James Earl Carter
Jimmy Carter was born in Plains, Georgia. In 1946, Carter graduated from the US Naval Academy, intending to make the Navy his career. Carter first served as an electronics instructor aboard the battleships "Wyoming" and "Mississippi" and went on to attend submarine school, where he graduated third in his class. In 1951, he joined the nuclear submarine program, and was chosen to become engineering officer aboard the "Sea Wolf," one of the first nuclear powered submarines.
Following the death of his father in 1953, he resigned from the Navy to tend the family business. In 1962, he ran for the Georgia legislature, and became a State Senator, a post he held until 1967. In 1966 he ran unsuccessfully for governor. In 1970 he again ran and won.
Carter was successful in introducing a broad range of reforms. Carter was the first candidate to declare for the 1976 Democratic nomination for President. He was elected, with Walter Mondale as his Vice President.
On President Carter's first day in office, he pardoned all the draft evaders of the Vietnam War. Carter was instrumental in concluding a treaty to turn over the Panama canal to the Panamanians, at the cost, however, of enormous political capital. Carter's greatest achievement was his successful handling of the Camp David Peace agreement, between Israel and Egypt.
Carter's presidency was ultimately doomed because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which destroyed what was left of detente, and the Iranian seizure of American hostages, an event which dominated all other government activities during Carter's last year in office. He was defeated by Ronald Reagan in 1980. After he left office, he and his wife continued to serve the country through philanthropic work with such organizations as Habitat for Humanity.