Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. John McMillian

Second Advisor

Dr. Larry Grubbs


The Jimmy Carter Era was situated between two crucial decades in American history. The historiography of the 1970s has traditionally been interpreted as a post-script to the radical changes of the 1960s, or a precursor to the more conservative 1980s. In the comparatively light scholarship that does examine Carter, he is often portrayed at the mercy of political and economic forces, which were responsible for his devastating electoral loss in 1980. It is my contention that this analysis of the Carter presidency is reductive and ignores the information available that suggests that while Carter did face historically unprecedented challenges in his presidency, his loss was as much a function of his political mistakes as the aforementioned trends and forces. Carter’s political acumen allowed him to assemble competing interests into a winning coalition, but his mistakes ultimately ushered in a new era of conservative political supremacy in the United States.


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