Bill Clinton's Presidency

Start Free Trial

Who is Bill Clinton?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

William "Bill" Jefferson Clinton was elected to serve as the forty-second President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Prior to being elected President, he served as the governor of Arkansas as well as its attorney general and was known as a "New Democrat."

Clinton was a noted leader even in college; he was the 1964 and 1965 class president at Georgetown University. He also attended Oxford before transferring to Yale's law school, where he met his future wife, Hillary Rodham.

Clinton was the first Democratic candidate elected to a second term since Franklin D. Roosevelt. His policies helped bolster the American economy, which enjoyed the lowest unemployment rate and lowest inflation rate in decades. Clinton was committed to reducing welfare spending and promised to end welfare as Americans had come to know it. He added work requirements for recipients and placed time limits on welfare assistance. Clinton also mandated stricter eligibility requirements for food stamps and reduced immigrant welfare assistance. As a result of his fiscal commitments, Clinton proposed the first balanced budget in decades.

Clinton also focused on policies that would help typical families. He created the FMLA, which allows parents and caregivers to take up to twelve weeks of leave (albeit unpaid) to care for sick children and other family members without losing their jobs. He invested in education at rates the country hadn't seen in at least three decades. Childhood poverty decreased almost thirty percent during his presidency, and homeownership was at it highest historical rate.

The primary stain on Clinton's presidency was his impeachment in late 1998. Because of his inappropriate relationship with a young White House intern named Monica Lewinsky, charges of perjury and obstruction of justice were brought against him. He was later acquitted by the Senate. After apologizing to the nation, his popularity as President remained high.

Bill Clinton later campaigned and advocated on behalf of his wife, Hillary Clinton, in her own presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2016. His post-Presidential work focuses on global health issues such as combatting HIV/AIDS and reducing childhood obesity.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on