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Presidency of Bill Clinton
The years of the presidency of one of the most controversial and charismatic politicians, Bill Clinton (1993-2000), helped not only to make a significant step in the development of the United States but also change the existing order in world politics. The major changes, which largely affected the position of the United States, occurred both within the state and in the international arena. The following paper aims to analyze the presidency of Bill Clinton, his methods of work, and key achievements.
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Bill Clinton became the President at the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the USSR, and the revolutions in the countries of the former socialist bloc, which accelerated the processes of integration. Analyzing the period of Bill Clinton’s presidency, Hamilton (2007) says that “Bill Clinton became President of the United States at a defining moment in its history following the end of the Cold War: the flowering of a new era of communication, and a raft of new global challenges, from trade to terrorism” (p. 13). Indeed, it was a rather difficult period for the United States, since the country faced a serious challenge that required, on the one hand, putting many efforts into maintaining its leading position in the international arena and adapting to the global changes. On the other hand, the country had to adjust its economic base to the new requirements.
Bill Clinton’s life resembles a special promotional illustration of the story of the American Dream. He was born on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas. His father, William Jefferson Blyth, died three months before the birth of his son in a car accident. His mother, Virginia Dell Cassidy, worked very hard to provide her son with a decent level of life and education. Bill’s grandparents, Eldridge and Edith Cassidy taught him the value of virtue and faith (“Bill Clinton’s Biography,” 2016). Besides, they have taught their grandson that everyone is created equal, and, therefore, people should not be treated differently because of their religion or color of their skin. These lessons have made a great contribution to the development of the personality of the future leader of the American nation. Clinton’s family was rather poor, but the brilliant personal qualities allowed Bill Clinton to gain financial support and receive a truly excellent education. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1968 and then continued his studies at the University of Oxford in England. In 1973, Bill Clinton received a PhD. in Law and returned to Arkansas to build a career in politics (“Bill Clinton’s Biography,” 2016).
In 1974, Clinton ran for the US Congress and became a rising star in the Democratic Party (“Bill Clinton’s Biography,” 2016). “Clinton restored the Democrats’ reputation for competence in economic management that has been established by Franklin D. Roosevelt, consolidated y Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson” (Mark, 2012, p. 65). In 1976, he was elected a state attorney general, and in 1978 Clinton became the governor of the state (“Bill Clinton’s Biography,” 2016). He attracted the attention of the audience by his educational programs, which introduced the tax increases and required from teachers passing the qualification tests. Also, he actively promoted the effective solutions to unemployment problems and the implementation of child health care measures. In October 1991, Clinton began his race for the presidency. “Clinton’s 1992 campaign for president focused on jobs and prosperity amidst popular concern about the disappointing pace of economic recovery from the recession of 1990-91” (Mark, 2012, p. 66). He advocated tax cuts and military spending, as well as health care and education reforms. He promised to implement a program that would guarantee at least the college-level education for every American and would allow students to repay the subsidies for training by doing public works. During the election campaign, Clinton also focused on socio-economic and security issues, which took a leading role in the US policy. It was primarily due to the fact that the formation of a new security approach was essential in ensuring the conditions for the implementation of the US foreign policy agenda. One should admit that the activity of Clinton’s administration in the development of a global strategy and national security was particularly beneficial for the United States. Clinton strongly criticized the Republicans for using racial issues to split the nation. The future President consistently emphasized the theme of change and hope during the election campaign. Realizing the importance of the generational shift in the leadership of the country, he insisted on the need for change to revitalize the economy. Clinton wanted to change everything not only in the White House but also in the entire state, which caused an unprecedented surge of hopes and expectations of long-overdue changes. Al Gore, the governor of Tennessee, became the Vice-President and helped Bill Clinton to implement his plans into life. The main parameters of the Clinton administration’s policies have been developed with the assistance of Al Gore and presented in their joint program (Hamilton, 2007). This program included a carefully designed set of basic priorities of the domestic and foreign policy of the American government with a clear position of the Democratic candidate on key issues of life of the state, based on his personal estimates, and proposed measures to improve the condition of the country.
The brilliant achievements of Bill Clinton in legislative initiatives have been truly impressive in the first years of his presidency. However, one should admit that Clinton’s domestic policy was similar to the walking on the razor’s edge between stability and reforms. The new President put forward the initiatives, which have led to the strengthening of the progressive nature of the income tax, reducing the interest rates, slowing the growth of federal spending, and the creation of many new jobs for the US citizens. Clinton articulated a new approach to achieving economic prosperity by creating new jobs through the expansion of world trade. To reach his goals, Clinton used various methods. For instance, he spoke directly to the people, issued the presidential decrees, and urged Congress to pass the certain bills. All these methods were rather effective for creating a new image of the United States in the international arena. It should be noted that the successes in the domestic policy along with steady economic growth at a relatively high level of employment played a crucial role in the re-election of President Clinton in the second term. Overall, the strategy of Democratic President consisted of domestic economic restructuring of the US government; improvement of secondary and higher education; the provision of government loans for those who wished to continue their education in college; developing programs for professional retraining of workers; restructuring of the tax system to reach equitable distribution of taxes on all segments of the population; reforming of the federal government that aimed to reduce the maintenance costs of the federal government; the radical restructuring of the public health system, which included gradual creation of a possibility to obtain a minimum medical care and many other points (Hamilton, 2007).
Clinton believed that only the US government could not only be truly competitive in the global market but also would be able to maintain its leading position in the 21st century was to create the world’s best system of education and training of the population. The wise investments in human capital have become the decisive factor of the strong economic development of the United States in the late 20th century. Indeed, “economic success was the defining achievement of Bill Clinton`s presidency” (Mark, 2012, p. 65). Therefore, the federal government spent much money on human resources, such as social security, health, and education. Clinton’s administration also put forward a foreign policy program. Its purpose was to secure a favorable US balance of power in the world and provide opportunities for the control of the development of the international situation in line with the US interests and plans. An important place was given to the ideological component – the spread of American values and the transformation of the international community in accordance with the American model of democracy and economic system. During his 1996 campaign, he had promised to build a bridge to the 21st century and he managed to do it (Mark, 2012). Nowadays, Clinton is also involved in politics. His wife, Hilary Clinton, was the main candidate for the US presidency in 2016. Being a wise politician, Bill Clinton helped her to pass all the meetings and debated successfully, as well as supported his wife helping her to accept the failure.
In conclusion, it should be noted that America has never been as rich and prosperous as in the years of Bill Clinton’s presidency. Without any doubt, Bill Clinton initiated a vast majority of significant changes that have occurred within the American state and its ruling elite. Due to his balanced politics, Clinton managed to reduce unemployment and increase the number of jobs. The main merit of the Clinton administration was in developing and implementing a new economic philosophy and considering the needs of every citizen. Bill Clinton remains an exemplary president – a determined man ready to face any challenge and change his country for better.
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