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Jimmy Carter was the 39th president of the United States (1977-81) and later was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.
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Learn about the legacy of Jimmy Carter and his many philanthropic efforts.
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Born and raised in Georgia, Jimmy Carter was an officer in the Navy, a peanut farmer, and the 39th President of the United States. Carter's presidency was marked by international crisis and domestic recession.
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After a training program in Norfolk, Virginia, they moved out to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where Carter was an electronics officer on the USS Pomfret. After subsequent postings to Groton, Connecticut; San Diego, California and Washington, D.C., in 1952 Carter was assigned to work with Admiral Hyman Rickover developing a nuclear submarine program in Schenectady, New York. The brilliant and notoriously demanding admiral made a profound impression on Carter. "I think, second to my own father,
Rickover had more effect on my life than any other man," he later said.
During these years, the Carters also had three sons: John William (born 1947), James Earl Carter III (1950) and Donnel Jeffrey (1952). (The Carters later had a daughter, Amy, born in 1967). In July 1953, Carter's father passed away from pancreatic cancer and in the aftermath of his death, the farm and family business fell into disarray. Although Rosalynn initially objected, Carter moved his family back to rural Georgia so he could care for his mother and take over the family's affairs. In Georgia, Carter resuscitated the family farm and became active in community politics, winning a seat on the Sumter County Board of Education in 1955 and eventually becoming its chairman.
The 1950s were a period of great change in the American South. In the landmark 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ordered the desegregation of public schools, and in the aftermath of that decision civil rights protestors vociferously demanded an end to all forms of racial discrimination. However, politics in the rural South still largely reflected the reactionary racial outlook of the "Old South." Carter was the only white man in Plains to refuse to join a segregationist group called the White Citizens' Council, and shortly afterward he found a sign on the front door of his home that read: "Coons and Carters go together."
It was not until the 1962 Supreme Court ruling in Baker v. Carr, which required that voting districts be redrawn in a way that stopped privileging rural white voters, that Carter saw an opportunity for a "new Southerner," such as he considered himself, to win political office. That same year he ran for the Georgia State Senate against a local businessman named Homer Moore. Although the initial vote showed that Moore had won the election, it was blatantly obvious that his victory was the result of widespread fraud. In one precinct, 420 ballots were cast even though only 333 were issued. Carter appealed the outcome and a Georgia judge discarded the fraudulent votes and declared Carter the winner. As a two-term state senator, Carter earned a reputation as tough and independent politician, curbing wasteful spending and steadfastly supporting civil rights.
In 1966, after briefly considering a run for the United States House of Representatives, Carter instead decided to run for governor. However, in the midst of a white backlash to the civil rights movement, Carter's liberal campaign failed to gain momentum in the Democratic primaries, and he finished a distant third place.
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When Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel died in 1896, he left his fortune to create an annual series of prizes for the individuals who confer "the greatest benefit on mankind." The most prestigious of the awards is the Nobel Peace Prize. Historians believe Alfred Nobel wanted to award people who work for peace to compensate for his own role in inventing dynamite. Since its establishment, the prize has gone to many courageous individuals who have fought for peace and human rights around the world.
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The first U.S. president, former military leader George Washington, took his oath of office on April 30, 1789, on the balcony of Federal Hall. From that moment onward, the United States' highest office has been filled regularly by elected officials who aim to serve the people under the guidance of the U.S. Constitution. Learn more about the 43 men who have served as America's chief executive.
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