Barack Hussein Obama II (born August 4, 1961) is an American politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Barack Hussein Obama II, an American politician born on August 4, 1961, presided over the country as its 44th president from 2009 to 2017. Obama was the first African-American president of the United States and a Democrat. Prior to joining politics, he practiced civil rights litigation before serving as an Illinois state senator from 1997 to 2004 and as a U.S. senator representing Illinois from 2005 to 2008.
- Early Life & Education
- Law Career
- As a Writer
- Entry into Illinois Politics
- Illinois Senator
- 2008 Presidential Election
- First 100 Days and Nobel Peace Prize
- 2012 Re-Election
- Second Term
- Killing Osama bin Laden
- Chemical Attacks in Syria
- Iran Nuclear Deal
- Ukraine and Russia
- ISIS Air Strikes
- Budget Control Act of 2011
- NSA Wiretapping Controversy
- Obama’s Record on LGBT Rights
- Personal Life
- Net Worth
- Social Media Handles
Barack Obama Biography
Barack Hussein Obama II
August 4, 1961
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Politician | Lawyer | Author
Barack Obama Sr. (Father)
Ann Dunham (Mother)
Early Life & Education
Obama was born on August 4, 1961, at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is the only president who was born outside of the 48 contiguous states. His parents were a Kenyan father and an American mother. His mother, Ann Dunham, was primarily of English ancestry and was born in Wichita, Kansas. However, in 2007, it was discovered that her great-great-grandfather Falmouth Kearney had immigrated to the US from the Irish village of Moneygall in 1850. Barack Obama Sr., Obama’s father, was a young goat herder in rural Kenya who later received a scholarship to study in the US and rose to the position of senior economist in the Kenyan government.
When Obama was two years old, Barack Sr. moved away to pursue his education at Harvard University. Soon after, in 1964, Ann and Barack Sr. divorced. Only once more did Obama see his father, on a quick trip when he was ten years old. Obama attended a Catholic private school where he participated in Christian education as well as a government-run school where he received some Islamic education. He moved back to Hawaii in 1971 and shared a small apartment with his mother and grandparents on occasion.
Obama and his mother relocated to Indonesia when he was six years old to be with his stepfather. He received additional English-language Calvert School homeschooling from his mother between the ages of six and ten. He attended two local Indonesian-language elementary schools—St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Elementary School for two years and State Elementary School Menteng 01 for one and a half years. Obama earned his diploma from Punahou School, a prestigious Honolulu college preparatory school, in 1979.
After spending two years at Occidental College in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Obama transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1983. Years later, Obama returned to school and graduated with magna cum laude in 1991 from Harvard University’s law school, where he was the first African American to serve as president of the Harvard Law Review.
Obama returned to Chicago after graduating from law school to work as a civil rights lawyer at Miner, Barnhill & Galland. Additionally, between 1992 and 2004, he worked as a lecturer and subsequently a professor, teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. He also assisted in the planning of voter registration drives for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign.
As a Writer
In 1995, Obama released Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, which was his autobiography. Literary greats like Toni Morrison gave the piece their highest acclaim. Since then, more than 25 languages have printed versions of it, including Chinese, Swedish, and Hebrew. The book saw a second printing in 2004, and a kid’s version was created. In 2006, Obama’s narration of the Dreams audiobook won a Grammy for “Best Spoken Word Album.”
The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, his second book, was released in October 2006. Obama’s ideas for the future of America were articulated in the work, many of which served as campaign stump speeches for his eventual candidacy. The book quickly rose to the top of both the New York Times and Amazon best-seller lists.
Entry into Illinois Politics
Obama ran as a Democrat for an Illinois State Senate seat in 1996 as a result of his lobbying activities. While serving as a state senator, Obama collaborated with Republicans and Democrats to write ethics-related legislation as well as measures to provide access to health care and early childhood education for the underprivileged. Additionally, he established a state earned income tax credit for low-income workers. After several death row inmates were revealed to be innocent, Obama worked with law enforcement as the chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee to mandate the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases.
