Bill Clinton's Road To The Presidency Essay, Bill Clinton's Road To The Presidency The life of President Bill Clinton was a life of family problems, success, and hard times. He is one of the most determined and hard-working individuals in America. He had an interesting experience in working vary hard to become the President of the United States today. William Jefferson Blythe was born August 19, 1946 in Hope, Arkansas. His mother was a young woman by the name of Virginia Blythe. Three months before the birth of her son, her husband, who was also named William Jefferson Blythe, was killed in an automobile accident (Degregorio 1).
Since Virginia was a widow, and did not have a good job to support Bill, she left him to live with his grandparents in Hope when he was two years old. While he lived there, Virginia went to New Orleans, Louisiana where she studied to become a nurse (Levin 5). Bill liked living with his grandparents because while he was living there, they instilled in him a love of learning. They also taught him to be kind and to treat people with respect and equality (Levin 5-6). When Bill was four, his mother married a car salesman by the name of Roger Clinton. The family moved together to Hot Springs, Arkansas.
This is when Bill became known as Bill Clinton, but his last name was not changed until later. When Bill was ten, his mother had a child with Roger, and they name him Roger, Jr. Roger Sr. was an alcoholic, and he was frequently abusive to both the boys and his wife (Allen 15).
There were many episodes of physical abuse that went on in the Clinton household, and one day when Bill was fourteen years old, he had had enough. He stood up to his step-father and told him that he was sick of the treatment they were receiving from him and there was not going to be any more of it. After this day, Roger never laid a hand on Bill, Virginia, or Roger Jr. ever again. But, his drinking was still a problem, and it led to a divorce between the two parents.
The next year, though, Roger convinced Virginia that he could sober up, and they remarried. Bill did not trust Roger, but his mother felt that she still loved him and she also thought the boys needed a father figure. Bill did not agree, but he wanted to keep his mother happy so he did not bother her about it again. He changed his legal name from Blythe to Clinton when they were remarried, also to keep his mother happy. Clinton says that despite the fact that his stepfather was not the greatest man, overall, he was a pretty happy child (Levin 14-15). Bill s years in high school were a great contributor to his character and development.
He was a leader and he gained many valuable skills in his high school years that he would use later in life when he became a politician. His friends remember him as a caring and supportive person (Allen 22-23). Bill was elected president of his freshman class, he was an excellent musician, and he also participated in drama. He belonged to many academic clubs and was definitely one of the smartest in his class. Bill thought of becoming a doctor, reporter, or a musician in his early years of high school. But, when he was sixteen years old, Bill was asked to take part in a civics program that was run by the American Legion to teach young leaders about government and politics.
Through this program, Bill went to Washington D. C. and he got the chance to meet John F. Kennedy, whom was President of the United States at this time. Kennedy made an indelible impression on Bill, and from that moment on he made the decision to enter the political field (DeGregorio 2). After graduating from high school in 1964, Clinton was accepted to Georgetown University in Washington, D.
C. (Bowmen 1). At Georgetown, Bill was involved in student in government and also joined a fraternity (Allen 33-34). In his spare time, he worked as an intern at the office of Senator J. William Full bright who was the governor of Arkansas (DeGregorio 2).
During his college career, his stepfather was diagnosed with cancer and he passed away not long after Bill forgave him for everything he did to his family. Bill mourned his passing, but he was glad to see his suffering end. After this event, he volunteered to be a counselor in a student-led clinic to help alcoholics (Allen 35) Upon graduating from Georgetown in 1968, Bill received a two-year Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University in England (Bowmen 1). This honor is given to thirty-two of America s top college students. At Oxford, Bill studied for a graduate degree in philosophy (Allen 53-54). Bill was the most popular Rhodes scholar in the class of 1968.
He made many lasting friendships with students from all over the United States (Levin 74). After attending Oxford, Clinton applied to law school at Yale. He received a scholarship, and he moved to New Haven in the summer of 1970 (DeGregorio 3). Bill worked many part-time jobs because his scholarship did not cover his living expenses. In his first semester at Yale, Bill worked for a man named Joe Duffy, in the campaign for Senate, and this is one of the ways Bill gained early experience in politics (Levin 84). Another important element of his time at Yale was when he met a young woman by the name of Hillary Rodham.
They got along very well with each other and Clinton knew from the start that Hillary would be an important part of his life (Allen 63). In the summer of 1972, Bill and Hillary took time off school so they could both work on the Democratic presidential campaign together. They both worked for Senator George McGovern of South Dakota. McGovern was defeated by Richard Nixon, but it was a good learning experience for both of them (Levin 91-93). The following year, Bill graduated from Yale with his degree in law. A short time after receiving this degree, he served as a staff lawyer for the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and then, in 1974, he and Hillary both joined the faculty of the University of Arkansas School of Law (DeGregorio 3).
In the fall of 1975, Bill and Hillary were married. They moved to Little Rock, Arkansas together, and Hillary opened her own place of law practice (Bowmen 1). In 1978, Clinton decided he wanted to run for Governor of Arkansas. Although, many people believed that Clinton was too liberal when it came to issues such as gun restriction, marijuana use, women s rights, and capital punishment, he was victorious in the election. Against four others running against him, he received 59. 4 percent of the votes.
At thirty-two years old, this made him the second youngest governor in the history of the United States (Allen 114-117). In 1980, Hillary gave birth to a baby girl, and they named her Chelsea (Bowmen 1). Also, in 1980, Clinton ran for re-election, but lost his try for a second term. He was obviously not damaged by his loss, because he regained the office four years later.
He served as governor until 1992 (DeGregorio 3). After many successful years as Governor of Arkansas, in 1992, the Democratic Party announced that they wanted Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee. He ran against George Bush and third party candidate Ross Perot for the Presidency. Clinton s running mate was Senator Al Gore from Tennessee. Many considered these two men to be representatives of a new generation of political leadership in the United States (DeGregorio 3). In his debates with George Bush, Clinton was accused of dodging, or making his way around certain questions, but he kept the pressure on George Bush by focusing on the economic situation of Americans (Bowmen 1).
Clinton ended up winning the race with 43 percent of the popular vote and 370 out of 525 electoral votes. In conclusion, Bill Clinton had both easy and difficult times on his way to the Presidency. Despite all that happened, he managed to use his character and good thinking skills to become one of the most successful leaders in our country. Allen, Charles F.
, and Johnathan Portis. The Life and Career of Bill Clinton: The Comeback Kid. New York: Birch Lane, 1992 Bowmen, J. S.
, ed. The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography. Oxford: Cambridge, 1995 DeGregorio, William A. Grolier s Encyclopedia. Online.
Internet. : Grolier Interactive, Inc. , 1996 Levin, Robert E. Bill Clinton: The Inside Story. New York: Shapolsky, 1992.