Barack Obama was born to a white American mother, Ann Dunham, and a black Kenyan father, Barack Obama Sr., who were both young college students at the University of Hawaii. The family lived in a small apartment – his grandfather was a furniture salesman and an unsuccessful insurance agent and his grandmother worked in a bank – but Barack managed to get into Punahou School, Hawaii’s top prep academy.
He attended Columbia University, but found New York’s racial tension inescapable. He became a community organizer for a small Chicago church-based group for three years, helping poor South Side residents cope with a wave of plant closings. He then attended Harvard Law School, and in 1990 became the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review.
He turned down a prestigious judicial clerkship, choosing instead to practice civil-rights law back in Chicago, representing victims of housing and employment discrimination and working on voting-rights legislation. He also began teaching at the University of Chicago Law School, and married Michelle Robinson, a fellow attorney.
In 1996, Obama was elected as State Senator for Illinois from the 13th district, which encompassed mostly impoverished areas of Chicago’s south side. To secure the position, he had to defeat a former ally. Such actions showed he had the political muscle to take power.
Barack Obama is the 44th and President of the United States presently, and the first African American to hold the office. In 2004, Obama received national attention during his campaign to represent Illinois in the United States Senate with his victory in the March Democratic Party primary, his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July, and his election to the Senate in November.
He began his presidential campaign in 2007 and, after a close primary campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008; he won sufficient delegates in the Democratic Party primaries to receive the presidential nomination.
He then defeated Republican nominee John McCain in the general election, and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009. Obama was re-elected president in November 2012, defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and was sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2013.
During his second term, Obama has promoted domestic policies related to gun control in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and has called for full equality for LGBT Americans, while his administration has filed briefs which urged the Supreme Court to strike down the Defence of Marriage Act of 1996 and California’s Proposition 8 as unconstitutional.
Obama had been named as the Nobel Peace Prize laureate. And he did indeed end the American mission in Iraq. This, however, was no pacifist President.
In 2011, he ordered the revenge killing of the architect of 9/11, Osama Bin Laden. And partly through the controversial use of drone attacks, Obama would come close to strategically defeating al-Qaeda. Obama once claimed to have been proud to have campaigned in all 57 states.
There are only 50. Obama took on healthcare reform in his first term in one of the world’s worst recessions and gun control in his second when Republicans had rarely felt so defensive. Few believed he could achieve his goals.