For the U.S. House of Representatives seat currently held by four-term incumbent Bobby Rush, Obama made an unsuccessful Democratic primary run in 2000. In 2002, he established a campaign committee and started collecting money to run for the U.S. Senate in 2004. David Axelrod, a political analyst, assisted Obama in starting to evaluate his chances of winning the Senate.
Obama was a vocal opponent of President George W. Bush’s call for war with Iraq after the September 11 attacks in 2001. At a demonstration in Chicago’s Federal Plaza in October 2002, Obama, then a state senator, spoke against a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. In spite of his objections, the Iraq War started in 2003.
Obama made the decision to compete for the open U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Peter Fitzgerald in the 2004 Democratic primary after being encouraged by poll results. With 52% of the vote, he defeated wealthy entrepreneur Blair Hull and Illinois Comptroller Daniel Hynes.
He accepted an invitation to speak as the keynote speaker for John Kerry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston that July. Obama underlined the value of unity while making subtle digs at the Bush administration and its use of wedge issues as a means of distraction.
Following the convention, Obama resumed his campaign for the Illinois Senate seat. Republican primary victor and rich former investment banker Jack Ryan was to be his rival in the general election. Ryan did, however, withdraw from the campaign in June 2004 as a result of his ex-wife, actress Jeri Ryan, making unproven charges of sexual deviancy public.
Alan Keyes, a former presidential candidate and diplomat, accepted the Republican candidacy to take Ryan’s position in August 2004. Obama and Keyes presented different viewpoints on stem cell research, abortion, gun control, school vouchers, and tax reduction in three televised debates. In the general election of November 2004, Obama won with 70% of the vote to Keyes’ 27%, which was the biggest electoral victory in Illinois history. Obama was only the third African American to be elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction due to his victory.
Obama, who took office on January 3, 2005, collaborated with Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, a Republican, on a bill that increased efforts to eliminate WMD in Russia and Eastern Europe. Then, together with Oklahoma’s Republican Senator Tom Coburn, he developed a website to monitor all federal spending. Obama also advocated for better veterans’ benefits, promoted the development of alternative energy sources, and spoke up for Hurricane Katrina victims.
2008 Presidential Election
Obama made news in February 2007 when he declared his intention to run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. He was engaged in a close contest with Hillary Rodham Clinton, a former first lady and senator from New York. After earning enough pledged delegates throughout the primaries to qualify as the Democratic Party’s probable nominee on June 3, 2008, Obama received Clinton’s unwavering backing for the length of his campaign.
Obama, the first African American to serve as president, won the election on November 4, 2008, defeating Republican presidential contender John McCain, 52.9 percent to 45.7 percent. Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, who was his running mate, was elected vice president.
Barack Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009. Obama assumed office with the worst-ever international favorability rating for the United States, two active foreign conflicts, and a global economic slump.
He ran for office with an expansive platform that included reducing the national debt while implementing financial reform, alternative energy, and radical changes to both education and health care. He thought that all of these concerns would need to be tackled at the same time because they were all related to the country’s economic situation.
First 100 Days and Nobel Peace Prize
The Obama administration took action on numerous fronts between January 20 and April 29, 2009. Obama received the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize from the Norwegian Nobel Committee in recognition of his achievements during his first year in office.
Obama persuaded Congress to increase children’s health insurance coverage and to give women seeking equal pay legal protection during his first 100 days in office. To encourage immediate economic growth, a $787 billion stimulus plan was approved. With a market-based strategy to buy toxic assets from U.S. banks, the housing and credit markets were put on life support. The auto industry received loans, and Wall Street was proposed with additional rules.
Obama reduced taxes for middle-class families, startups, and first-time homebuyers. The president also supported a $3.5 trillion budget plan and relaxed restrictions on embryonic stem cell research.
Obama completely restructured American foreign policy. He made an effort to establish communication with Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba as well as to strengthen ties with China, Europe, and Russia. He persuaded friends to back a plan to stimulate the world economy. He committed 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan and set the deadline for the removal of almost all American forces from Iraq at August 2010.
