President Jimmy Carter

  • Inaugurated as the 39th President of the United States on January 20, 1977.
  • Left office on January 20, 1981, following a loss in the general election to Ronald Reagan.
  • Born: October 1, 1924, Plains, Georgia.
  • Spouse: Eleanor Rosalynn Smith (b. August 18, 1927), married July 7, 1946.
  • Party: Democrat
  • Religion: Baptist
  • Education: 1939-1941 - Plains High School, Plains, GA.
    1941-1942 - Georgia Southwestern College, Americus, GA.
    1942-1943 - Georgia Institute of Technology.
    1943-1946 (class of 1947) - United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD.
    1952-1953 - Union College, Schenectady, NY.
  • Original Occupation: Farmer
  • Military Service: 1946-1953 - Served in US Navy to rank of lieutenant.
  • Political Experience: 1963-1967 - Member, Georgia Senate.
    1971-1975 - Governor of Georgia.

"Rosalyn and I and the Secret Service were the only ones that knew in advance that we would stop the limousine, get out and walk down Pennsylvania Avenue," President Jimmy Carter of his inaugural. In this installment of Presidential Conversations on the Constitution, the former Georgia peanut farmer who served as Governor before election to the Oval Office discusses his Administration with Cokie Roberts.


Of his most poignant crisis, Carter remembers: "I sent the Ayatollah Khomeini a message from me that if you injure a hostage we will eliminate entirely Iran's trade with the outside world." Carter made this threat to the then-leader of Iran during what became an extended hostage crisis. Read about this crisis, the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, and Carter's pardon of returning Vietnam "draft dodgers."


Carter admits that his ultimate success may well be in the role of former President. He continues his service as a humanitarian leader and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."

The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum hosts an extensive biography. A more succinct biography can be found at PBS/American Experience and the White House Kids website hosts a biography for the younger student of American government.


Learn more about the issues faced by the Carter Administration:


Iran Hostage Crisis, 1979
(University of Houston)


Iran Hostage Crisis
(Jimmy Carter Library & Museum)


PBS American Experience: Three Mile Island


Carter's Pardon of Vietnam Vets - News Hour


The Carter Center
(In conjunction with Emory University)