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“A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things”. Barack Obama is that of an extraordinary man. He changed the course of American history making people believe that anything is possible. By this quote he means that anyone can do anything with motivation and determination. All things are possible no matter who you are, you have the power to be great.
Barack Hussein Obama II made history by becoming not only the 44th President of the United States but also the First African American President of the United States.
He won the election on November 8, 2008 over Senator John McCain. Obama was a part of the democratic party and he is so relevant because his victorious win in the 2008 election is still so recent. Also, not only was he the President for one term but he was President for two terms.
First, I am going to talk about Obama’s childhood and early life.
That will include where he is from, where he grew up, his family life and education. I will then talk about him being elected and his work as a senator and his many accomplishments as a senator. Lastly, I will discuss his presidential campaign leading up to his presidential election in 2008 as the 44th President of the United States.
Barack Hussein Obama II was born was born on August 4, 1961. He was born at Kapiolani Medical Center for Woman and Children in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Barack Obama was born to a white mother and a black father. His mother was Ann Dunham, who was born in Wichita, Kansas and his father Barack Obama Sr., who was born in Nyanza Province, Kenya. Ann Dunham grew up as the only child. Her father worked at a furniture store while her mother was a stay at home mom. Her parents wanted her to stay home and attend college in Hawaii. Obama Sr. grew up raising goats in Africa and eventually earned a scholarship that allowed him to leave his home country of Kenya and attend college in Hawaii. While studying at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Obama Sr. met a fellow classmate Ann Dunham, and they got married on February 2, 1961.Ann was just 19 years old and Barack Sr. was 25 years old when they married. Shortly after they married Barack Obama II was born.
Obama’s parents eventually separated and divorced March of 1964. Obama Sr. soon left the United States and moved back to Kenya. Once Obama Sr. moved back to Kenya, he didn’t have a close relationship with his son because at the time of the divorce the future president was only 3 years old. In 1965, Barack’s mother Ann, married Lolo Soetoro, a University of Hawaii student from Indonesia. A year later, the family moved to Indonesia. Ann and Lolo gave birth to Obama’s half-sister, Maya Soetoro who was born on August 15, 1970. Several incidents in Indonesia left Dunham afraid for her son’s safety and education. At the age of 10 Obama was sent back to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents soon followed by his mother and sister.
Obama enrolled in Panahou Academy while living with his maternal grandparents in Hawaii. Obama enjoyed playing basketball and graduated with honors in in 1979. After high school Obama studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York City. He graduated in 1983 with a degree in Political Science. He worked as a business sector for two years and later moved to Chicago in 1985. While in Chicago, he worked as a community organizer in the Southside part of Chicago for low- income residents in the Roseland and Altgeld Gardens community.
Obama entered Harvard Law school in 1988. Within a year in law school Obama met with a constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe and his and Obama’s conversation interested Tribe and he allowed Obama to his research assistant team. In the same year he joined the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin as a summer associate and there he met his soon to be wife Michelle Robinson. She was a young lawyer who was assigned to be his advisor at the time. They began dating shortly after. He was elected the first African American editor of the “Harvard Law Review”. Barack Obama graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude in 1991. After law school, Obama moved back to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer and he also taught constitutional law part-time at the University of Chicago Law School in 1992 until 2004. On October 3, 1992 Obama married his law advisor now Michelle Obama. Shortly after they were married they moved to Kenwood, on Chicago’s South Side. They gave birth to two daughters several years later, Malia and Sasha Obama.
Obama’s early life motivated him to become the man he is today. He excelled even though he was practically raised by his maternal grandparents, he didn’t let that stop him from doing great things. Once Obama’s parents divorced he barely spoke to his biological father after that, but he didn’t use him having a absent father as an excuse to not work hard for the things he wanted in life.
Now that we have discussed Obama’s childhood and early life lets discuss him becoming a senator.
In 1995, Obama published an autobiography “Dreams from my father: A story of Race and Inheritance. His work received recognition from other writers such as Toni Morrison. Obama did a lot of advocacy work and that led him to run for a seat in the Illinois State Senate. While he was in state senator, Obama worked with the Democrats and Republicans to draft legislation on ethics and expand healthcare services and early childhood education programs for the poor. He also created a state earned-income tax credit for the working poor.