Obama also directed an airstrike on pirates off the coast of Somalia and made preparations for a swine flu pandemic in more dramatic instances. In addition to ordering the closure of the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba within a year, a timeframe that would ultimately not be followed, he also signed an executive order prohibiting the use of abusive interrogation tactics.
Obama emphasized grassroots activities during his campaign for a second term as president, just like he did in 2008. Celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Anna Wintour organized fundraising parties to support the president’s campaign.
Obama ran against Republican challenger Mitt Romney and Romney’s vice presidential running mate, U.S. Representative Paul Ryan, in the 2012 election. Obama secured a second four-year term in office on November 6, 2012, defeating Romney by nearly five million votes and winning more than 60% of the Electoral College.
On January 21, 2013, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office, marking the start of Obama’s second term. Obama addressed a throng assembled in front of the U.S. Capitol building during his inauguration speech, urging the country to take action on problems like marriage equality, health care, and climate change.
Obama has to deal with more difficulties at home in November 2014. Republicans had a strong showing on election day and secured a majority in the Senate, which meant that during the last two years of Obama’s tenure, Republicans would control both chambers of Congress.
Killing Osama bin Laden
Obama authorized a clandestine operation in Pakistan on April 29, 2011, with the goal of locating infamous al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was the architect of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and had been hiding for for ten years. During a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011, a skilled group of U.S. Navy SEALs killed bin Laden in a shootout within 40 minutes. No Americans were hurt, and the squad was able to gather crucial information about how al-Qaeda operates.
Obama announced bin Laden’s demise on national television the same day. “Bin Laden has served as the leader and representative of al Qaeda for more than 20 years, and he has continued to plan assaults against our nation, as well as our allies and friends. The greatest victory in our country’s fight against al Qaeda to date is the assassination of bin Laden, according to Obama. The United States is not at war with Islam and never will be, we must reiterate as we proceed.
Chemical Attacks in Syria
In late August and early September 2013, as a result of the revelation that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons on civilians, Obama was forced to deal with a global crisis. while stating that the chemical assaults had killed thousands of civilians, including more than 400 children.
The president attempted to convince Congress and the larger international community to act against Syria but discovered that a majority on Capitol Hill opposed military action. On September 10, 2013, Obama then offered an alternate course of action, saying that a direct attack against the country could be avoided if al-Assad accepted to the conditions outlined in a Russian proposal to give up his chemical weapons. Al-Assad eventually agreed to the Russian proposition and admitted to having chemical weapons.
Iran Nuclear Deal
Obama advanced Iranian diplomacy in September 2013. It was the first direct communication between the presidents of the two nations in more than 30 years when he chatted on the phone with Hassan Rouhani of Iran. Many people interpreted Obama’s ground-breaking action as a sign of improving relations between the United States and Iran.
Obama declared in July 2015 that a deal had been achieved with Iran about its nuclear program following protracted talks including the US and five other major powers. With the agreement, inspectors would be permitted entry into Iran to verify that it adhered to its commitment to restrict its nuclear program and enrich uranium to levels well below those required for nuclear weapons. In return, the U.S. and its partners would remove the tough sanctions imposed on Iran and allow the country to ramp up sales of oil and access frozen bank accounts.
President Trump’s Withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal
Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, who was chosen in November 2016, withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement in 2018. He asserted, supported by some evidence, that the nation was abusing the agreement’s provisions to strengthen its military and local militias, and that once the agreement expired, it would be better equipped to produce nuclear weapons. After that, Obama launched a campaign of “maximum pressure” economic sanctions to compel Iran to abide by comprehensive, long-lasting constraints.
Iran’s uranium enrichment gradually increased in response. Iran surpassed the uranium enrichment limits agreed upon in 2015, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which brought the country closer to the creation of an atomic bomb. European countries might in turn restore their own sanctions. Experts say the moves could push the U.S. and Iran closer to a military confrontation.
Ukraine and Russia
After civil unrest and demonstrations in Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine, brought down President Viktor Yanukovych’s government in February 2014, echoes of the Cold War also reappeared. In order to aid pro-Russian forces and the takeover of the Crimean province, Russian troops entered Ukraine.
