152+ Best Jimmy Carter Quotes: Exclusive Selection

James Earl Carter Jr. is an American politician, philanthropist, and former farmer who served as the 39th president of the United States. Profoundly inspirational Jimmy Carter quotes will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.

Famous Jimmy Carter Quotes

A country will have authority and influence because of moral factors, not its military strength; because it can be humble and not blatant and arrogant; because our people want to serve others and not dominate others. And a nation without morality will soon lose its influence around the world. – Jimmy Carter

A fundamentalist can’t bring himself or herself to negotiate with people who disagree with them because the negotiating process itself is an indication of implied equality. – Jimmy Carter

A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It’s a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity. – Jimmy Carter

According to Gandhi, the seven sins are wealth without works, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle. Well, Hubert Humphrey may have sinned in the eyes of God, as we all do, but according to those definitions of Gandhi’s, it was Hubert Humphrey without sin. – Jimmy Carter

All I want is the same thing you want. To have a nation with a government that is as good and honest and decent and competent and compassionate and as filled with love as are the American people. – Jimmy Carter

Always tell the truth and take an interest in serving the people around you as much as possible. – Jimmy Carter

America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense human rights invented America. – Jimmy Carter

America has always been a country of innovation and dynamism, entrepreneurship. And I think that one of the things that has made our country great too is its heterogeneous population where people come here from all over the world. – Jimmy Carter

America has no functioning democracy at this moment. – Jimmy Carter

At the Carter Center we work with victims of oppression, and we give support to human rights heroes. – Jimmy Carter

Because (grandparents) are usually free to love and guide and befriend the young without having to take daily responsibility for them, they can often reach out past pride and fear of failure and close the space between generations. – Jimmy Carter

Because I know about the Holy Land, I’ve taught lessons about the Holy Land all my life, and – but you can’t bring peace to Israel without giving the Palestinian also peace. And Lebanon and Jordan and Syria as well. – Jimmy Carter

Billy Graham is one of my great lifetime heroes. I think he epitomizes the essence of what a Christian leader should be. I have participated in some of his crusades a couple of times in Atlanta. I’ve seen the profound impact he’s had on me personally, and on other people who were not Christians and accepted Christ as Savior. – Jimmy Carter

Earlier in my life I thought the things that mattered were the things that you could see, like your car, your house, your wealth, your property, your office. But as I’ve grown older I’ve become convinced that the things that matter most are the things that you can’t see — the love you share with others, your inner purpose, your comfort with who you are. – Jimmy Carter

Ever since Israel has been a nation the United States has provided the leadership. Every president down to the ages has done this in a fairly balanced way, including George Bush senior, Gerald Ford, and others including myself and Bill Clinton. – Jimmy Carter

Faith implies a continuing search, not necessarily a final answer. – Jimmy Carter

For the first time in the history of our country the majority of our people believe that the next five years will be worse than the past five years. – Jimmy Carter

For this generation, ours, life is nuclear survival, liberty is human rights, the pursuit of happiness is a planet whose resources are devoted to the physical and spiritual nourishment of its inhabitants. – Jimmy Carter

Globalization, as defined by rich people like us, is a very nice thing… you are talking about the Internet, you are talking about cell phones, you are talking about computers. This doesn’t affect two-thirds of the people of the world. – Jimmy Carter

Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is. – Jimmy Carter

God always answers prayers. Sometimes it’s ‘yes.’ Sometimes the answer is ‘no.’ Sometimes it’s ‘you gotta be kidding. – Jimmy Carter

Governance should be designed as an equalizer. Democrats are more inclined towards working families and those who are struggling for a better life. – Jimmy Carter

Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. People have the right to expect that these wants will be provided for by this wisdom. – Jimmy Carter

Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but rather by what one owns. – Jimmy Carter

Human rights is the soul of our foreign policy, because human rights is the very soul of our sense of nationhood. – Jimmy Carter

I am a nuclear physicist by training and a deeply committed Christian. I don’t have any doubt in my own mind about God who created the entire universe. But I don’t adhere to passages that so and so was created 4,000 years before Christ, and things of that kind. – Jimmy Carter

I am confident that when the facts and policies have been examined, when the record of performances have been reviewed, Barack Obama and Joe Biden will once again be elected to lead our beloved country to a better future. – Jimmy Carter

I believe that anyone can be successful in life, regardless of natural talent or the environment within which we live. This is not based on measuring success by human competitiveness for wealth, possessions, influence, and fame, but adhering to God’s standards of truth, justice, humility, service, compassion, forgiveness, and love. – Jimmy Carter

