William Jefferson Clinton was the 42nd President of the United States. During his time in office, America enjoyed its most peaceful and economically stable period in history. However, his marital infidelities overshadow his political ability and will always be a factor in how he will be remembered.
William Jefferson Blythe IV was born in Hope, Arkansas on August 19th, 1946. His father died in a car accident just three months after he was born, leaving his mother, Virginia Cassidy, to raise him. She remarried when William was four and, whilst attending high school, he took the name of his step-father, Roger Clinton.
Clinton’s early home life was difficult as his step-father was an alcoholic and could be violent. However, he excelled at school and was encouraged to take an interest in politics by his mother. He took an active interest from an early age and was elected to the student government at Hot Springs High School.
One particular experience confirmed in Clinton’s mind that he wanted to enter the political arena. At age 18, Clinton was chosen to go to Washington DC to be a part of the Boys’ Nation, a youth leadership conference. It was during that trip that he met and shook hands with President Kennedy in the White House Rose Garden. It inspired him into a life in politics.
Clinton attended Georgetown University in Washington. He took a degree in International Studies and, whilst studying, he began to work for Senator William Fulbright of Arkansas. As an intern, he began to grasp how the world of politics worked and became more determined to become a politician.
In 1968, Clinton won the Rhodes Scholarship, which earned him a chance to study at Oxford University in England. He spent two years there studying government. During that time, as a result of the Vietnam War, he also received a draft notice, although he never actually served his country militarily.
On his return from Oxford, he enrolled in Yale Law School and continued to build on his political aspirations. It was there he met his future wife, Hillary Rodham. They eventually married in 1975 and had a daughter, Chelsea, in 1980.
Clinton’s political career began upon his graduation from Yale in 1973. Initially, he moved back to Arkansas to teach law at the University of Arkansas. However, the following year he ran for Congress on the Democrat ticket. Although he lost, his first insight into political campaigning proved invaluable in the future.
Clinton was elected Arkansas Attorney General in 1976 and won the governorship two years later. During his tenure, he focused on social and economic welfare reforms, and also appointed women and minorities to top jobs. However, in 1980 he was unable to force the government to move thousands of Cubans that had been housed in Arkansas to other states. The Cuban refugee problem ensured that Clinton missed out on re-election.
Following his defeat, Clinton began working for a law firm. Not satisfied with his achievements though, he decided to run for Governor again in 1982. This time, after assuring voters that he would deal with their needs, he was elected and remained Governor until he was elected President in 1992.
Feeling he was ready for the highest political office, Clinton announced he would be the Democratic candidate for the upcoming presidential election on October 3rd, 1991. He selected Al Gore, a Senator for Tennessee, as his running mate. Allegations of infidelity and dishonour in avoiding the draft threatened to hinder their campaign, but they ultimately survived and beat President George Bush on November 3rd, 1992.
President Clinton was the youngest man to take that office at age 46. He soon made his mark on the country, cutting federal spending and creating millions of new jobs, improving the economy in the process. He also attempted to make health care accessible to all.
In foreign policy, he helped advance the peace processes in both Northern Ireland and between Israel and Jordan. He advocated more open international trading and launched a worldwide campaign against illegal drugs trafficking. America enjoyed peace throughout his tenure in the White House. He won a second term in 1996.
His domestic and foreign policy successes were overshadowed by an allegation of marital infidelity. An intern, Monica Lewinsky, accused Clinton of indiscretions in 1998. He was found not guilty of all charges brought against him by the Senate and avoided impeachment. Although he continued to get high approval ratings from the American public, it overshadowed the rest of his time in office.
Bill Clinton’s presidency ended in January 2001 when his second term came to an end. He is still active in the political arena, as is his wife Hillary Clinton, who is now a senator for New York.
Bill Clinton Facts
- President No.: 42nd
- Served: 1993-2001
- Party: Democratic
- From: Hope, Arkansas
- Married: Hillary Rodham Clinton
- Born: August 19, 1946
- Education: Oxford University, Yale Law School
- Jobs Before President: Lawyer, law professor, State Attorney General
- Height: 6 feet, 2 inches
- Population at time: 281,421,906
- Hobbies: Golf, jogging, saxophone, football
- Pets: Dog, a chocolate labrador retriever named Buddy and a cat named Socks.
- Transportation: Helicopter, airplane, car
- Communication Methods: Letters, phone, email
Bill Clinton Inaugural Addresses
Bill Clinton State of the Union Addresses
- 1993 State of the Union Address
- 1994 State of the Union Address
- 1995 State of the Union Address
- 1996 State of the Union Address
- 1997 State of the Union Address
- 1998 State of the Union Address
- 1999 State of the Union Address
- 2000 State of the Union Address
Other Bill Clinton Speeches
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