The first servant of the nation : an in-depth analysis of how Jimmy Carter's religion influenced his presidency

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Publication Type honors thesis
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Political Science
Faculty Mentor Matthew Burbank
Creator Shackelford, Daniel T.
Title The first servant of the nation : an in-depth analysis of how Jimmy Carter's religion influenced his presidency
Year graduated 2013
Date 2013-05
Description Mitt Romney's recent run to become the nation's first Mormon president has made many Americans question what role religion plays in the presidency. While some fervent Romney supporters saw him as man chosen by God for the White House, opponents saw his overt commitment to his religion as a dangerous and unprecedented bridging of church and state. But this fervor is nothing new; as Jimmy Carter ascended to the presidency, he touted his background as a born-again evangelical whose faith influenced every aspect of his life. This paper argues that once in office, Carter's faith indeed helped form policy during his presidency, but in ways many did not expect. By acknowledging certain behaviors as sinful while insisting that others were private matters beyond government interference, Carter brought a pietistic style to the White House in which he stressed a calling of servanthood to the nation. However, Carter's dedication to preserve religious rights for all and not impose his faith on others was seen as political passivity and inaction which ultimately led to the rise of the Religious Right, the end of his presidency, and the beginning of a debate over religion's rightful influence in politics that continues today. My research focuses on primary sources from autobiographies, campaign speeches, magazine interviews, and newspaper articles written during Carter's presidency. This thesis explores the profound and inescapable interactions between religious faith and politics in the United States and concludes that Carter's unique Christian faith affected his electability, determined the goals he set, influenced the policies he developed, and forever left a mark on American religious political history. As many people wonder what role God plays in the White House today, this work helps shed light on an instance where He played a significant one: Jimmy Carter's presidency.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Carter, Jimmy, 1924 - Religion; Christianity and politics - United States - History - 20th century
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Daniel T. Shackelford
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 235,073 bytes
Permissions Reference URL
ARK ark:/87278/s6f50zfp
Setname ir_htoa
Date Created 2016-10-27
Date Modified 2019-07-09
ID 205839
Reference URL
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