In my estimation, the greatest president in the history of this nation is the 44th president, Barack Hussein Obama. In the immediate aftermath of his presidency, his policies and decorum on the world stage have been viewed as an overall success. His presidency not only represented a historic moment, but also a bright spot in our politics. In what follows, I discuss the former president’s life and accomplishments. Furthermore, I will also highlight the qualities that make him the greatest president in our history.
Barack Hussein Obama II was born on August 4, 1961 at Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii (Garrow, 52). Primarily raised by his grandparents, Barack Obama’s unconventional upbringing informed who he would become as a man and as a president. Todd (6) notes: “And while it may be hard for most Americans to relate to a guy born in Hawaii to a white mother and a black Kenyan father, there has always been something about his unusual upbringing that explains many of his best and worst personality traits.” One would assume that being born and raised in Hawaii would secure a privileged and carefree lifestyle; however, Barack Obama encountered moments of poverty (Todd, 6). Nonetheless, despite the challenges that come with having an absentee father and discovering one’s identity, Barack Obama would eventually become one of the most celebrated and consequential figures in history.
Barack Obama became a prominent figure and community organizer. He assisted in church-
based initiatives and other community projects in the Chicago area (Garrow, 41).
However, it was the 2004 Democratic National Convention that would bring Senator Barack Obama to the forefront of the political stage. In a riveting speech supporting candidate John Kerry, Obama displayed the soaring oratorical brilliance that became a hallmark of his political career. Lines such as, “There is not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America” gave America a sense of what this fresh-faced senator from Illinois could potentially do (Dyson, 35). It was a transcendent moment, that allowed Americans, albeit brief, to see issues of race and class be intelligently circumnavigated by an African American man in a way that they may not have seen since the days of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
During his two-term administration, after being elected the first African American president in the United States in 2008, he successfully defeated Sen. John McCain and Mitt Romney. While his accomplishments were numerous, his hallmark legislation was universal healthcare. Not without difficulty, the Affordable Care Act was approved by the House of Representatives on November 7, 2010 (Garrow, 1053). His work also included salvaging a severely damaged economy and crafting legislation that averted further crisis within the banking and auto industry. He also attempted to ensure the DREAM Act had was a part of his legislative agenda and initiatives. I, furthermore, applauded President Obama’s efforts concerning gun control, despite their unsuccessful bids to become law.
Beyond policy initiatives and political acumen, what I admire most about President Obama is his temperament. His ability to address the inherent challenges of the presidency with grace and sophistication is unprecedented. His calm demeanor was refreshing, although his tenure was often bedeviled by opposition rooted in racial prejudice. It is only in the wake of the current administration, that President Obama’s decorum on the world stage can be fully appreciated. He was the epitome of class under pressure. I truly admire the manner in which he managed his historic election. Being the first African American elected as president couldn’t have been an easy weight to carry. The expectations from communities of color, coupled with the weight of being a universal figure, couldn’t have been easy.
In conclusion, Barack Hussein Obama II is the greatest president in the history of America. His unlikely and unconventional upbringing is only rivaled by his election as the first African American to occupy the Oval Office. His community advocacy and political career uniquely equipped him to become the most powerful person in the world. His path to the White House has been inspiring. His temperament, charisma, and intelligence coupled with his humane policies are what for me make him the greatest president this country has ever seen.
- Dyson, Michael Eric. The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in
America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.
- Garrow, David. Rising Star: the Making of Barack Obama. William Collins, 2017.
- Todd, Chuck. The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House. Little, Brown and