Bill Clinton was born in 1946 in Hope, Arkansas. He grew up with his mother, Virginia
Blythe, and his mother’s parents, because his father died in a car crash before
he was born. His mother completed nursing school while Bill was young, so he was
often in the care of his grandparents. They made sure he attended school and had
a good education. In 1950, Bill’s mother moved back to AR and married Roger Clinton,
a car salesperson. Although his family was not extremely religious, Bill attended
a Baptist church every Sunday and learned to play the jazz saxophone. Due to his
drinking problem, Roger Clinton and Virginia Blythe divorced in 1962.
Meeting President John F Kennedy
Bill attended Hot Springs High School for his freshman and sophomore years of high
school, and when he was a junior, attended Arkansas Boys State. He was the AR representative
to the American Legion’s Boys Nation, and due to this he was asked to meet President
Kennedy at the Rose Garden in the White House.
When he graduated high school in 1964, Clinton went on to attend Georgetown University.
He studied international affairs and became very involved with politics at the university
level. He won the elections for class president his freshman and sophomore year,
but by his junior year, many of his classmates felt he was too involved in politics,
and so he lost the race. Upon his college graduation, he was awarded a two year
scholarship to attend Oxford University in London. However, shortly after arriving
in Great Britain, he was drafted and had to return to Arkansas. After applying to
the University of Arkansas Law School’s ROTC program, he returned to Oxford to complete
the two years he was awarded there. He did resubmit his name to the draft, but by
the time he did, he had a high enough lottery number to ensure he wouldn’t be drafted
for Vietnam. After Oxford, Clinton came back to the US and attended Yale Law School,
where he met his future wife, Hillary Rodham. They graduated together in 1973 and
were married in 1975. In 1980, their daughter, Chelsea, was born.
Governor of Arkansas
Clinton became the governor of Arkansas in 1978, at the age of 32, making him one
of the youngest governors in history. Because of his inexperience, he made several
mistakes that made him relatively unpopular with certain groups of people. After
his first two years as governor, Clinton lost the seat to his Republican opponent.
However, in 1982, after overtly acknowledging his mistakes, Clinton was reelected
as governor. During his second round as governor, Clinton raised the education standards
significantly by creating competency based tests for teachers. He also supported
affirmative action, which helped African Americans gain access to jobs and schools
that they would not have had previously. He worked hard to get people receiving
welfare back to work, and remained interested in what the public had to say about
what they wanted to see change in the government.
Clinton becomes President
In 1992, Clinton won the Democratic primaries and chose Senator Al Gore, of Tennessee,
to be his running mate. George Bush Sr was growing increasingly disliked by the
public, because he had promised not to raise taxes, and later broke that promise.
Therefore, on November 3, 1992, Clinton was elected 42nd President of the United
States. Clinton’s first few years in office were not entirely successful. He had
endorsed a health care bill that would have provided universal health coverage to
the US. However, Congress denied the bill, and it became a political eyesore. Due
in part to this failure, both houses of Congress were taken by the Republicans in
1994. Before the next election, Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law
Enforcement Act into effect; he also raised minimum wage. Therefore, he was reelected
in 1996, defeating Bob Dole in the presidential race for candidacy. Today, Clinton’s
presidency is seen as a time of economic prosperity. Unemployment and inflation
rates decreased, and homeownership increased.