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William Jefferson Clinton

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William Jefferson Clinton The forty-Second President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe IV on August 19, 1946 in Hope, Arkansas. Only three months after Clinton’s birth his father was killed in a tragic car accident.[1] His mother later married Roger Clinton when Bill was four years old. He took his mother & step father’s name of Clinton when he was in high school. While in high school Clinton was able to meet with President John F. Kennedy. After this meeting Bill decided to enter “a life of public service”.[2] Clinton graduated from Georgetown University in 1968. He then won a Rhodes scholarship and went to Oxford University.[3] He entered Yale Law School upon his return from Oxford. Clinton received a law degree from Yale Law School in 1973. After this, he returned to Arkansas to enter politics but was defeated in a 1974 election for Congress[4]. Bill married Hillary Rodham in 1975, and their only child Chelsea was born in 1980[5]. Clinton won his next attempt at public office. He was elected Arkansas Attorney General in 1976, and was elected Governor in 1978. He lost his campaign for a second term, but won the office again four years later[6]. He was Governor of Arkansas when he ran for President in 1992, defeating “incumbent George Bush and third party candidate Ross Perot in the 1992 race”. Together, Bill Clinton and his vice president Al Gore “represented a new generation in American political leadership” [7]. Presented as liberals by virtue of their association with the Democrat party, Clinton was not as liberal as his opponents like to believe. He did begin his presidency with plans to be highly liberal in the formation of a national health care plan largely devised by and guided by his wife Hillary. That plan was defeated early on, at a time that both houses of Congress were controlled by Democrats. Control of both houses then shifted to the Republican Party in 1994, and Clinton abandoned efforts to create a national health care plan.[8] It seems that there are few people neutral on Bill Clinton. He was a popular president, with highly loyal supporters. His opponents were equally committed, but Clinton was masterful in bypassing the “gridlock” he so often publicly condemned. Despite being known as a liberal Democrat, Clinton’s domestic policies were quite conservative. In 1993, he momentarily angered Democrats but won the support of Republicans in devising and passing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a measure that had been introduced by Ronald Reagan but was bitterly opposed by Democrats at the time.[9] It was obvious to practically everyone that the welfare system was very nearly out of control by the mid-1990s, and the Clinton administration introduced changes that required the able-bodied to work to continue receiving benefits. This was not a stance that Clinton particularly wanted to take on the issue, but his advisers had “told him that it might impair his re-election if he did not”. Clinton also “allowed the Federal Reserve’s Alan Greenspan to conduct what we would call a Thatcherite monetary policy” encouraging economic growth but also curbing inflation.[10] The Clinton presidency was marred by personal indiscretion that caused Clinton to be only the second president ever to be impeached. He was not convicted and so was not removed from office, but his ability to effect any additional change was negatively affected.[11] Although the Clinton administration ended with a lot of scandal, American still greatly admire Bill and his work. Clinton will always be though of as a president who led American through great economic times, held great knowledge of foreign affairs, and did right be the American people. I believe that we, as Arkansas, should be proud to call Bill Clinton one of our own. He is a rare breed of American politicians who actually does what is the most beneficial for the country. This is why Bill Clinton will always be seen as one of Americans most loved presidents.

Arnold, Margaret. Profiles, real Arkansas characters. Little Rock: August House, 1980.

Clinton, Bill, and Albert Gore. Putting People First: How We Can All Change America. New York: Times Books, 1992.

Clinton, Bill. The William J. Clinton Presidential Center: Building a bridge to the 21st century. New York, N.Y.: RAA Editions, 2006.

Lowi, Theodore J., and Benjamin Ginsberg. Democrats Return To Power: Politics and Policy in the Clinton Era. New York: Norton, 1994.

"William J. Clinton." The White House. (accessed April 19, 2010).

[1] "William J. Clinton." The White House. (accessed April 19, 2010).

[2] Margaret Arnold, Profiles, real Arkansas characters (Little Rock: August House, 1980), pg. # 57.

[3] Margaret Arnold, Profiles, real Arkansas characters (Little Rock: August House, 1980), pg. # 63
[4] Bill Clinton and Albert Gore, Putting People First: How We Can All Change America (New York: Times Books, 1992), pg. #78

[5] "William J. Clinton," The White House,, (accessed April 19, 2010).

[6] Margaret Arnold, Profiles, real Arkansas characters (Little Rock: August House, 1980), pg. #72.

[7]"William J. Clinton," The White House, (accessed April 19, 2010).

[8] Theodore J. Lowi and Benjamin Ginsberg, Democrats Return To Power: Politics and Policy in the Clinton Era (New York: Norton, 1994), pg. #43.

[9]Bill Clinton and Albert Gore, Putting People First: How We Can All Change America (New York: Times Books, 1992), pg. # 92.
[10] Bill Clinton, The William J. Clinton Presidential Center: Building a bridge to the 21st century.(New York, N.Y.: RAA Editions, 2006), pg. # 15.

[11] Bill Clinton and Albert Gore, Putting People First: How We Can All Change America (New York: Times Books, 1992), pg. # 107.

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