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Forty-second President of the United States, Bill Clinton (b. 1946), was in kinship care as a child. 

Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe in Hope, Arkansas. His mother, Virginia Blythe, became a widow before Clinton was born; she was married to Bill Blythe for less than three years. During most of this time, her husband served in World War II. He died as the result of a car accident at the age of twenty-eight while Virginia was pregnant. In 1993, when Bill Clinton was serving as U.S. President, he learned that his father had likely been married and had two children before he wed Virginia. 

Virginia returned home to her parents’ place in Hope after her husband died. She later left Bill in the care of his grandparents while she trained as a nurse at Charity Hospital in New Orleans.  

 I got to visit Mother twice when my grandmother took me on the train to New Orleans. I was only three…I don’t recall what Mother and I did in New Orleans, but I’ll never forget what happened one of the times I got on the train to leave. As we pulled away from the station, Mother knelt by the side of the railroad tack and cried as she waved good-bye. I can see her there still, crying on her knees, as if it were yesterday (Clinton, 10).  

Virginia returned home to Arkansas about twelve months after she left. She continued to live with her parents until she married car salesman Roger Clinton in 1950. Shortly after, Bill Blythe started calling himself Bill Clinton and the family moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas. The couple had a son, also named Roger, who was born when Clinton was aged ten.  

When Bill was fifteen, Virginia took her sons and left her husband due to his alcoholism and violence. The couple remarried shortly after they divorced, at which point Bill legally changed his name from Blythe to Clinton.  

Clinton graduated from Georgetown University in 1968 with a degree in international affairs. He then studied at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. Clinton earned a law degree from Yale University in 1973 and taught at the University of Arkansas School of Law until 1976.  

Bill Clinton married Hillary Rodham in 1975. Hillary Rodham Clinton has been one of the strongest supporters of his political career. 

Clinton was elected to the position of Attorney General of Arkansas in 1977. He served in this office for two years, until 1979. He then became Governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981, and again from 1983. He resigned as Governor in December 1992 to run a presidential campaign.   

Bill Clinton won the U.S. Presidential election in 1992. He served as the Forty-second President of the United States for two terms, between 1993 and 2001. When he left office, Clinton had the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. President since World War II. 

He could point to the lowest unemployment rate in modern times, the lowest inflation in 30 years, the highest home ownership in the country’s history, dropping crime rates in many places, and reduced welfare rolls. He proposed the first balanced budget in decades and achieved a budget surplus. As part of a plan to celebrate the millennium in 2000, Clinton called for a great national initiative to end racial discrimination (White House). 

In 1998 Clinton became the second US President to be impeached by the House of Representatives. He was charged with perjury and obstruction in relation to his affair with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, and was acquitted by the Senate in 1998. 

Although Clinton had to cope with the politics of impeachment, his standing with the public was greatly enhanced thanks to a strong and surging economy and a stock market boom, which brought jobs and improved wage benefits to millions of Americans and new forms of paper wealth to shareholders (Berman, 131). 

Clinton supported his wife in her political career after his presidency ended. Hillary Rodham Clinton represented New York in the US Senate from 2001 until 2009. She then served as Secretary of State in the administration of Barack Obama, and was the Democratic Party’s nominee for President in 2016.  

Bill Clinton continues to be active in public life. He established the Clinton Foundation after leaving the White House. The Foundation has a charter to work internationally to, amongst other aims, “increase opportunity for girls and women, reduce childhood obesity…and help communities address the effects of climate change” (Clinton Foundation). In 2005, He founded the Clinton Global Initiative, which works with global leaders to develop solutions to pressing issues worldwide. 

Clinton has also written several books including his autobiography. He co-wrote two thrillers with James Patterson, The President is Missing (2018) and The President’s Daughter (2021).  


Berman, William. “Reading Bill Clinton’s My Life.” Reviews in American History, vol. 33 (2005): 126-132. 

“Bill Clinton. President of United States.” Britannica.  

“President Bill Clinton.” Clinton Foundation.  

Clinton, Bill. My Life: The Early Years. New York: Vintage Books, 2005. 

Leuchtenburg, William. The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.  

“Presidents. William J. Clinton. The 42nd President of the United States.” The White House.  

University News. “Bill Clinton: America Won’t be America Anymore’ if Us Versus Them Mentality Continues.” Georgetown University, 7 November 2017.  

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