U.S. President Jimmy Carter Career Before Presidency Part 1

About the U.S. President Jimmy Carter, early life and career before the presidency, history and biography, physical description.

39th President

JAMES EARL CARTER, JR.

BEFORE THE PRESIDENCY

Career: Although Carter grew up in the rural South during the Great Depression without electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing, his family was better off than anyone else around Plains. James Earl, Sr., ran a fairly brisk supply business on his 3,200-acre farm outside Plains, where the family moved when Jimmy was four. Mr. Carter also sold insurance and owned a dry cleaners. Food was plentiful. Some 200 blacks worked for the Carters. And Miss Lillian made sure her children had enough books to read. Jimmy, or "Hot" (short for "Hot Shot"), as his father called him, attended Plains High School and graduated in 1941. He studied for a year at Georgia Southwestern College in nearby Americus, until he was accepted by the Naval Academy in Annapolis. To qualify, however, he had to pick up extra math credits at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Then in 1943, 19-year-old Jimmy entered Annapolis with the goal of one day becoming chief of naval operations. He graduated in three years under the accelerated wartime curriculum and was in the top 10% of his class. He served as electronics officer on a couple of battleships and in 1948 completed submarine training. In 1951 he was selected to join the Atomic Energy Commission's nuclear submarine program, under the direction of Adm. Hyman Rickover. Bolstered by night courses in nuclear physics, Carter served as engineering officer on the test runs of the Sea Wolf, one of the first atomic submarines. In 1953 James Earl, Sr., died of cancer, and Lieutenant Commander Carter's life took a sudden turn. He gave up his dream of becoming chief of naval operations and, despite vigorous objections from his wife, Rosalynn, returned to his hometown to take over his father's floundering business.

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