Barack Obama: Breaking New Ground

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Описание работы

The topicality of the theme of this course paper is determined by policy of Barack Obama, which is very important for students studying foreign languages, especially English and also to be qualified teachers.
The novelty of the research lies in the fact that Barack Obama is the first African-American president of the United States. He became president at a difficult time for America (in times of crisis).
The course paper consists of 2 parts. Chapter 1 describes life of Barack Obama. In chapter 2 attention is given to policy pursued by Barack Obama.

Содержание работы

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Barack Obama 4
1.1 Barack Obama: Breaking New Ground 4
1.2 The Early Years 6
1.3 Called to Public Service 7
1.4 The National Stage 9
1.5 Running for President 11
1.6 An Obama Presidency 13
1.7 Barack Obama’s Vision for the Future 15
2.1 First days 17
2.2 Domestic policy 18
2.2.1 Economic policy 20
2.2.2 Health care reform 22
2.2.3 Gulf of Mexico oil spill 24
2.2.4Gun control 24
2.3 2010 midterm election 25
2.4 Foreign policy 26
2.4.1 Iraq War 27
2.4.2 War in Afghanistan 27
2.4.3 Israel 28
2.4.4 War in Libya 28
2.4.5 Osama bin Laden 29
Conclusion 30
Bibliography 31

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Table of Contents




Barack H. Obama is the 44th President of the United States.

His story is the American story — values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family, hard work and education as the means of getting ahead, and the conviction that a life so blessed should be lived in service to others.

With a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, President Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. He was raised with help from his grandfather, who served in Patton's army, and his grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management at a bank.

After working his way through college with the help of scholarships and student loans, President Obama moved to Chicago, where he worked with a group of churches to help rebuild communities devastated by the closure of local steel plants.

He went on to attend law school, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. Upon graduation, he returned to Chicago to help lead a voter registration drive, teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago, and remain active in his community.

President Obama's years of public service are based around his unwavering belief in the ability to unite people around a politics of purpose. In the Illinois State Senate, he passed the first major ethics reform in 25 years, cut taxes for working families, and expanded health care for children and their parents. As a United States Senator, he reached across the aisle to pass groundbreaking lobbying reform, lock up the world's most dangerous weapons, and bring transparency to government by putting federal spending online.

He was elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008, and sworn in on January 20, 2009. He and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11.


The course paper is devoted to the problems of policy of Barack Obama. The subject of the study is policy. The object of the research is life of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States.

The main purpose of the course paper is consider, domestic and foreign policies of Barack Obama. The following objectives are set up research the information about his life.

The topicality of the theme of this course paper is determined by policy of Barack Obama, which is very important for students studying foreign languages, especially English and also to be qualified teachers.

The novelty of the research lies in the fact that Barack Obama is the first African-American president of the United States. He became president at a difficult time for America (in times of crisis).

The course paper consists of 2 parts. Chapter 1 describes life of Barack Obama. In chapter 2 attention is given to policy pursued by Barack Obama.











Chapter 1: Barack Obama

1.1 Barack Obama: Breaking New Ground

The Democratic candidate for president brings youth, eloquence, and a compelling personal history to the 2008 campaign. Obama captured his party’s nomination by advocating change in U.S. policy, both foreign and domestic.

Freelance writer Domenick DiPasquale is a former foreign service officer who served in Ghama, Kenya, Brazil, Bosnia, Singapore, and Slovenia.

Barack Obama’s unique biography and successful campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination have opened a new chapter in U.S. politics.

Obama, the first African-American presidential candidate to win the nomination of a major U.S. political party, brings a life story unlike that of any previous nominee. The biracial son of a Kenyan father and a white mother from the American heartland, Obama shot to national prominence with his well-received keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, the same year he was elected to the U.S. Senate from the state of Illinois. Just four years later, he rose to the top of a field crowded with Democratic heavyweights to clinch his party’s nomination for the White House.

With a polished speaking style, a command of eloquent and uplifting rhetoric, the ability to inspire the enthusiasm of young voters, and the sophisticated use of the Internet as a campaign tool, Obama is very much a 21st-century candidate. Yet he has demonstrated the timeless skills common to all campaigns, including the ability to effectively wage old-fashioned political trench warfare as he ground through a long and sometimes divisive five-month primary season to defeat his chief opponent, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In his campaign, Obama stressed two overarching themes: changing Washington’s traditional way of conducting the nation’s business and invoking Americans of diverse ideological, social, and racial backgrounds to unite for the common good.

