As the 39th President of the United States, James Earl Carter, Jr. served one term in office (1977-1981) that fell in between the presidencies of Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. A Georgia native, a lifelong Democrat, and an outspoken Southern Baptist, Carter's two most formidable accomplishments arguably lay in his foreign policy -- particularly the orchestration of the Menachem Begin/Anwar el-Sadat peace accords -- and the establishment of the Department of Energy. At the time of his defeat, many argued with great conviction that he had failed to solve the majority of the problems facing the nation throughout his term, yet his presidency received renewed attention during the 1990s and 2000s when political commentators (particularly those in Europe) began to reevaluate Carter's doings in an enthusiastic light.
Considerably active in his post-presidential life, Carter authored numerous tomes on such topics as the Middle East, aging, and his own Christian faith. He also established the social activist group Habitat for Humanity and mediated numerous international conflicts as an unofficial diplomat -- with astounding efficacy. In 2006, Oscar-winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme (Melvin and Howard) shot a critically acclaimed, favorable documentary portrait of the former president, Jimmy Carter Man from Plains; it reached American cinemas the following year.