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Bill Clinton Biography and Facts For Kids


Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1992 and then defeated incumbent George Bush to become the 42nd president of the United States. He was re-elected to a second term in 1996. He became president at the end of the Cold War, and was the first baby boomer president. His wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is currently the United States Secretary of State. Clinton has been described as a New Democrat. Some of his policies, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and welfare reform, have been attributed to a centrist Third Way philosophy of governance, while on other issues his stance was left of center. He entered college at Georgetown University in 1964. As a college student Clinton was committed to the movement against the VietnamWar, as well as to the civil rights struggle. Clinton left office with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. president since World War II.

Fun Facts and Trivia About Bill Clinton

When was Bill Clinton born: August 19, 1946
Where was Bill Clinton born: Hope, Arkansas
Where did Bill Clinton go to college: Georgetown University, Oxford University, and Yale University
What was Bill Clinton’s job before becoming president: State attorney general, Governor of Arkansas
Who is Bill Clinton married to: Hillary Rodham
What number president was Bill Clinton: 42nd
What political party did Bill Clinton belong to: Democrat
Who was Bill Clinton’s vice president: Al Gore
When was Bill Clinton president: 1992 – 2000
How many terms did Bill Clinton serve: 2

Bill Clinton Quotes

  • “If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.”
  • “Sometimes when people are under stress, they hate to think, and it’s the time when they most need to think.”
  • “Affirmative action is an effort to develop a systematic approach to open the doors of education, employment and business development opportunities to qualified individuals who happen to be members of groups that have experienced long-standing and per”
  • “We cannot build our own future without helping others to build theirs.”
  • “We don’t need a constitutional amendment for kids to pray.”
  • “We should, all of us, be filled with gratitude and humility for our present progress and prosperity. We should be filled with awe and joy at what lies over the horizon. And we should be filled with absolute determination to make the most of it.”

Timeline of Bill Clinton’s Life

1946 William Jefferson Clinton was born in Hope, Arkansas
1968 Graduated Georgetown University
1968-1970 Attended Oxford University
1973 Graduated Yale Law School
1975 Married Hillary Rodham
1993 Inaugurated as the 42nd President of the U.S.
1993 Clinton unveils a plan for universal health care
1993 Clinton signs the Brady Act which requires a handgun purchaser to wait 5 days while a background check is performed.
1995 Clinton authorizes the U.S. Treasury to make an emergency loan of up to $20 billion to Mexico.
1996 Clinton orders a cruise missle strike against Iraq after Saddam Hussein.
1996 Clinton defeats Senator Bob Dole in the presidential election to serve his second term.
1998 News breaks that Clinton may have had a relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
1998 Clinton orders a 3 day bombing attach against Iraq after Saddam Hussein refuses to cooperate with U.N. weapon inspectors.
1998 The House of Representatives votes to impeach President Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.
1999 The Senate acquits Clinton on both articles of impeachment, rejecting one article and splitting evenly on the second.
2001 Texas governor George W. Bush is inaugurated as the 43rd President of the U.S. after the end of Bill Clinton’s second term as president

When did President Clinton End the Open Door Policy for Cuba?

The Open Door Policy was the United States policy concerning the ongoing flooding of Cuban refugees to America during the years 1980-1994. Cuban society is a repressed, impoverished society. Although some improvements to social benefits have occurred during the current communist regime, which began in 1959, it remains an impoverished and repressed society. Its citizens do not enjoy basic freedoms such as the right to attend public gatherings or freedom of speech. In 1991, freedom of religion was granted and the state changed from an atheistic state to a secular state. However, people are subject to maltreatment if they practice their religion in an organized fashion. As a result, over the last 50 years there have been many waves of refugees who have fled Cuba to their closest neighbor, the United States, in search of a better quality of life. In some areas, as in the state of Florida, the Cuban coast is only 150 km from the nearest US shore.

The first wave of refugees occurred in 1980 when the Cuban government permitted 125,266 Cubans to leave Cuba on the Mariel boat lift. Those refugees were called Marielitos. Some were healthy people who were seeking a new life, however, many of those refugees were either criminals or mentally ill people which Cuba decided to dispose of. The United States responded to this unusual event by granting citizenship to the majority of those refugees. Only 1,425 Marielitos were sent back. A mere 1,750 were kept in the custody of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

This monumental event set a precedent and for the next 14 years, Cubans, realizing that the United Stateswould accept them with open arms, managed to escape and travel the distance on small boats and rafts. They reached the United States and were naturalized. This was known as The Open Door Policy. There is an element of contradiction in the liberal reception of Cuban refugees. The United States foreign policy towards Cuba was far from open. In 1961, an embargo was declared and no business dealings between the United States and Cuba were permitted from then on. Castro, the Cuban President pursued close relations with the former Soviet Union. Castro expropriated all U.S. property once he came to power. As far as the United States was concerned, Cuba was aligned with the enemy during the Cold War. Diplomatic relations were officially broken in January of 1961. In 1962 Cuba allowed Russia to put missiles on its territory and tensions peaked between the United States and Cuba as never before.

In 1994 the situation came to a head when approximately 30,000 rafters reached the U.S. This was known as the Cuban Balsero crisis. Balsero means rafter in Spanish. Americans wondered at the contradiction between general refugee policy and the open door policy granted to Cubans. The Clinton administration made a decision to officially end the open door policy on May 2, 1995. From this point forward, all refugees caught in the water prior to reaching land were automatically sent back to Cuba. Those who reached land were allowed to stay.

Many issues arise when a foreign policy that has been constant for 30 years is abruptly changed. Policies towards the 28,000 Cuban refugees whom were held in safe haven detention camps abruptly shifted. Travel to Cuba became restricted. A prohibition against sending money to Cuba was put into action.

Foreign relations with Cuba have remained constant for many decades. Perhaps democracy will one day reach this close neighbor to the United States. Even the former Soviet Union has changed its political orientation, allowing for more openness and freedom. Surely there is hope for Cuba, as well.