Jimmy Carter's Crisis of Confidence Speech


This study guide will help you analyze Jimmy Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence” speech. In addition to help for your analysis, you can find a summary of the speech and ideas for putting it into perspective.

Presentation of the text

Title: Crisis of Confidence (1979)

Sender: Jimmy Carter

Genre: Speech

Jimmy Carter (b. 1924) is an American politician who served as the 39th president of the United States. Carter was elected in 1976 and was part of the Democratic party. At the time of his election, the United States was going through high levels of inflation and low unemployment. The 1979 energy crisis only worsened these issues. In his “Crisis of Confidence” speech, Carter announces the measures he wants to establish to address the energy crisis. Carter’s presidency is viewed as below-average by political scientists as he failed to turn many of his ideas into laws. However, he is popular for founding the Carter Center, a non-governmental organization concerned with promoting human rights, and he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.


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Carter delivers his speech live on television from the Oval Office. The speech is intended to reach people all over the United States. Carter targets US citizens directly as he urges them to take action and be a part of solving the energy crisis:

And I’m asking you for your own good and for your nation’s security to take no unnecessary trips (...) Every gallon of oil each one of us saves is a new form of production. It gives up freedom, more confidence, that much more control over our own lives...

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Jimmy Carter's Crisis of Confidence Speech

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