What Was Barack Obama's Life Like Before He Became the President?

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Barack Obama grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia and was the son of a Kenyan father and an American mother from Kansas. He was raised in large part by his grandparents in Hawaii. His maternal grandfather was an army veteran, and his grandmother worked in a bank.

Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, met his father, also named Barack, when she was a student at the University of Hawaii. She gave birth to the future president when she was only 17. Dunham's marriage to the senior Obama did not last long. Soon after the couple's divorce, Dunham moved to Indonesia with the young Barack, who was only 6 at the time.

Obama returned to Hawaii at the age of 10 to live with his grandparents and attend the prestigious Punahou School. After college, he moved to Chicago to help rebuild communities ravaged by recent steel plant closures. He then attended Harvard Law School, where he was the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review. After graduation, he returned to Chicago, where he helped lead a voter registration drive and taught law at the University of Chicago.

Obama also served in the Illinois State Senate, where he focused on ethics reform and tax reduction. He also served in the United States Senate before his election as president.