Obama responded by imposing sanctions on people and organizations that the US administration believed were stirring up unrest in the Ukraine or were associated with the Crimean issue. Obama declared, “The days when boundaries could be rewritten over the heads of democratic leaders are long past us in 2014.” The penalties, according to the president, were implemented in close consultation with European allies and provided the United States “the flexibility to change our reaction moving ahead based on Russia’s behavior.”
ISIS Air Strikes
Obama issued the first airstrikes against the self-declared Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in August 2014. At the time, the group had taken over vast portions of Iraq and Syria and was infamous for public beheadings of international hostages. The U.S. launched its initial attacks on ISIS targets in Syria the next month, despite the president’s promise to keep combat soldiers out of the battle. The airstrikes against the radical Islamic extremist group included participation from several Arab nations.
Budget Control Act of 2011
In the latter half of his first term as president, Obama sought to guide the nation through a period of challenging economic conditions. He signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 in an effort to curb government spending and save it from going into default on its debt after protracted discussions with Republicans who won control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections. In order to find solutions to the nation’s fiscal problems, the act also mandated the formation of a bipartisan committee. On how to resolve these issues, the group was unable to come to a consensus.
NSA Wiretapping Controversy
Obama’s approval rating has fallen to just 46% in June 2013 as a result of fresh information regarding the size of the U.S. The surveillance program of the National Security Agency, claims that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative political groups looking for tax-exempt status, and charges of a cover-up in the terrorist assassinations of American citizens. Christopher Stevens, the ambassador to Libya, and three other individuals at a diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that the NSA had been monitoring her cell phone calls in October 2013. In front of a conference of European leaders, Merkel declared that spying among allies was never acceptable.
In November 2013, Obama’s approval rating hit a new low. Only 37% of respondents to a CBS News poll of Americans thought he was doing a good job as president, while 57% said he was doing a bad job.
Obama’s Record on LGBT Rights
The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military directive, which prohibited openly gay soldiers from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, was repealed by Obama in 2011. He authorized U.S. engagement in NATO airstrikes in March 2011 to aid rebels opposing Muammar al-forces Qaddafi’s in Libya.
On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 to reverse a previous decision by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that some states’ bans on same-sex marriage were constitutional. The Supreme Court overturned this earlier ruling, legalizing same-sex unions nationwide.
Obama applauded the court for recognizing same-sex marriage, becoming the first sitting president to do so in May 2012 “that marital equality is protected by the Constitution. By doing this, they have reinforced that every American has a right to receive the same level of legal protection. that regardless of who one is or who they love, everyone should be treated equally.”
Obama added in his statement that the court’s ruling “is a result of the millions of modest acts of courage performed by individuals over decades who stood up, came out, and spoke to parents who cherished their children no matter what.” People who remained strong in the face of abuse and ridicule gradually convinced the whole nation that “love is love.”
In June 1989, Obama met Michelle Robinson when he was employed as a summer associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin. Robinson was assigned for three months as Obama’s adviser at the firm, and she joined him at several group social functions but declined his initial requests to date. They began dating later that summer, became engaged in 1991, and were married on October 3, 1992. After suffering a miscarriage, Michelle underwent in vitro fertilization to conceive their children. The couple’s first daughter, Malia Ann, was born in 1998, followed by a second daughter, Natasha, in 2001.
The Obama daughters attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. When they moved to Washington, D.C., in January 2009, the girls started at Sidwell Friends School. The Obamas had two Portuguese Water Dogs; the first, a male named Bo, was a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy. In 2013, Bo was joined by Sunny, a female. Bo died of cancer on May 8, 2021.
According to different sources online, the net worth of Barack Obama is estimated at $70 million.
Social Media Handles
As a former United States president, Barack Obama has amassed a number of followers on social media platforms where he has been very active. On Instagram, he has a verified account with over 35.6 million followers. On Twitter, he has a verified account with over 133.3 million followers. You can follow him through the following social media handles.
- Instagram: @barackobama
- Twitter: @BarackObama