Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
42nd United States President
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In office Jan. 20, 1993 – Jan. 20, 2001
V. President Al Gore
Political Party Democratic
 
Personal Info
Born Aug. 19, 1946
Religion Baptist
School Georgetown University (B.S.)
University College, Oxford
Yale Law School (J.D.)
Profession Lawyer
Signature
Wife Hillary Rodham Clinton
Children Chelsea Clinton
U.S. Presidents 36-43
36. Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)
37. Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
38. Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
39. Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
40. Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
41. George H. W. Bush (1989-1993)
42. Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
43. George W. Bush (2001-2009)
List of All the Presidents

Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States brought more economic prosperity and peace to the country than any U.S. president since WWII.

Early Life

William Jefferson Blythe III, who we know today as Bill Clinton, was born on August 19, 1946 at hospital in Arkansas. Bill’s father was a salesman on the road who died three months prior to Bill’s birth during a car accident. Bill’s mother, Virginia Cassidy, left for New Orleans after his birth to pursue a career in nursing.

Eldridge and Edith, Bill’s maternal grandparents were responsible for his growing years. They were able to support him with the help of their small grocery business. Shortly in 1950, Bill’s mother came home from the nursing college and eventually wedded Roger Clinton, co-owner of an auto dealership business in Hot Spring, Arkansas. With this union, Bill assumed the surname of his stepfather but he officially embraced the family name Clinton after turning fourteen as a sign of his acceptance of Roger Clinton.

Education

Clinton was a very active student having attended several schools like St. John’s and Ramble in elementary and Hot Springs during his high school. He was also a voracious reader and a musician. He played tenor saxophone and won the first chair in the saxophone section in the nation’s band. He dedicated a part of his life into music until he finally realized that what he really wanted was to become a public servant and to be elected in an office. He knew in his heart that he could do a lot of things and become his greatest as an elected official.

Two very significant events in his student life greatly influenced his decision to become a political figure. First was his visit to White House during a special conference for youths. He was already in his senior year in high school and a Boys Nation senator. During the said event he was able to shake hands with then president John F. Kennedy. Given one of the most unforgettable moment in his life, he decided that he would like to become a president also. The second event was when he heard the speech of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963. The speech “I Have A Dream” changed the way Clinton looked at life. He started to envision what he wanted for his life and that was to work with and for other people.

Clinton earned a lot of scholarships that led him to Georgetown University where he finished a Foreign Service degree course. During his college years, he became a member of several organizations such as Alpha Phi Omega, Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Kappa Psi and Order of DeMolay. After earning his BS degree, he won University College scholarship in Oxford and studied Philosophy, Economics and Politics. However, he didn’t finish his schooling at Oxford when he switched to Yale University for a law degree. He obtained his Juris Doctor degree at Yale Law School. That was the same school where Hillary Rodham, his future wife, was ahead of him. They dated and married on October 11, 1975. They had one child, Chelsea, who came to the world on February 27, 1980.

Political Career

Upon completion of his study in 1974, Clinton officially entered the world of politics and vied for a position in the House of Representatives. He lost to JP Hammerschmidt by a 4% margin of votes. Shortly after two years, he was elected as Arkansas Attorney General. By 1978, he won as Governor of Arkansas, defeating Lynn Lowe, candidate of the Republicans. At the age of 32, he became the youngest of all the governors of Arkansas. His time in power focused on the development of the roads and education reforms. Alongside Clinton was his wife, Hillary, who watched over the reform of city health care.

His administration was responsible in assigning women and the minorities in very important job positions. However, during his fight for reelection, he lost to Frank White. His chance was spoiled by the motor vehicle tariff and the incident of the Cuban refugees in 1980. With his loss, he joined his friend’s law firm while working on his return to politics. He worked for his reelection as governor and indeed he made a come back to the government and was able to hold it for 10 years.

He chaired the National Governors Association around 1986-1987 giving him an exposure outside of Arkansas. Clinton established a lot of developments ranging from economy to education, creating jobs and exempting senior citizens from medication sales tax. Reforms in education turned the worst into the best in the nation. There were raises in teachers’ salaries, increases in vocational education, better opportunities for gifted students, and wider choices of college courses. This was considered as Clinton’s greatest accomplishment as Governor.

On October 3, 1991, Clinton made a life changing decision when he announced his intention to run as president. There were several controversies attached to Clinton during his campaign for presidency but he was able to score a decisive victory against incumbent president George W. Bush and Ross Perot. On November 3, 1992, he was elected as the 42nd president of the United States. His ascension to office ended the control of the Republicans in the White House. This gave the Democrats power in Congress. He was sworn into office on January 20, 1993 at the age of 46.

His initial years in office were rough with failed bills however he was able to smooth things out before the 1996 election. His popularity came back with the Violent Crime Control Law Enforcement Act and a law designed to raise the minimum wage level. Clinton’s life was an open book during his presidency for two consecutive tenures. He was honored for his many achievements and at the same time charged with a lot of accusations. He was also being considered for a Nobel Prize for Peace but was tattered by a sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky.

