairs. Carter did broker a temporary peace in the Middle East, but was forced to abandon détente when the Russians began to exploit American weaknesses around the globe. Carter was forced to restart the Cold War when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, but his belated actions validated the complaints of conservatives that he offered too little too late. Meanwhile the nation was humiliated in Iran, where militants held American diplomats captive for 444 days, while Carter proved helpless.

000carter.jpg

Administration

Office Name Term
President Jimmy Carter 1977-1981
Vice President Walter Mondale 1977-1981
Secretary of State Cyrus Vance 1977-1980
Edmund Muskie 1980-1981
Secretary of Treasury W. Michael Blumenthal 1977-1979
G. William Miller 1979-1981
Secretary of Defense Harold Brown 1977-1981
Attorney General Griffin Bell 1977-1979
Benjamin R. Civiletti 1979-1981
Secretary of Interior Cecil D. Andrus 1977-1981
Secretary of Commerce Juanita M. Kreps 1977-1979
Philip M. Klutznick 1979-1981
Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall 1977-1981
Secretary of Agriculture Robert Bergland 1977–1981
Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Joseph A. Califano, Jr. 1977-1979
Secretary of Health and Human Services Patricia R. Harris 1979-1981
Secretary of Education Shirley M. Hufstedler 1977-1981
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Patricia R. Harris 1977-1979
Maurice Landrieu 1979-1981
Secretary of Transportation Brock Adams 1977-1979
Neil E. Goldschmidt 1979-1981
Secretary of Energy James R. Schlesinger 1977–1979
Charles W. Duncan 1979-1981

Economic Crisis

President Carter during White House Press Conference.
Carter inherited a recession when taking office. First he tried to reduce unemployment by both increasing government spending and cutting taxes. However, when inflation skyrocketed in 1978 he changed his mind. He delayed tax cuts and vetoed the spending programs that he himself proposed to the Congress. Carter then tried to ease inflation by reducing money supply and raising interest rates. All of his efforts proved to be unsuccessful. Inflation and interest rates soon reached their highest levels since World War II.

The rapid change in interest rates led to disintermediation of bank deposits, which sowed the seeds of the Savings and Loan crisis. Investments in fixed income were becoming less valuable. Holders of both bonds, and pensions being paid to retired people had their life savings wiped out. The stagnant growth of the economy (causing unemployment), in combination with a high rate of inflation, has often been called stagflation, an unprecedented situation in American economics. By 1979, public opinion polls had Carter's popularity lower then Richard Nixon's during Watergate, partly because of his inexperience and difficulties working with Congress.

Energy Crisis

Carter proposed a national energy program to conserve oil and promote the use of coal and renewable energy sources. He also persuaded Congress to create the Department of Energy, and asked Americans to personally reduce their energy consumption. Although oil companies were insisting on deregulation of the energy industry, Carter advocated a "windfall profits tax" to prevent oil companies from overcharging consumers. Carter's plan did not solve the country's energy crisis. In the summer of 1979 a major oil shortage in the United States took place because of instability in the middle east. After increasing pressure to act, Carter gave several televised address' where he complained that there was a "crisis of confidence that had struck at the very heart and soul of our national will." Although Carter meant the speech to be a timely warning, many Americans interpreted it as President Carter blaming the public for his failures. Critics dubbed it Carter's "malaise speech."

Foreign Policy

The nation feared it was losing its world power, as this magazine cover shows, Nov. 1978

In contrast to Carter's economic policies which were uncertain and left the public confused, his foreign policy was more clearly defined, although foreign policy is where Jimmy Carter suffered his worst defeats. In his inaugural speech he stated that "our commitment to human rights must be absolute." He singled out the Soviet Union as a violator of human rights and strongly condemned the country for arresting its citizens for political protests. However, he was criticized for not doing enough to promote his proclaimed 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.

Carter also tried to remove the U.S. image of interventionism by giving Panamanians control of the Panama Canal. Over conservative opposition he did so--but Panama fell into the hands of a dictator who threatened Americans and had to be overthrown by an American invasion in 1989.

Détente with the Soviet Union collapsed when Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. President Carter responded by imposing an embargo on the sale of grain to the Soviet Union, humiliating Moscow by orchestrating a western boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow, and start funding and arming the anti-Soviet forces inside Afghanistan. The policy of détente that was established by President Nixon was over and the "Second Cold War" began.

Camp David Accords

Carter's greatest and arguably only triumph while in office was a historic peace treaty known as the Camp David Peace Accords, between Israel and Egypt, two nations that had been bitter enemies for decades.
Blindfolded American hostages being paraded before the public by their Iranian captors, November 5, 1979.
The treaty was formally signed in 1979, with most middle eastern countries opposed to it.

