Essay Paper on Bill Clinton’s Background

Ex-US President was born under the name of William Jefferson Blythe IV in 1946 in Hope, Arkansas. His father who dies three months after his birth later turned out to have had at least three more families and Bill had a half-brother and a half-sister. This news surfaced when Bill was already President and undoubtedly impressed him.

Bill spent the first year of his life with his mother, Virginia Cassidy Blythe, and her parents. Then his mother went to study to be a nurse in New Orleans, leaving the boy to her parents. Two years later she remarried and took Bill into the new family.

This family turned out to be rather uncomfortable. Bill’s stepfather, Roger Clinton suffered from alcoholic and gambling dependence, which often led him to waste the family money as well as Virginia’s salary. Roger “cursed and sometimes beat his wife and verbally abused Bill and Bill’s younger brother, Roger, Jr., who was born in 1956” (MSN Encarta). This nerve-racking and violent atmosphere surely early taught Bill independence. Bill was often forced to defend his mother from the stepfather’s abuse. Roger died in 1967, and Bill had time to reconcile with him.

In school Bill Clinton was among the best students and excelled in many classes. This was obviously the cause of his inborn abilities, as his upbringing in the family with a working mother and drinking father could hardly explain his excellence in academic endeavors. Besides being a good student, Bill was also known for his masterful saxophone play – he played in the state band. This should also be attributed to his natural abilities.

An important event in his youth was the meeting with one of the US most popular leaders, President John F. Kennedy at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. Bill Clinton was selected as a representative of “Boys Nation, a government study program for young people sponsored by the American Legion, a veterans organization” (MSN Encarta). JFK for years became a role model for young Bill who declared his intention to follow his icon in political career. Such meetings with prominent figures can impress young minds. If the renowned person succeeds in making an impression on the young person, he or she can choose this person as a model for the rest of one’s life and become sensitive to the ideals and values symbolised by this person.

In college, Clinton was under the influence of civil rights movement, a logical continuation of his interests as a schoolboy – it was during campaigning for civil rights legislation that he met with President Kennedy. This reflects to some extent the consistency of Clinton’s ideas and also his inclination to follow the movements and ideas that were pervasive at the time of his college youth. Also influential were the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the respected leader of the civil rights movement. During the riots young Bill helped the people who lost homes due to the upheavals, which exhibits his active social position, but was also an important external factor that shaped his vision of political reality.

Time spent at Oxford University in England was also a factor as well as the award of the Rhodes scholarship to the talented student. Clinton was also able to attend Yale University Law School, also on a scholarship. He received a degree in law studying and simultaneously working on several jobs.

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