For this assignment we chose as a subject: A President and his reign. We chose President Bill Clinton. We chose this subject, because we both once heard about Bill Clinton in the news and we also have read about him, but we didn’t know a lot about him. So we were interested in the life of Bill Clinton and why he became president and what he has done for the United States of America.
Our main question is: What has Bill Clinton done for the United States to keep the ‘American Dream’ alive, when he was the president.
We try to make a conclusion by the help of some sub-questions. Questions like: What were the most important decisions of Bill Clinton? And what were the initiatives of Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton was born at the Julia Chester Hospital in Hope, in the state of Arkansas. Bill Clintons full name is William Jefferson Blythe III. His Father was William Jefferson Blythe Jr..His father died in a automobile accident three months before the birth of Bill. His mother, Virginia Dell Cassidy, traveled to New Orleans in order to study nursing. She left Bill behind by his grandparents, Eldridge and Edith Cassidy, in Hope. The grandparents of bill had their own grocery store. Shortly after her return in 1950, the mother of Bill married Roger Clinton. Roger owned together with his brother an automobile dealership in Hot Springs, also in the state of Arkansas. So the family moved to Hot Springs.
In Hot Springs, Bill went to St. John’s Catholic Elementary School, Ramble Elementary School and the Hot Springs High School.
There were two influential moments in Bill’s life that were important for him to become a public figure. The first one was his visit to the White House where he met President John F. Kennedy. The other moment was that he had listened to the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech of Martin Luther King. Both moments took place in 1963.
Bill Clinton received a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. in 1968. Also he won a Rhodes Scholarship to University College Oxford. In Oxford Bill studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He didn’t received a degree there, because of switching programs and leaving early for Yale University. At Yale Law School, Bill obtained a ‘Juris Doctor’ degree in 1973. At Yale he also met Hillary Rodham and they began dating. Bill and Hillary Married on October 11, 1975. And on February 27, 1980 Chelsea, their only child, was born.
Bill took a job with the 1972 McGovern campaign and was chosen to lead McGovern’s effort in Texas. He worked at the McGovern campaign’s local headquarters in Dallas. In Dallas he worked with Ron Kirk (elected twice as the mayor of Dallas), Ann Richards (future governor of Texas) and Steven Spielberg (then an unknown television director and future filmmaker).
After his graduation from Yale Law School, Bill became a law professor at the University of Arkansas. After this he ran for the House of Representatives. He was beaten by John Paul Hammerschmidt. In 1976, Bill was elected Arkansas Attorney General. After this, Clinton was elected as the 40th Governor of Arkansas in 1978. He defeated the Republican candidate Lynn Lowe. In 1980 Clinton lost the elections from Frank D. White. The next two years Clinton worked on a comeback. He succeeded to become the 42th Governor of Arkansas. He had this position for six periods.
In 1992, Clinton made himself selectable for the elections of 1992. The old President George H.W. Bush was seen as unbeatable, because of the victory of the Gulf War. That is also the reason why all kinds of Democrats didn’t take part in the elections. During the pre-election, Clinton was up against the other Democrats Jerry Brown and Paul Tsongas. Clinton won the pre-election with the most of the votes. With this he won the nomination of the Democratic Party. He chose Senator Al Gore of Tennessee as his Running mate. Thanks to the bad economy, a tax raise and his charisma, Clinton won together with Al Gore the elections of 1992.
The election of Clinton ended twelve years of Republican rule and twenty of the previous twenty-four years. Democrats were given full control of the United States Congress. After the Jimmy Carter presidency in the late 1970’s, this was the first time this had taken place.
First term 1993 – 1997
After Franklin D. Roosevelt, Clinton was the first democrat who was president for two full presidencies. Bill Clinton was inaugurated as the 42th President of the United States on January 20, 1993.
He announced his intention to raise taxes to cap the budget deficit. Clinton unveiled his economic plan on February 17, 1993. His plan focused on deficit reduction rather than a middle-class tax cut.
When Clinton took office as president of the United States, he signed the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. An act that made large companies to allow employees to take unpaid leave in case of a serious medical problem, pregnancy or when there were problems in the family. This was his first campaign promise he had fulfill. Another campaign promise of his was allowing openly homosexuals to serve in the army. Clinton had criticism from both left an from right. Left because the though Clinton was too tentative in promoting gay rights and right who don’t allow homosexuals to serve the army. After a long discussing between Bill Clinton and the Pentagon, they decided to the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. So long as homosexuals don’t tell that they have feelings for the same gender, they may serve the army. Some advocates for gay rights criticized Clinton that he only made this campaign promise to get more votes, because the thought that he didn’t went far enough.
Clinton singed also in the law the Brady Bill, on November 30, 1993. This applies a five-day waiting period on the purchases of a handgun. Clinton expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit. This is a subsidy for workers with a low-income. Also during the ’90s the Clinton administration pushed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (a public government sponsored enterprise) to support more lending in low-income communities. They also used the Community Reinvestment Act to push banks to do the same.
In August 1993, Bill Clinton signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993. This act cuts the taxes for fifteen million families with a low-income, it mad tax cuts available to 90% of small companies and raised the taxes on the wealthiest of the taxpayers.
The administration of Clinton launched the first official website of the White House, on October 21, 1994. The website was follow by three other version which result in the final edition, that was launched in 2000. The website was part of a wider movement toward communication were web-based. It opened the American government to more of the American people than ever before.
Bill Clinton supported the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) by the Senate. He strongly supported free trade measures and most of his Democratic Leadership Committee allies, however there were a lot of disagreements in the party itself. The treat was confirmed by the Senate and was signed into the law on January 1, 1994.
Between 1992 and 1994 the Democrats had a big influence. But during the mid-term elections of 1994, they lost the majority in the White House and the Senate. This was the first time in 40 years. The important reason for this was the failed attempt from Hillary Clinton to create an universal coverage using a national health care reform plan. This was the first major defeat of Clinton’s administration.
To reduce illegal immigration, Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. The U.S Commission on Immigration Reform wants to reduce legal immigration to about 550.000 a year. In 1997 Senators Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch teamed up with Hillary Clinton and her staff to form the Children’s Health Insurance Program and they succeeded. Hillary also caused that the Adoption and Safe Families Act went through the Congress and two years later she succeeded in passing the Foster Care Independence Act. The President supported both.
Second term 1997-2001