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Peanut Farming

The peanut is believed by many historians to have originated in South America and then spread throughout the New World by Spanish explorers, eventually making its way to North America in the 1700s. Although a few commercial peanut farms existed in the United States during the 1700s and 1800s, peanuts were not grown extensively because growing and harvesting techniques at the time were slow and difficult. Until the Civil War, the peanut remained primarily a regional food associated with the southern United States. By the late 1800s, the development of equipment for producing, harvesting, and shelling peanuts reduced the cost and labor of peanut farming and resulted in the rapid expansion of the peanut farming industry. Research conducted by George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama near the turn of the century also contributed to the expansion of the peanut industry. Carver proposed that peanuts be planted as a rotation crop in the Southeast where the boll weevil insect threatened agricultural operations in the region. Carver also proposed more than 300 uses for the peanut, ranging from recipes to industrial products. As a result, public demand grew for products such as peanut butter, peanut oil, and roasted peanuts, resulting in an even greater expansion of the peanut industry. Peanuts in the United States are categorized into four basic types: Runner, Virginia, Spanish, and Valencia. As of 2008, seven states account for approximately 99% of all peanuts grown in the United States. Georgia grows the majority of all peanuts at 41%, followed by Texas (24%), Alabama (10%), North Carolina (9%), Florida (6%), Virginia (5%), and Oklahoma (5%).


Bungalow houses were most popular throughout Georgia between 1900 and 1930, although it is not uncommon to find examples dating from 1930 through the 1940s as well. Bungalows feature long and low forms with irregular floor plans and an overall rectangular shape. Common design features include integral porches, usually on the front or sides of the house, and low-pitched roofs with wide overhangs. Decorative elements such as those found on more high-style architectural works (such as those mentioned in the discussion of the Swan House) are minimal to non-existent, giving bungalows a relatively plain, modest appearance. The bungalow type is divided into four subtypes based on orientation of the roof: front gable, side gable, hipped or pyramidal, and cross gable. The front and side gabled versions are the most common while cross-gabled bungalows are rare. Bungalows can be found both in rural areas as well as in cities and towns across the state.

One notable example of a bungalow house is Jimmy Carter's boyhood home in Plains, Georgia. The house was built in 1910 from plans purchased from Sears & Roebuck and is a one-story, wood frame house with a pyramidal roof. A wide screened porch with support columns made of wood and stone extends across the front of the house. There are exposed rafters underneath the roof-line and the chimneys are made of stone. James Earl Carter, Sr. and his family moved into this farmhouse in 1928. The house was heated by fireplaces or wood stoves and did not have running water or electricity until 1938. Before that time, water for showers was brought from the hand pump well, heated on a wood stove, and poured into a bucket with holes in the bottom which hung from the ceiling. For sanitation they had an outdoor privy. The Carter family lived in this house until 1949. Restoration of the home began in 1994 to show not only how the future president grew up but to preserve an example of rural life in the Depression South. In 2000, Jimmy Carter dedicated his rural boyhood home as a national historic site.

President Jimmy Carter

James Earl Carter, Jr., served as America's 39th President from 1977 to 1981. Born in Plains, Georgia, in 1924, Carter earned the nickname \"hot shot\" because of his ambition and hard work. Peanut farming, politics, and a deep commitment to the Christian faith were central elements of his upbringing. As a child, Carter also spent time working and fishing with Ms. Rachel Clark, a tenant on the farm who cared for Carter when his parents were out of town. Carter graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1946 and served for seven years as a naval officer. During the early 1960s, he served two terms as a state senator and later served as Governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975. Throughout his tenure in Georgia politics, Carter initiated efforts to make government more compassionate and efficient. He expressed unwavering support for ending racial discrimination, expanding the rights of minorities, and the consolidation of approximately 300 state agencies into 30 agencies to improve government efficiency. His efforts at creating a more compassionate and efficient government were also notable after his election as President of the United States in 1976. As President, Carter created the United States Department of Energy in 1977. A strong promoter of energy conservation, Carter encouraged Americans to participate in conservation practices during an energy crisis that began during the early 1970s and continued through much of his Presidency. He also appointed record numbers of women and minorities to government and judiciary jobs during his term. His most notable foreign policy achievements included negotiating a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1979 known as the Camp David Accords and making the issue of human rights integral to America's foreign policy. Economic uncertainty, continuing public concerns over the energy crisis, and the 444-day seizure of 52 American hostages by Iranian militants in 1979 led to Carter's defeat in the 1980 Presidential election. But Carter's service as a statesman and his commitment to human rights and world peace has continued well beyond his Presidency. In 1982, he founded the Carter Center in Atlanta with the goal of advancing human rights, promoting democracy, and establishing global health initiatives. His involvement with Habitat for Humanity, an organization providing low-income families with affordable housing, has brought national visibility and sparked interest in Habitat's work across the nation. The recipient of numerous awards recognizing his humanitarian efforts, Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.

Additional Reading

Peanuts (New Georgia Encyclopedia)
The Peanut Industry (American Peanut Council)
What is a Bungalow? (American Bungalow Magazine)
President Jimmy Carter (NHS Education Program)
President Jimmy Carter (Official White House Biography

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