Jimmy Carter – Timeline and Major Facts

U.S. Presidents

39th U.S. President Jimmy Carter Timeline

Bagging the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2002, it is perhaps safe to say that America’s 39th President, Jimmy Carter, attained more recognition in his post presidency than he did during his four-year stay in the White House. About a couple of years into his presidential term, the Georgian-born politician struggled to grapple with the myriad of problems the nation faced – many of them centering around the slow economic growth, rising inflation, and high unemployment. Carter also performed poorly in dealing with the Iran Hostage crisis.

After he was beaten at the 1980 polls by rising star Ronald Reagan, President Carter committed himself to charitable causes in both the U.S. and around the globe.

In this timeline, Worldhistoryedu.com looks at the life and career of Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States.

U.S. President Jimmy Carter: Fast Facts

Born: James Earl Carter, Jr.

Date of Birth: October 1, 1924

Place of birth: Plains, Georgia, U.S.

Parents: Earl Carter and Lillian Gordy Carter

Siblings: including Billy Carter

Education: Georgia Southwestern College; Georgia Institute of Technology; U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland (graduated in 1946)

Religion: Baptist

Wife: Rosalynn Carter (married in 1946)

Children: Jack, Donnel, Amy, James III

Political Party: Democratic Party

Offices held prior to his presidency: 76th Governor of Georgia (1971-1975); Georgia State Senator (1963-1967)

US Presidency: 39th President of the United States (1977-1981)

Predecessor: Gerald Ford

Successor: Ronald Reagan

Most known for: Winning the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize; Camp David Accord

Timeline: Jimmy Carter

U.S. President Jimmy Carter

1924 – At the Wise Sanitarium in Plains, Georgia, Carter is born on October 1 to James Earl Carter Sr. and Bessie Lillian

1937-1941 – Studies at Plains High School

1941 – Enrolls at Georgia Southewestern College to pursue an engineering program

1942 – Transfers to the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

1943 – Gets admitted to the Naval Academy

July 7, 1946 – Ties the know with Rosalynn Smith at the Plains Methodist Church

1946 – Graduates from the Naval Academy

1948 – Trains on board the USS Pomfret

1952 – Joins the Navy’s nuclear submarine program

December, 1952 – Forms part of the maintenance crew that heroically handled the meltdown at Atomic Energy of Canada

1953 – But for the tragic passing of his father, Carter would have gone on to complete a nuclear course at Union College in Schenectady. That same year, he leaves active duty, but is still kept in the Navy Reserve until 1961

1954 – Begins working on the family’s farm, which was peanut business; slowly, he grows the business into a very prosperous one.

1961 – Following the tensions from the Brown v. Board of Education case at the U.S. Supreme Court, Carter voices out his support for greater tolerance and racial integration in his community. Using his position as the chairman of the Sumter County school board, he reiterates his support for school integration

1962 – Declares his intention to contest for a seat in Georgia’s Senate; after an initial mishaps in the voting was corrected, Carter strolled to victory

1964 – Gets reelected for a second term in Georgia Senate

1966: Loses the Democratic primary for governor of Georgia

1970: Defeats Republican Hal Suit to clinch the governor of Georgia position

January 12, 1971 – Sworn in as the 76th Governor of Georgia

Jimmy Carter quote

Jimmy Carter quote | Except from his inaugural speech as the 76th Governor of Georgia on January 12, 1971

May 1971 – Appears in Time magazine as one of the most progressive governors in the South

July 8, 1971 – Initiates a cost-cutting initiative across the various departments in the state

April 1972 – Takes an official trip to Brazil, where he has meeting with Emílio Garrastazu Médici, the President of Brazil

1972 – Is a delegate to the 1972 Democratic National Convention

1973 – Gets a seat at the Trilateral Commission

1974 – Becomes chairman of the Democratic National Committee’s congressional

December 12, 1974 – Makes an announcement of his candidacy for the 1976 presidential race

1976 – Uses his book Why Not the Best? – to promote government reorganization for greater public trust

1976 – Wins the Democratic Party nomination for president; his running mate is Walter F. Mondale, a Minnesota Senator

November, 1976 – Defeats incumbent President Gerald Ford by 50.1% to 48%; he garnered 290 electoral votes, as against Ford’s 240

January 20, 1977 – Sworn into office as the 39th President of the United States

April, 1977 – Comes out with the mandatory health care cost proposal

April 18, 1977 – Gives a speech about the worsening energy situation in the United States; he called on everyone to be judicious in the usage of energy

August 4, 1977 – Signs the Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977; the act creates the Department of Energy

October 4, 1977 – Makes an address at the United Nations calling for a “vigorous, free, and prosperous Africa”.

