James Earl Carter Jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. He previously was the 76th Governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975, after two terms in the Georgia State Senate from 1963 to 1967. Carter has remained active in public life during his post-presidency, and in 2002 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in co-founding the Carter Center.
Raised in a wealthy family of peanut farmers in the southern town of Plains in Georgia, Carter graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1946 with a Bachelor of Science degree and joined the United States Navy, where he served on submarines. After the death of his father in 1953, Carter left his Naval career and returned home to Georgia to take on the reins of his family's peanut-growing business. Despite his father's wealth, Carter inherited comparatively little due to his father's forgiveness of debts and the division of the estate among the children. Nevertheless, his ambition to expand and grow the Carters' peanut business was fulfilled. During this period, Carter was motivated to oppose the political climate of racial segregation and support the growing civil rights movement. He became an activist within the Democratic Party. From 1963 to 1967, Carter served in the Georgia State Senate, and in 1970, he was elected as Governor of Georgia, defeating former Governor Carl Sanders in the Democratic primary on an anti-segregation platform advocating affirmative action for ethnic minorities. Carter remained as Governor until 1975. Despite being little-known outside of Georgia at the start of the campaign, Carter won the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination and entered the presidential race as a dark horse candidate. In the presidential election, Carter defeated incumbent Republican President Gerald Ford in a close election.
On his second day in office, Carter pardoned all the Vietnam War draft evaders.