Capable Men of History: Barack Obama

Barack Obama, better known as Obama, is an American politician who served America as its 44th president from 2009 to 2017. He was a member of the Democratic Party and made history by being the first African-American to serve as the president of the United States. Previously, Obama was a US senator from Illinois, and he held this position from 2005 to 2008. Before, he was an Illinois state senator from 1997 to 2004.

Born in Hawaii, Barack Obama was an intelligent student and had been making history since he was pretty young. He studied Law at Harvard Law School and was the first ever Harvard Law Review black president.

Upon his graduation, he became a civil rights attorney and an academic. In his academic life, he taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. From then on, he turned his attention to elective politics, which took him to the prestigious role of the US president.

He gained national attention in 2004 when he won his march Senate primary win. He was well-received by the public, won by a landslide in the November election, and became a part of the Senate.

In 2008, he became the head of the Democratic Party, and he was nominated by his party to become the president. He was pretty popular among the public and therefore beat the Republican nominee to become the president of the United States.

Barack Obama was an extremely popular president who managed to be re-elected and was sworn in for a second term. He was condemned in 2013, but he managed to regain his reputation. He has initiated many plans and bills on LGBTQ+ issues and the climate crisis.

He introduced many laws that were once thought impossible for the US public to accept, such as the legalization of same-sex marriages in 2015 and other immigration and gun laws. He also improved the American economy and its reputation abroad.

Even after leaving the White House, Obama has remained active in Democratic politics. He has appeared in the 2020 Democratic National Convention and even campaigned for Biden in the 2020 presidential elections. He is genuinely one of the most capable men in American political history.

Life Before Politics


Barack Hussein Obama II was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is the only president in the United States history to be born outside the contiguous 48 states. His father was a Kenyan man named Barack Obama Sr., and his mother was an American woman called Ann Dunham. She was mainly of English descent, and her great grandfather had migrated from Ireland to the US in 1850. Obama’s parents met in a Russian language class and married on February 2, 1961.

After a few weeks, Barack and his mother moved to the University of Washington in Seattle, where they lived for a year. During this time, Barack’s father completed his undergraduate degree. However, later they divorced in March 1964.

When Obama was 6, his mother moved them to Indonesia to be with his stepfather, and he attended a local Indonesian school. They stayed there for four years, which is why Obama was able to speak Indonesian fluently as a child. His stepfather greatly influenced him as he taught Barack how to be resilient.

After returning to Honolulu, he lived with his maternal grandparents and attended Punahou, a private preparatory college, after receiving a scholarship. Later on, he stayed with his half-sister and mother as his mother completed her graduate studies.

After high school in 1979, Obama attended Occidental College on a full scholarship. Thus, he had to move to Los Angeles. He made his first speech as he called upon Occidental to participate in the disinvestment from South Africa as a response to the nation’s policy of apartheid.

Later, after transferring to Columbia University in New York City, he majored in political science with a specialty in International Relations and in English. Two years after graduating from Columbia, he moved to Chicago and worked as a community organizer. Later, he applied to Harvard School of Law in 1988 and lived nearby in Somerville, Massachusetts.

He attended Harvard for two years, and by the end of his first year at Harvard, Obama was selected as an editor for Harvard Law Review, and he became president of the journal during his second year.

During his summers, he returned to Chicago; he worked as a summer associate at two law firms, including Sidley Austin in 1999 and Hopkins and Sutter in 1990. He graduated from Harvard in 1991 with a Juris Doctor magna cum laude and returned to Chicago permanently.

At the University of Chicago Law School, he was offered a position as a Visiting Law and Government Fellow to work on his first book. He then taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago for twelve years. He was a lecturer from 1992 to 1996 and was then promoted to become a senior lecturer from 1996 to 2004.

From 1996 to 2004, Obama was also a part of Davis, Miner, Barnhill, and Galland, a 13-attorney firm that specialized in civil rights and ligation. He remained an associate for three years and then went on to become counsel.

Legislative Career

Legislative Career

Obama became a part of the Illinois Senate in 1996 through elections and succeeded the Democratic State Senator Alice Palmer. Once he was elected, he gained bipartisan support for various legislations that reformed health care laws and ethics.