December 31, 1977 – Visits Iran and has meeting with Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter quote

1978 – Makes an official visit to the West African nation of Nigeria

October 15, 1978 – Carter’s energy legislation gets passed by Congress

October 24, 1978 – Signs the Airline Deregulation Act, which lifts a number of government controls in the industry

December, 1978 – Carter is shocked to hear of the Soviet’s invasion of Afghanistan, which results in the execution of dictator, Hafizullah Amin

Carter responds by placing economic sanctions on the Soviet Union; he also places a grain embargo on the Soviets

President Carter also calls on U.S. Olympic team to boycott the Olympics held in Moscow

March 16, 1979 – Senate removes the economic sanctions on Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe)

June 18, 1979 – Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty II in Vienna

July 1, 1979 – Has meeting with Park Chung-hee of South Korea; the meeting focuses on security in the Korean Peninsula and Carter’s plan to reduce American forces in Korea.

October 17, 1979 – The Department of Education Organization Act comes into law; the act creates the Department of Education

November 4, 1979 – The U.S. Embassy in Tehran is under siege by an irate group of Iranian students as part of their support of the Iranian Revolution; a total of 52 Americans in the embassy are taken hostage

1980 – Beats off competition from Ted Kennedy to win the Democratic Party nomination for the 1980 presidential election

January 7, 1980 – Signs the Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act of 1979, which bails out Chrysler Corporation to the tune of $3.5 billion

April 7, 1980 – Piles up the pressure on the new regime in Iran by imposing sanctions (Executive Order 12205) on them

April 24, 1980 – A rescue operation – dubbed Operation Eagle Claw – to free the American hostages ends in a fiasco, as their aircraft crash – claiming the lives of eight servicemen

October 28, 1980 – Goes up against Ronald Regan in a presidential debate

U.S. Presidents

Carter and President Gerald Ford in a presidential debate at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia

November, 1980 – Loses the 1980 presidential election to Republican Ronald Reagan

1982 – Establishes the Carter Center – a charity organization whose goal is to promote human rights across the globe

1983 – His sister, Ruth Stapleton, dies

October, 1984 – The South American country of Peru gives Carter an honorary citizenship

1984 – Awarded the Golden Plate Award by the American Academy of Achievements

1986 – Involved in securing the freedom of journalist Luis Mora and Jose Altamirano in Nicaragua

October 1, 1998 – The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum opens

1988 – His younger brother Billy Carter passes away

1990 – Loses his sister, Gloria Spann

1994 – President Clinton picks him to aid with negotiation with North Korea’s Kim II-sung

May, 2002 – Meets with Fidel Castro during his tour of Cuba

2002 – Wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his decades of advancing democracy and human rights; he was also commended for his strong opposition to the war against Iraq during George W. Bush’s presidency

July, 2007 – Becomes a member of The Elders – a Nelson Mandela-inspired group that includes a number of former world leaders, including William Hague, former Archbishop Desmond Tutu, etc.

2008 – Lays a wreath at the burial place of Yasser Arafat in Syria

August, 2010 – Helped in securing the release of Aijalon Gomes who was held in North Korea

August 3, 2015 – Undergoes a minor surgery in his liver

December 20, 2015 – One of his grandchildren – Jeremy Carter – dies

July 2016 – Carter and his wife celebrate 70 years of being married

2017 – Offers his services to President Donald Trump in negotiating a peace deal with North Korea

May, 2019 – Undergoes a hip surgery

November 11, 2019 – Hospitalized at the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta

October 1, 2020 – Jimmy Carter celebrates his 96th birthday with his wife Rosalynn Carter.

Other facts

  • Jimmy Carter is the oldest-living president; in terms of age, he is the first U.S. president to cross the 95-year mark.
  • He was the oldest among his siblings of three – Gloria, Billy, and Ruth. At high school, his teacher, Julia Coleman, had a long-lasting influence on him.
  • A look into his family history, Carter has been shown to be the distant relative of Richard Nixon and Bill Gates
  • His father made quite an amount success in his various business ventures in Plains, Georgia. His father was a reserve second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. His father had at some point in time supported segregation laws in Georgia. In spite of that, Carter was still allowed to make friends with African American children in the neighborhood.
  • The Great Depression did immense damage to farmers in the Plains, including the Carter family. Had it not been for FDR’s New Deal, most of their businesses would have gone bust.
  • Jimmy Carter is credited with authoring more than 30 books, including hits such as Why Not the Best? (1975, 1996); The Blood of Abraham: Insights into the Middle East (1985, 1993, 2007); A Government as Good as Its People (1977, 1996); Always a Reckoning, and other Poems (1995); and Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President (1982, 1995).
  • Since its formation in the 1980s, the Carter Center has served as election observer in over 100 elections in more than 30 countries.

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