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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.
Jimmy Carter - Legacy (2:26)
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.
An inside look at the 1980 Presidential debate between then President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
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Ronald Reagan, the former actor and governor of California, challenged Carter for the presidency in 1980. Reagan ran a smooth and effective campaign, simply asking voters, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Most were not; Reagan crushed Carter in the 1980 election, which was essentially a referendum on a failed presidency. As the New York Times put it, "On Election Day, Mr. Carter was the issue."
Despite a largely unsuccessful one-term presidency, Jimmy Carter later rehabilitated his reputation through his humanitarian efforts after leaving the White House. He is now widely considered one of the greatest ex-presidents in American history. He has worked extensively with Habitat for Humanity and founded the Carter Presidential Center to promote human rights and alleviate suffering across the globe. In particular, Carter has worked effectively as an ex-president to develop community-based health care systems in Africa and Latin America, to oversee elections in fledgling democracies and to promote peace in the Middle East. In 2002, Jimmy Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize "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." Carter has also written many books in the years since his presidency, including several memoirs, Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis (2006) and Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (2007).
Jimmy Carter will not go down in history as one of America's most effective presidents. However, because of his tireless work both before and since his presidency in support of equality, human rights and the alleviation of human suffering, Carter will go down as one of the nation's great social activists. Delivering his Nobel Lecture in 2002, Carter concluded with words that can be seen as both his life mission and his call to action for future generations. "The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices," he said. "God gives us the capacity for choice. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes – and we must."
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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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