Iran Hostage Crisis

Main article: Iran Hostage Crisis

In 1979, a new radical Islamic regime lead by Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran overthrew America's close ally Shah. Thousands of modernizers were arrested, expelled or executed. In November 1979 student revolutionaries stormed into the American embassy in Tehran and captured 52 United States diplomats as hostages. The US seized all Iranian assets and tried to bargain, a process that dragged on for 444 days. Despite pressure to use military action Carter tried to negotiate with Iran, which proved to be unsuccessful. In April 1980 President Carter approved a rescue attempt (over the opposition of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance). To the nations dismay, the attempt failed when several helicopters malfunctioned. Eight serviceman died in the accident. Carter's negotiations with Iran continued throughout 1980. Ironically, the hostages were released just after Carter left office on January 20, 1981, as they were fearful of what President Reagan might do.

1980 Reelection Campaign

Main Article: United States presidential election, 1980

By the time of President Carter's reelection campaign, the country was plagued by problems, including high levels of unemployment, inflation, interest rates and the Iranian hostage crisis. Although incumbent Presidents usually win their party's nomination easily, Carter faced a primary challenge from the more liberal Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. Carter was able to maintain a lead over Kennedy and defeated him with 51 percent of the vote to 38 percent. In the general election, Carter faced two opponents: Conservative and charismatic California Governor Ronald Reagan as the Republican nominee and moderate Illinois Congressman John Anderson running as an Independent. Reagan locked the election in late October of the campaign when, at the Presidential debate, he asked the voters, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" His relaxed performance helped to dispel fears from the Carter camp that Reagan was a war monger. Reagan won by a large margin, 43.9 million votes for Reagan and 35.5 million votes for Carter. Democrats maintained control of the House of Representatives but by a narrower margin, and lost control of the United States Senate.

Carter left office disappointed and unhappy. He became the first elected President since Herbert Hoover to lose a bid for a second term.

Post Presidency

Cover of Jimmy Carter's book, Peace Not Apartheid, which accuses Israel of practicing racism.

Carter has been active in foreign affairs since his presidency. His continued work mediating international disputes, organizing election observations, and working with organizations on disease and hunger were cited when he was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize. In his Nobel lecture, Carter declared his support for "international law":

Our President, Woodrow Wilson, was honored here for promoting the League of Nations, whose two basic concepts were profoundly important: "collective security" and "self-determination." Now they are embedded in international law. Violations of these premises during the last half-century have been tragic failures, as was vividly demonstrated when the Soviet Union attempted to conquer Afghanistan and when Iraq invaded Kuwait. [9]


In one book, "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid", he made the point that any peace accords reached would fundamentally have to be accompanied by the ceasing of terrorist activity towards Israel, he wrote:

It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel.

The sentiment was widely criticized. He apologized for the wording of that sentence, but not for his larger message.[10]

  • His 2006 book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," caused a top aide to resign. Professor Kenneth Stein resigned from the Carter Center because of its depiction of Israel through three decades of diplomatic and military dealings with the Palestinians. Mr. Stein had served as an aide to Mr. Carter during most of those years and considers the book deceitful and malicious. As the book's title suggests, Carter compares Israel with the white supremacist regime of old South Africa. Fourteen members of the Carter Center's advisory board have resigned over the book.

In September 2009, Carter caused controversy when he stated that conservative criticisms of Barack Obama are due to racism.

"I think, an overwhelming portion, of the intensely demonstrated animosity towed President Barack Obama, is based on the fact that he is a black man. That he's African American...because of a belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African Americans are not qualified to lead this great country." [11]

John McCain responded to Carter's remarks, "I'm deeply disturbed by those accusations because it's an unfair and untrue commentary on the American people, and them exercising their God-given rights to disagree with the administration. It seems to me that President Carter has earned his place as, if not the worst president in history, certainly the worst in the 20th century." [12]

As President, Carter expressed a goal of making government "competent and compassionate." In pursuit of that vision, he has been involved in a variety of national and international public policy, conflict resolution, human rights and charitable causes.

He founded The Carter Center in 1982 which has the goal of alleviating human suffering. The Center promotes democratic elections and has programmes to improve health in developing countries through the control of parasitic diseases such as Guinea Worm. It is fair to say that ex-President Carter is probably much more respected outside the United States than in his home country.

