William Jeferson Clinton (1946- )

Figure 1.--Bill Clinton is pictured here with President Kennedy. He was as a highschool student participating in Boys' Nation about 1962.

William Clinton promised a brighter tomorrow and focused on the national economy. He was at 46 the youngest man elected President since John F. Kennedy, came to the White House pledging to end the era of drift and deadlock and begin a new season of American renewal. He pursued a bold strategy to lift the economy through increased public and private investment while cutting $500 billion from the Federal deficit. He promoted his "new direction" to the people through television appearances and rallies, thus by-passing entrenched special interests in Washington. The tactic was a reprise of his successful campaign, using modern communications to brush aside Democratic challengers and best a Republican incumbent.


President Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe IV on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas, 3 months after his father died in a traffic accident. When he was 4 years old, his mother wed Roger Clinton of Hot Springs, Arkansas. In high school young William took the family name. His mother was a coloful character. His wife Hillory was amazed at how long it took her to put on her eyebrows. She was also notable for a streak of white hair. She had a very difficult life. She married four times and lost three of her husbands. Many presidents were iunpired by their mothers, in the case of the Clinton family, it was the son that was the inspiration. Se did inspire a love of music in her son and the two would visit night clubs when a prominent musician was playing.



He excelled as a student and as a saxophone player. Frequently during his political career he has delighted listeners with an impromptu session on the sax. As a delegate to Boys Nation while in high school, he met President Kennedy in the White House Rose Garden. The encounter inspired him to enter a life of public service.

Clinton attended Georgetown University and in 1968 received a bachelor's degree in foreign service. A Rhodes Scholar, he studied at Oxford University for two years. He received a law degree from Yale University in 1973, then returned to Arkansas to teach law at the University of Arkansas and to prepare to enter politics.

Political Career

He was defeated in his campaign for Congress in Arkansas' Third District in 1974. Clinton was elected Arkansas attorney general in 1976, then went on to win the governorship in 1978. He lost in his try for a second term,. but he regained the office four years later and served as governor until 1992. That year Clinton defeated George Bush and third-party candidate Ross Perot for the Presidency.


Clinton and his running mate, Tennessee's Senator Albert Gore, Jr., then 44, represented a new generation in American political leadership. Clinton during his first term had a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. This was the first time in 12 years that both the White House and Congress were held by the same party. This changed, however, in the Congressional electionsof 1994 when the Republicans behind Newt Ginrich's Contract with America obtained control of Congress. A major reason for the Republican's success was Even so, President Clinto won reelection in 1996, in part because of the recovering economy.

Domestic affairs

Clinton signed into law measures to revitalize the economy and renew the American community. To boost living standards and create jobs, he won Congressional approval of a massive deficit reduction plan, a barrier-breaking trade agreement with Mexico, aid to Russia, and tax cuts for small businesses and the working poor. Republicans complained that Clinto stole their agenda. There were also successes on more Democratic issues. He also signed the Brady Bill, which required a waiting period for gun purchases. >Other initiatives included the national service law to put Americans to work restoring their communities; the Family and Medical Leave Act to protect the jobs of parents who must care for sick children; reform of public education with the adoption of his GOALS 2000 bill; a welfare reform; and a get-tough program against crime and violence.

International affairs

A Moscow summit in 1993 was Clinton's first major step on the world stage. There were some clear major achievements in foreign affairs, including the expansion of NATO and the prevention of genocide in Kosovo. [Albright] Other iniatives such as with Korea and the attempt to broaker a deal between the Isrealis and Palestinians failed. The assessment of these efforts is still highly disputed. Republicans and conservative analysts have criticised Clinton for both and other foreign policy decissions. Some authors have gone so far as to blame Clinton for unleasing terror on America. [Miniter] Surely the Clinton Administration can be criticised for failure to act as aggtessively as required. The Republican assault on Clinton about White Water, Monica, and other matters affected Clinton's ability to conduct foreign policy. Some Republican's now blame Clinton for failure to confront terrorists. During the Administration, Clinton was criticised by Congressional Republicans for some of the actions he did take against terrorists. Theprincipal flaw in the penchnt of Miniter and others to blame Clinton is that the failure to address terrorism as required was a much broader institutional failure involving not only Clinton, but the Congress, CIA, FBI, the Defense Department, the State Department, and other agencies. Even a few months before 911, the new Bush administration took largely inefectual action in response to =th Colebombing.

Politically Inspired Books

A large numbers of politically inspired books were published during the Clinton presidency attacking President Clinton. He provided them a great deal of amunition because of his personal misconduct. Many of these books making ludicrous, unsubstantiated charges of crimes including murder. Intertesting we note a small number of books appearing about President Bush. Some of these books are also politically inspired and contain unsubstantiated and unfair charges. It is interesting to hear the Republicans complain about these books which so far are limited compared to the assault on President Clinton.


