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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Jimmy Carter [exact date unavailable], 1974. Interview A-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Military interests and religious conservatism make southerners unique

Carter finds southerners distinctive for their interest in national defense and their conservative religious ethic.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Jimmy Carter [exact date unavailable], 1974. Interview A-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACK BASS:
Would you [say that] the South politically, as part of its racial attitudes, is really not that much different than the rest of the country. Maybe there's no point in our writing a book on the South as a region. You see very few books on the Northeast or the Middle West. Does the South has something distinctive that makes it worthwhile studying it?
JIMMY CARTER:
Well, I think there are some distinctive things. I just mentioned a few of them. I think on the average the Southern people are more heavily inclined toward strong national defense. We're the first ones that come forward statistically to volunteer to fight. And we have the highest number of casualties and the most POWs and so forth. I think this is a matter of heritage, and a matter of having had strong southern leaders in positions of responsibility in the national Congress on the armed services. I think the South, the Southeastern region, is heavily oriented toward a fairly conservative religious ethic, which permeates workers' attitudes. We have. . . .
JACK BASS:
What do you think is the political effect of that?
JIMMY CARTER:
One very interesting political effect is that the South has a tendency to be hopeful about the future, and to have confidence in our governmental structure. And I'll come back to that in a minute.
JACK BASS:
You think that derives from its religious conservatism?
JIMMY CARTER:
I think so. Recently there have been some definitive polls run by Pat Caddell and others, which have shown that on a nationwide basis, for the first time in the history of polling, the people look on the future with less expectation than they do on the present and the past as far as realization of hopes is concerned.