UFO Sighting

Jimmy Carter's UFO report.
Carter reported seeing an unidentified flying object UFO in 1969. He later recalled, "A light appeared and disappeared in the sky . . . I think the light was beckoning me to run in the California primary." [13] Astronomers generally concur that he actually saw the planet Venus.[14]

See also

Basic further reading

  • Bourne, Peter G. Jimmy Carter: A Comprehensive Biography from Plains to Post-Presidency (1997).
  • Brinkley, Douglas. The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey beyond the White House (1998). excerpt and text search
  • Fink, Gary M. and Hugh Davis Graham, eds. The Carter Presidency: Policy Choices in the Post-New Deal Era (1998)
  • Gaillard, Frye. Prophet from Plains: Jimmy Carter and His Legacy (2007). excerpt and text search
  • Hargrove, Erwin C. Jimmy Carter as President: Leadership and the Politics of the Public Good (1988).
  • Kaufman, Burton Ira. The Presidency of James Earl Carter, Jr. (1993), the best survey of his administration
  • Kaufman, Burton Ira. The Carter Years (2006), short biographies of all the major players
  • Morris, Kenneth E. Jimmy Carter, American Moralist (1996).
  • Venezia, Mike. Jimmy Carter: Thirty-Ninth President (Getting to Know the US Presidents) (2008), for middle schools excerpt and text search
  • Wilentz, Sean. The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008 (2007) excerpt and text search

Specialized Bibliography

Biography, personality and rhetoric

  • Bourne, Peter G. Jimmy Carter: A Comprehensive Biography From Plains to Post-Presidency (1997)
  • Flint, Andrew R. and Joy Porter. "Jimmy Carter: The re-emergence of faith-based politics and the abortion rights issue. " Presidential Studies Quarterly (March 2005) 35#1 pp. 28–51
  • Gaillard, Frye. Prophet from Plains: Jimmy Carter and His Legacy (2007). excerpt and text search
  • Hahn, Dan F. "The rhetoric of Jimmy Carter, 1976–1980" in Theodore Windt and Beth Ingold, eds. Essays in Presidential Rhetoric (3rd ed. 1992) pp. 331–365
  • Mattson, Kevin. 'What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?': Jimmy Carter, America's 'Malaise,' and the Speech that Should Have Changed the Country (2009)
  • Ribuffo, Leo P. "God and Jimmy Carter" in M. L. Bradbury and James B. Gilbert, eds. Transforming Faith: The Sacred and Secular in Modern American History (1989) pp. 141–159, by conservative historian
  • Ribuffo, Leo P. "'Malaise' revisited: Jimmy Carter and the crisis of confidence" in John Patrick Diggins, ed. The Liberal Persuasion: Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and the Challenge of the American Past (1997) by conservative historian
  • Stuckey, Mary E. Jimmy Carter, Human Rights, and the National Agenda (2009) on Presidential rhetoric

Domestic policy

  • Biven, W. Carl Jimmy Carter's Economy: Policy in an Age of Limits (2002) online edition
  • Campagna, Anthony S. Economic Policy in the Carter Administration (1995) 216 pp online edition
  • Dumbrell, John, ed. The Carter Presidency: A Re-evaluation (2nd ed. 1995), British perspective
  • Fink, Gary M. and Hugh Davis Graham, eds. The Carter Presidency: Policy Choices in the Post-New Deal Era (1998)
  • Kaufman, Burton I. The Presidency of James Earl Carter, Jr (1993), the standard scholarly survey
  • Rosenbaum, Herbert D. and Alexej Ugrinsky, eds. The Presidency and Domestic Policies of Jimmy Carter (1994), essays by experts online edition

Politics

  • Aronoff, Yael S., "In Like a Lamb, Out Like a Lion: The Political Conversion of Jimmy Carter," Political Science Quarterly, 121 (Fall 2006), 425–49.
  • Busch, Andrew E. Reagan's Victory: The Presidential Election of 1980 and the Rise of the Right, (2005) online review by Michael Barone
  • Fink, Gary M. Prelude to the Presidency: The Political Character and Legislative Leadership Style of Governor Jimmy Carter (1980). online edition
  • Freedman, Robert. "The Religious Right and the Carter Administration." Historical Journal 2005 48(1): 231-260. Issn: 0018-246x Fulltext: in Swetswise
  • Gillon, Steven M. The Democrats' Dilemma: Walter F. Mondale and the Liberal Legacy (1992)
  • Hargrove, Erwin C. Jimmy Carter as President: Leadership and the Politics of the Public Good (1988).
  • Jones, Charles O. The Trusteeship Presidency: Jimmy Carter and the United States Congress (1988)
  • Kaufman, Burton I. The Presidency of James Earl Carter, Jr (1993), the standard scholarly survey
  • Kaufman, Burton Ira. The Carter Years (2006), short biographies of all the major players
  • Morgan, Iwan. "Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and the New Democratic Economics." Historical Journal 2004 47(4): 1015-1039. Issn: 0018-246x Fulltext: in Swetswise
  • Pomper, Gerald M., ed. The Election of 1980: Reports and Interpretations (1981)
  • Ranney, Austin, ed. The American Elections of 1980 (1982), essays by political scientists
  • Strong, Robert A. "Recapturing leadership: The Carter administration and the crisis of confidence," Presidential Studies Quarterly (Fall 1986) 16#3 pp 636–650
  • White, Theodore H. America in Search of Itself: The Making of the President, 1956–1980 (1982), classic narrative of presidential campaigns
  • Witcover, Jules. Marathon: The Pursuit of the Presidency, 1972–1976 (1977), very detailed narrative

