William J .Clinton

— 42nd President of the United States —

View full portraits at:
National Portrait Gallery or the White House Presidential Portrait Gallery


January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001

BORN: August 19, 1946
Hope, Arkansas

OCCUPATION: Public official
Hillary Rodham

William Clinton's early years were far from smooth and peaceful. His father was killed in an automobile accident several months before he was born. Bill's mother worked very hard to get an education so she could support herself and her infant son. His mother eventually remarried, but his stepfather was cruel to him and his mother. At a young age, Bill learned to be strong and independent.

Clinton received a Bachelor of International Affairs degree from Georgetown University in 1968. He was a Rhodes Scholar from 1968 to 1970 and studied in London, England. He received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1973.

When his education was completed, Clinton dedicatd his life to public service in hisd home state of Arkansas. In 1976, he was elected Attorney General. Two years later, he was elected to his first term as Governor in 1978. He held that office for 12 years before he decided to run for the office of president.

Bill Clinton was elected in 1992 during a time when the U.S. was having tough economic problems. This was also a period of instability throughout the world as the collapse of the communist government in the former Soviet Union allowed feelings of nationalism in former communist countries to burst forth unchecked.

Clinton had campaigned on a platform of "change" in the United States – change in the way the government related to the people, change in the way the economy was handled, change in the system of welfare, and most of all, change in the health care delivery system, among others.

Clinton also chose several women and minorities as cabinet members. He said he wanted his administration to "look like the country," which most interpreted to mean representation by all levels and segments of the population.

President Clinton has developed a style of traveling around the country to talk with citizens in person to find out their views on how the country is being governed. He incorporates this information into his plans for the future of the country. He calls this "giving the country back to the people."

Clinton was a charismatic and popular president, but his two terms were marred by partisan bitterness and personal scandal, culminating in a his 1998 impeachment. In early 1999, the Senatorial impeachment trial ended in 50 - 50 verdicts. Since the required two-thirds majority were not reached, the the president was declared innocent of the charges.

This epsiode may prove to shadow over Clinton's accomplishments. Clinton's official White House biography summarizes some of his accomplishments: "In the world, he successfully dispatched peace keeping forces to war-torn Bosnia and bombed Iraq when Saddam Hussein stopped United Nations inspections for evidence of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. He became a global proponent for an expanded NATO, more open international trade, and a worldwide campaign against drug trafficking. He drew huge crowds when he traveled through South America, Europe, Russia, Africa, and China, advocating U.S. style freedom." The national economy enjoyed great prosperity and growth through most of the Clinton years.

The Clintons retired to New York City where Hillary Clinton ran for and was elected to the United States Senate.

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