Years in office: 1977–1981
Political party: Democratic
Birthday: October 1, 1924
This campaign memorabilia from the 1976 presidential election features the toothy grin of Jimmy Carter, and also references his time spent as a peanut farmer in Georgia.
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 their 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. It was a close election, but in the end, Jimmy Carter won, becoming our 39th president.
In 1980, the former governor of California, and famous actor, Ronald Reagan, faced the incumbent Jimmy Carter. The two differed in Cold War policy, with Reagan favoring a more aggressive stance against Russia. They differed in temperament, with Reagan taking on a more positive persona. And they differed in economics, with Reagan claiming America was in a recession and in need of government intervention. Reagan gained a boost in televised debates, a clear advantage for the seasoned actor. He won with 51% of the popular vote and 91% of the electoral vote.
LIBRARY & MUSEUM
Davis, Kenneth C., and Pedro Martin. Don’t Know Much about the Presidents. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2014.
DeGregorio, William A., and Aaron Jaffe. The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books, Inc., 2017.
Kane, Joseph Nathan, and Janet Podell. Facts about the Presidents: A Compilation of Biographical and Historical Information. New York: H.W. Wilson, 2009.
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