Barack Obama's Biography

Barack Obama

Barack Obama is an US Senator from Illinois. He is (2007) the fifth African American senator in US history.

Early Days
Barack Obama was born August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii. His parents, Barack Hussein Obama Sr. from Kenya, and Ann Dunham of Wichita, Kansas, met while both were attending the East-West Center of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In 1963 when Barack Obama was 2 years old, his parents divorced. His mother married an Indonesian student, and when Obama was 6 years old, they moved to Jakarta. Four years later (in 1971), Obama returned to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents until he graduated high school.

College and Early Career

After the high school years, Barack Obama studied for 2 years at Occidental College, before transferring to Columbia College - an undergraduate division of Columbia University. There he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations. Obama then left Chicago for three years to study at Harvard Law School. In 1991, he graduated from law school magna cum laude. From 1993 and until his federal election, he taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School.

A Move to the Senate

Barack Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996. In January 2003, Democrats regained control of the chamber, and Sen. Obama was named chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. In his 2002 campaign, he ran unopposed. At the Democratic National Convention 2004 Barack Obama delivered the keynote address. At this time he was still serving in the Illinois State Senate. The same year - in November - Barack Obama was elected to the US Senate as a Democrat by a landslide in a presidential election year marked by Republican gains.

A Headstrong Politican

Reviewing Barack Obama's career in the Illinois State Senate, commentators noted his ability to work effectively with both Democrats and Republicans and to build coalitions. Recent opinion polls identify Obama as the second most popular choice among Democratic voters for the party's nomination in the 2008 US presidential election, just after New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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Copyright © Laura Wright 2007