Barack Hussein Obama II, born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. His parents, Ann Dunham, a white American from Kansas, and Barack Obama Sr., a black Kenyan learning in the United States, met as students at the University of Hawaii. Obama’s father abandoned the family when Obama was two years old and returned later to Kenya, where he died in a vehicle accident nineteen years later. After his parents divorced, Obama’s mother married another international student in Hawaii, Lolo Soetoro of Indonesia. Obama lived in Indonesia with his mother and stepfather from six to ten, attending Catholic and Muslim schools. Obama will later recall.
Worried about his education, Obama’s mother sent him back to Hawaii to live with Stanley and Madelyn Dunham and attend Hawaii’s prestigious Punahou School from fifth grade to high school graduation. During Obama’s school years, his mother divorced Soetoro, returned to Hawaii to study cultural anthropology at the university level, and then returned to Indonesia to conduct field research. Obama was a good but not outstanding student at Punahou School while living with his grandparents. He was a varsity basketball player who also used marijuana and cocaine, as he later admitted. In terms of religion, Obama later stated that nonbelievers raised him because his parents and grandparents were.
Barack Obama and his mother moved to Indonesia to join his stepfather when he was six years old. At six to ten, he attended two years at Sekolah Dasar Katolik Santo Fransiskus Asisi and one and a half years at Sekolah Dasar Negeri Menteng 01 (State Elementary School Menteng 01), supplemented by English-language Calvert School homeschooling by his mother. He was able to talk Indonesian fluently as a child due to his four years in Jakarta. Obama’s stepfather taught him to be resilient during his time in Indonesia.
Obama moved back to Honolulu in 1971 to live with his maternal grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley Dunham. From grade 5 until he graduated from high school in 1979, he attended Punahou School, a private college preparatory school, with the help of a scholarship. Obama was known as Barry in his youth. From 1972 to 1975, Obama lived in Hawaii with his mother and half-sister, Maya Soetoro, while Obama’s mother was a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Hawaii. When Barack Obama’s mother and half-sister returned to Indonesia in 1975 to begin anthropology fieldwork, Obama opted to stay in Hawaii with his grandparents for high school at Punahou. Barack Obama’s mother spent most of the next two decades in Indonesia, divorcing Lolo in 1980 and earning a Ph.D. in 1992 before dying in Hawaii in 1995 after unsuccessful treatment for ovarian and uterine cancer.
During his time in Honolulu, Obama was also a member of the gang, a self-described group of friends who socialized and occasionally smoked marijuana.
Barack Obama moved to Los Angeles after graduating from high school in 1979 to attend Occidental College on a full scholarship. In response to South Africa’s apartheid policy, Obama delivered his first public speech in February 1981, asking for Occidental to participate in the disinvestment from that country. Obama spent three weeks in mid-1981 in Indonesia visiting his mother and half-sister Maya and visiting the relative of college friends in Pakistan and India. Later that year, as a junior, he transferred to Columbia University in New York City. He majored in political science with a concentration in international relations and English literature and lived off-campus on West 109th Street. Barack Obama earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1983, with a 3.7 GPA. After graduation, Obama worked for about a year at the Business International Corporation as a financial researcher and writer. Then, for three months in 1985 as a project coordinator for the New York Public Interest Research Group on the City College of New York campus.
Academic and Legal Career
Barack Obama began teaching part-time at the University of Chicago Law School as a lecturer in 1992, eventually rising to the position of Senior Lecturer in 1996. As a civil rights lawyer, he joined the firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland. He was a partner from 1993 to 1996; from 1996 to 2004, he was counsel.
In 1996, he entered politics and ran successfully as a Democrat for a seat in the Illinois State Senate. He sponsored legislation that increased tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and advocated for increased childcare subsidies. In 1998, he was re-elected, and in 2002, he was re-elected again.
He decided to run for the United States Senate in 2004, and he won in an unexpected landslide in the March primary election. He became well-known after delivering the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. On January 3, 2005, he was sworn in as a senator.
He co-sponsored Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act as a Senator, and he introduced the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006. He co-sponsored the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act and the Defense Authorization Act to add safeguards for military discharges due to personality disorders.
An intelligent man and a successful political figure in the United States, Barack Obama decided to run for president and announced his candidacy for President of the United States in 2007. He was chosen as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.
On November 4, 2008, he defeated Republican presidential nominee John McCain in the United States presidential election. Barack Obama received 365 electoral votes, while McCain received 173 electoral votes. Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, his running mate, was elected Vice President.
Obama promised in as President of the United States on January 20, 2009. He took over when the American economy was in disarray, during a severe global recession.
He got right to work, implementing financial reforms to reduce the national debt while also focusing on the country’s education and health care systems. His top priority was to restore stability to the American economy, which had suffered during the global recession.
To aid the economy’s recovery from the recession, he signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This $787 billion economic stimulus package also included increased federal spending on health care, infrastructure, education, and various tax breaks and incentives.
Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address emphasized the importance of innovation economics in making the United States more competitive globally. The following year, he signed the Budget Control Act to rein in government spending and keep the government from defaulting on its financial liabilities.