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Eleanor Rosalynn Carter is an American political activist who served as First Lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981. She is the wife of the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter. She assumed a politically active role during her White House years, being an adviser to her husband and advocating for many significant causes.
See the fact file below for more information on the Rosalynn Carter or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Rosalynn Carter worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Eleanor Rosalynn Carter was born Eleanor Rosalynn Smith on August 18, 1927 in Plains, Georgia.
- As the eldest of four children, she was born to Wilburn Edgar Smith, a farmer and car mechanic, and Frances Allethea Murray Smith, a seamstress.
- After her father died when she was 13 years old, she began to take on the responsibilities left behind in the wake of her father’s death.
- Rosalynn received much of her education in public schools in Plains, Georgia, her hometown.
- She briefly attended Georgia Southwestern College before eventually dropping out due to her familial obligations and financial troubles.
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
- She also met Jimmy Carter, a naval cadet, in Plains, Georgia. Jimmy was the older brother of her best friend.
- They became engaged when Rosalynn was still studying at a junior college and Jimmy was still at the naval academy.
- After Jimmy’s graduation, they got married. They were wed on July 7, 1946 at the Plains Methodist Church.
- They moved to Norfolk, Virginia to start a family.
- Rosalynn gave birth to three sons and one daughter: Jack (1947), James (1950), Donnel (1952), and Amy (1967).
- As she was raising the kids and attending to her husband, Rosalynn pursued her education through home study.
- In 1953, in the wake of the death of her father-in-law, the Carter family moved back to Plains, despite Rosalynn’s initial reluctance.
- The Carters ran a family peanut business, where Rosalynn became the bookkeeper. This responsibility increased Rosalynn’s confidence in herself and Jimmy’s confidence in her.
CAMPAIGNING FOR HER HUSBAND
- In 1962, Jimmy won the election to the Georgia Senate. His election meant Rosalynn became the overseer of the family business.
- Rosalynn also helped her husband in corresponding with his constituents. In doing so, she became in touch with the people’s needs and perspectives.
- In 1970, Jimmy became the Governor of Georgia. By this time, Rosalynn had become more confident in campaigning, delivering brief speeches to the masses, and talking to the voters personally.
- The discussions she had with the people gave her the drive to advocate for mental health.
- She became more politically astute and active as her husband served in the governor’s mansion.
- After Jimmy announced his candidacy for president in the 1976 election, Rosalynn drove to towns on her own to campaign for her husband and have conversations with the voters. She then expanded her campaigning by traveling to 42 states.
REDEFINING THE ROLE OF A FIRST LADY
- Rosalynn was the first among her First Lady predecessors to be active in political affairs as much as she did.
- Jimmy Carter fully acknowledged Rosalynn as his working partner in the office.
- She had business meetings with President Carter on a regular basis.
- She attended cabinet meetings concerning matters that caught her interest or she advocated strongly for.
- In June 1977, she was sent as an envoy to Latin America and the Caribbean to discuss matters about defense and trade with leaders of concerned nations. She received both praise and criticism for taking on this responsibility, as First Ladies usually did not engage in public service as major as that.
- That was the first and last trip she took of that sort. Her travels thereafter were more regarding humanitarian missions and ceremonies.
- As First Lady, Rosalynn was egalitarian and practical.
- She was not one to wear fancy designer labels. In fact, the gown she wore in her husband’s inaugural ball was the same gown she wore when her husband was inaugurated as governor of Georgia.
- She paid no mind to ordering new fine china and did not focus on redecorating the White House.
- She was unlike previous First Ladies in the way she hosted events in the mansion. She did not serve hard liquor and expensive menus in order to cut costs and be more practical.
- Rosalynn could have been chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health established in 1977, but President Carter could not legally appoint his own wife as part of the rules.
- Nonetheless, she actively worked on the board as honorary chair.
- The commission was able to submit the Mental Health Systems Bill to Congress in May 1979.
- Even after Jimmy Carter lost his re-election bid in 1981, Rosalynn continued to work on her advocacies, such as mental health care and Habitat for Humanity.
- Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that helps people build their own homes.
- In 1984, Rosalynn wrote her autobiography, “First Lady from Plains.”
- In being politically active, Rosalynn set an unprecedented standard in the role of a First Lady.
Rosalynn Carter Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Rosalynn Carter across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Rosalynn Carter worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Eleanor Rosalynn Carter who is an American political activist who served as First Lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981. She is the wife of the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter. She assumed a politically active role during her White House years, being an adviser to her husband and advocating for many significant causes.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Rosalynn Carter Facts
- About Rosalynn
- Political Pioneer
- Describing Rosalynn
- President Carter
- Bookkeeper Duties
- Quotes by Carter
- Similar or Different
- Preceding or Succeeding
- Breaking News
- Letter to Mrs. Carter
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Link will appear as Rosalynn Carter Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 10, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
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