William Clinton, 42nd President: First Baby Boomer President - Soapboxie - Politics
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William Clinton, 42nd President: First Baby Boomer President

Angela loves history and feels it is essential to our future to know the past—or else be destined to repeat it.

Official White House Photo

Clinton's Education

William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States, was the last American president of the 20th century. He was born in Hope, Arkansas, as William Jefferson Blythe III on August 19, 1946. Three months before his mom gave birth to him, his biological father died in a car accident. When he was four years old, his mother married Roger Clinton. Roger eventually legally adopted him, and while in high school, William took his adoptive father’s last name.

He grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where he went to school, got excellent grades, joined the Boy Scouts, and played the saxophone. By the time he was 16, he already knew he wanted to be a part of politics and looked up to the current president, John F. Kennedy. He was still in high school when he got to meet JFK in the White House Rose Garden.

In 1968, he earned a degree in international affairs from Georgetown University and won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in England. When he returned to the United States, he became involved in the candidacy of George McGovern, who was the Democratic candidate against Nixon in 1972. In 1973, he graduated from Yale Law School.

After graduation, he taught at the University of Arkansas Law School, although he did not quit his dream of being in politics. While teaching, he ran but lost a seat in the House of Representatives, yet the loss did not keep him down. For it was in that same year he married Hillary Rodham.

In 1976, he won his first elected position as the Arkansas Attorney General. Two years later, he became governor. Then in 1980, five years after he got married, Hillary gave birth to their only daughter, Chelsea.

He did lose the governorship when he ran a second term, due to unrest in Arkansas when the federal government placed 18,000 Cuban refugees there. He was able to get back in office four years later, where he served for a total of five terms until the 1992 presidential race.

Clinton's First Term Successes

In 1991, he ran for the Democratic presidential nominee against Ross Perot and the incumbent George H. W. Bush. When he won, he became the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to serve two terms and the first baby boomer president.

Having begun his presidency at the end of the Cold War, his first term proved popular. He allowed tax cuts for the poor as well as tighter gun laws such as the Brady Bill that required a waiting period for gun purchases. He also supported the Family and Medical Leave Act, which protected employment for those who needed to care for sick loved ones. He was able to boast the lowest unemployment rate in modern times, as well as the lowest inflation in 30 years. Crime rates dropped, welfare needs reduced, homeownership increased, and a budget surplus achieved.

Unfortunately, his first term was not all success; a massive health care reform program failed, which caused Clinton to shift his thinking. He declared, “The era of big government is over.”

He also had a lot of success in foreign affairs. He helped facilitate peace-keeping efforts in Bosnia, where war was prevalent. While the United Nations inspected Iraq for nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, Saddam Hussein attempted to stop them. In response, Clinton bombed Iraq, allowing the investigation to continue. He also traveled through Europe, Russia, China, Africa, and South America, campaigning for freedom throughout these nations. He also advocated for a stop to drug trafficking throughout the world.

Clinton's Impeachment Hearings

Unfortunately, his second term was filled with scandal and impeachment hearings. President Andrew Johnson, in 1868, is the only other president that was ever accused of misconduct while president. Clinton's most scandalous charge was an inappropriate relationship with a young woman who worked as an intern in the White House. He was tried in the Senate, and although he initially denied it, he later confessed. The Senate found him not guilty of the charges against him. He apologized for his misconduct.

Unfortunately, his personal relationships overshadowed his hard work as president in his second term. He continued to be active with foreign policies. He pushed for trade agreements with Mexico and China, as well as withdrew Serb forces from Kosovo after 10 weeks of NATO bombing.

In his final year of presidency, his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, tried for a seat for the New York U.S. Senate.

What Has He Been Up to Since He Left Office

After he left the White House, he remained active in politics. He established the William J. Clinton Foundation that faces global issues such as poverty and disease. He wrote an autobiography entitled My Life, which became a best seller. He also supported his wife as she campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination, once against Barack Obama, who won and chose her as his Secretary of State, and later when she ran but lost against Donald Trump.

