Bill Clinton Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Susan Mendes

Susan has taught students in Kindergarten through eighth grade and has a master's degree in educational leadership.

This lesson will familiarize you with William 'Bill' Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States. Learn about his early life, his rise to presidency, and how he continues to impact the world today.

Who Is Bill Clinton?

Which U.S. president played the saxophone, was nicknamed 'Bubba,' and had a cat named Socks? The answer is former President Bill Clinton! Clinton, who is a member of the Democratic Party, was the 42nd president to take office and continues to influence American lives today.

Early Life

Clinton was born in Arkansas on Aug. 19, 1946. His father passed away before he was born, and his mother was a local nurse. Clinton began playing the saxophone in elementary school and even won the first chair in the Arkansas state band's saxophone section. In fact, Clinton enjoyed playing the saxophone so much he even considered becoming a full-time musician rather than a politician.

Eventually, Clinton was influenced by Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy, and he decided to dedicate his life to serving the public. Clinton went to Georgetown University for his bachelor's degree and later studied at Oxford University and Yale. During this time, Clinton became class president and an active protester of the Vietnam War. He also met his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, while he was a student at Yale. They eventually got married and had one child together, Chelsea Clinton.

Political Career

After graduating from Yale, Clinton ran for the office of Attorney General of Arkansas and won in 1976. Two years later, Clinton chose to run as governor of Arkansas and won. At the age of 32, he became the youngest governor in the United States.

As governor, Clinton's major focus was on improving education for the people of Arkansas. He spent more money on education by giving teachers higher salaries and investing in gifted and talented programs. This turned Arkansas' failing education system into one of the best school systems in the country. His focus on improving education made Clinton a very popular governor in the United States.

Bill Clinton giving a speech
Bill Clinton giving a speech.

First Term as President

In 1992, Clinton decided to run for president. He was running against the then-current president George H. W. Bush. Clinton won the presidency and officially took office in January 1993. During his time as president, Clinton focused on providing health care for all Americans, allowing free trade with Mexico and Canada, and creating stricter rules for buying handguns.

Second Term as President

Clinton was re-elected as president in 1996 and continued to push for a better health care system. He also worked to improve public school education and grow the U.S. economy. He avoided involving the military in wars and instead focused on working with NATO (a multi-national military alliance) to bring resolutions to conflicts around the world. Clinton was a very popular president during this time. His approval ratings during his first and second terms were between 50 and 60 percent, even when he was involved in controversy.

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