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US History: President Jimmy Carter (1977 - 1980)

Updated on May 9, 2011
Carter-Ford Debate, September, 1976. (Photos public domain)
Carter-Ford Debate, September, 1976. (Photos public domain)

President Jimmy Carter Timeline & Global Events

President Jimmy Carter remained active in government and international affairs after his term in office as President of the US concluded (1977 - 1980). He became an active participant in Habitat for Humanity and international conflict mediation, successfully, for decades. During his term in office, he supported national conservation efforts, particularly in Alaska, pardoned military draft evaders, and developed new US departments for energy and education success in America. He also called for a boycott of the Olympic Games in a Communist Country, successfully denouncing the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.


  • January 1: The first woman Episcopal priest was ordained.
  • January 20: James Earl Carter, Jr. was inaugurated as US President (POTUS).
  • January 21: President Carter pardoned Viet Nam draft evaders
  • 1977 - 1979: President Carter developed a new US Department of Energy.
  • Sept. 21: A Nuclear-Proliferation Pact to control the spread of nuclear weapons was signed by 15 countries, including USA and USSR.


  • January 19: Federal Appeals Court Judge William H. Webster is approved as the new FBI. director.
  • March - April: The US Senate approved a new Panama Canal treaty and voted to turn the canal over to Panama during or before 2000 AD.
  • October 16: Karol Cardinal Wojtyla of Poland became Pope John Paul II.
  • November: Many of the Jim Jones Cult drank poisoned Kool Aid in a joint suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. Others escaped.


  • President Carter formed a new US Department of Education.
  • February 1: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took over the leadership of Iran.
  • May 3: Margaret Thatcher was chosen as British prime minister (PM).
  • June: Carter and Brezhnev signed the SALT II agreement.
  • July: The Sandanistas government took hold in Nicaraugua.
  • November: Certain Iranians held US Hostages in Teheran.
  • December 27: The USSR invaded Afghanistanin the war that lasted from 1978 - 1992.


  • Summer - The Summer Olympic Games were held in Moscow, USSR, in a Communist country for the first time. Jimmy Carter called for a boycott of the games, resulting in only 80 nations participating, as compared to 122 countries in 1976. Boycotts of the Olympics in the USA by Communist nations followed in the 1984, but a higher number, 140 nations, participated in Los Angeles.
  • Several incidents in Iran created international turmoil and conflict. USA dissolved off all ties with Iran. Iraq invaded Iran.
  • The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act became law.

Presidents Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, George Herbert Walker Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter at the dedication of the Reagan Presidential Library
Presidents Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, George Herbert Walker Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter at the dedication of the Reagan Presidential Library

Jimmy Carter Work Project

Conflict Resolution Worldwide

After leaving the office of POTUS, President Carter proved very active in peace negotiations and conflict resolution in several nations around the world. These countries include:

  • Ethiopia and Eritrea - 1989
  • North Korea, Liberia , Haiti, and Bosnia - 1994
  • Sudan - 1995
  • Great Lakes Region of Africa -1995 and 1996
  • Sudan and Uganda - 1999
  • Venezuela - 2002 and 2003

The election process and outcomes of elections can create tumultous reactions and even violence in the USA, with resulting repercussions across the globe. Economics, politics, and national policy are interconnected among Europe, Russia, USA, Asian countries, and others.

In order to prevent some of this mishap, President Carter has sent teams from the Carter Center to monitor elections in the following continents and countries:

South and Central America, Africa, and Asia, including thesenations between 1989 and 2002 in alphabetical order:

China, East Timor, Guyana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, and Venezuela.

Sending election monitors successfully into Communist countries such as China was a major achievement.


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