In the next elections, he was re-elected as a member of the Illinois Senate in 1998. In doing so, he beat Yesse Yehudah, a Republican member, in the general election. He was also re-elected in 2002.

In January 2003, Obama was appointed the chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee. It was after years that the Democratic Party had gained a majority after staying a minority for a decade.

In 2005, after a vigorous campaign, Obama won a place in the US senate after winning 70 percent of the votes. Such a massive margin of victory is unheard of for a Senate candidate victory. He also took the winning vote of 92 of the 102 counties, and these also included counties where Democrats are usually unpopular.

He was sworn in as a senator on January 3, 2005, and was the only Senate member of the Congressional Black Caucus. In 2007, he sponsored an amendment to help safeguard for personality disorder military discharges to the Defense Authorization Act.

He resigned his Senate seat on November 16, 2008, and focused solely on gaining the presidency. Obama announced his intentions to run for president and candidacy in front of the Old State Capitol building located in Springfield, Illinois, on February 10, 2007.

This site was considered very symbolic because it was where Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic 1858 House Divided speech. He was successful in his endeavors and was inaugurated as the 44th president on January 20, 2009.


As soon as Barack Obama entered office, he started making changes that he felt were urgently needed. He issued presidential memoranda and executive orders directed toward the US military to develop various plans to withdraw troops sent to Iraq.

He also made various bills, including the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which was the first one ever. It relaxed the statute of limitations for equal-pay lawsuits. Another bill he signed was that of the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. This program covered additional uninsured children, and it is estimated that four million additional children benefited from this program.

Barack Obama was also known to appoint two women to serve on the Supreme Court. He took this action within the first two years of his presidency and nominated Sonia Sotomayor to replace Associate Justice, David Souter. Therefore, she became the first Hispanic descent Supreme Court Justice.

He also nominated retiring Associate Justice John Paul Stevens to be replaced by Elena Kagan. When she was confirmed, for the first time in American history, the number of women sitting simultaneously on the Court was three.

One of the most significant and well-known acts by Barak Obama was probably the legalization of same-sex marriages. This movement began on October 8, 2009, when Obama signed the Mathew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

This act expanded the previous United States federal hate-crime law to also include crimes based on the victim’s perceived or actual gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Obama also lifted the ban on travel of those infected with HIV.

He also signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010. This act fulfilled a promise made in the presidential campaign to allow gay and lesbian people to serve in the United States Armed Forces.

When he was a candidate for the Illinois state senate in 1996, Obama favored same-sex marriage and voted for them to be legalized. In 2008, he reaffirmed his position and in said that he was not in favor of same-sex marriages.

However, in 2012, after the launch of his reelection campaign as president, he announced that his views had changed and that he was in favor of the legalization of same-sex marriages. He became the first president ever to call for equality for gay Americans. In 2013, his administration filed briefs for the legalization of same-sex marriages, and they were successful.

Obama was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and became the third person to become a Nobel laureate while in office. However, people viewed his win skeptically, and some even stated that he did not have much effect on America to deserve one.

Life After Presidency

After the end of his presidency in January 2017, his successor, Donald Trump, took office. However, he was not always in favor of his choices. For example, when Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, he expressed that he disagreed with his choice.

Furthermore, he also criticized Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal that the United States had with Iran under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. In Obama’s opinion, the arrangement worked in the US interest. Therefore, Obama was very active in politics even after he left office.

Obama embarked on writing a presidential memoir in a deal made with Penguin Random House for $65 million. The book called A Promised Land was released on November 17, 2020. In February of 2021, he also started a podcast called Renegades: Born in the USA with Bruce Springsteen, a musician.


Barack Obama has had a significant impact on the United States. He accomplished many great things and managed to make relations between the United States and other countries very amiable, and during his reign, America became quite respected among other countries.

He is one of the greatest self-made men in United States history because he rose from a life that most Americans generally live and became a president who managed to hold office for two years.

Furthermore, even after his departure from the White House, he is well known and active in his personal and political endeavors.