I believe there is complete equality between men and women. And I believe those passages in the New Testament, not by Jesus, but by Paul, that say women should not adorn themselves, they should always wear hats or color their hair in church – things like that – I think they are signs of the times and should not apply to modern-day life. – Jimmy Carter

I believed what my father taught me about the separation of church and state, so when I was President, I never invited Billy Graham to have services in the White House because I didn’t think that was appropriate. He was injured a little bit, until I explained it to him. – Jimmy Carter

I can get up at 8am and be rested… or I can get up at 5am and be President. – Jimmy Carter

I can’t really criticize the Tea Party people, because I came into the White House pretty much on the same basis that they have become popular. That is dissatisfaction with the way things are going in Washington and disillusionment and disencouragement about the government. – Jimmy Carter

I don’t believe that China, in my lifetime or maybe my children’s lifetime, be equal to the United States militarily speaking, but they are very careful to avoid any engagement in war, they are basically a peaceful country, which gives them another advantage over the United States when we are much more inclined to go to war for various reasons. – Jimmy Carter

I don’t claim to be knowledgeable about theology. Most of my knowledge comes out of my experience and the lessons in the Bible. Every Sunday I’m home I teach 45 minutes and we boiled them down to one page for the new book, ‘Through the Year with Jimmy Carter.’ – Jimmy Carter

I don’t think that the total creation took place in six days as we now measure time. If we can confirm, say, the Big Bang theory, that doesn’t at all cause me to question my faith that God created the Big Bang. – Jimmy Carter

I don’t think the Tea Party people are racist, except maybe a tiny portion of them. But there has been a deliberate effort – again, referring to Fox Broadcasting – to inject the race issue into it. They have actually called Obama a racist on television. – Jimmy Carter

I don’t want to tell President Obama how to make a speech. He’s a much better speech maker than I am. But I think always to tell the truth in a sometimes-blatant way, even though it might be temporarily unpopular, is the best approach. – Jimmy Carter

I feel that my role as a former president is probably superior to that of other presidents. Primarily because of the activism and the injection of working at the Carter Center, and in international affairs, and to some degree, domestic affairs, on energy conservation, on environment, and things of that kind. – Jimmy Carter

I had very good support from Democrats and Republicans all throughout my administration. I had a very high batting average. We added more jobs per year in my four years than any other president since the Second World War. – Jimmy Carter

I hate to see complacency prevail in our lives when it’s so directly contrary to the teaching of Christ. – Jimmy Carter

I have often wanted to drown my troubles, but I can’t get my wife to go swimming. – Jimmy Carter

I have one life and one chance to make it count for something… My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference. – Jimmy Carter

I look forward to these confrontations with the press to kind of balance up the nice and pleasant things that come to me as president. – Jimmy Carter

I remember the last three days that I was president, I never went to bed at all. I never went to bed until we had negotiated the final release of the hostages. – Jimmy Carter

I say to you quite frankly that the time for racial discrimination is over. – Jimmy Carter

I separated from the Southern Baptists when they adopted the discriminatory attitude towards women, because I believe what Paul taught in Galatians that there is no distinction in God’s eyes between men and women, slaves and masters, Jews and non-Jews – everybody is created equally in the eyes of God. – Jimmy Carter

I think all Americans believe in human rights. And health is an often-overlooked aspect of basic human rights. And it’s one that’s easily corrected. The reason I say that is that many of the diseases that we treat around the world, I knew when I was a child. My mother was a registered nurse. And they no longer exist in our country. – Jimmy Carter

I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African American. – Jimmy Carter

I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history… The overt reversal of America’s basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me. – Jimmy Carter

I think I was identified as a failed president because I wasn’t re-elected. – Jimmy Carter

I think the most challenging thing for me in my life and in the Bible is that we worship Jesus as the Prince of Peace. And America is constantly at war. – Jimmy Carter

I think there ought to be a strict separation or wall built between our religious faith and our practice of political authority in office. I don’t think the President of the United States should extoll Christianity if he happens to be a Christian at the expense of Judaism, Islam or other faiths. – Jimmy Carter

I think what’s going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A. I wouldn’t say it’s the cause of terrorism, but it has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts. – Jimmy Carter

I thought then, and I think now, that the invasion of Iraq was unnecessary and unjust. And I think the premises on which it was launched were false. – Jimmy Carter

I want to make it clear, if there is ever a conflict [between environmental quality and economic growth], I will go for beauty, clean air, water, and landscape. – Jimmy Carter

