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Barack Obama was born on August 8th, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, to his mother, Ann Durham, and his father, Barack Sr., who met at the University of Hawaii Manoa campus. His father was from Kenya and was the first-ever student from an African country to attend this university. His mother was originally from Kansas, where her ancestors were antislavery activists. His parents’ marriage was short—interracial marriages were very rare at that time and illegal in some states. His mother’s family accepted his father, but his father’s family had a hard time accepting her. They divorced when Obama was two years old.
Barack Obama’s father left Hawaii after their divorce and they only saw each other again when Obama was ten. His father died from a car accident in the ’80s. His mother got remarried when he was six and moved to Indonesia. When he was ten, they relocated back to Hawaii and he went to Punahou, a private prep school in Honolulu.
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After graduating from high school in 1979, he moved to L.A. to attend Occidental College. In 1981, he transferred to Columbia University, where he majored in political science. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1983. Before attending Harvard Law School, he worked as a community organizer for low-income communities. He graduated from Harvard Law School with a J.D. in 1999. As a student, he served as the president of Harvard Law Review and his election as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review gained national media attention.
Instead of joining a top Manhattan law firm, he chose to work for a small firm in Chicago that specialized in civil-rights law. This decision might have had something to do with an attorney named Michelle Robinson assigned to mentor him; she was also a Harvard Law graduate from Chicago. The two began dating and were married in 1992. They had two daughters, Malia Ann Obama and Sasha Obama. Barack felt he could launch his political career in Chicago, while staying active in many projects and working his legal cases. He took up part-time teaching positions at the University of Chicago Law School.
In 1996, he ran as a Democrat for a seat in the Illinois State Senate. He sponsored a law that increased tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for childcare. He was reelected in 1998 and again in 2002. Deciding to run for the U.S. Senate in 2004, he won in an unexpected landslide in the primary election in March.
After delivering the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he became very popular. Following a successful senatorial career, he decided to run for president. In 2007, he was chosen as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. He defeated the Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, and ran again for a second term, winning against Mitt Romney. His Vice President running mate was Joe Biden.
He inherited an economy that was in a bad situation. Thousands of jobs were being lost every month. He immediately started implementing changes that had never been thought of before. Those changes started bringing down the national debt and focusing on education. One other major thing that he focused on was the health care system. He was determined to stabilize our economy amidst the global recession. He signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $787 billion stimulus package. He faced more political emergencies than most presidents combined. He had to authorize a raid to kill Osama Bin Laden in 2011, which was not a sure thing and was very risky. He stepped up and supported same-sex marriages when no other president or authority figure, for that matter, would take that chance. He made it easier to pay for education. The economy continues the recovery his administration established. The greatest thing that I think he will be remembered for is the Affordable Care Act, making healthcare affordable for everyone.
Barack has been pretty low-key in his post-presidency life. He’s been writing books, traveling the world, and giving speeches. Michelle unveiled the Presidential Center in Chicago. This center isn’t just a library; it’s meant to train the next generation of leadership, “so that they can take up the torch and lead the process of change in the future.” Obama believed in equality and did his best to help people not suffer in any way. You can see this through his Affordable Care Act, DACA, and legalizing gay marriage. I think he is a good man and a good president because of what he’s done to help so many people and he deserves praise for his hard work.
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