Foreign Policy

  • Berggren, D. Jason and Rae, Nicol C. "Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush: Faith, Foreign Policy, and an Evangelical Presidential Style." Presidential Studies Quarterly 2006 36(4): 606-632. Issn: 0360-4918 Fulltext: in Swetswise and Ingenta
  • Clymer, Kenton. "Jimmy Carter, Human Rights, and Cambodia." Diplomatic History 2003 27(2): 245-278. Issn: 0145-2096 Fulltext: in Swetswise, Ingenta and Ebsco
  • Dumbrell, John, ed. The Carter Presidency: A Re-evaluation (2nd ed. 1995), British perspective
  • Harris, David. The Crisis: the President, the Prophet, and the Shah—1979 and the Coming of Militant Islam (2004}
  • Houghton, David Patrick. US Foreign Policy and the Iran Hostage Crisis (2001) Patrick Houghton&dcontributors=David%20Patrick%20Houghton online edition
  • Kaufman, Burton I. The Presidency of James Earl Carter, Jr (1993), the standard scholarly survey
  • Rosenbaum, Herbert D. and Alexej Ugrinsky, eds. Jimmy Carter: Foreign Policy and Post-Presidential Years (1994), essays by experts online edition
  • Schmitz, David F. and Vanessa Walker. "Jimmy Carter and the Foreign Policy of Human Rights: the Development of a Post-cold War Foreign Policy." Diplomatic History 2004 28(1): 113-143. Issn: 0145-2096 Fulltext: in Swetswise, Ingenta and Ebsco
  • Skidmore, David. Reversing Course: Carter's Foreign Policy, Domestic Politics, and the Failure of Reform (1996).
  • Stein, Kenneth W. Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace (1999) W. Stein&dcontributors=Kenneth%20W.%20Stein online edition
  • Strong, Robert A. Working in the World: Jimmy Carter and the Making of American Foreign Policy (2000)
  • Thornton, Richard C. The Carter Years: Toward a New Global Order (1991) 572 pp. online edition

Post-presidential years

  • Brinkley, Douglas. The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey beyond the White House (1998). excerpt and text search
  • Dershowitz, Alan. The Case Against Israel's Enemies: Exposing Jimmy Carter and Others Who Stand in the Way of Peace (2009) excerpt and text search
  • Evans, Mike. Jimmy Carter: The Liberal Left and World Chaos: A Carter/Obama Plan That Will Not Work (2009), conservative critique

Primary sources

Books by aides

  • Califano, Joseph A., Jr. Governing America: An insider's report from the White House and the Cabinet. 1981
  • Jordan, Hamilton. Crisis: The Last Year of the Carter Presidency. 1982
  • Lance, Bert. The Truth of the Matter: My Life in and out of Politics. 1991

External links

References

  1. Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and the Worst in the White House (Wall Street Journal Book, 2004)
  2. Jimmy Carter: I'm A Superior Ex-President, CBS.com , September 20, 2010.
  3. Obama, Racism, and Jimy Carter, By Jeff Stein, CQ Politics, 9/17/2009.
  4. The Roots of the I.Q. Debate, Eugenics and Social Control, By Margaret Quigley, Political Research Associates.
  5. Encyclopedia of Presidents, Jimmy Carter, by Linda R. Wade, Children's Press, Chicago, 1989, pp. 11-33.
  6. The Presidents by Richard Kirkendall, pg. 552
  7. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Jimmy-Carters-racist-campaign-of-1970-59499482.html
  8. The American Vision, pg. 966
  9. Text of Carter's Nobel Lecture Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, 2002.
  10. Washington Post, January 24, 2007 [1]
  11. http://erickbrockway.wordpress.com/2009/09/16/the-new-radicals-vs-the-new-racists/
  12. McCain:Jimmy Carter worst president ever, freedomeden.blogspot.com, September 18, 2009
  13. Jimmy Carter UFO
  14. Val Morgan, et al. Rumor (1984).


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