kids encyclopedia robot

Bill Clinton facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton's official portrait, 1993
Official portrait, 1993
42nd President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
Vice President Al Gore
Preceded by George H. W. Bush
Succeeded by George W. Bush
40th and 42nd Governor of Arkansas
In office
January 11, 1983 – December 12, 1992
  • Winston Bryant
  • Jim Guy Tucker
Preceded by Frank D. White
Succeeded by Jim Guy Tucker
In office
January 9, 1979 – January 19, 1981
Lieutenant Joe Purcell
Preceded by Joe Purcell (acting)
Succeeded by Frank D. White
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
August 26, 1986 – July 28, 1987
Preceded by Lamar Alexander
Succeeded by John H. Sununu
Vice Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
August 6, 1985 – August 26, 1986
Preceded by Lamar Alexander
Succeeded by John H. Sununu
50th Attorney General of Arkansas
In office
January 3, 1977 – January 9, 1979
Preceded by Jim Guy Tucker
Succeeded by Steve Clark
Personal details
William Jefferson Blythe III

(1946-08-19) August 19, 1946 (age 77)
Hope, Arkansas, U.S.
Political party Democratic
(m. 1975)
Children Chelsea Clinton
Relatives Clinton family
  • Politician
  • lawyer
  • professor
  • author
Awards List of honors and awards
Signature William J Clinton signature.svg

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III; August 19, 1946) is an American politician and humanitarian activist who served from 1993 to 2001 as the 42nd President of the United States. He was 46 years old when he was elected and the third youngest president.

Early years

Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III at Julia Chester Hospital in Hope, Arkansas. His biological father, William Jefferson Blythe. Jr, died in a car accident, three months before Clinton was born. His mother, Virginia Clinton Kelley was a Nurse anesthetist. He took the last name Clinton because it was his stepfather, Roger Clinton, Sr.'s name. Clinton grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas. In high school, Clinton played the saxophone.

College and law school years

Clinton at Georgetown 1967
Clinton ran for president of the Student Council while attending the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

With the aid of scholarships, Clinton attended the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., receiving a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree in 1968.

Upon graduating from Georgetown in 1968, Clinton won a Rhodes Scholarship to University College, Oxford, where he initially read for a B.Phil. in philosophy, politics, and economics but transferred to a B.Litt. in politics and, ultimately, a B.Phil. in politics. Clinton did not expect to return for the second year because of the draft and so he switched programs. He had received an offer to study at Yale Law School, Yale University, and so he left early to return to the United States and did not receive a degree from Oxford.

During his time at Oxford, Clinton was a member of the Oxford University Basketball Club and also played for Oxford University's rugby union team.

After Oxford, Clinton attended Yale Law School and earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 1973. In 1971, he met his future wife, Hillary Rodham, in the Yale Law Library; she was a class year ahead of him. They began dating and were soon inseparable.

Political career

Bill Clinton 1978
Newly elected Governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton meets with President Jimmy Carter, 1978

After graduating from Yale Law School, Clinton returned to Arkansas and became a law professor at the University of Arkansas. In 1976, Clinton ran for Arkansas attorney general. With only minor opposition in the primary and no opposition at all in the general election, Clinton was elected.

Clinton was only 32 years old when he took office, the youngest governor in the country at the time and the second youngest governor in the history of Arkansas. Due to his youthful appearance, Clinton was often called the "Boy Governor". He worked on educational reform and directed the maintenance of Arkansas's roads, with wife Hillary leading a successful committee on urban health care reform.

In 1982, he was elected governor a second time and kept the office for ten years. During his term, he helped transform Arkansas's economy and improved the state's educational system. Proposed reforms included more spending for schools (supported by a sales-tax increase), better opportunities for gifted children, vocational education, higher teachers' salaries, more course variety, and compulsory teacher competency exams. For senior citizens, he removed the sales tax from medications and increased the home property-tax exemption. He became a leading figure among the New Democrats, a group of Democrats who advocated welfare reform, smaller government, and other policies not supported by liberals.

Also in the 1980s, the Clintons' personal and business affairs included transactions that became the basis of the Whitewater controversy investigation, which later dogged his presidential administration. After extensive investigation over several years, no indictments were made against the Clintons related to the years in Arkansas.

Clinton won the 1992 presidential election (370 electoral votes) against Republican incumbent George H. W. Bush (168 electoral votes) and billionaire populist Ross Perot (zero electoral votes). Clinton's victory in the election ended twelve years of Republican rule of the White House and twenty of the previous twenty-four years. The election gave Democrats full control of the United States Congress, the first time one party controlled both the executive and legislative branches since Democrats held the 96th United States Congress during the presidency of Jimmy Carter.

In the 1996 presidential election, Clinton was re-elected. With his victory, he became the first Democrat to win two consecutive presidential elections since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Presidency (1993–2001)

Coat of Arms of Bill Clinton
Clinton's coat of arms, granted by the Chief Herald of Ireland in 1995

During his presidency, Clinton advocated for a wide variety of legislation and programs. His policy of fiscal conservatism helped to reduce deficits on budgetary matters. Clinton presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history.

Dan Hadani collection (990040377410205171)
Clinton during the signing of the Israel–Jordan peace treaty, with Yitzhak Rabin (left) and King Hussein of Jordan (right)

In August, Clinton signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993. It cut taxes for 15 million low-income families, made tax cuts available to 90 percent of small businesses, and raised taxes on the wealthiest 1.2 percent of taxpayers.

