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In , he was elected President of the United States, becoming the first African-American commander-in-chief. He served two terms as the 44th president of the United States. Dunham's mother, Madelyn, went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, the couple studied on the G. Bill, bought a house through the Federal Housing Program and, after several moves, ended up in Hawaii. Obama's father, Barack Obama Sr.

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Obama Sr. Barack was born six months later. As a child, Obama did not have a relationship with his father. When his son was still an infant, Obama Sr. Obama's parents officially separated several months later and ultimately divorced in March , when their son was two. Soon after, Obama Sr.


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Several incidents in Indonesia left Dunham afraid for her son's safety and education so, at the age of 10, Obama was sent back to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents. His mother and half-sister later joined them.

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While living with his grandparents, Obama enrolled in the esteemed Punahou Academy, He excelled in basketball and graduated with academic honors in As one of only three black students at the school, Obama became conscious of racism and what it meant to be African-American. He later described how he struggled to reconcile social perceptions of his multiracial heritage with his own sense of self: "I noticed that there was nobody like me in the Sears, Roebuck Christmas catalog. Obama also struggled with the absence of his father, who he saw only once more after his parents divorced, when Obama Sr.

Ten years later, in , tragedy struck Obama Sr. Confined to a wheelchair, he also lost his job. In , Obama Sr. This time, however, the crash was fatal. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York City, graduating in with a degree in political science. After working in the business sector for two years, Obama moved to Chicago in There, he worked on the impoverished South Side as a community organizer for low-income residents in the Roseland and the Altgeld Gardens communities.

It was during this time that Obama, who said he "was not raised in a religious household," joined the Trinity United Church of Christ. He also visited relatives in Kenya, and paid an emotional visit to the graves of his biological father and paternal grandfather. The next year, he met with constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe and their discussion so impressed Tribe, that when Obama asked to join his team as a research assistant, the professor agreed. Not long after, the couple began dating.

He also taught constitutional law part-time at the University of Chicago Law School between and —first as a lecturer and then as a professor—and helped organize voter registration drives during Bill Clinton's presidential campaign. On October 3, , he and Michelle were married. They moved to Kenwood, on Chicago's South Side, and welcomed two daughters several years later: Malia born and Sasha born The book had a second printing in and was adapted for a children's version.

The audiobook version of Dreams , narrated by Obama, received a Grammy Award for best spoken word album in Obama's advocacy work led him to run for a seat in the Illinois State Senate. He ran as a Democrat and won election in During his years as a state senator, Obama worked with both Democrats and Republicans to draft legislation on ethics, as well as expand health care services and early childhood education programs for the poor.

He also created a state earned-income tax credit for the working poor. As chairman of the Illinois Senate's Health and Human Services Committee Obama worked with law enforcement officials to require the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases after a number of death-row inmates were found to be innocent.

In , Obama made an unsuccessful Democratic primary run for the U. House of Representatives seat held by four-term incumbent candidate Bobby Rush. Undeterred, he created a campaign committee in and began raising funds to run for a seat in the U.

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Senate in With the help of political consultant David Axelrod, Obama began assessing his prospects for a Senate win. Bush's push to go to war with Iraq. Obama was still a state senator when he spoke against a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq during a rally at Chicago's Federal Plaza in October I'm opposed to dumb wars," he said.

Encouraged by poll numbers, Obama decided to run for the U. Senate open seat vacated by Republican Peter Fitzgerald. That summer, he was invited to deliver the keynote speech in support of John Kerry at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Obama emphasized the importance of unity and made veiled jabs at the Bush administration and the diversionary use of wedge issues. After the convention, Obama returned to his U. Senate bid in Illinois. His opponent in the general election was supposed to be Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, a wealthy former investment banker.

American Historical and Literary Curiosities, Part 17. Second Series

However, Ryan withdrew from the race in June following public disclosure of unsubstantiated sexual deviancy allegations by his ex-wife, actress Jeri Ryan. In August , diplomat and former presidential candidate Alan Keyes accepted the Republican nomination to replace Ryan.

In three televised debates, Obama and Keyes expressed opposing views on stem cell research, abortion, gun control, school vouchers and tax cuts. In the November general election, Obama received 70 percent of the vote to Keyes' 27 percent, the largest electoral victory in Illinois history. With his win, Obama became only the third African-American elected to the U. Senate since Reconstruction. Sworn into office on January 3, , Obama partnered with Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana on a bill that expanded efforts to destroy weapons of mass destruction in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Then, with Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, he created a website to track all federal spending. Obama also spoke out for victims of Hurricane Katrina, pushed for alternative energy development and championed improved veterans' benefits. The work discussed Obama's visions for the future of America, many of which became talking points for his eventual presidential campaign. Shortly after its release, the book hit No. In February , Obama made headlines when he announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. He was locked in a tight battle with former first lady and then-U.

On June 3, , Obama became the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee after winning a sufficient number of pledged delegates during the primaries, and Clinton delivered her full support to Obama for the duration of his campaign. His running mate, Delaware Senator Joe Biden , became vice president. Obama's inauguration took place on January 20, When Obama took office, he inherited a global economic recession, two ongoing foreign wars and the lowest-ever international favorability rating for the United States. He campaigned on an ambitious agenda of financial reform, alternative energy and reinventing education and health care—all while bringing down the national debt.

Because these issues were intertwined with the economic well-being of the nation, he believed all would have to be undertaken simultaneously. During his inauguration speech, Obama summarized the situation by saying, "Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many.

They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met. Between Inauguration Day and April 29, , the Obama administration took action on many fronts. Obama coaxed Congress to expand health care insurance for children and provide legal protection for women seeking equal pay. Housing and credit markets were put on life support, with a market-based plan to buy U.

Loans were made to the auto industry, and new regulations were proposed for Wall Street. Obama also cut taxes for working families, small businesses and first-time home buyers. Over his first days in office, President Obama also undertook a complete overhaul of America's foreign policy.

He lobbied allies to support a global economic stimulus package. He committed an additional 21, troops to Afghanistan and set an August date for withdrawal of nearly all U. In more dramatic incidents, he ordered an attack on pirates off the coast of Somalia and prepared the nation for a swine flu outbreak. During his oration, Obama addressed the challenges of the economy, proposed a fee for larger banks, announced a possible freeze on government spending in the following fiscal year and spoke against the Supreme Court's reversal of a law capping campaign finance spending.

He also challenged politicians to stop thinking of re-election and start making positive changes.

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He criticized Republicans for their refusal to support any legislation and chastised Democrats for not pushing hard enough to get legislation passed. He also insisted that, despite obstacles, he was determined to help American citizens through the nation's current domestic difficulties. I don't quit," he said. In the second part of his first term as president, Obama faced a number of obstacles and scored some victories as well. In spite of opposition from Congressional Republicans and the populist Tea Party movement, Obama signed his health care reform plan, known as the Affordable Care Act, into law in March The new law prohibited the denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions, allowed citizens under 26 years old to be insured under parental plans, provided for free health screenings for certain citizens and expanded insurance coverage and access to medical care to millions of Americans.


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On the economic front, Obama worked to steer the country through difficult financial times. After drawn-out negotiations with Republicans who gained control of the U. House of Representatives in the midterm elections, he signed the Budget Control Act of in an effort to rein in government spending and prevent the government from defaulting on its financial obligations. The act also called for the creation of a bipartisan committee to seek solutions to the country's fiscal issues, but the group failed to reach any agreement on how to solve these problems.

Also in , Obama signed a repeal of the military policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which prevented openly gay troops from serving in the U. Armed Forces. In March , he approved U. Navy SEALs. Obama gained a legal victory in June when the U.