Obama’s state senator career began on January 3, 2005. He won his seat in an election against Alan Keyes, who replaced Jack Ryan, the Republic Primary election winner. Upon his election Barack Obama became the fifth African-American senator in U.S. History. He was the third to have been popularly elected. While a senator, he served on many committees and chaired the United States Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs. Obama delivered the 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address that led him to national prominence.
While being a newcomer to Washington, Obama recruited a team of established high-level advisors. Obama held positions on the Senate Committee for Foreign relations, health, education, labor and pensions, homeland security and government affairs, and veteran’s affairs. He was also a member of the congressional Black Caucus. He took an active role in the Senate’s drive for improved border security and immigration reform. In 2005, he cosponsored Secure America and orderly Immigration Act that was introduced by senator John McCain.
After his election as President of the United States Obama announced on November 13, 2008 his plan to resign his senate seat. On January 12, 2009 Obama’s seat was replaced by an Illinois Attorney General named Roland Burris. While in senate Obama received many notable recognitions including Honorary Doctor of Law from Knox college, University of Massachusetts Boston, Northwestern University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Southern New Hampshire University, Howard University, and Wesleyan University. Also, a school in Obama’s father hometown which he had visited on a trip in 2006 was named after him. He also won a Grammy award for best spoken album in 2006 for “Dreams from my Father”, the audio edition for the book he wrote.
Barack Obama’s life as a senator was filled with many accomplishments. He had much success in that area. His career as a senator shaped him becoming prepared to run a whole entire country. He got the experience he needed due to all the experience he gained as a senator.
Lastly, let’s talk about Obama’s Presidential campaign and election.
On February 10, 2007 Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States. He delivered his big news in front of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. Obama delivering his message in front on the Old State Capitol building was symbolic because it is the same spot Abraham Lincoln delivered his “House Divided” speech in 1858. On August 28 announced his choice of vice president Joe Biden from Delaware.
During Obamas campaign he emphasized issues of rapidly ending the Iraq war, increasing energy independence, and reforming the healthcare system. Obama’s campaign had a theme of hope and change. During the primary and general election campaign set numerous fundraising records, simply through small donations. On June 19, 2008 Obama became the first major-party candidate to turn down public financing in the general election system was created in 1976. Obama was highly supported by Hillary Clinton during his campaign.
On November 4, 2008 Obama defeated Senator John McCain in election. Obama won the presidency with 365 electoral votes while John McCain had only 173. Obama won 52.9% of the popular vote. Obama captured the states that many Republicans had carried in previous elections such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. On the election night thousands of people gathered Grant Park in Chicago to see Obama claim his victory.
On January 20, 2009 Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America. Hundreds and thousands of people showed up in Washington, DC to witness Obama take the oath. He was surrounded by his wife and two daughters. His running mate Joe Biden became vice President. During his inauguration speech, Obama summarized the situation by saying, ‘Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious, and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.’
Leading up to Obama’s 2008 election he was a very busy man. He took his victory over Senator John McCain. Because of his victory he made history and he will forever be remembered for his lifetime achievement.
I talked about Obama’s childhood and early life growing up in Hawaii and moving to Indonesia for a short period of time and then moving back to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents. I then talked about his early education and him attending Harvard Law School and meeting the love of his life while working as a summer associate at a Chicago law firm. Lastly, I talked about him becoming a senator for the state of Illinois and his accomplishments and him announcing his candidacy for presidency on February 10, 2007. His candidacy led him to begin campaigning for the election with a huge amount of support behind him such as Hillary Clinton where he won the 2008 presidential election.
If you didn’t know who Barack Obama was, I hope that you now know him and what important role he’s played in shaping American history. He’s broken a barrier in modern day history that will forever leave and impact on our society. The first and only African-American man to be elected as president thus far in American history. “Change will not come if we wait for some person or some time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek”- Barack Obama. If you want to see a change in something no matter what it is be the first to go out and make the change.
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