November 5, 1974

In the wake of Nixon's Watergate scandal, Democrats score huge gains in the midterm elections, giving them comfortable majorities in both houses of Congress.


Carter will run for president
Jimmy Carter National Historic Site

Carter will run for president
December 12, 1974

Carter announces his candidacy for president.


January 13, 1975

Carter spends his last day as governor. Georgia laws prevent a governor from succeeding himself. George Busbee is inaugurated.


August 18, 1975

At a Washington press conference, Carter announces that he has qualified for federal matching funds.


October 27, 1975

The New York Times runs a front-page story stating, "Carter Holds Strong Lead Going Into Iowa Caucuses," leading to a big increase in media coverage of his campaign.


January 19, 1976

Carter wins the Iowa Democratic caucuses with 29.1% of the vote.


A member of the Peanut Brigade
Jimmy Carter National Historic Site

A member of the Peanut Brigade
February 2, 1976

Newsweek describes Carter's "Peanut Brigade" of campaign volunteers, quoting an Exeter, New Hampshire Democrat: "If that many people thought that much about him to come all the way up here... then he must be a good man."


February 24, 1976

Carter wins the New Hampshire primary with 29.4% of the vote over Mo Udall (23.9%), Birch Bayh (16.2%), Fred Harris (11.4%), and Sargent Shriver (8.7%).


March 9, 1976

Carter wins the Florida primary, dealing a blow to former Governor of Alabama George Wallace.


March 16, 1976

Carter wins the Illinois primary, his first victory in a northern, industrial state.


March 31, 1976

Carter loses the Massachusetts primary to Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson.


April 3, 1976

Answering a question about public housing, Carter says that people should be allowed to maintain the "ethnic purity" of their neighborhoods. Despite the controversy which ensues and the anger of many in the black community, Carter sticks by his wording over the next few days before apologizing for his remarks on April 8.


April 6, 1976

Carter wins the Wisconsin primary.


April 27, 1976

Carter wins the Pennsylvania primary.


June 8, 1976

Carter loses primaries in California and New Jersey while winning in Ohio.


July 12, 1976

Delegates attend the Democratic Convention in New York City. Carter asks Walter Mondale to be his running mate.


July 22, 1976

Carter begins a series of three day-long meetings in Plains with policy experts.


September 11, 1976

Playboy editor Barry Golson and writer Robert Scheer talk about Carter's interview in the upcoming issue. Carter's remarks, including the admission that had "lusted after women in his heart many times," cause a major controversy in the coming weeks and hurt him in the polls.


The debate
Gerald R. Ford Library

The debate
September 23, 1976

The first debate between Carter and President Gerald Ford, focusing on domestic issues, takes place in Philadelphia.


October 6, 1976

Carter and Ford meet for a second time in San Francisco, to debate foreign policy. Ford's assertion that there is "no Soviet domination" in Eastern Europe spurs incredulous headlines in the coming days and causes many to question his fitness for office.


November 2, 1976

Jimmy Carter is elected president of the United States, though the margin is so slight the results aren't known until 3:30 am. Carter beats Ford in the popular vote 50.06% to 48.00%, and in the electoral college 297 to 240.


Carter on Inauguration Day
Jimmy Carter Library

Carter on Inauguration Day
January 20, 1977: The Presidency: 1977-1981

Inauguration Day. To everyone's surprise, the Carters get out of their limousine and walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.


January 21, 1977

Carter issues a pardon to most of those who evaded the draft in order to avoid going to Vietnam.


February 2, 1977

Wearing a cardigan sweater, Carter delivers his first national television address on energy policy.


March 5, 1977

"Ask President Carter," the first presidential phone-in radio broadcast, attracts over nine million callers.


Yitzhak Rabin and Carter
Jimmy Carter Library

Yitzhak Rabin and Carter
March 7-8, 1977

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin visits Washington. Questions about the Middle East will dominate Carter's news conference on March 9. Meetings with leaders from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia follow in the coming weeks.


March 30, 1977

Secretary of State Cyrus Vance presents an ambitious SALT II arms reduction proposal to Soviet leadership in Moscow, and is strongly rejected.


April 1977

Carter pressures NATO allies to re-arm and demands a commitment of a 3% annual increase in their defense budgets.


Anwar el Sadat and Carter
Jimmy Carter Library

Anwar el Sadat and Carter
April 4, 1977

Carter and President Anwar el Sadat of Egypt meet for the first time.


May 1977

In her role as the president's emissary to Latin America, Rosalynn travels to Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, and Venezuela.


May 22, 1977

In a commencement address at Notre Dame, Carter signals the direction he plans to take in foreign policy, rejecting America's "inordinate fear of communism" and calling for a serious commitment to human rights.


The B-1 Bomber
Gerald R. Ford Library

The B-1 Bomber
June 30, 1977

President Carter stops the B-1 bomber program, angering defense conservatives.


July 19, 1977

Carter and newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin meet for the first time, in Washington.


August 4, 1977

A new, cabinet-level Department of Energy is established, headed by James Schlesinger.


September 1977

Allan Bakke, a 37-year-old white man and former Marine, is denied admission to the medical school at University of California-Davis. He sues, charging that less qualified black students have been accepted. The first major challenge to affirmative action policies, the case goes all the way to the Supreme Court.


Signing the Panama Canal Treaty
Jimmy Carter Library

Signing the Panama Canal Treaty
September 7, 1977

Carter and Panamanian president Omar Torrijos Herrera sign the Panama Canal treaties. They provide for control of the canal to be handed over to Panama in 1999, and guarantee the canal's neutrality.


September 15, 1977

Carter's budget director, friend and adviser Bert Lance appears before a Senate committee to defend himself against charges that he has improperly used his position for personal gain. Since July, the Lance scandal has grown into a major headache for Carter, as it calls into question the high moral integrity he campaigned on. Lance will resign six days later.


October 1, 1977

National security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski convinces Carter to reconvene the Geneva talks on the Middle East as a way to improve U.S.-Soviet relations. The move alarms the leaders of Egypt and Jordan and angers many in the American Jewish community.


October 5, 1977

Carter signs the International Covenant on Human Rights.


October 13, 1977

In a press conference Carter attacks oil companies for perpetrating "the biggest rip-off in history."


Carter with the Shah of Iran
Jimmy Carter Library

Carter with the Shah of Iran
November 15, 1977

The Shah of Iran visits the White House, prompting demonstrations by anti-Shah forces.


November 19, 1977

Egyptian president Anwar Sadat makes an historic visit to Israel, where he addresses the Israeli parliament, creating a major opportunity for peace in the Middle East.


December 1977

Carter signs a Social Security measure that would keep the system solvent until 2030, resulting in a huge increase in payroll taxes.


December 27, 1977

Begin visits Cairo, laying the groundwork for further progress toward peace between Egypt and Israel.


December 31, 1977

Carter visits Tehran on New Years' Eve. He toasts the Shah, reiterating American support and calling him "an island of stability" in the troubled region.


February 1978

A nationwide NBC/AP poll reveals that only 34% of Americans think Carter is doing an excellent or good job -- a 21% decline in six months.


March 16, 1978

The Senate ratifies the first Panama Canal treaty, after an intensive lobbying effort by the Carter White House.


April 7, 1978

Carter defers production of the neutron bomb.


April 18, 1978

The Senate ratifies the second Panama Canal treaty.


July 1, 1978

Gerald Rafshoon, architect of the Carter campaign's media effort, joins the White House communications team.



My American Experience

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