Barack Obama was born in Hawaii to a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya. His father left home when Obama was 2 years old and died in Kenya when Barack was 21.
He was mostly raised by his maternal grandparents in Hawaii, but also spent a few years in Indonesia with his mother and Indonesian stepfather when he was a child.
Obama studied at Occidental College and Columbia University, then worked as a community organizer in Chicago before attending Harvard Law School.
Obama worked as a lawyer before winning a seat in the Illinois State Senate, and in 2004 he won an election to represent Illinois in the United States Senate.
Also in 2004, Obama gained national attention when he delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.
How he defined the office
Obama instantly made history by winning the 2008 presidential election, becoming the first African-American president of the United States.
He became one of four U.S. presidents to win the Nobel Peace Prize when he received the award in 2009.
Successes and failures
Obama began his time in office facing an economic crisis. He passed a $700 billion relief program for the major banks and some auto industries, and an $800 billion economic stimulus package to help the economy recover.
He worked to reform American health care, and after much effort managed to pass the Affordable Care Act through Congress despite much Republican resistance.
President Obama inherited the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan when he took office. He worked on withdrawing American troops from those areas while still battling al-Qaeda and its affiliates.
He scored a major military victory in 2011 when he ordered an attack by a team of Navy SEALS that resulted in the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
President Obama tried but failed to push gun control measures through Congress after a series of gun violence tragedies that took place during his time in office. He supported legislation calling for universal background checks on all gun purchases as well as a ban on sales of assault weapons.
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer. on Election Night in 2008, after being elected the first African-American president of the United States.