Key Events during His Presidency

During his two consecutive terms as president of the United States, there were several key events in his administration. In 1993, Clinton assigned his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to head the Task Force on National Health Care Program in the hope of reforming the health care structure by a guarantee of universal coverage in health insurance and to control the health care cost. He also signed the Family Medical Leave Act requiring companies to give up to three months of leave to workers for family and medical emergency situations.

On July 19, 1993 Clinton announced that homosexuals would be permitted to join the military service as long as they wouldn’t acknowledge their sexual orientation and preference. This implementation would be dubbed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Clinton also played a vital role in the first agreement between the Jews and the Palestinians by hosting the ceremony in Washington.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed on December 8, 1993 during his term abolishing the trade barrier among Canada, Mexico and the United States. This agreement established the largest free trade zone in the world.

In 1994, President Clinton introduced the “Partnership for Peace” during the NATO summit designed to bring closer ties amid previous Warsaw Pact states and NATO. He also ended the trade ban alongside Vietnam on February 3, 1994 and renewed trade status with China on May 26. During this year, he signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act providing an additional 100,000 policemen and the increase of death penalty coverage. Death penalty was extended to fifty other crimes. Finally, before the year ended, Clinton together with the presidents of 4 other nations signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) in Hungary to eradicate and abolish 9,000 warheads.

1995 was a good year when he started it by signing an act on anti-discrimination in the workplace to take effect to the rest of the country. It was followed by a diplomatic recognition of Vietnam after twenty-two years.

On January 23, 1996 Clinton gave his State of the Nation Address declaring himself as a moderate Democrat in preparation for his bet for another term in office. Being a supporter of the “right to choose”, he vetoed a bill about abortion making it safe, legal and rare. Later that year in August, he signed a bill on welfare reform to limit the number of people receiving welfare benefits and to ensure that the system works as intentioned. With the onset on nuclear weapon testing among strong countries, the United Stated through President Clinton agreed to a treaty prohibiting all forms of nuclear weapon testing. On November 5 of that year, Clinton won a re-election for his second term defeating Senator Bob Dole.

On April 10, 1998 President Clinton worked hard to bring about an agreement between Catholic and Protestant heads to sign the “Good Friday Peace Accords” as part of the North Ireland peace procedure. Clinton served as a medium in stabilizing peace and order throughout the globe by providing military back-up, financial help and active participation to worldwide move against terrorism. As he battled national and international issues, he was also fighting personal issues attached to him during his presidency. Sexual harassment issues marked his name making him lose votes in his move to run for another term.

Significance and Contribution

Clinton’s presidency was one of the hardest historical accounts to ascertain. However, Clinton was considered by scholars to have made a very important historical impact in the U.S. government and its society as well. First and foremost, he was able to revive the Democratic reign to control the White House. He was able to make it more appealing to middle-class families by upholding peace and order, anti-discrimination and several reform programs in education. While introducing new priorities to the people, he was also able to maintain the time-honored Democratic ways of providing for the underprivileged, supporting women and minorities and motivating economic growth.

Clinton was able establish a strong economy with the help of his brilliant economic team, led by Robert Rubin of the National Economic Council. He was able to get rid of the federal deficit creating a period of assurance and faith in the financial market. A big turn around in the deficit to asset was a stage in his presidency that captured the minds of economists especially with the odd steps his government made to make that possible. He led the nation to an era of strong economic wealth. The people under his administration enjoyed the lowest unemployment percentage, lowest inflation, highest home ownership and economic uniformity.

In the field of foreign relations and policy, Clinton was remarkable in the economic globalization. He was able to establish new procedures of free trade through NAFTA and GATT. His administration was also responsible in resolving currency problems of Mexico and some East Asia countries. His success will be recorded in history with the aid of his administration in ending conflict threatening the security of Europe and the possibility of cooperative measures. He also presided the signing of the Oslo Accords, stabilizing Bosnia with the Daytona Peace Accord and ending ethnic purification of Albanians.

Although his presidency ended in 2001, he remained an influential figure at the global scene. Through his foundation, William J. Clinton Foundation, he was able to create a project dedicated to development research against climate change, the Clinton Climate Initiative. He also holds an annual meeting of leaders all over the world to discuss issues affecting the human race with Clinton Global Initiative. His Clinton Foundation Haiti Fund is also committed in reconstructing Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

Bill Clinton is considered as one of America’s most important leaders of today. He is the only Democrat to earn two terms in presidency after Franklin Roosevelt. In spite of the controversies connected to him, he was able to revive his image and maintained his popularity as a political figure. As proof, he received numerous awards, honorary degrees, and several schools were named after him. He was also given honors by other countries such as Czech Republic, New Guinea, Germany and Kosovo. He was selected as “Man of the Year” twice by Time Magazine. He also received the International Freedom Conductor Award for his help in raising fund for the tsunami victims in South Asia. With these numerous awards and more, Bill Clinton continues to move for the good of mankind, president or not.

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