Essay, Research Paper: Clinton 

Famous People

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Bill Clinton was born on August 19, 1946 in a town called Hope, with the birth
name William Jefferson Blythe. His birth father died in a car accident just
three months before his birth. When he was born his mother sent him to live with
his grandparents, due to the fact that because of the current economy she
couldn't possibly support a child by herself. He lived with his grandparents for
two years while his mother was away at nursing school in New Orleans trying to
advance her career. His grandparents tried to instill in him strong southern
Baptist principles and a desire to get a good education. When Bill was four his
mother returned to Hope where she met and married Roger Clinton Sr.. A few years
later Bill and his family moved to Hot Springs, where despite his Baptist
upbringing Bill attended a catholic school. When he was nine years old he
changed schools and went to Ramble Elementary. When Bill was ten Roger Clinton
Jr. was born, and at age fifteen Bill took his step fathers last name in hopes
of helping his mothers troubled relationship. While Bill was growing up in Hot
Springs, the town was plagued by illegal gambling, but Bill had little contact
with this part of society despite his parents frequent participation in these
illegal practices. As time went by his mothers relationship became more and more
unstable with the alcoholic Roger Clinton Sr.. The relationship turned abusive
and his parents often separated. In high school Bill was a member of the band,
student government, honor society and numerous other organizations. One summer
at a political summer camp called Boys State, Bill ran for delegate to Boys
Nation. He won this election and was on his way to Washington to meet John F.
Kennedy and Senator William Fulbright. Bill said of his victory as delegate to
Boys Nation, "I didn't know if I could win a race like that, because when I
was a student politician, I was about as controversial as I have been in my
later life" (Allen pg.10). After meeting JFK and Senator Fulbright face to
face, Bill became determined to enter politics. After high school Bill went to
the University of Georgetown where he concentrated on international studies, in
order to prepare himself for the world of politics. While enrolled at
Georgetown, he had to get job to help pay the tuition cost. He took advantage of
the meeting he had with Senator Fulbright to get a job as Fulbright's assistant.
While at school Clinton was awarded a Rhodes scholarship and went to Oxford to
study for two years. After traveling through Europe and graduating form Oxford,
he then went on to study law at Yale in 1971. At this time in his life, Bill did
something that would come back to haunt him in his political career many years
down the road. During the Vietnam war Clinton tried to receive a draft deferment
for his education. Also, despite his hatred for the war enrolled in ROTC. He
failed to fulfill his enrollment in the program when he realized that if he got
a lottery number for the draft, his chances of being called were slim to none.
While attending Yale, he met Hillary Rodham and the two started a friendship
that turned into a relationship. After graduation from Yale Clinton planned on
returning to Hot Springs to set up a small law practice, but on before he left
Yale one of his professors suggested that he seek a position as a professor of
law at the University of Arkansas. Bill thought about this on the way back to
Arkansas and when he arrived there he called up the University and requested an
interview. After a few tries, he successfully landed a job on the faculty and
began to teach law at age twenty-eight. In 1974 he decided to run for congress
in his district and was narrowly defeated by his elder opponent John Paul
Hammerschmidt. After this narrow defeat, he received a lot of attention as an up
and coming politician. In 1975 Bill and Hillary got married at a house that Bill
had just bought. In a small private ceremony, at the wedding reception he
announced his intention to run for office in 1976 but was not positive as to
whether he would seek the office of States Attorney General or run again for
Congress. In 1976 he ran and was elected to the position of States Attorney
General. His term as States Attorney General had many problems which Bill
attributes to a lack of tax income which affected his plans for the public
school system. After his term was over Clinton then ran for governor in 1980 and
was beaten by Frank White, in the same year his daughter Chelsea was born. In
1982 Clinton ran for governor again and this time was elected over the former
Lieutenant Governor Joe Purcell. He served as Governor until he decided to run
for the presidency in 1987. He changed his mind about his election bid and
toured the country giving speeches and attending public events. In January on
1991 Clinton finalized his intention of running for president in 1992 and after
his campaign, he was elected over George Bush and has since been re-elected.
More currently Clinton has been plagued by many scandalous events including his
affair with Monica Lewinsky. Three theories we use to analyze an individual's
personality are Psychodynamic, Humanistic and Social-Cognitive-Behavior.
Proponents of the Psychodynamic theory include Freud, Erikson, Horney and Jung.
Two of the major Humanistic theorists include Rogers and Maslow, and for the
Social-Cognitive-Behaviorists they are most strongly represented be Kelly,
Rotter, Mischel and Bandura. Of these theorists I will use Freud, Rogers, and
Rotter. Freud believed that peoples actions were controlled by unconscious
forces from within, Bill Clinton's self set goals in education were attributed
to his grandparents instilling in him a great sense of pride in his educational
achievements. I would believe it safe to say that his great achievements were
the result of a deep need for competition and his over competitiveness. His
mother remembers a time when Bill came running into the house after a big math
test yelling "┘ I beat Jim McDougal on a math test!"(Allen
pg.10), even at a young age he felt driven by competition. Freud's psychosexual
stages of development might shed some light on Clinton's competitiveness as
Freud would say that Clinton is orally aggressive, because he was taken from his
mother at an early age and was not nursed for very long, this is evident by his
overwhelming need to dominate all situations he finds himself in. Freud might
say that Clinton's personality predisposes him to dominating situations he finds
himself in. Freud's anal stage might also give some insight as to Clinton's
sexual deviancy, because during this stage in his life he became attached to his
grandparents. After his mother came back to take care of him he might have felt
that he couldn't make any further psychological attachments with anyone, after
he was taken from his grandparents. This might have lead to a distrust for
people in general. Freud believed that the super ego was important to our goals
in life because it embodied everything that we had grown to desire for
ourselves. The super ego is in essence who we think we should be, growing up
without a father Clinton may have looked to other sources for interjection.
