Jimmy Carter- Facts on the 39th President

Thirty-Ninth President of the United States

Jimmy Carter at a desk

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Here is a quick list of fast facts for Jimmy Carter. For more in depth information, you can also read the Jimmy Carter Biography.


October 1, 1924


Term of Office:

January 20, 1977 - January 20, 1981

Number of Terms Elected:

1 Term

First Lady:

Eleanor Rosalynn Smith

Chart of the First Ladies

Jimmy Carter Quote:

"Human rights is the soul of our foreign policy, because human rights is the very soul of our sense of nationhood."
Additional Jimmy Carter Quotes

Election of 1976:

Carter ran against incumbent Gerald Ford against the backdrop of the United States Bicentennial. The fact that Ford had pardoned Richard Nixon of all wrongdoing after he had resigned from the presidency caused his approval rating to severely drop. Carter's outsider status worked in his favor. Further, while Ford performed well in their first presidential debate, he committed a gaffe in the second concerning Poland and the Soviet Union that continued to haunt him through the rest of the campaign. 

The election ended up being very close. Carter won the popular vote by two percentage points. The electoral vote was very close. Carter held 23 states with 297 electoral votes. On the other hand, Ford won 27 states and 240 electoral votes. There was one faithless elector representing Washington who voted for Ronald Reagan instead of Ford. 

Major Events While in Office:

  • Vietnam War era draft evaders pardoned (1977)
  • Panama Canal Treaty (1977)
  • Camp David Accords (1978)
  • US officially recognizes People's Republic of China (1979)
  • Three Mile Island incident (1979)
  • Iran Hostage Crisis (1979-81)

States Entering Union While in Office:

  • None

Significance of Jimmy Carter's Presidency:

One of the big issues that Carter dealt with during his administration was energy. He created the Department of Energy and named its first Secretary. In addition, after the Three Mile Island incident, he oversaw stricter regulations for Nuclear Energy plants. 

In 1978, Carter held peace talks at Camp David between Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin which ended in a formal peace treaty between the two countries in 1979. In addition, America formally established diplomatic relations between China and the U.S. 

On November 4, 1979, 60 Americans were taken hostage when the U.S. embassy in Teheran, Iran was taken. 52 of these hostages were held for longer than a year. Oil imports were halted and economic sanctions were imposed. Carter staged a rescue attempt in 1980. Unfortunately, three of the helicopters used in the rescue malfunctioned, and they were unable to proceed. The Ayatollah Khomeini finally agreed to let the hostages go if the US would unfreeze Iranian assets. However, he did not complete the release until Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as president. 

Related Jimmy Carter Resources:

These additional resources on Jimmy Carter can provide you with further information about the president and his times.

Chart of Presidents and Vice Presidents
This informative chart gives quick reference information on the presidents, vice-presidents, their terms of office, and their political parties.

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Kelly, Martin. "Jimmy Carter- Facts on the 39th President." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/jimmy-carter-facts-39th-president-104750. Kelly, Martin. (2023, April 5). Jimmy Carter- Facts on the 39th President. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/jimmy-carter-facts-39th-president-104750 Kelly, Martin. "Jimmy Carter- Facts on the 39th President." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/jimmy-carter-facts-39th-president-104750 (accessed June 7, 2023).