“There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America – there’s The United States of America”, Obama said in his address to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. “There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. … We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the Stars and Stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

























1.2 The Early Years

Obama’s parents came from vastly different backgrounds. His mother, Ann Dunham, was born and raised in small-town Kansas. After her family moved to the Hawaiian Islands, she met Barack Obama Sr., a Kenyan scholarship student enrolled at the University of Hawaii. The two married in 1959, and on August 4, 1961, Barack Obama Jr. was born in Honolulu. Two years later the senior Obama left his new family, first for graduate study at Harvard and then for a job as a government economist back in Kenya. The young Obama met his father again only once, at age 10.

When Obama was six, his mother remarried, this time to an Indonesian oil executive. The family moved to Indonesia, and Obama spent four years attending school in the capital city of Jakarta. He eventually returned to Hawaii and went to high school there while living with his maternal grandparents.

In his first book, Dreams From My Father, Obama describes this period of his life as having more than the usual share of adolescent turmoil, as he struggled to make sense of a biracial heritage then still relatively uncommon in the United States. Being rooted in both black culture and white culture may have helped give Obama the expansive vision he brought to politics years later, one that understands both points of view.

“Barack has an incredible ability to synthesize seemingly contradictory realities and make them coherent,” his law school classmate Cassandra Butts told New Yorker magazine writer Larissa MacFarquhar. “It comes from going from a home where white people are nurturing you, and then you go out into the world and you’re seen as a black person.”

Obama left Hawaii once more to attend Occidental College in Los Angles for two years. He later moved to New York City and earned a bachelor of arts degree from Columbia University in 1983. In a commencement address, Obama described his thinking at that time: “… by the time I graduated from college, I was possessed with a crazy idea – that I would work at a grassroots level to bring about change.”

1.3 Called to Public Service

In search of his identity and a purposeful direction in life, Obama subsequently left his job as a financial writer with an international consulting firm in New York and headed to Chicago in 1985. There, he worked as a community organizer for a coalition of local churches on the city’s South Side, a poor African-American area hard hit by the transition from a manufacturing center to a service-based economy.

“It was in these neighborhoods that I received the best education I ever had, and where I learned the true meaning of my Christian faith,” Obama recounted years later in the speech announcing his presidential candidacy.

Obama enjoyed some tangible successes in this work, giving South Side residents a voice in such issues as economic redevelopment, job training, and environmental clean-up efforts. He viewed his primary role as a community organizer, however, as that of a catalyst mobilizing ordinary citizens in a bottom-up effort to forge indigenous strategies for political and economic empowerment.

After three years of such work, Obama concluded that to bring about true improvement in such distressed communities required involvement at a higher level, in the realm of law and politics. Accordingly, he attended Harvard Law School, where he distinguished himself by being elected the first black president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review and graduating magna cum laude in 1991.

With these credentials, “Obama could have done anything he wanted,” noted David Axelrod, now his presidential campaign strategist. Obama returned to his adopted hometown of Chicago, where he practiced civil rights law and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. In 1992 he married Michelle Robinson, another Harvard Law graduate, and worked on voter registration in Chicago to help Democratic candidates such as Bill Clinton.

With a continuing strong commitment to public service, Obama decided to make his first run at elective office in 1996, winning a seat from Chicago in the Illinois state senate. In many ways the race was a logical progression of his earlier work as a community organizer, and Obama brought much of that same expansive outlook – the politician as an enabler of citizen-directed grassroots efforts and a builder of broad –based coalitions – to his vision of politics.

“Any African Americans who are only talking about racism as a barrier to our success are seriously misled if they don’t also come to grips with the larger economic forces that are creating economic insecurity for all workers – whites, Latinos, and Asians,” he said at the time . Among his legislative accomplishments over the next eight years in the state senate were campaign finance reform, tax cuts for the working poor, and improvements to the state’s criminal justice system.





















1.4 The National Stage

In 2000 Obama made his first run for the U.S. Congress, unsuccessfully challenging Bobby Rush, an incumbent Democrat from Chicago, for Rush’s seat in the House of Representatives. Dispirited by his lopsided primary loss to Rush and searching for influence beyond the Illinois state legislature, he sold Michelle on the idea of his running for the U.S. Senate in a last-shot “up or out strategy” to advance his political career.

The 2004 U.S. Senate race in Illinois had turned into a free-for-all the year before, when the Republican incumbent, Peter Fitzgerald, announced he would not seek reelection. Seven Democrats and eight Republicans contested their respective party’s primary for the senatorial nomination. Obama easily captured the Democratic nomination, winning a greater share of the vote – 53 percent – than his six opponents combined.

