Barack Obama - President of the United States

A Portrait of Barack Obama
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On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected as the 44th president of the United States. He officially became the first African-American president when he was inaugurated on January 20, 2009.

Childhood and Education

Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He moved to Jakarta in 1967 where he lived for four years. At the age of 10, he returned to Hawaii and was raised by his maternal grandparents. After high school he attended first Occidental College and then Columbia University where he graduated with a degree in political science. Five years later he attended Harvard Law School and graduated magna cum laude in 1991.

Family Ties

Obama's father was Barack Obama, Sr, a Kenyan native. He rarely saw his son after his divorce from Obama's Mother. His Mother, Ann Dunham, was an anthropologist from Wichita, Kansas. She remarried Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian geologist.

Obama married Michelle LaVaughn Robinson—a lawyer from Chicago, Illinois—, on October 3, 1992. Together they have two children: Malia Ann and Sasha.

Career Before the Presidency

Upon graduating from Columbia University, Barack Obama worked first at Business International Corporation and then at the New York Public Interest Research Group, a non-partisan political organization. He then moved to Chicago and became director of the Developing Communities Project. After law school, Obama wrote his memoir, Dreams from My Father. He worked as a community organizer along with teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years. He also worked as a lawyer during this same period. In 1996, Obama was elected to be the junior senator from Illinois.

2008 Election

Barack Obama began his run to be the Democratic nominee for president in February, 2007. He was nominated after a very close primary race against key opponent Hillary Clinton, wife of former president Bill Clinton. Obama chose Joe Biden to be his running mate. His main opponent was Republican contender, John McCain. In the end, Obama won more than the required 270 electoral votes. He was then reelected in 2012 when he ran against Republican candidate, Mitt Romney.

Events of His Presidency

On March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was passed by Congress. Its goal was to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health insurance by subsidizing those who met certain income requirements. At the time of its passage, the bill was quite controversial. In fact, it was even taken before the Supreme Court who ruled that it was not unconstitutional.

On May 1, 2011, Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks, was killed during a Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan. On September 11, 2012, Islamic terrorists attacked the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The American Ambassador John Christopher "Chris" Stevens was killed in the attack. In April 2013, Islamic terrorists in Iraq and Syria merged to create a new entity called ISIL, which stands for Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. ISIL would merge in 2014 with ISIS to form the Islamic State (IS).

In June, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same sex marriage was protected by the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Historical Significance

Barack Obama is the first African-American to not only be nominated by a major party but also to win the presidency of the United States. He ran as an agent of change. His true impact and the significance of his presidency will not be determined for many years to come.