In December of the same year, Clinton implemented a Department of Defense directive known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", which allowed gay men and women to serve in the armed services. On January 1, 1994, Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into law.

On July 29, 1994, the Clinton administration launched the first official White House website,

As part of a 1996 initiative to curb illegal immigration, Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) on September 30, 1996. Appointed by Clinton, the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform recommended reducing legal immigration from about 800,000 people a year to about 550,000.

Second term (1997–2001)

In the January 1997, State of the Union address, Clinton proposed a new initiative to provide health coverage to up to five million children. Senators Ted Kennedy—a Democrat—and Orrin Hatch—a Republican—teamed up with Hillary Rodham Clinton and her staff in 1997, and succeeded in passing legislation forming the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the largest (successful) health care reform in the years of the Clinton Presidency. That year, Hillary Clinton shepherded through Congress the Adoption and Safe Families Act and two years later she succeeded in helping pass the Foster Care Independence Act. Bill Clinton negotiated the passage of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 by the Republican Congress.

Impeachment and acquittal

Senate in session
Clinton's impeachment trial in 1999

After a House inquiry, Clinton was impeached on December 19, 1998, by the House of Representatives. The House voted 228–206 to impeach him for perjury to a grand jury and voted 221–212 to impeach him for obstruction of justice. Clinton was only the second U.S. president (after Andrew Johnson) to be impeached.

Donald Trump and Bill Clinton
Future president Donald Trump and Clinton shaking hands at Trump Tower, June 2000

The Senate later acquitted Clinton of all charges.

Post-presidency (2001–present)

FEMA - 14697 - Photograph by Ed Edahl taken on 09-05-2005 in Texas
Clinton greets a Hurricane Katrina evacuee, September 5, 2005. In the background, second from the right, is then-Senator Barack Obama.

Clinton left office in 2001 with the joint-highest approval rating of any U.S. president in the modern era, alongside Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. His presidency has been ranked among the upper tier in historical rankings of U.S. presidents.

Since leaving office, he has been involved in public speaking and humanitarian work. He created the Clinton Foundation to address international causes such as the prevention of HIV/AIDS and global warming. In 2009, he was named the United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Clinton and George W. Bush formed the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. He has remained active in Democratic Party politics, campaigning for his wife's 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns.

On November 20, 2013, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor of the United States, by President Barack Obama.

Personal life

At the age of 10, he was baptized at Park Place Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas and remained a member of a Baptist church. In 2007, with Jimmy Carter, he founded the New Baptist Covenant Baptist organization.

On October 11, 1975, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, he married Hillary Rodham, whom he met while studying at Yale University. They had Chelsea Clinton, their only child, on February 27, 1980. He is the maternal grandfather to Chelsea's three children.

Honors and recognition

Bill Clinton Statue in Ballybunion
Bill Clinton statue in Ballybunion, erected to commemorate his 1998 golfing visit.
William S. Cohen presents President Clinton the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service
Secretary of Defense Cohen presents President Clinton the DoD Medal for Distinguished Public Service.
Bill clinton medal of freedom
Former President Bill Clinton is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then president Barack Obama.

Various colleges and universities have awarded Clinton honorary degrees, including Doctorate of Law degrees and Doctor of Humane Letters degrees. He received an honorary degree from Georgetown University, his alma mater, and was the commencement speaker in 1980. He is an honorary fellow of University College, Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar, although he did not complete his studies there. Schools have been named for Clinton, and statues have been built to pay him homage. U.S. states where he has been honored include Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, and New York. He was presented with the Medal for Distinguished Public Service by Secretary of Defense William Cohen in 2001. The Clinton Presidential Center was opened in Little Rock, Arkansas, in his honor on December 5, 2001.

He has been honored in various other ways, in countries that include the Czech Republic, Papua New Guinea, Germany, and Kosovo.

Clinton was selected as Time's "Man of the Year" in 1992, and again in 1998, along with Ken Starr. From a poll conducted of the American people in December 1999, Clinton was among eighteen included in Gallup's List of Widely Admired People of the 20th century. In 2001, Clinton received the NAACP's President's Award. He has also been honored with a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children, a J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding, a TED Prize (named for the confluence of technology, entertainment and design), and was named as an Honorary GLAAD Media Award recipient for his work as an advocate for the LGBT community.

In 2011, President Michel Martelly of Haiti awarded Clinton with the National Order of Honour and Merit to the rank of Grand Cross "for his various initiatives in Haiti and especially his high contribution to the reconstruction of the country after the earthquake of January 12, 2010".

U.S. president Barack Obama awarded Clinton the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 20, 2013.

Interesting facts about Bill Clinton

Socks the Cat Explores
Socks at the White House Press Briefing Room lectern in 1993
  • His Father, William Jefferson Blythe III was a travelling salesman.
  • He is 6.2 feet (74 in) tall.
  • Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar.
  • Bill Clinton is left handed.
  • The Clinton's had a cat called “Socks” when they lived at the White House.
  • Bill Clinton plays the saxophone.
  • He has won two Grammy Awards. One is for the best spoken word album for children called “Wolf Tracks and Peter and the Wolf”. Sophia Loren and Mikhail Gorbachev also won grammys for the same project.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Bill Clinton para niños

Images for kids

kids search engine
Bill Clinton Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.