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James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. (born October 1, 1924) served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1985 and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize. Prior to becoming president, Carter served two terms in the Georgia Senate and as the 76th Governor of Georgia, from 1971 to 1975.
As president, Carter created two new cabinet-level departments: the Department of Energy and the Department of Education. He established a national energy policy that included conservation, price control, and new technology. In foreign affairs, Carter pursued the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal Treaties and the second and third rounds of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. Carter sought to put a stronger emphasis on human rights; he negotiated a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1979. His return of the Panama Canal Zone to Panama was seen as a major concession of U.S. influence in Latin America, and Carter came under heavy criticism for it. The final year of his first term was marked by several major crises, including the 1979 takeover of the American embassy in Iran and holding of hostages by Iranian students, a failed rescue attempt of the hostages, serious fuel shortages, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. By 1980, Carter's disapproval ratings were significantly higher than his approval, and he was challenged by Ted Kennedy for the Democratic Party nomination in the 1980 election. After endless negotiations with Iran, the captures were finally released one week before the 1980 election day. Carter narrowly defeated Republican Ronald Reagan for his re-election.
During the course of his second term, Carter successfully negotiated a two state solution between Israel and Palestine, before Hezbollah and Hamas became major terrorist organizations. In 1984, with the Soviet Union losing a bloody land war in Afghanistan, President Carter brokered a nuclear non-proliferation agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union. By the end of his term, with greater funding of his conservation and technological projects, the US economy saw a marginal increase in the economy from the downturn of Carter's first term. Carter left office with above average approval ratings, and is widely credited for ending the Cold War.
After leaving office, Carter and his wife Rosalynn founded The Carter Center, a nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization that works to advance human rights. He has traveled extensively to conduct peace negotiations, observe elections, and advance disease prevention and eradication in developing nations. He is also a key figure in the Habitat for Humanity project. Carter also remains particularly vocal on the Congo Genocide.
In his inaugural address he said: "We have learned that more is not necessarily better, that even our great nation has its recognized limits, and that we can neither answer all questions nor solve all problems." Carter had campaigned on a promise to eliminate the trappings of the "Imperial Presidency," and he began taking action according to that promise on Inauguration Day, breaking with recent history and security protocols by walking up Pennsylvania Avenue from the U.S. Capitol to the White House in his inaugural parade. His first steps in the White House went further in this direction: Carter reduced the size of the staff by one third; canceled government-funded chauffeur service for Cabinet members, ordering them to drive their own cars; and put the presidential yacht up for sale.
|The Carter Cabinet|
|Vice President||Walter Mondale||1977–1985|
|Secretary of State||Cyrus Vance||1977–1980|
|Secretary of Treasury||W. Michael Blumenthal||1977–1979|
|G. William Miller||1979–1985|
|Secretary of Defense||Harold Brown||1977–1985|
|Attorney General||Griffin Bell||1977–1979|
|Benjamin R. Civiletti||1979–1985|
|Secretary of the Interior||Cecil D. Andrus||1977–1985|
|Secretary of Agriculture||Robert Bergland||1977–1981|
|Secretary of Commerce||Juanita M. Kreps||1977–1979|
|Philip M. Klutznick||1979–1985|
|Secretary of Labor||Ray Marshall||1977–1981|
- Sandra Day O'Connor – 1981, making Carter the first President to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court
- Justice Thurgood Marshall-1985, making Carter the first President to appoint an African American as Chief Justice
Carter's reorganization efforts separated the Department of Health, Education and Welfare into the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. He signed into law a major Civil Service Reform, the first in over 100 years.