Biography of Barack Obama: Life and Accomplishments

Born August 4th, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii, Barack Obama was a talented student who went on to a successful career as a lawyer and finally as a politician in the state and federal Senates. After intense races for the Democratic presidential nomination and for the presidency itself, he was elected the 44th president of the United States. Despite the inevitable criticisms that plagued him as a president, Obama solidified his place in the history books when he became the country’s first African American president. In this video, learns more about the life and accomplishments of Barack Obama.

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The Life and Accomplishments of Barack Obama: Biography of a U.S. President

He was the United States’ first black president. Learn more about the life and accomplishments of Barack Obama.

Early Years

Barack Hussein Obama II was born August 4th, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii. His parents divorced in 1964, and following that he moved around until finally resettling in Hawaii at age 10 with his grandparents.

Community Organizer

Eventually, after a short stint in Los Angeles, Obama transferred to Columbia University where he earned a B.A. in political science in 1983. He worked in New York’s business sector for two years, then moved to Chicago where he spent three years as a community organizer in low-income neighborhoods.


In 1988, he enrolled at Harvard Law School. After his first year, he was chosen as editor of the Harvard Law Review, and the next year he became its first black president. During the summer of 1989, he met Michelle Robinson while interning at a law firm. Eventually the two began dating, and finally in October 1992 they married.

“Dreams from My Father”

Just prior to this, Obama graduated in 1991, and was offered a book deal based on his experiences with racial affairs. This became the 1995 memoir, “Dreams from My Father.”

Following Graduation

After graduating, Obama went to work at the University of Chicago Law School, where he taught constitutional law until 2004. In 1992, he spearheaded Illinois’ Project Vote campaign to encourage African American voter registration. The next year he joined a local law firm and continued his community development efforts.

Illinois State Senate

In 1996, Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate, where he received bipartisan support. While there, he helped expand health care and cut taxes for working families. He was reelected, but lost a bid for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000.

U.S. Senate

In 2004, he was successfully elected to the U.S. Senate. He worked with the Republican Party to bring transparency to government, pass lobbying reform and destroy weapons of mass destruction. Obama’s further raised his profile by addressing the 2004 Democratic National Convention with a speech that was watched by 9.1 million people.

Running for President

In 2006, he released the best-selling book “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.” It wasn’t long before Obama claimed his own American dream: in February 2007 he announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination.

The United States' First Black President

After a tight battle with former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama took the nomination. He then went up against Republican Senator John McCain to fight for the Presidency. Obama ultimately won 365 electoral votes and almost 53 per cent of the popular vote on November 4th, 2008. And, on January 20th, 2009, Barack Obama was inaugurated the 44th President of the United States, and the country’s first African American leader.

First 100 Days as President

During his first 100 days as President, Obama overhauled foreign policy and improved the United States’ image around the world. His administration also dealt with the ongoing recession by passing an economic stimulus bill, bailing out certain industries and by setting new regulations for others. He enjoyed high popularity early in his term.

Nobel Peace Prize and Health Care Reform

In December 2009, he was controversially awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Another move that received both criticism and praise was the Obama administration’s health care reform, which was finally passed in 2010.

Drop in Popularity

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill came later that year, and Obama’s government was criticized for their efforts in addressing this catastrophic environmental issue. The midterm elections followed soon after, and saw the Republicans gain 60 seats. Obama’s popularity was fading, but despite this in early 2011 he announced his decision to run for a second term as president in 2012.

Death of Osama bin Laden

His reputation soared once again with the May 1st, 2011 announcement that U.S. troops had finally killed Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks in New York City.


Despite his many successes, Obama has often been the subject of scrutiny. He has been labeled an elitist, and as too inexperienced. He was also accused of lying about his birthplace; however, in 2011 he released his long form birth certificate to prove that he was, in fact, born in Hawaii and not Africa.


Aside from the inevitable criticism, Obama’s skills as an orator, his charisma and ultimately his beliefs helped him secure his place in history and the White House.

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