Introduction and Background Information
Bill Clinton is one of the democratic American presidents who will always be remembered in the American history, because of his peace initiatives and longest economic expansion in the American history. He was the 42nd president of America and ruled America for two terms from 1993 to 2001. Clinton was born in Arkansas in 1946 to parents Jefferson Blythe and Virginia Dell Cassidy.
At his birth he was named William Jefferson Blythe, III, but because of his father’s early death (three months before he was born), which forced his mother to be re-married to Roger Clinton; Clinton adopted his father’s name ‘Clinton,’ hence, his name Bill Clinton. All throughout his early schooling years, Bill Clinton attended public schools such as St. John’s Catholic Elementary School, Ramble Elementary School, and Hot Springs High School, where he assumed different leadership roles.
Later on he studied at Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, from where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree of Science and Foreign Service. His good performance enabled him to win a Rhodes scholarship to study as Oxford University College. After quitting his studies in Oxford, he joined Yale University, Law School where he graduated with a law degree (Miller Center of Public Affairs 1).
During his college years Clinton was an active student leader who participated in numerous activities such as the Vietnam War protests and sports. It is during his years in Yale that he met Hillary Clinton, whom he married in 1975. Although his political life began while in college, he joined politics officially in 1974, when he vied for the United State House Representatives seat, which he lost.
This never killed his political ambition, because in 1978, he was elected as a governor of the state of Arkansas, a position which he lost once and won four times; hence, giving him the a better chance of becoming the Democratic presidential candidate in 1992; which he won. During his campaigns Clinton promised to help the American economic situation to improve, to control crime, protect the environment, create employment opportunities, and control both foreign and domestic military expenditures.
As a result of his achievements in his first term, he was elected for a second term in the year 1997, with numerous promises of making America a better nation. Some of bill Clinton’s promises during his second term included reforming the healthcare system and promoting global peace initiatives (Miller Center of Public Affairs 1).
Achievements of Bill Clinton
All throughout his rule, Bill Clinton main aim was to change the face of America politically, economically, and socially. With the aid of other democratic and republican leaders Bill Clinton was able to help America to achieve its dream, by rebuilding the American economy, reducing the crime rate, and restoring the global confidence on America by promoting good international relations.
During his reign, the Clinton’s regime was able to help America to regain $ 350 billion economic deficit. It is during his regime that America gained one of the biggest budget surpluses of $167 billion dollars. Further, his government was able to pay back approximately $ 297 dollars public debt that had been created by previous regimes. Another economic achievement his regime made was creation of jobs for the American citizenry.
The Clinton’s government was able to create more than twenty one million job opportunities, which made his reign to be one of periods with longest and fastest real wage growth rate in the history of the American history. On the other hand, during his reign, America’s poverty rate reduced drastically in addition to the reduction of the poverty gap between races, which made the American continent.
Clinton’s administration was also able to break the cycle of dependency, by developing tools and supporting investment in urban and rural areas that aided families to shift from Welfare to work. For example, child programs gathered more than fifteen billion dollars, whereas the number of child support cases rose by fifty nine percent to 4.5 million in 1998 (Gates and British Broadcasting Corporation 1).
A second achievement that the Clinton’s regime made was to improve the quality of life of the working American citizenry. Bill Clinton’s government strengthened most American families, as his government was able to formulate policies that encouraged the reduction of taxes paid by working families, helped parents to balance between worn and family, for example the Medical Leave Act, and those that promoted improved educational standards hence, ensuring that that every American child had equal access to affordable and quality education.
During his reign, the enactment of laws such as the 1996 welfare reform law forced the government to increase its funding on child welfare programs. Further his government cared very much about the welfare of the disabled, as it was able to enact the Work Incentives Improvement Act, which made Medicaid and Medicare available to the disabled, even when they were employed.
Another achievement of the Clinton’s government was promotion of education standards in the U.S. as compared to previous governments, the Clinton government invested heavily in the education sector, by not only funding college education, but also formulating and implementing numerous scholarship programs, such as the HOPE scholarship program.
His government was also able to offer tax credits to millions of learners who were not able to pay for their college education previously and laid strong emphasis on the significance of ensuring every American child received the required quality of education. Moreover, his regime expanded work study and Pell grant programs, which gave learners an opportunity of making extra money to support their education endeavors (American White House 1).
In addition to reforming the economic and education sector, Clinton’s regime was able to reform the judicial sector, by not only controlling the crime rate, but also enacting policies that promoted justice for all. As compared with previous governments, during his reign, the crime rate in the USA reduced by approximately twenty seven percent.
In addition, his government was able to employ more security officers through increasing its funding to the COPS program. Through enacting laws such as the Brady Bill, his government was able to control the rate of crimes such as domestic abuse and felonies. For example, in 1997, his government was able to reduce the homicide rate by seven percent.
Further, his government was able to reduce drug trafficking and drug abuse rate, through developing the comprehensible anti-drug strategy, which included the funding of various anti-drug use youth campaigns all over America. Internationally, his government was considered the world greatest peace, freedom, and prosperity promoter.