Hilary Rodham Clinton

The next year he married Hillary Rodham, a Wellesley College graduate. He had met her while they both were studying law at Yale. Their marriage formed a strong personal and political partnership of talented equals that would give added dimension to the Clinton Presidency. It also expanded the Clintons' household; in 1980, their daughter, Chelsea, was born.

Mrs. Clinton arrived at the White House after serving as First Lady of Arkansas for 12 years. During that time she had managed many roles: wife, mother, and homemaker; full-time partner in a law firm; and chairwoman of an education committee that set public school standards in Arkansas. On many occasions Hillary Clinton has spoken about the need "to find the right balance in our lives." For her, the elements of that balance are family, work, and public service.

Hillary Diane Rodham was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 26, 1947, daughter of Hugh and Dorothy Rodham. Her father owned a fabric store, and her mother was a full-time mother and homemaker. Mrs. Rodham encouraged Hillary to go to college and pursue a profession, even though she had never done so herself.

Hillary and her younger brothers, Hugh and Tony, grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois, as a close-knit family. Her brothers played football, while Hillary enjoyed tennis, swimming, ballet, softball, volleyball, and skating. An excellent student, she was also a Girl Scout and a member of the local Methodist youth group.

She entered Wellesley College in 1965. Graduating with honors, she moved on to Yale Law School, where she served on the Board of Editors of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action. While at Yale she developed her concern for protecting the interests of children and families. It was there, too, that she met Bill Clinton, a fellow student.

In 1973 Hillary became a staff attorney for the Children's Defense Fund. A year later she was recruited by the Impeachment Inquiry staff of the judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives. Hillary left Washington and "followed her heart to Arkansas," marrying Bill Clinton in 1975. The couple taught together on the law faculty of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Their daughter, Chelsea, was born in 1980.

In Arkansas, Hillary worked tirelessly on behalf of children and families. She founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and served on the board of the Arkansas Children's Hospital. In addition to serving as chairwoman of the Arkansas Education Standards Committee, she introduced a pioneering program called the Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters. It soon became a model for other states. The program sent teachers into the homes of underprivileged families to train parents to work with their children in school preparedness and literacy. In recognition of her professional and personal accomplishments, Hillary was named Arkansas' Woman of the Year in 1983 and its Young Mother of the Year in 1984.

Figure 2.--Mrs. Clinton shows off the White House to these two young visitors during the late 1990s. Notice the boy's casual baggy jean shorts.

Like her predecessors, Hillary Rodham Clinton brings her own special talents to the role of First Lady. Since her arrival at the White House, Mrs. Clinton has taken delight in using it as a showcase for the performing arts, American cuisine, and crafts. The President appointed her to head his Task Force on National Health Care Reform, one of his highest priorities on taking office. As the President remarked: "We have a First Lady of many talents ... who most of all can bring people together around complex and difficult issues to hammer out consensus and get things done."

Chelsea (1980- )

The Clintons have had only on child, Chelsea--an impressive young lady. Chelsea was 12 years old when her father became president. She was the first presidential kid since Amy Carter. She wire a sailor dress at the time. The President and First Lady worked very hard to protect Chelsea from the press and they generally respected her parent's wishes. Chelsea was about as perfect a presidential kis as one can imagine. She was described as "scary bright". The Clintos wre doting parents and despite their marital difficulties and public pressures provided a warm supporting home for their daughter. She attended public elementary school in Arkansas and then a prep school in Washington. After graduating she went on to Stanford. She was a talented student and got along well at all her schools. She then did graduate wirkat Oxford. She worked as an intern with the World Health Organization in Geneva during 2002.

Boys' Clothing

While no infornmation on boys' clothing is available from the immediate family, both President Clinton and the First Lady have taken a special interest in children and children's affairs. Thus many images exist show casing contemporary fashions. President Clinton was elected in 1992. Thus fashions trends during his presidency are basically the trends of the 1990s. The major trend during the decade was of course the continuing shidt to casual clothes. Boys dressed up in suits and ties even less than in the 1990s. "T"shirts and sweatshirts were the favorites, especially those with sports logos. Jeans were king and by the mid-1990s had become ibcreasingly big and baggy. American boys now commonly also wore short pants. For the first time they wore jean shorts. The shorter cut shorts of the 1980s were by mid decade increasingly repaced with long baggy shorts. Sneakers or kicks as boys called them were the preferred footware. By mid-decade boys moved away from the tradituional sneakers and black and brown outdoor sneakers or boots became popular. Many American boys also began opting for sandals, a style previously confined primarily to California.


Albright, Madeleine. Madame Secretary: A Memoir (Miramax: 2003), 562p.

Miniter, Richard. Losing Bin Laden: How Bill Clinton's Failures Unleashed Global Terror (Regnery, 2003), 317p.

Wead, Doug. All the President's Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America's First Families (Atria: New York, 2003), 456p.


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Created: June 25, 1999
Last changed: November 10, 2003