Bill Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III on August 19, 1946, in the small town of Hope, Arkansas. He was named after his father, William Jefferson Blythe II, who had been killed in a car accident just three months before his son was born. Needing to find a way to support herself and her new child, Bill Clinton's mother, Virginia Cassidy Blythe, moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, to study nursing. Bill Clinton stayed with his mother's parents in Hope. There he was surrounded by many relatives who gave him love and support and who played a significant role in his upbringing.

Bill Clinton's grandparents, Eldridge and Edith Cassidy, taught him strong values and beliefs. They owned a small grocery store just outside of Hope, and despite the segregation laws of the time, they allowed people of all races to purchase goods on credit. They taught their young grandson that everyone is created equal and that people should not be treated differently because of the color of their skin. This was a lesson Bill Clinton never forgot.

His mother returned from New Orleans with her nursing degree in 1950, when her son was four years old. Later that same year, she married an automobile salesman named Roger Clinton. When Bill Clinton was seven years old, the family moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Known for its natural mineral hot springs, its scenic beauty, and its racetrack, Hot Springs was bigger than Hope and offered better employment opportunities. Roger received a higher paying job as a service manager for his brother's car dealer-ship and Virginia was able to find a better job as a nurse anesthetist. In 1956. Bill Clinton's half-brother, Roger Clinton, Jr., was born. When his brother was old enough to enter school, young Bill had his last name legally changed from Blythe to Clinton.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected President. Two years later, when Bill Clinton was a senior in high school, he was selected to go to Washington, D.C., to be a part of Boys Nation, a special youth leadership conference. The young men of Boys Nation and the young women of Girls Nation were invited to the White House to meet President Kennedy. Bill Clinton was one of the first in line to shake President Kennedy's hand in the Rose Garden. That event was one of the most memorable, important experiences of his youth. After that, he knew he wanted to make a difference in the lives of the people of America by becoming President.

That same year, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his historic "I Have a Dream" speech at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Bill Clinton watched the speech on television and was so deeply moved by Dr. King's words that he memorized them. He admired Dr. King's gift for communicating a clear vision and his ability to pull people together to work toward a common goal. Dr. King became one of Bill Clinton's heroes.

Inspired by the success of these leaders, young Bill thrived on the hard work that his academic and extracurricular activities required. As an active member of his church, he raised money and organized charity events. Most important, he learned about working with people and being a good citizen. In his spare time, he enjoyed reading. Some of his favorite books were The Silver Chalice, The Last of the Mohicans, The Robe, and Black Beauty.

Playing the saxophone was his favorite pastime. He loved music, practiced every day, and played in jazz ensembles. Each summer, he attended a band camp in the Ozark Mountains. His hard work paid off when he became a top saxophone player at his school and won first chair in the state band's saxophone section.

Bill Clinton recognized that although college would be expensive, it would give him the education he needed to accomplish his goals. His hard work in school, combined with his musical ability, earned him many academic and music scholarships. With the help of those scholarships and loans from the government, he was able to attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He chose Georgetown because it had an excellent foreign service program; he was also excited about going to school in the nation's capital.

While earning his Bachelor of Science degree in International