<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Explain political partisanship, antigovernment movements, and economic developments during the Clinton administration
  • Discuss President Clinton’s foreign policy
  • Explain how George W. Bush won the election of 2000

By 1992, many had come to doubt that President George H. W. Bush could solve America’s problems. He had alienated conservative Republicans by breaking his pledge not to raise taxes, and some faulted him for failing to remove Saddam Hussein from power during Operation Desert Storm. Furthermore, despite living much of his adult life in Texas, he could not overcome the stereotypes associated with his privileged New England and Ivy League background, which hurt him among working-class Reagan Democrats.

The road to the white house

The contrast between George H. W. Bush and William Jefferson Clinton could not have been greater. Bill Clinton was a baby boomer born in 1946 in Hope, Arkansas. His biological father died in a car wreck three months before he was born. When he was a boy, his mother married Roger Clinton, an alcoholic who abused his family. However, despite a troubled home life, Clinton was an excellent student. He took an interest in politics from an early age. On a high school trip to Washington, DC, he met his political idol, President John F. Kennedy. As a student at Georgetown University, he supported both the civil rights and antiwar movements and ran for student council president ( [link] ).

A poster featuring a photograph of a college-age Bill Clinton reads “A Realistic Approach to Student Government / Bill Clinton / Candidate / President of the Student Council.” Hand-lettered at the bottom is the date “Mar. 8 1967.”
During his 1967 campaign for student council president at Georgetown University, Bill Clinton told those who voted for him that he would invite them to the White House when he became president of the United States. He kept his promise.

In 1968, Clinton received a prestigious Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University. From Oxford he moved on to Yale, where he earned his law degree in 1973. He returned to Arkansas and became a professor at the University of Arkansas’s law school. The following year, he tried his hand at state politics, running for Congress, and was narrowly defeated. In 1977, he became attorney general of Arkansas and was elected governor in 1978. Losing the office to his Republican opponent in 1980, he retook the governor’s mansion in 1982 and remained governor of Arkansas until 1992, when he announced his candidacy for president.

During his campaign, Bill Clinton described himself as a New Democrat, a member of a faction of the Democratic Party that, like the Republicans, favored free trade and deregulation. He tried to appeal to the middle class by promising higher taxes on the rich and reform of the welfare system. Although Clinton garnered only 43 percent of the popular vote, he easily won in the Electoral College with 370 votes to President Bush’s 188. Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot won 19 percent of the popular vote, the best showing by any third-party candidate since 1912. The Democrats took control of both houses of Congress.

“it’s the economy, stupid”

Clinton took office towards the end of a recession. His administration’s plans for fixing the economy included limiting spending and cutting the budget to reduce the nation’s $60 billion deficit, keeping interest rates low to encourage private investment, and eliminating protectionist tariffs. Clinton also hoped to improve employment opportunities by allocating more money for education. In his first term, he expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit, which lowered the tax obligations of working families who were just above the poverty line. Addressing the budget deficit, the Democrats in Congress passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 without a single Republican vote. The act raised taxes for the top 1.2 percent of the American people, lowered them for fifteen million low-income families, and offered tax breaks to 90 percent of small businesses.

Questions & Answers

Does militia men still exist in U.S.A?
Shakeel Reply
To contrast the steamboat of the antebellum to today’s technology?
Nyrah Reply
contrast the steamboats of the antebellum years with technologies today.
I love reading books about history.
I reading what happened earlier so much
I meant I love to read a lot
omg I never noticed this until now.
what advantages did people in urban areas have over rural areas?
what factors helped cause the dust bowl
They had easy availability of food water. They had more comfortable life style as compare to people in rural areas. Better education was at there disposal
why did northerners lose thier resolve to pursue reconstruction
bambi Reply
what is taring and feathering?
Dominic Reply
Isnt there any laws in place for gun control?
Ryan Reply
How would you characterize the former president’s reaction? What do you think he means by writing that the Missouri Compromise line “is a reprieve only, not a final sentence”?
Tonda Reply
Compare and contrast the steamboats of the antebellum years with technologies today. In your estimation, what modern technology compares to steamboats in its transformative power?
Tonda Reply
airplanes to jets. Another would be electric trains.
I would say the Internal Combustion engine was as if not more transformative the the Steam power which it replaced. The ability of the Steamboat to rapidly move large amounts of goods through the water ways that weave there way from town to town increased our fledgling country's economy. I can draw direct coraleris with the National highway system built during the 1950's that were soon clogged with Transport trucks using I.C.E.
what are the impact of the missionaries on indigenous knowledge of black communities
Don Reply
What were the initial issues that lead to the introduction of legislation
Benedicta Reply
what is the main title of franklin D roosevelt
Allan Reply
the president of the USA
who abolish slavery
Abraham Lincoln
who was the fists empire in americans
Alex Reply
who organized the most massive attack in American History, which caused the Germans to begin to retreat in September 1918?
Jmora Reply
"Black Jack" Pershing
Is there answers anywhere to all of the critical thinking questions?
Heather Reply

Get the best U.s. history course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, U.s. history. OpenStax CNX. Jan 12, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11740/1.3
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'U.s. history' conversation and receive update notifications?