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Barack Obama

President Barack Obama is photographed during a presidential portrait sitting for an official photo in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012.  (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Pete Souza
President Barack Obama is photographed during a presidential portrait sitting for an official photo in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

There has not been a large number of African-American people who have secured themselves in a high-ranking, elected position in the United States. However, one of the people who defied these odds was the 44th president of the United States of America, Barrack Hussain Obama II.

Barrack Obama was the first and only, African-American president in the 246-year history of this country. He served in multiple elected positions such as the US senator of Illinois from 2005 to 2008 and a state senator of Illinois from 1997 to 2004.

Pre-Political Life

Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. As such, he is the only president born outside the contiguous United States. He was born to a Kenyan father and a White mother. After his parents divorced, custody of Obama was given to his mother. Obama’s mother later remarried and, at the age of six, Obama moved with his mother to Jakarta, Indonesia to meet with his stepfather. This is where he had much of his early education. Four years later, Obama returned to live with his maternal grandparents in Honolulu.

When he was older, he attended Columbia University. He got a bachelor’s degree in political science and English literature there. Two years later, he was hired as a community organizer for multiple parishes in the South Side of Chicago. He also helped set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants’ rights organization there. After that, he enrolled at Harvard University and became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review.

After working for a brief period at the University of Chicago Law School, he worked as a Civil Rights attorney.

Legislative Career

Obama’s first government position was as a member of the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. While in this position, he was able to secure bipartisan support for legislation that reformed health and ethics laws. He also sponsored laws that increased tax credits for low-income workers. Some other legislative acts that he had helped to introduce include welfare reform and increased subsidies for childcare.

After this, he ran for a position in the US Senate. Obama was an early opponent of the Iraq war which started under the administration of President Bush. In the election, Obama won by a landslide. He was able to secure 92 out of Illinois’s 102 counties. In 2007, Obama sponsored an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act to add safeguards to personality-disorder military discharges. He also became the chairman of the Senate’s subcommittee on European Affairs where he made multiple official trips to Europe.

Presidency

Barrack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th US President on January 20, 2009.

Domestic Policy

Obama signed multiple landmark legislations during his presidency which include the Affordable Care Act which is commonly known as ObamaCare. The Affordable Care Act made it easier for people to get medical insurance and was able to reduce the number of uninsured people in the United States from 20% down to 13%.

Another thing that Obama did during his term was that he raised more attention to the issue of Global warming and tried to introduce some legislation to lower the amount that the US contributed to it. However, these laws had little traction in Congress as many congresspeople did not believe in Global Warming or that people were a contributing factor to it.

Another major policy change that he made was changing the space policy by moving it away from the goal of returning to the moon. He canceled the constellation project as well as the development of the Ares I and Ares V rockets. He was more in favor of funding projects involving the International Space Station and research and development for crewed missions to Mars.

Foreign Policy

Regarding foreign policy, the Obama administration was keen on repairing the ties with Europe and Russia. They also made multiple attempts to strengthen ties with the Islamic world and the Middle East. He had also authorized US support for the Saudi-led intervention into Yemen and supplied the Saudis with $115 billion in military equipment.

Obama also stopped US military action in Iraq. By August 19, 2010, all US military combat personnel had exited the country with training and support units leaving in October 2011. This lack of US forces would not last long however as US forces later intervened in 2014 following a rapid gain of land by ISIS. US troops would remain in Iraq until the destruction of ISIS in 2021.

Obama would also bolster the strength of US forces in Afghanistan to protect it from the Taliban forces invading from Pakistan.

Obama would also help to repair the relations between the US and Cuba. There were multiple secret meetings between the leaders of the two countries in Canada and the Vatican. Pope Francis encouraged the meeting and acted as a mediator. On July 1, 2015, Obama announced that there would be a Cuban Embassy opened up in Washington and an American Embassy opened up in Havana. In 2016, Obama became the first American president to enter Havana since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.

In February 2011, protests occurred in Libya against dictator Gadafi. Calls for a no-fly zone came from governments around the world, and after a unanimous vote from Congress, all of the 28 NATO members including the United States enforced the no-fly zone over Libyan airspace.

Post Presidency

Now, Former President Obama lives in a house in Washington DC with his wife.

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