Special Report

25 Facts Every American Should Know About Jimmy Carter

On Feb. 19, Jimmy Carter, the oldest living former president in U.S. history, entered home hospice care. The 98-year-old Carter, who was diagnosed with cancer, subsequently cured, in 2015 and more recently suffered a brain bleed from a fall and a urinary tract infection, opted to spend his remaining time at home and not receive additional medical intervention.  (These are the stories behind the deaths of 39 American presidents.)

To compile a list of 25 facts about Jimmy Carter, 24/7 Tempo consulted websites including Britannica, Oxford Research, The White House, The Department of State, and NPR. In assembling the list, we chose achievements of the 39th president’s career before, during, and after his presidency, as well as some disappointments in his career. (Can you solve these real life “Jeopardy!” clues about U.S. presidents?)

The son of peanut farmers born in Jim Crow Georgia in 1924, Jimmy Carter graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served as a nuclear engineer before returning to Georgia to run the family’s peanut business. (Read about the 31 presidents who served in the military.)

Carter was elected Georgia governor in 1970 as the vanguard of a new generation of Southern leaders. He then tapped into the nation’s post-Watergate disillusionment with government by running for president as an outsider who championed human rights. In a close race, the Democrat Carter defeated GOP incumbent Gerald Ford in the 1976 election. 

Inflation and joblessness soared during his presidency. His ineffectual leadership in foreign affairs was symbolized by his inability to free U.S. hostages seized in Iran. These issues  overshadowed his domestic and peace-seeking achievements, which included the unprecedented  inclusion of minorities and women in government and his brokering of the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt. Despite these accomplishments, Carter failed to win a second term, losing to Republican Ronald Reagan in a landslide.

Click here to learn 25 facts you should know about Jimmy Carter

Carter’s post-presidency career has been among the most distinguished of any former president. He championed the work of Habitat for Humanity, an organization dedicated to building homes for the poor, and for his work in diplomacy and advocacy, both during and after his presidency, he received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2002. 

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