With the Republicans then holding the 100-member U.S. Senate by a razor-thin majority of 51 seats, Democrats saw the senatorial contest in Illinois as critical to their chances of retaking the Senate that November (in fact, they only regained control in 2006). The desire to give Obama’s campaign a boost through a prominent role, the well-known oratory skills Obama possessed, and the very favorable impression he already had made on Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry clinched the decision to select Obama as the convention’s keynote speaker.

Obama’s speech, with its soaring, polished language on the need to transcend partisan divisions and its call for a “politics of hope” rather than a politics of cynicism, did more than rouse convention-goers; it catapulted Obama into the national media spotlight as a rising star of the Democratic Party. He went on to win handily in the Senate race that autumn, capturing an overwhelming 70 percent of the popular vote. Although the near-total disarray that year among Republicans in Illinois undoubtedly contributed to the landslide margin, Obama’s victory was impressive in its own right, as he won in 93 of the state’s 102 counties and captured white voters by better than a two-to-one margin.

Obama’s reputation as a new breed of politician, one able to overcome traditional racial divides grew steadily. In a New Yorker profile of Obama, writer William Finnegan, nothing Obama’s talent at “slipping subtly into the idiom of his interlocutor,’’ said Obama “speaks a full range of American vernaculars.” Obama offered his own explanation why he could connect with white voters.

“I know these people,” he said. “Those are my grandparents. … Their manners, their sensibilities, their sense of right and wrong – it’s all totally familiar to me.”

In the Senate, Obama amassed a voting record in line with that of the Democratic Party’s liberal wing. His criticism of the war in Iraq has been one of his trademarks, dating back to a speech in 2002, even before the war started, when he warned that any such military action would be based “not on principle but on politics .” He also has worked to strengthen ethical standards in Congress, improve care for military veterans, and increase use of renewable fuels.















1.5 Running for President

The long Democratic primary election campaign of 2008, with elections or caucuses in all 50 states, was historic in several ways. African-American and women candidates had run for the presidency before, but this time the two front-runners were a woman and an African American. As Obama and seven other contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination began to organize in 2007, opinion polls consistently put Obama in second place behind the presumed favorite, New York Senator Hillary Clinton. Obama, however, was highly successful in this early stage of the race at enlisting an enthusiastic cadre of supporters, especially among youth, establishing a nationwide grassroots campaign organization, and fundraising through the Internet.

With Clinton enjoying greater name recognition, a well-oiled campaign machine, and support at the state level leading Democrats, the Obama camp devised an innovative strategy to negate these advantages: targeting states that used causes rather than primaries to select delegates and focusing on smaller states that traditionally voted Republican in the general election. This approach capitalized on the Democratic Party’s system of proportional representation – awarding convention delegates in each state in rough proportion to a candidate’s share of the vote – as opposed to the Republican’s system of awarding most or all convention delegates to the winner in each state.

The strategy paid off with the first-in-the-nation Iowa causes on January 3, 2008, when Obama scored an upset victory over Clinton. The Iowa win was a game-changer; as the Washington Post put it, “Beating Clinton … altered the course of the race by establishing Obama as her chief rival – the only candidate with the message, organizational muscle, and financial resources to challenge her front-runner status.”

It paid off once more on “Super Tuesday”  – the elections held simultaneously in 22 states on February 5 – when Obama dueled Clinton to a tie and swept rural states in the West and South. And it paid off yet again when Obama went on to win 10 more consecutive contests in February, cementing a lead in delegates Clinton never again could catch.

Finally, on June 3, exactly five months after the contest began, the exhausting race was over. The combination of a victory in Montana and growing support from previously uncommitted super-delegates gave Obama the majority of delegates needed to clinch the presidential nomination.

“Because you chose not to listen to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations,” Obama told supporters that evening at a victory rally in St. Paul, Minnesota, “tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another.”



















1.6 An Obama Presidency

If elected, Obama would be one of the youngest presidents. Born at the tail end of the 1946-1964 baby boom generation, he also would be the first president to have come of age in the 1980s, which of itself might portend change. The atmosphere in which he grew up was markedly different from the socially tumultuous 1960s that shaped earlier baby boomer’s outlook. As Obama once said about the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, contested by candidates from a much earlier cohort of that postwar generation, “I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the baby boom generation – a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago – played out on the national stage.”

