Something Happened: A Political and Cultural Overview of the Seventies

By Edward D. Berkowitz | Go to book overview

6
Jimmy Corker and the Great American Revival

Jimmy Carter. who succeeded ford after the 1976 election, hoped to lead a great American revival. He wanted to synthesize what was best about postwar America, such as the technological and policy expertise that promoted a form of compassionate efficiency, while also returning America to its bedrock virtues such as the necessity of telling the truth in public life. He hoped that, with the proper moral and political leadership, Americans would be able to face up to their problems, making the necessary sacrifices if necessary, and conquer stagflation, the energy crisis, corruption, and a host of other seventies ills. Although Carter made a difference, he could not overcome a new surge of problems that occurred during his presidency. As a result, the crisis of the seventies, which had begun under Nixon and the Republicans, became associated with Carter and the Democrats.


THE RISE OF JIMMY CARTER

The election of Jimmy Carter marked a pronounced change in the presidency. He was not a member of Congress and, in fact, was the first president without Washington experience since Woodrow Wilson. He also came from a different generation than did his predecessors. Carter, unlike Gerald Ford and the four presidents before him, did not serve in a combat zone during the Second World War. He graduated from high school just before Pearl Harbor and, after further preparation at some Georgia colleges, eventually entered the Naval Academy. By the time he finished at the academy, however, the war had ended, and he did his military service in the

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