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Study Notes

Barack Obama

AQA, Edexcel, OCR

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Barack Obama served as the 44th President of the United States from 2008 to 2016. His Vice President for both terms was Joe Biden.

Prior Jobs to the Presidency

Before Obama became President, he was involved law and the Chicago community before turning to politics first at a local level and then onto the national scene. After he graduated, Obama took a job as a community organiser setting up job training, tutoring and tenants’ rights programmes on Chicago’s south side.

After graduating from Harvard Law, Obama became a law professor at Chicago Law School teaching Constitutional Law. Whilst he was teaching, he directed the Project Vote campaign to encourage African Americans to register to vote. In 1996 he was elected to the Illinois State Senate for the Illinois 13th District. He was reelected in 1998 and in 2002. Whilst in the State Senate he did a lot of work reforming taxes and healthcare. He eventually left the State Senate when he was elected to the US Senate.

Obama was elected to the US Senate for Illinois in 2004, using opposition to the Iraq War as a method of gaining votes. Obama worked on legislation in the Senate, that changed rules regarding nuclear power, legal reform and wire tapping regulation. Obama stayed in the Senate for 4 years, resigning his seat when he was elected President.

Key Policies During Presidency

The landmark piece of legislation that Obama will be remembered for is the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. The Act mandated Americans to purchase health insurance to protect themselves. During his first 100 days in the job he ordered the closure Guantanamo Bay and began to plan for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. He also expanded the rights of LGBT people in the US with the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell measures that banned LGBT people from serving openly in the military. He also presided over the de facto legalisation of same-sex marriage after the Supreme Court decision.

Obama also signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 which provided over $750 billion for the US Economy after the financial crisis in 2009. It included huge amounts of federal money for infrastructure, education and tax breaks. He also intervened to assist with General Motors and Chrysler when they faced bankruptcy.

Barack Obama Approval Ratings

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