39. Jimmy Carter


Presidential Basics

  • Full name: James Earl Carter, Jr.
  • Years in office: 1977–1981
  • Political party: Democratic
  • Vice president: Walter Mondale
  • Age at inauguration: 52
  • Nicknames: “Jimmy”

Random Trivia

  • Working for peanuts: Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer before getting into politics.

Birth & Death


  • Father: James Earl Carter (1894–1953); Insurance broker, farmer, fertilizer dealer
  • Mother: Lillian Gordy Carter (1898–1983); Nurse, Peace Corps volunteer
  • Wife: Eleanor Rosalynn Smith (August 18, 1927 –)
  • Marriage: July 7, 1946 in Plains, Georgia
  • Children: Four
    • John William (Jack) (1947–)
    • James Earl III (Chip) (1950 –)
    • Donnel Jeffrey (Jeff) (1952–)
    • Amy Lynn (1967–)
  • Home: Plains, Georgia

Other Facts

  • Height: 5’10″
  • Eye color: Hazel
  • Ancestry: English
  • Religion: Baptist
  • Born in a log cabin: No
  • Owned enslaved people: No
  • Freemason: No


  • College degree: Yes
  • College: Georgia Southwestern College (1941–1942); Georgia Institute of Technology (1942–1943); United States Naval Academy (1947); Union College (1952–1953)


  • Military Service: Yes
  • Lawyer: No
  • Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy (1946–1954)
  • Farmer (1954–)
  • State Senator (1963–1966)
  • Governor of Georgia (1971–1975)
  • President (1977–1981)
  • Human rights activist
  • Foreign diplomat and peacekeeper
  • Writer


  • Why Not the Best?
  • A Government as Good as Its People
  • The Wit and Wisdom of Jimmy Carter
  • Keeping Faith
  • Everything to Gain
  • An Outdoor Journal
  • Turning Point
  • The Blood of Abraham
  • Always a Reckoning
  • Living Faith
  • The Virtues of Aging
  • An Hour Before Daylight


In 1976, Americans were weary of political figures and the government in general.  Between the unpopular Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, voters were primed for a Washington outsider to take control.

The Democrats found that D.C. outsider in peanut farmer turned governor, Jimmy Carter.  The Republicans stuck with their incumbent, Gerald Ford.  Ford had never been elected.  He was appointed vice president and then took over the presidency when Nixon resigned.  Ford’s pardon of Nixon, paired with some unfortunate gaffes, made for a tough campaign.  Carter’s campaign also hit some road bumps, most notably an ill-conceived interview with Playboy magazine.  It was a close election, but in the end Jimmy Carter won, becoming our 39th president.

Campaign Poster

J. C. Can Save America! poster by Chelsea Marketing, c. 1976 (Library of Congress)


© 2021 Periodic Presidents, PJ and Jamie Creek