I wish I had known when I was in the White House what I know now about the Third World. – Jimmy Carter

I’d like to be remembered as someone who was a champion of peace and human rights. – Jimmy Carter

If you fear making anyone mad, then you ultimately probe for the lowest common denominator of human achievement. – Jimmy Carter

If you’re totally illiterate and living on one dollar a day, the benefits of globalization never come to you. – Jimmy Carter

I’ll never tell a lie. I’ll never make a misleading statement. I’ll never betray the confidence that any of you had in me. And I’ll never avoid a controversial issue. – Jimmy Carter

In order for us human beings to commit ourselves personally to the inhumanity of war, we find it necessary first to dehumanize our opponents, which is in itself a violation of the beliefs of all religions. Once we characterize our adversaries as beyond the scope of God’s mercy and grace, their lives lose all value. – Jimmy Carter

In religious and in secular affairs, the more fervent beliefs attract followers. If you are a moderate in any respect – if you’re a moderate on abortion, if you’re a moderate on gun control, or if you’re a moderate in your religious faith – it doesn’t evolve into a crusade where you’re either right or wrong, good or bad, with us or against us. – Jimmy Carter

In this outward and physical ceremony, we attest once again to the inner and spiritual strength of our Nation. As my high school teacher, Miss Julia Coleman, used to say: ‘We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.’ – Jimmy Carter

It is difficult for the common good to prevail against the intense concentration of those who have a special interest, especially if the decisions are made behind locked doors. – Jimmy Carter

It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever. – Jimmy Carter

It’s not necessary to fear the prospect of failure but to be determined not to fail. – Jimmy Carter

It’s very difficult for the American people to believe that our government, one of the richest on Earth, is also one of the stingiest on Earth. – Jimmy Carter

I’ve just finished my 20th book this past year and I’m working on my 21st book about the Middle East right now that I’ll finish this year. And I get up early in the morning and when I get tired of the computer and tired of doing research, I walk 20 steps out to my woodshop and I either build furniture or paint paintings. I’m an artist too. – Jimmy Carter

I’ve looked on many women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times. God knows I will do this and forgives me. – Jimmy Carter

I’ve never won an argument with my wife; and the only time I thought I had I found out the argument wasn’t over yet. – Jimmy Carter

I’ve used the prestige and influence of having been a president of the United States as effectively as possible. And secondly, I’ve still been able to carry out my commitments to peace and human rights and environmental quality and freedom and democracy and so forth. – Jimmy Carter

Jerry Falwell can go straight to hell – and I mean that in a Christian way. – Jimmy Carter

Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things – he never said that gay people should be condemned. I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies. – Jimmy Carter

Life is just too short to go quail hunting with the wrong people. – Jimmy Carter

Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries. – Jimmy Carter

Many of the most highly publicized events of my presidency are not nearly as memorable or significant in my life as fishing with my daddy. – Jimmy Carter

My constant prayer, my number one foreign goal, is to bring peace to Israel. And in the process to Israel’s neighbors. – Jimmy Carter

My decision to register women confirms what is already obvious throughout our society-that women are now providing all types of skills in every profession. The military should be no exception. – Jimmy Carter

My favorite president, and the one I admired most, was Harry Truman. – Jimmy Carter

My paintings have gotten to be pretty popular and I’ve taken a little bit more interest in painting the last few years. In fact, my novel that I wrote not too long ago, ‘The Hornet’s Nest,’ I painted the cover picture for it and I do a good bit of painting now. – Jimmy Carter

My position has always been, along with many other people, that any differences be resolved in a nonviolent way. – Jimmy Carter

On balance, my life has been a constant stream of blessings rather than disappointments and failures and tragedies. I wish I had been re-elected. I think I could have kept our country at peace. I think I could have consolidated what we achieved at Camp David with a treaty between Israel and the Palestinians. – Jimmy Carter

One of the greatest concerns that I had when I became President was the vast array of nuclear weapons in the arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union and a few other countries, and also the great proliferation of conventional weapons, non-nuclear weapons, particularly as a tremendous burden on the economies of developing or very poor countries. – Jimmy Carter

One of the most serious problems that our country has inherited an unwillingness to talk to anyone who disagrees with us or who won’t accept, before a discussion, all the premises that we demand. – Jimmy Carter

Our laws were not designed to accommodate three or four thousand refugees coming here per day. Our laws were designed for people to be screened in a foreign country, carefully catalogued, and brought here a few at a time. This just didn’t happen. – Jimmy Carter

Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself – Jimmy Carter

People make a big fuss over you when you’re President. But I’m very serious about doing everything I can to make sure that it doesn’t go to my head. – Jimmy Carter

Republicans are men of narrow vision, who are afraid of the future. – Jimmy Carter

Sadat was a great and good man, and his most bitter and dangerous enemies were people who were obsessed with hatred for his peaceful goals. – Jimmy Carter

showed up when assigned to duty, and he served with honor and distinction. – Jimmy Carter

Spirit is like the wind, in that we can’t see it but can see its effects, which are profound. – Jimmy Carter

The abuse of women and girls is the most pervasive and unaddressed human right violation on earth. – Jimmy Carter

The awareness that health is dependent upon habits that we control makes us the first generation in history that to a large extent determines its own destiny. – Jimmy Carter

The best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation. – Jimmy Carter

The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices. – Jimmy Carter

The Carter Center has the only existing international taskforce on disease eradication. Which means a total elimination of a disease on the face of the Earth. In the history of the world, there’s only been one disease eradicated: smallpox. The second disease, I think, is gonna be guinea worm. – Jimmy Carter

The existing and long-standing use of the word ‘evolution’ in our state’s textbooks has not adversely affected Georgians’ belief in the omnipotence of God as creator of the universe, There can be no incompatibility between Christian faith and proven facts concerning geology, biology, and astronomy. There is no need to teach that stars can fall out of the sky and land on a flat Earth in order to defend our religious faith. – Jimmy Carter

The experience of democracy is like the experience of life itself-always changing, infinite in its variety, sometimes turbulent and all the more valuable for having been tested by adversity. – Jimmy Carter

The fact is that we would have had comprehensive health care now, had it not been for Ted Kennedy’s deliberately blocking the legislation that I proposed in 1978 or ’79. – Jimmy Carter

The first time I ever saw snow skis was when I was 62 years old and that was 19 years ago and I’m still skiing. So, we’ll be skiing with some very close friends of the Carter Center letting them know what the Carter Center is doing around the world. We have programs in over 65 countries. – Jimmy Carter

The founding of our Nation was more than a political event; it was an act of faith, a promise to Americans and to the entire world. The Declaration of Independence declared that people can govern themselves, that they can live in freedom with equal rights, that they can respect the rights of others. – Jimmy Carter

The measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest and most helpless citizens. – Jimmy Carter

The personal attacks on the president and the condemnations of America by Hugo Chavez from Venezuela, I think, are completely unjustified and uncalled for, … Chavez is a difficult person with whom to deal personally. I know from my own experience. – Jimmy Carter

The stronger the ties that bind us to God, the more likely we are to live, react, and behave in harmony with…greater joy, peace, and happiness. – Jimmy Carter

The test of a government is not how popular it is with the powerful and privileged few but how honestly and fairly it deals with the many who must depend on it. – Jimmy Carter

The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. – Jimmy Carter

There is no other mandate whose implementation could more to profoundly improve international relationships. – Jimmy Carter

There should be an honest attempt at the reconciliation of differences before resorting to combat. – Jimmy Carter

There’s always an element of self-delusion among people who believe they ought to be President. There’s an underestimation of your opponent and an overestimation of your own abilities. This is compatible with being rich and powerful, the idea that we were blessed by God because we deserve to be blessed. – Jimmy Carter

There’s no doubt that the Christian right has gone to bed with the more conservative elements of the Republican Party. And there’s been a melding in their goals when it comes to the separation of church and state. I’ve always believed in the separation of church and state. – Jimmy Carter

There’s no doubt that usually a president’s public image is enhanced by going to war. That never did appeal to me. – Jimmy Carter

This proposal for permanent normal trade relations with China will be enormously beneficial for both the United States and Chinese workers. – Jimmy Carter

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. It is widespread. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. – Jimmy Carter

Throughout my life, I’ve seen the difference that volunteering efforts can make in people’s lives. I know the personal value of service as a local volunteer. – Jimmy Carter

To be true to ourselves, we must be true to others. – Jimmy Carter

To deal with individual human needs at the everyday level can be noble sometimes. – Jimmy Carter

To work for better understanding among people, one does not have to be a former president sitting at a fancy conference room table. Peace can be made in the neighborhoods, the living rooms, the playing fields, and the classrooms of our country. – Jimmy Carter

Too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. – Jimmy Carter

Trust is very much a part of our democracy. – Jimmy Carter

Unfortunately, after Sept. 11, there was an outburst in America of intense suffering and patriotism, and the Bush administration was very shrewd and effective in painting anyone who disagreed with the policies as unpatriotic or even traitorous. – Jimmy Carter

