U.S. Presidents / Bill Clinton

Portrait of President Bill Clinton

b. 1946

Bill Clinton

Our democracy must be not only the envy of the world but the engine of our own renewal. There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America. First Inaugural Address


William Jefferson Clinton, the young President from Hope, Arkansas, succeeded where no other Democrat had since Franklin Roosevelt: he was reelected to a second term. Clinton also defied his critics by surviving an array of personal scandals, turning the greatest fiscal deficit in American history into a surplus, effectively using American force to stop the murderous "ethnic cleansing" wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, and presiding over the greatest level of economic prosperity since the early 1960s. He also endured unrelenting personal attacks from the right-wing of the Republican Party, the loss of Congress to the Republicans for the first time in forty years, and a humiliating but unsuccessful impeachment trial by the U.S. Senate. He fashioned himself as a "New Democrat" and has frequently been referred to as the "Comeback Kid." Few Presidents have both raised more questions about the standing of the presidency and simultaneously presided over a longer period of sustained prosperity.

Fast Facts

William Jefferson Clinton
Hope, Arkansas
Georgetown University (1968), attended Oxford University (1968–1970), Yale Law School (1973)
Lawyer, public official
October 11, 1975, to Hillary Rodham
Chelsea Victoria (1980)
Russell Riley

Chicago Style

Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. “Bill Clinton.” Accessed June 17, 2024. https://millercenter.org/president/clinton.


Russell Riley

Russell Riley is co-chair of the Presidential Oral History Program and a University of Virginia Professor.