Through support from other global nations, his governments was able to end ethnic clean sing in Kosovo, broke peace agreements in the Middle East, encourage the signing of the Good Friday Peace Accord in Northern Ireland, supported the Bosnia peace initiatives to end civil war, and helped to restore peace in Haiti.
Moreover, his government was also actively involved in peace and stability encouraging efforts in numerous countries such as Nigeria, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Guatemala, Burma, Sudan, India, Pakistan, and Eritrea-Ethiopia.
His government was also able to safeguard the American continent from weapons of mass destruction and security threats from countries such as Russia, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Sudan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Clinton’s government was able to accomplish this through enacting a strong foreign policy, supporting the IMF and G-8 global security strategy, and integrating different international societies in its peace imitative (Gates 1).
Clinton’s government was not also left behind in promoting the health wellbeing of its citizens, as the government was able to enact numerous laws, which revolutionized the healthcare system. His government increased access to healthcare and increased the lifespan of the Medicare Trust Fund, which offered the sick numerous healthcare opportunities.
In addition, His government was also able to introduce healthcare reforms, which promoted the directing of more funds to yearly mammograms, colorectal and cervical cancer, and diabetes programs. Further, his government introduced programs such as the twenty four billion State Children Health Insurance (SCHIP), and outreach health programs, which were supposed to cater for the needs of children and other citizens.
It was during Clinton’s reign that acts such as the Kennedy-Kassebaum Health Insurance Portability and Accountability and 1997 FDA Modernization Acts; acts which not only promoted the welfare of business persons, but also the health wellbeing of the entire American citizenry.
On the other hand, his government enacted antifraud healthcare laws, protection laws, increased the level of security and privacy of electronic medical data, and passed different safe food laws. Bill Clinton’s government also promoted environmental protection and conservation.
His government enacted laws, which oversaw the protection of different American ecosystems for example, the land between the red canyons of rock canons to the Florida everglades, and the Yellowstone. In addition, during his reign, his government built four new national monuments, forced the National Forest Service to enact laws to protect natural ecosystems, enacted laws that accelerated toxic cleanups and Brownfield’s recycling.
On the other hand, his government also promoted global environmental protection, for example, the war on against pollution and b global warming. It is during his reign that the toughest soot and smog emitting laws were enacted and the Safe Drinking Act (White House 1).
Failures of Bill Clinton
Although during his reign, Bill Clinton was able to make America shine, politically, economically, and socially, his rule failed in numerous things. To start with, although to a larger extent his government succeeded on the war on crime, his war on terrorism was a great failure. His failure to capture the world’s most wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda allies, led to the present terrorism problems.
His government has numerous opportunities to capture Osama but his government misused these opportunities, something that made America and the world to suffer the wrath of terrorists, for example, the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon attacks.
As research shows, this failure was caused by his egocentric need to win power for the second term; hence, the weaknesses that were clear in his foreign policies (Weinberger 1-2). Secondly, although he assisted the American citizenry to shift from welfare to work, this move to a large extent failed to cater for the needs of the needy in America.
Such was the case primarily because; retrenching of numerous government workers and cutting social programs to the needy was a great promoter of the economic gap between the needy and the affluent. During his reign not all individuals has jobs which could support their families, therefore it was purely wrong to reduce funds towards social programs such the Welfare (Vidal 1).
In addition, the U.S. being a democratic country and one of the world’s peace brokers, it could have helped to prevent the Rwanda genocide. Instead of assisting Rwanda, Clinton’s government withdrew its forces from this volatile country and failed to mobilize other countries in to assist Rwanda, something that led to one of the biggest bloodshed in the world. On the hand, although his government helped Haiti during its crisis times, its efforts were little, because his government refused the entry of Haiti refugees into America.
This was a sign of inhumanity, as these were innocent citizens who sought for help from war. Bill Clinton also failed to maintain high moral standards, because of his involvement with Monica Lewinsky. Although the case was solved, it caused a big taint to the name of Clinton and other top government officials, more so in the judiciary; hence, putting his quest for democracy and justice at jeopardy (Vidal 1).
In conclusion, although Bill Clinton had failures during his rule, his achievements were greater numerous. His government helped America to gain its economic position, promoted the welfare of its citizenry, encouraged racial equality, and promoted the international security initiatives. In addition, his government promoted environmental conservation initiatives, more so in tackling the biggest environmental problem, global warming.
American White House. Keeping faith with America: A look at President Clinton’s Accomplishments during the first two years. 2010. Web. 2 March. 2011.
British Broadcasting Corporation. Bill Clinton’s economic legacy. BBC. 15 Jan. 2001. Web. 2 March. 2011.
Gates, Pearly. Bill Clintons Accomplishments. Tripod. 2011. Web. 2 Feb. 2011.
Miller Center of Public Affairs. American president, an online reference resource: Bill Clinton (1946-). Miller Center. 2010. Web. 2 Feb. 2011.
Vidal, Yinka. President bill Clinton the greatest; the historical achievements of a remarkable President. Lara Publications. 2010. Web. 2 March. 2011.
Weinberger, Charles. Bill Clinton‘s failure on terrorism. The Washington Post. 1 Sept. 2003. Web. 2 March. 2011.
White House. The Clinton-Gore. Administration: a record of progress. 2010. Web. 2 Feb. 2011.