Unless both sides win, no agreement can be permanent. – Jimmy Carter

War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children. – Jimmy Carter

We are of course a nation of differences. Those differences don’t make us weak. They’re the source of our strength. – Jimmy Carter

We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams. – Jimmy Carter

We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes – and we must. – Jimmy Carter

We cannot be both the world’s leading champion of peace and the world’s leading supplier of the weapons of war. – Jimmy Carter

We can’t equate democracy with Christianity because the largest democracy on earth is India, which is primarily Hindu. The third largest democracy is Indonesia, which is Islamic. Democracy and freedom are not dependent on Christian beliefs. – Jimmy Carter

We didn’t understand clearly enough the feeling of many Panamanians that the arrangement implied an element of colonialism and subjugation and not an equal representation of leaders from two sovereign countries, … This created a need for later presidents to address the controversy. – Jimmy Carter

We have a tendency to condemn people who are different from us, to define their sins as paramount and our own sinfulness as being insignificant. – Jimmy Carter

We have seven and a half times as many people in prison. And we have eight times as many black women in prison now as we did in 1981, when I left the White House. So that’s been one of the major concerns I’ve had as a non-lawyer, to criticize the American justice system, which is highly biased against black people and poor people. And it still is. – Jimmy Carter

We know that a peaceful world cannot long exist, one-third rich and two-thirds hungry. – Jimmy Carter

We live in a time of transition, an uneasy era which is likely to endure for the rest of this century… During this period, we may be tempted to abandon some of the time-honored principles and commitments which have been proven during the difficult times of past generations. We must never yield to this temptation. Our American values are not luxuries but necessities – not the salt in our bread but the bread itself. – Jimmy Carter

We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles. – Jimmy Carter

We must make it clear that a platform of ‘I hate gay men and women’ is not a way to become president of the United States. – Jimmy Carter

We should live our lives as though Christ were coming this afternoon. – Jimmy Carter

We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children. – Jimmy Carter

Well, you know, I had been a peanut farmer. I had – you know who was the first president – Democratic president I ever met? Bill Clinton. – Jimmy Carter

What a difference these few months of extremism have made. – Jimmy Carter

What are the things that you can’t see that are important? I would say justice, truth, humility, service, compassion, love…They’re the guiding lights of a life. – Jimmy Carter

What has happened at Guantanamo Bay… does not represent the will of the American people. I’m embarrassed about it; I think it’s wrong. I think it does give terrorists an unwarranted excuse to use the despicable means to hurt innocent people. – Jimmy Carter

Whatever starts in California unfortunately has an inclination to spread. – Jimmy Carter

When I speak at my local church, which I try to do 35 to 40 times a year, I try in every lesson to take the Old Testament text or New Testament text and apply them to what is happening to me or how that applies to the audience that I’m teaching in a modern, fast-changing, technological world. I use headlines, interfaith and that sort of thing. – Jimmy Carter

When I was elected President, nobody asked me to negotiate between Israel and Egypt. It was not even a question raised in my campaign. But I felt that one of the reasons that I was elected President was to try to bring peace to the Holy Land. – Jimmy Carter

When I was in the White House, I was confronted with the challenge of the Cold War. Both the Soviet Union and I had 30,000 nuclear weapons that could destroy the entire earth and I had to maintain the peace. – Jimmy Carter

When I was president, I announced, and I still maintain that I can live with Roe v. Wade. I did everything I possibly could as president under that ruling, which I don’t think ought to be changed, to minimize the need for abortions. I think every abortion is a result of a horrible series of errors on the part of people involved. – Jimmy Carter

When people are intimidated about having their own opinions, oppression is at hand. – Jimmy Carter

When we go to the Bible, we should keep in mind that the basic principles of the Bible are taught by God but written down by human beings deprived of modern-day knowledge. So, there is some fallibility in the writings of the Bible. But the basic principles are applicable to my life and I don’t find any conflict among them. – Jimmy Carter

Wherever life takes us, there are always moments of wonder. – Jimmy Carter

You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can. – Jimmy Carter

You cannot divorce religious belief and public service. I’ve never detected any conflict between God’s will and my political duty. If you violate one, you violate the other. – Jimmy Carter

You can’t divorce religious belief and public service I’ve never detected any conflict between God’s will and my political duty. If you violate one, you violate the other. – Jimmy Carter

You just have to have a simple faith. – Jimmy Carter

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