Monday, August 16, 2010
The man that we know as William Jefferson Clinton was born in Hope, Arkansas, on August 19, 1946, three months after his father was killed in an automobile accident. His given and family name was William Jefferson Blythe IV after his father. Bill was told by relatives and family members that he resembled his father with his good looks and lively personality. Bill lived with his mother and her parents in Hope, Arkansas, and he stayed with his grandparents while his mother went to New Orleans for a year to become a nurse-anesthetist. Bill was four years old when his mother remarried. He started using his stepfather's last name while still in elementary school and formally changed his name to William Jefferson Clinton when he was 15. Bill was strongly influenced by his mother. She and Bill often enjoyed long conversations about situations one of them thought were unfair. His mother remarried when Bill was four years old, and the family soon moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas. His stepfather was an alcoholic who occasionally abused Mrs. Clinton verbally and/or physically. Bill stood up at least once to protect is mother from his stepfather and credited his troubled family life for his skills at solving disagreements and avoiding conflicts. In spite of occasional problems, Bill was close with his stepfather at the time of the older man's death. Bill, whose family was Baptist, attended a Roman Catholic in Hot Springs for two years in preparation for attending the large public school system. Bill earned good grades and enjoyed schoolwork. Bill was active in a variety of clubs and held many offices in high school where he played tenor saxophone in the band and served as band major while a senior. Clinton showed an early interest in politics. While serving as a delegate to the American Legion Boys Nation in Washington, D.C., he had the opportunity to meet and shake hands with President John F. Kennedy. This meeting convinced him to pursue a career in politics. After high school graduation in 1964, Bill attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., majoring in international affairs. He served as president of his freshman and sophomore classes. He studied hard and helped pay his expenses by a job with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His was strongly influenced by black Americans' fight for social justice in the civil rights movement. After graduating from Georgetown, Bill entered Oxford University in Oxford, England, as a Rhodes Scholar, a scholarship he won during his senior year at Georgetown. After two years at Oxford, Bill entered Yale Law School in 1970. He paid his expenses there with a scholarship and holding part-time jobs. Bill met fellow law student Hillary Rodham from Illinois. They began dating in 1971 and married on October 11, 1975. The Clintons had one daughter, Chelsea, in 1980. Hillary continued to pursue her own career as an attorney and later became active in public affairs as Hillary Rodham. She adopted the last name of her husband in 1982. After graduating from law school in 1973, Bill took a position with the University of Arkansas Law School in Fayetteville. He ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974 but was defeated. In 1976 he ran unopposed in the general election for attorney general of Arkansas and took office in January 1977. Early in 1978 he became a candidate for governor of Arkansas and was inaugurated in January 1979. He was defeated when he ran for reelection in 1980, but returned to the office in January 1983. He was reelected in 1984 and again in 1986 by wide margins. After Arkansas passed a constitutional amendment in 1984 to change the governor's term of office from two years to four, effective with the 1986 election, Bill was elected to a fifth term in 1990. Bill became the Democratic presidential nominee in July 1992 and later won the presidential election. He had great leadership skills, and the United States enjoyed peace and well-being during his administration. He was re-elected in 1996, becoming the first Democratic President since FDR to win a second term. During his second term as President, he was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives for lying under oath about having oral sex with an intern in the Oval Office. He was tried in the Senate but was found not guilty of the charges. He apologized to the nation for his behavior and remained a popular President. As a former President of the United States he is a distinguished Elder Statesman who continues to serve his country whenever called upon. Facts for this post came from an article by Ernest C. Dumas in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol.4, pp 682, a-e.