Interjection is how we come to understand what we should be and act like and it
is usually gained from our parents and others we look up to. Clinton may have
had to look up to public figures and as such might have set in his mind the
belief that he should be a politician. Clinton's id may be the most powerful,
his insatiable appetite for female companionship outside of his marriage may be
evidence of this statement. But, that is only speculation. I didn't note any use
of Freud's defense mechanisms, but that doesn't mean they aren't there. The
books I used to research were very factual and didn't offer as much insight as I
would have liked. "Humanistic psychology emphasizes the present experience
and the essential worth of the whole person, promotes creativity, intentionalism,
free choice, and spontaneity, and fosters the belief that people can solve their
own psychological problems." (Allen p. 203). Rogers a humanistic
psychologist would see Bill Clinton as a self actualized person. Rogers would
examine Clinton as a whole from his success to his failures and from his private
life to his public life. Rogers would say that Clinton saw himself as a
politician and therefore he started early in his life trying to develop the
skills he needed to become a good politician, a young Clinton stated "For
years I have worked to prepare myself for a political life characterized by both
practical ability and concern for rapid social progress." (Allen p. 269).
Rogers would take great interest in this statement made by Clinton because,
Rogers thought that people could reveal the most about themselves when given a
chance. Rogers didn't think that a therapist had to draw out answers but that
the answers would present themselves when the individual had a good listener at
their disposal. Using accurate empathy, Rogers would have tried to perceive
Clinton's inside world by listening to him talk without judging or interrupting,
after hearing this statement Rogers would say that Clinton has a high self
actualizing tendency. Rogers would also say that Clinton has a high level of
congruence between his experiences relating to his self and his self concept.
Clinton has always thought of himself as a good leader and this is in agreement
with his experiences, "Bill also displayed leadership skills at the time by
involving himself in many community projects and services. He was a member of
the Kiwanis Key Club, and the Hot Springs High School faculty selected him as a
Civitan Junior Businessman. He received the Elks Youth leadership award for
Arkansas." (Levin p. 31). Rogers would focus solely on the present and
would say that Clinton's success is impart due to his high general actualizing
tendency and his high level of congruence with his experiences. Rotter took the
social-cognitive approach to personality, Rotter believes that people's behavior
changes dramatically from situation to situation "People gripped by the
forces of a powerful situation show a general trend in behavior not
characteristically displayed in others circumstances." (Allen p.283). In
such situations however, people continue to show differences in behavior among
individuals. Rotter also believed that environments can control behavior,
behavior is goal oriented, and determined by expectations. Rotter has six basic
categories of needs which are recognition status, dominance, independence,
protection, and dependency and physical comfort. Recognition status is the need
to be seen as competent in socially valued situations. Clinton fulfilled his
recognition status need by learning how to perform in the public arena, The
National Committee for an Effective Congress stated that Clinton's campaign was
"the most impressive grassroots campaign in the country today." (Allen
p.50). Clinton fulfilled his need for dominance by trying to be the best at
everything. His need for dominance was so great that during a campaign for
senior class secretary he told a close friend "If you beat me, I'll never
forgive you." (Allen p.10). Clinton has also fulfilled his need for
independence by making important discussions throughout his life, even at a
relatively young age. Protection and dependency is the need to have another
person to provide so form of security and protection. Clinton had his mother and
his grandparents to support him and later in his life Hillary. Last there is
physical comfort, which is a learned need for physical satisfaction. Clinton
shows a classic example of Rotter's expectancy, because he kept running for
office so his name would gain recognition . This was the reinforcement he hoped
to gain from these actions. A good example of a psychological situation is when
Bill first met Hillary, "I was so embarrassed┘" (Allen p. 34).
Bill had temporarily forgotten his own name and was embarrassed because he
thought he looked foolish. Hillary most likely found this episode cute and
sweet. Reinforcement value is the "degree of preference" of an
intended outcome. A reinforcement won't work if it has a low reinforcement
value. Rotter had two important generalized expectancies, one being an external
locus of control and the other being internal. The locus of control is the
degree to which you expect that the reinforcement of your behavior is dependant
on your behavior, personal characteristics (internal) versus the degree you see
the reinforcement of luck, chance or fate (external). Rotter would see Clinton
as internal. Clinton is a self made man, he worked hard and started applying
himself at a young age in order to reach a certain goal. He didn't sit back and
wait for a lucky break. Applying theorist to Bill Clinton was more difficult
then I thought it would be. The easiest to apply had to be Rogers because his
ideas on self actualization fit Clinton very well, it is quite obvious that he
has applied himself from an early age with one goal in mind. Politics. The
hardest theorist to apply would have to be Freud because his theory is very
pessimistic and does not fit Clinton at all. Clinton doesn't exhibit many
characteristics that would fit well in Freud's stages of development. I think
the easiest theory to understand was the Humanistic theory which made more sense
to me than any of the rest. Clinton is an interesting character to read about. I
was hoping to be able to apply some of Freud's ideas to explain his
"cheating ways", but I failed to see any strong connections that were
worth mentioning.
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