Jimmy Carter and the Lone Star State : an examination of the relationship between Jimmy Carter and white evangelicals in Texas.


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This thesis examines the relationship between white evangelical Christians in Texas and U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The thesis seeks to help answer why white evangelicals rejected Jimmy Carter in 1980. However, instead of focusing on elite white evangelical voices and their relationship to Carter, this thesis examines the views on Carter of normal white evangelical citizens in Waco and Amarillo, Texas. Their views are discovered through print culture, particularly letters to the editor of local newspapers and constituent letters written to their congressmen. This thesis also profiles three issues typically not included in explanations of the divide between Carter and his evangelical brethren: Carter’s pardon of Vietnam War draft evaders, his negotiations of the SALT II with the Soviet Union, and his support for the Equal Rights Amendment. Ultimately, this thesis argues that all three issues helped to drive a wedge between Carter and white evangelicals in Texas.