|Old Post Office, now the Trump International Hotel, summer 2016|
Jimmy Carter is perhaps the most disdained president of recent history. Thinking about the late 1970s, the American public generally remembers the energy crisis, the hostages in Iran whom Carter couldn’t free, his “national malaise” and that’s about it.
|National Portrait Gallery|
His being a peanut farmer was celebrated, and companies offered products trying to capitalize on Carter’s grinning likeness. The government quickly moved to make it stop.
On May 3, 1977, Assistant Attorney General John M. Harmon prepared a memo suggesting the Federal Trade Commission might prevent the president’s likeness from being used commercially.
“The commission could probably prohibit the use of advertisements, labels, or trade names which implied that the president endorsed, profited from, or was connected with the sale of a particular product,” he wrote. “The prestige of the presidency and President Carter’s well-known background would probably allow the commission to eliminate most of the attempts to attach the president’s name to peanuts and peanut products.”
To continue reading, click here.