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If you like George H.W. Bush's story, you might also like:
Jimmy Carter,
Tom Clancy,
Colin Powell,
Mikhail Gorbachev,
Peggy Noonan,
Shimon Peres,
Norman Schwarzkopf
and Alan Simpson

George Bush also appears in the video:
President George Bush: Lessons of Leadership

Related Links:
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library
The White House
Bush Library Foundation

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George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
Profile of George H.W. Bush Biography of George H.W. Bush Interview with George H.W. Bush George H.W. Bush Photo Gallery

George H.W. Bush Biography

41st President of the United States

George H.W. Bush Date of birth: June 12, 1924

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  George H.W. Bush

George H.W. Bush Biography Photo
George Herbert Walker Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, an affluent suburb of New York City. His father, Prescott Bush, was managing partner of the international investment banking house of Brown Brothers, Harriman and Company. The senior Bush later entered Republican politics and served as United States Senator from Connecticut from 1962 to 1972.

In Greenwich, George Bush attended Greenwich Country Day School before entering Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. At Andover, he played varsity baseball, was captain of the basketball and soccer teams, and president of the senior class.

When George Bush graduated from Andover, he had already been admitted to Yale University, but the United States had entered World War II, and he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve instead. At age 18, he became the youngest pilot in the Navy. During the war, he was shot down in combat over the Pacific and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross.

George H.W. Bush Biography Photo
A few months before the end of the war, while on rotation home, he married Barbara Pierce, whose father published the magazines Redbook and McCall's. After the war, Bush entered Yale, where in only three years he earned a B.A. in economics and a Phi Beta Kappa key.

Although he was offered a job at his father's firm, Brown Brothers, Harriman and Company, Bush moved, with his wife and infant son, to West Texas, where he worked for Dresser Industries, an oilfield supply company. He started at the bottom, sweeping warehouses and painting machinery, but soon became a salesman of drilling bits.

By 1950, he had gone into business for himself, forming the Bush-Overbey Company with partner John Overbey in Midland, Texas. This company, which dealt in oil and gas properties, grew and took on more partners. In 1954, George Bush co-founded and became the president of Zapata Offshore Company.

George H.W. Bush Biography Photo
Having earned a fortune of his own, Bush became active in Republican Party politics. By 1964, he become chairman of the Republican Party of Harris County. That same year, he ran for the U.S. Senate, but was defeated in the Democratic landslide that returned Lyndon Johnson to the White House.

Bush had better luck in the election of 1966, when he became the first Republican ever to represent Houston in Congress. Bush was easily re-elected in 1968. By 1970 he was ready to try for the Senate again, but was defeated by Lloyd Bentsen.

Presidents Nixon and Ford selected Bush for a series of high-profile appointments: Ambassador to the United Nations in 1971, Chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1973, envoy to China in 1974 and Director of Central Intelligence in 1976. When Jimmy Carter was elected President in 1976, he appointed a new Director and George Bush returned to private life.

George H.W. Bush Biography Photo
In 1980, Bush made his own run for the Presidency. In early primaries that year, George Bush made a strong showing, but by the time the Republicans met for their convention in Detroit, it was clear that Ronald Reagan would be the nominee, and George Bush had dropped out of the race. Many Republicans were surprised when Reagan selected Bush as his running mate. At the time, they were considered leaders of opposite wings of the Party, Reagan a conservative and Bush a moderate, but Bush campaigned effectively for the ticket. The pair won handily and were re-elected by a landslide in 1984.

George Bush sought the Presidency again in 1988, and won the Republican nomination over a large field of candidates. His election that November was a decisive one, though not the landslide he and Reagan had enjoyed in 1984.

George H.W. Bush Biography Photo
The two proudest accomplishments of Bush's presidency were the passage of the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act (the ADA) and the successful prosecution of the war to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation. This effort saw the U.S. leading a grand coalition, including Arab countries which had long distrusted the United States. This experience of cooperation led to a renewal of the stalled Mideast peace process.

A sluggish economy undermined President Bush's chances for re-election in 1992. The third-party candidacy of businessman H. Ross Perot, Jr. split off a fragment of the Reagan-Bush electoral coalition, and President Bush was defeated by the Democratic candidate, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton. After leaving office, George Bush avoided criticizing his successor, and lent his support to the controversial North American Free Trade Agreement, which was initially drafted during his own administration.

After being defeated for re-election in 1992, George Bush had the pleasure of seeing two of his sons achieve high office. George W. Bush was elected Governor of Texas in 1994, and Jeb Bush won election as Governor of Florida in 1998, but the political achievements of the Bush family did not end there. Only once before in U.S. history had the son of a former U.S. president succeeded to the presidency. The second President of the United States, John Adams, was not well enough to travel to Washington for his son John Quincy Adams's inaugural in 1825. But in 2001, former President George H.W. Bush was still in vigorous good health, and sat proudly by as his son, George W. Bush, was sworn in as 43rd President of the United States.

The elder President Bush surprised almost everyone when he fulfilled an old ambition and parachuted from an airplane for the first time since his wartime service. He was 72 years old at the time, and has repeated the feat to celebrate his 75th, 80th and 85th birthdays. On his 80th birthday, he parachuted -- not once, but twice -- onto the grounds of his presidential library.

During his son's presidency, George H.W. Bush forged a highly visible partnership with a one-time political rival, former President Clinton, joining forces to mobilize international support for disaster relief after the 2005 tsunami in Indonesia. In 2011, President Barack Obama recognized George Herbert Walker Bush's lifetime of service, awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in a ceremony at the White House.

This page last revised on Mar 06, 2014 01:11 EDT
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