Born in Plains in 1924, Jimmy Carter was heavily involved in Georgia politics, serving two senate terms in the Georgia General Assembly and one term as governor, before setting his sights on the presidency.
Carter won the race for governor by marketing himself as a traditional southern conservative, then surprised the state, as well as the country, by delivering an anti-segregation speech after his victory.
As president, Carter emphasized high moral standards, ethical behavior, and democratic principles, and he reduced the amount of pomp and ceremony previously associated with the presidency. During his single term, Carter created the departments of education and energy and developed a national energy policy, in addition to pushing the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act through Congress, which more than doubled the acreage in the national park and wildlife system.
As first lady, Rosalynn Carter continued the work she had begun as a governor’s wife, working to create “a more caring society” by fostering programs and services for the mentally ill, senior citizens, women, and other disenfranchised groups. Dubbed a “steel magnolia” by the media after they took notice of her singular tenacity as well as her southern refinement, she helped to shape the modern view of the first lady as the president’s partner.