Barack Hussein Obama born August 4, 1961) is an American attorney and politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017.
A member of the Democratic Party, he was the first African American to be elected to the presidency. He previously served as a U.S. senator from Illinois from 2005 to 2008.
White House Archives
Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. After graduating from Columbia University in 1983, he worked as a community organizer in Chicago.
In 1988, he enrolled in Harvard Law School, where he was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. After graduating, he became a civil rights attorney and an academic, teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. He represented the 13th district for three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 until 2004 when he ran for the U.S. Senate.
He received national attention in 2004 with his March primary win, his well-received July Democratic National Convention keynote address, and his landslide November election to the Senate. In 2008, he was nominated for president a year after his campaign began and after a close primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. He was elected over Republican John McCain and was inaugurated on January 20, 2009. Nine months later, he was named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Regarded as a centrist New Democrat, Obama signed many landmark bills into law during his first two years in office. The main reforms that were passed include the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (often referred to as “Obamacare”, shortened as the “Affordable Care Act”), the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.
After winning re-election by defeating Republican opponent Mitt Romney, Obama was sworn in for a second term in 2013. During this term, he promoted inclusiveness for LGBT Americans. His administration filed briefs that urged the Supreme Court to strike down same-sex marriage bans as unconstitutional (United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges); same-sex marriage was fully legalized in 2015 after the Court ruled that a same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional in Obergefell.
Obama’s presidency has generally been regarded favorably, and evaluations of his presidency among historians, political scientists, and the general public place him among the upper tier of American presidents. Obama left office and retired in January 2017 and currently resides in Washington, D.C.
A December 2018 Gallup poll found Obama to be the most admired man in America for an unprecedented 11th consecutive year, although Dwight D. Eisenhower was selected most admired in twelve non-consecutive years.