Obama’s “Change We Can Believe In” and “Change We Need” slogans reflect his campaign’s emphasis on taking the United States in a new direction. Obama has advocated a steady timetable for withdrawing U.S. combat troops from Iraq, although he would leave some for training and antiterrorism missions. Other foreign policy positions include increasing U.S. military and development assistance to Afghanistan, closing the Guantanamo Bay prison for terrorism detainees, and strengthening nuclear nonproliferation efforts. Domestically, Obama wants to invest 150 billion dollars over 10 years to spur development of clean energy technology, increase investment in education and infrastructure to make the U.S. economy more globally competitive, and restore fiscal discipline to government spending.

The New Yorker’s Larissa MacFarquhar offered one theory on Obama’s noticeable appeal across traditional political lines. “Obama’s voting record is one of the most liberal in the Senate,” she observed, “but he has always appealed to Republicans, perhaps because he speaks about liberal goals in conservative language.”

“In his view of history, in his respect for tradition, in his skepticism that the world can be changed any way but very, very slowly,” she wrote, “Obama is deeply conservative.

Win or lose in November, Obama has broken new ground in U.S. politics. His candidacy came at precisely the time when many Americans believed their country needed a fundamental transformation in its direction. Washington Post political columnist E.J. Dionne may have summed up perfectly the serendipitous confluence between Obama’s candidacy and the American zeitgeist when he wrote:

Change, not experience, was the order of the day. Sweep, not a mastery of detail, was the virtue most valued in campaign oratory. A clean break with the past, not merely a return to better days, was the promise most prized.




















1.7 Barack Obama’s Vision for the Future

Excerpts from “The American Moment,” Remarks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, April 23, 2007

I believe that the single most important job of any President is to protect the American people. And I am equally convinced that doing that job effectively in the 21st century will require a new vision of American leadership and a new conception of our national security – a vision that draws from the lessons of the past, but is not bound by outdated thinking.

In today’s globalized world, the security of the American people is inextricably linked to the security of all people. When narco-trafficking and corruption threaten democracy in Latin America, it’s America’s problem too. When poor villagers in Indonesia have no choice but to send chickens to market infected with avian flu, it cannot be seen as a distant concern. When religious schools in Pakistan teach hatred to young children, our children are threatened as well.

Whether it’s global terrorism or pandemic disease, dramatic climate change or the proliferation of weapons of mass annihilation, the threats we face at the dawn of the 21st century can no longer be contained by borders and boundaries.


Many Americans may find it tempting to turn inward, and cede our claim of leader-ship in world affairs.

I insist, however, that such an abandonment of our leadership is a mistake we must not make. America cannot meet the threats of this century alone, but the world cannot meet them without America. We must neither retreat from the world not try bully it into submission – we must lead the world, by deed and example.

We must lead by building a 21st century military to ensure the security of our people and advance the security of all people. We must lead by marshaling a global effort to stop the spread of the world’s most dangerous weapons. We must lead by building and strengthening the partnerships and all lances necessary to meet our common challenges and defeat our common threats.

And America must lead by reaching out to all those living disconnected lives of despair in the world’s forgotten corners – because while there will always be those who succumb to hate and strap bombs to their bodies, there are millions more who want to take another patch – who want our beacon of hope to shine its light their way.

America is the country that helped liberate a continent from the march of a madman. We are the country that told the brave people of a divided city that we were Berliners too. We sent generations of young people to serve as ambassadors for peace in countries all over the world. And we’re the country that rushed aid throughout Asia for the victims of a devastating tsunami.

Now it’s our moment to lead – our generation’s time to tell another great American story. So someday we can tell our children that this was the time when we helped forge peace in the Middle East. That this was the time when we confronted climate change and secured the weapons that could destroy the human race. This was the time when we brought opportunity to those forgotten corners of the world. And this was the time when we renewed the America that has led generations of weary travelers from all over the world to find opportunity, and liberty, and hope on our doorstep.






2.1 First days

The inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President took place on January 20, 2009. In his first few days in office, Obama issued executive orders and presidential memoranda directing the U.S. military to develop plans to withdraw troops from Iraq. He ordered the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, but Congress prevented the closure by refusing to appropriate the required funds and preventing moving any Guantanamo detainee into the U.S. or to other countries. Obama reduced the secrecy given to presidential records. He also revoked President George W. Bush's restoration of President Ronald Reagan's Mexico City Policy prohibiting federal aid to international family planning organizations that perform or provide counseling about abortion.














2.2 Domestic policy

The first bill signed into law by Obama was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, relaxing the statute of limitations for equal-pay lawsuits. Five days later, he signed the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover an additional 4 million uninsured children. In March 2009, Obama reversed a Bush-era policy which had limited funding of embryonic stem cell research and pledged to develop "strict guidelines" on the research.

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