Fun Facts

  • He was born three months after his birth father died in a car accident.
  • He was an outstanding saxophone player and even considered a career as a professional musician.
  • He was the second president to be impeached, the first being Andrew Johnson.
  • In 2004, he published his memoirs. It is 957 pages and was entitled My Life.
  • During Clinton's term was when the White House began its own website.

With Vice President Al Gore and his Wife

Basic Facts

Question Answer

Born

August 19, 1946

President Number

42nd

Party

Democratic

Military Service

none

Wars Served

none

Age at Beginning of Presidency

47 years old

Term of Office

January 20, 1993 - January 20, 2001

How Long Served as President

8 years

Vice-President

Al Gore

Age and Year of Death

N/A

Cause of Death

N/A

Clinton Family

(Left to right) Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton.

(Left to right) Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton.

List of the United States Presidents

1. George Washington

16. Abraham Lincoln

31. Herbert Hoover

2. John Adams

17. Andrew Johnson

32. Franklin D. Roosevelt

3. Thomas Jefferson

18. Ulysses S. Grant

33. Harry S. Truman

4. James Madison

19. Rutherford B. Hayes

34. Dwight D. Eisenhower

5. James Monroe

20. James Garfield

35. John F. Kennedy

6. John Quincy Adams

21. Chester A. Arthur

36. Lyndon B. Johnson

7. Andrew Jackson

22. Grover Cleveland

37. Richard M. Nixon

8. Martin Van Buren

23. Benjamin Harrison

38. Gerald R. Ford

9. William Henry Harrison

24. Grover Cleveland

39. James Carter

10. John Tyler

25. William McKinley

40. Ronald Reagan

11. James K. Polk

26. Theodore Roosevelt

41. George H. W. Bush

12. Zachary Taylor

27. William Howard Taft

42. William J. Clinton

13. Millard Fillmore

28. Woodrow Wilson

43. George W. Bush

14. Franklin Pierce

29. Warren G. Harding

44. Barack Obama

15. James Buchanan

30. Calvin Coolidge

45. Donald Trump

References

  • "Bill Clinton Fast Facts." CNN. August 14, 2017. Accessed November 14, 2017. http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/01/us/bill-clinton-fast-facts/index.html.
  • Freidel, F., & Sidey, H. (2009). William J. Clinton. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/williamjclinton
  • History.com Staff. "Bill Clinton." History.com. 2009. Accessed January 25, 2018. http://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/bill-clinton.
  • Sullivan, George. Mr. President: A Book of U.S. Presidents. New York: Scholastic, 2001. Print.
  • What are some interesting facts about presidents and first ladies? (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from https://www.whitehousehistory.org/questions/what-are-some-interesting-facts-about-presidents-first-ladies

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2018 Angela Michelle Schultz

Comments

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on January 27, 2018:

Bill Clinton did a lot. It's a pity he got involved with such a scandal. His denying it at first was very disappointing.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on January 26, 2018:

Bill Clinton was an extraordinary president, very charming The one thing I regret with the man is that he placed the designs for some of our newest nuclear missiles in the Commerce Department, which were shortly thereafter acquired by the Chinese. Bush Jr;. quickly removed those plans when he was elected.

His trade deals also helped grow the mega-giant Walmart chain, which is based out of Arkansas. No one had really heard of Walmart until that time across the country.

However, he was interesting.

Thank you for telling his story so well and with skill.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on January 26, 2018:

Bill Clinton was an extraordinary president, very charming The one thing I regret with the man is that he placed the designs for some of our newest nuclear missiles in the Commerce Department, which were shortly thereafter acquired by the Chinese. Bush Jr;. quickly removed those plans when he was elected.

His trade deals also helped grow the mega-giant Walmart chain, which is based out of Arkansas. No one had really heard of Walmart until that time across the country.

However, he was interesting.

Thank you for telling his story so well and with skill.