|Famous For: 39th President of the United States||Currently Known For: Former President of the United States|
Currently Known For Former President of the United States
"We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles." Following Lyndon B. Johnson leaving the White House in January 1969 and Bill Clinton taking office in January 1993, there would be just one president from the Democratic Party, and that man was Jimmy Carter. Still alive at 93 years old (and just a few months shy of George H.W. Bush as oldest living president), Carter’s public image has tremendously improved over the years.
These days, Carter is known mostly for his philanthropic acts, especially when it comes to Habitat for Humanity. Carter has inspired many people to get more involved with charitable acts, though his perception wasn’t all that great during his time as president. He had defeated Gerald R. Ford in the 1976 election, but was then beaten by Ronald Reagan in 1980 in a huge landslide where Carter had won just six states.
Carter grew up in Georgia and raised by his parents that did well for themselves financially. More interested in farming than anything, Carter was still a fine student that would end up graduating from high school and attending Georgia Southwestern College before transferring to Georgia Tech. Two years into his schooling, Carter then transferred to the United States Naval Academy in Maryland which was a dream of his.
Those that were around him noted that Carter was a good student, albeit a bit shy compared to other military hopefuls. Out of more than 800 students in his class, Carter would graduate 60th from the academy with his Bachelor of Science. Carter then became an active duty member of the Navy until 1953, and was part of the reserve until he left in 1961 as a lieutenant.
After his military career had come to an end, Carter became more involved in politics as he became a state senator in Georgia and in 1970 won an election that made him the governor of the state. In 1976, Carter decided to take it to the next level where he successfully ran for president to become the 39th to achieve the position.
Because of the way he spoke and some of his policies, Carter was often portrayed as being a bit of a simple man in terms of intelligence. When you see that he finished 60th at the Naval Academy, it might seem like a bad number, but that’s actually quite high at a school that’s not easy to get into in the first place, and he did still beat out nearly 800 other students.
A 2006 analysis of presidential IQs actually left a lot of people (especially younger ones that only know his pop culture portrayals) surprised. It was estimated that Carter had an intelligence of 153, which would make him the second smartest person to ever become president, only behind John Quincy Adams. That would also put him into the “genius” category in terms of IQ, putting him in the top one percent of all people.
The public perception for many people about Carter was that he was a simple farmer that couldn’t possibly be that intelligent, considering that he wasn’t an elite student in college and wasn’t decorated with academic awards. What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that Carter is a longtime reader and writer. Overall, Carter has released more than 30 books, with his most recent being 2018’s “Faith: A Journey for All”.
Only the likes of Theodore Roosevelt, James Madison and a handful of others have a longer history of writing books as presidents, with many not writing a single one in their lifetimes. On top of that, people note that his humanitarian work around the world is another sign of someone who’s socially intelligent. In his family, nobody had even graduated high school before until Carter himself came around.
For those that were around for his presidency, some would note that it was his high intelligence that actually hurt him. Without finding people of his intellect to control some of his policies, he had a tendency to manage too many things at once on his own, which caused him to become more unpopular toward the end of his first (and only) term.
Carter did have some accomplishments during his president, though, serving as a fine diplomat and statesman of the country. The man who had studied in nuclear engineering (one of the hardest subjects you can possibly take in college) also helped create the Camp David peace accords and has since received a Nobel Prize.
It’s not unreasonable to think that Carter was one of the smartest presidents in United States history when you really take a look at his life. 153 is a remarkable IQ score, though it’s only an estimate from top analysts. Even if it wasn’t as high as the estimate, Carter’s intelligence was easy to see and you can still see it shine through in his life today. If you want to get a grasp of what he’s really all about, just take a look into one of his many books that Carter has authored