Personal Papers &Primary ResourcesCollections
Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961, to Barack Obama, Sr., and Ann Durham. He attended schools in Hawaii and Jakarta, Indonesia, and graduated from Columbia University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. After moving to Chicago and working as a community organizer for three years, he attended Harvard Law School, where he became the first African American President of the Harvard Law Review. From 1991 to 2004, he practiced civil rights law in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. In 1996, he was elected to the Illinois State Senate, and eight years later to the United States Senate.
After announcing his candidacy for the Presidency in February 2007, he ran a hotly contested Democratic primary campaign against his main rival, Hillary Clinton. Obama was ultimately successful in winning the Democratic Presidential nomination at the National Convention in Denver in August 2008. Delaware Senator Joe Biden was chosen as his Vice Presidential running mate.
John Sidney McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone on August 29, 1936, to Navy Officer John S. McCain, Jr., and Roberta McCain. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958 and served for 22 years in the U.S. military as a naval aviator. In October 1967, his plane was shot down in Vietnam, and he was held as a prisoner of war until 1973. He retired from the Navy in 1981, moved to Arizona, and began his political career by being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona in 1982. Four years later, he won election to the U.S. Senate and has been re-elected four times since. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination during the 2000 election campaign, losing to George W. Bush in the Republican primary contest. In September 2008, he was chosen as the Republican Presidential nominee at the National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was chosen as his Vice Presidential running mate.
2008 Election. After a hard-fought campaign leading up to the November 4 election day, Obama defeated McCain both in the popular vote (52.9% vs. 45.7%) and the electoral vote (365 vs.173). Obama became the first African American President when he was sworn into office on January 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C.
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