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Jimmy Carter, America’s thirty-ninth president, was born on October first 1924. He was born to James Earl and Lillian Carter in southwest Georgia. Surprisingly, he was the first president to be born in a hospital. He was the oldest of four children. He had a younger brother, Billy and two sisters: Gloria and Ruth. The Carters grew up on a farm in Plains Georgia where they farmed for peanuts. His dad was a successful farmer and Jimmy didn’t seem to mind helping out. Once he said, "As a child my greatest ambition was to be valuable around the farm and to please my father." He loved his father very much and had always wanted to please him. In his later years he even wrote a book “An Hour Before Daylight.” The book was a big seller and was mainly about his growing up and how he felt for his father. The farming had been a profitable business, helping them get through the great depression. Jimmy seemed to be living a simple life with only one problem, in the early to mid 1900’s segregation and racism was very prevalent. His father was a sworn segregationalist, however his mother was a caring person who did not believe in the practice. She always tried to set a good example and would be caring towards the black neighbors whenever possible.
Jimmy Carter attended classes at both the Georgia Southwestern College and the Georgia institute of technology. Carter was a good student and finished 59th in his class of 820. He was affectionate towards many of his teachers and was very caring. He even mentioned one of his high school teachers in his inaugural address. With his father’s help and a lot of hard work Jimmy was appointed to the Naval academy in 1943. At the time America was in the Second World War. Jimmy was very busy training and was a good student at the naval academy. He was known to be a very disciplined and serious officer. Some of his shipmates described him as helpful and friendly but knew him to be very serious and not one to play around. All throughout his life Jimmy was know to be very serious and a hard worker. After a few years serving in a submarine program for the Navy, Carter was placed in a groundbreaking Nuclear Submarine program with Admiral Hyman Rickover.
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While he was busy training he was also very busy with the lady in his life. He met a girl named Rosalynn Smith, who happened to be his younger sister’s best friend. Jimmy did not know Rosalynn for too long but they ended up getting engaged soon after they met. The two were married in 1946.
Not too long into Jimmy’s naval career some bad news came. His father had been diagnosed with cancer. Jimmy went to go see him and was met with a huge crowd of concerned neighbors and friends. He was amazed by the reaction and knew that he needed to do his part to help. Jimmy decided to leave his promising naval career to go back to the farm where he started. His wife was very angry with him about leaving the Navy life and the two had many big arguments about the subject.
In 1953 the Carters went back to the old peanut farm. Now Jimmy had Rosalyyn’s help. She ended up contributing a lot to the business by modernizing and expanding the already profitable business into a huge peanut farm and warehouse facility. The family was making plenty of money and could enjoy a nice house and being able to take vacations when they pleased.
When Jimmy was 38 he started his career in politics. He surprised his wife with the idea of running for Senate, and this time she seemed to support him. His father was a senator for a short while before being diagnosed with cancer and his death. Jimmy had a great campaign and was very confident about the election. Sadly the election did not turn out in his favor. His opponent had a very strong political stance and much professional help to back him up. Carter knew this man to be a fraud and not a good man. So he contested the results of the election and eventually became the senator himself. Jimmy was a quiet senator and did not seem to stand out very much. Although he was quiet he was a very effective senator and spent a lot of time going over bills and trying to make the best pure-hearted decisions and remove corruption if he could. He had high ambitions and eventually wanted to become lieutenant governor.
In 1966 Jimmy Carter ran to be a governor. He had a good campaign going but sadly lost to Carl Sanders. Four years later he decided to run in the 1970 election. The odds looked bad against him because the former governor Carl Sanders was running again. Jimmy was still very determined and did what he always did when the situation looked down-he worked hard. Many of his friends and family members did their best to help Jimmy with his growing campaign. This time with a lot of hard work Jimmy had actually made it into office. Jimmy had tried to stand out the middle class, the average hard workers who were mainly white. It seemed to be a tough crowd to win over since many were segregationalists. Jimmy was not for segregation at the time but seemed to find a way to word his speeches that were good enough to please them.
In 1971 Jimmy set a blazing path against segregation while he was in office. He announced his stance on the issue and said that the time was here to change the outlook of the South and become equal with the rest of the country. Carter had brought many blacks into political jobs with him. He also brought many women with him to. Jimmy had a good approach to politics and would work very hard to push anything he strongly believed in. He was known for fighting hard to pass bills he knew were right.
Jimmy had not been the governor for very long before he began to think about presidency. In 1972 Jimmy Carter traveled around the country with his wife to see what the voters wanted in a president. Many people were upset about the Watergate Scandal and Nixon’s time in office. The general public just wanted an honest caring president. Jimmy gained a lot of popularity there. He was honest and hardworking, and never seemed to let the people down. Jimmy Carter ran for president in the 1976 election against the old president Gerald Ford. The election was known to be one of the closest in history but Jimmy took the lead and won.
Jimmy Carter’s presidential term started out well. On his inauguration day he decided not to take a limo but walk to his own inauguration speech. The American economy was starting to worsen a lot at the time. Inflation was very high and people needed to start saving money. Jimmy asked Americans to turn down thermostats, and make other sacrifices to conserve energy. Jimmy did not only make sure the American people were saving money but the government was as well. He would turn the lights off around the Washington monument from time to time. He also attacked wasteful government programs and made sure they would not stay in effect. He even went so far to sell the presidential yacht. Carter tried to also help the foreign nations as best he could. He stopped the white colonial rule in Africa and improved the relations with Latin America. Jimmy also improved relationships within China and arms agreements with the Soviet Union. One of his most famous and well known moments is when Carter was able to negotiate peace between the nations of Israel and Egypt.
Although Carter was a good honest president he had many problems during his political career dealing with the public. Inflation was very high at the time and many Americans were upset and on edge. Like today many people were upset about high gas prices and fuel shortages, causing long lines at the pumps. The people of America were very angry and began to take out their frustration on the president. Under a lot of pressure, he decided to go to Camp David for ten days to think and relax. He came back with a speech to try to ease the feelings over Americans but it did not help much. More problems came when fifty-three Americans were taken hostage in Iran shortly after.
The last year of Carter’s presidency was very rough. He tried very hard to keep popularity with the people before the upcoming election. Ronald Reagan was running against him in the 1980 election. The American people were tired of the problems associated with Carter and Reagan won by a landslide.
After Reagan was elected Jimmy Carter and his family moved back to Plains, Georgia to start back a quiet life without much attention from the public. Jimmy began doing a lot of woodworking and actually taught classes at a nearby university. Even though times seemed rough, Carter was starting a comeback. He began working with Habitat for Humanity and helped build houses for the poor. His image to the public had greatly improved. Many people saw why they liked him in the first place. He reminded people of the principles he was elected on in the first place. In the time after his presidency Carter had a presidential library in Atlanta. He then built the Carter Center next to it. The Carter Center was made to help foreign countries and end hunger and disease. The public liked the new image of the ex-president still helping the world after his term. Although he was helping many people did not like how he handled the new upcoming presidents. He seemed to be a monitor and tried to negotiate between George Bush and Bill Clinton. The public did not see him for very long after an argument with Clinton in 1994.
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