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Who is George H. W. Bush?

The United Nations authorized the U.S. led military operation that drove Iraq out of Kuwait in 1991.
Former President George H.W. Bush is a Republican.
George H.W. Bush was Ronald Reagan's vice president in 1980 and 1984.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
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  • Last Modified Date: 29 August 2014
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Born on 12 June 1924, George Herbert Walker Bush served as the forty-first president of the United States of America, with a record of service to the country stretching back several decades. Here is an overview of the life of George H.W. Bush.

After serving in the United States Navy during World War II, George H.W. Bush entered Yale University, where he was elected president of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Bush also was active in the university’s baseball program, and holds the honor of playing in the first College World Series. Along with sports and academic achievements, Bush was also accepted into membership in the Skull and Bones secret society.

Graduating from Yale in 1948, George H. W. Bush spend some time in private industry, but really began to make his mark when he entered politics. While his earliest efforts were not successful, Bush was elected to represent the Seventh District of Texas in the US House of Representatives in 1966. During his time in this role, Bush was appointed as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

During the 1970s, the national political career of George H. W. Bush bloomed. Serving as the US ambassador to the United Nations during the first term of Richard Nixon’s presidency, Bush was asked to take on the role of Chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1972. During the Watergate scandal, George Bush dealt with a loss of popularity for the Republican Party.

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By 1976, George H. W. Bush received an appointment by President Gerald Ford as the Director of Central Intelligence. Both Bush and detractors of the Republican Party were surprised by the appointment, with a number of media and political opponents stating that Bush lacked the ability to approach the work with a bipartisan stance. In spite of the opposition, Bush was able to steer the agency through a rough period when questions about its methods past and present were under close scrutiny.

Although plans were made for Bush to run for the office of president in the 1980 Election, he was eventually outdistanced by Ronald Reagan for the party nomination. Bush was offered the chance to run as the vice president on the Reagan ticket, and accepted. The end result was that the results of the election were a victory for the Reagan/Bush ticket. The combination of Reagan and the US president and Bush as vice president was again placed on the ballot for the 1984 election, and won by a landslide.

Television campaigns for the 1988 elections were often highly negative from all candidates. The high profile of George Bush Sr. made it easy for opponents to attack his record, but the Bush campaign also was noted for using any and all information it could verify on opponents. In the end, George H.W. Bush became President Bush, with many feeling that he was able to achieve the goal based on his campaign promise of no new taxes.

Bush’s famous Thousand Points of Light speech described his vision for the country and the role of all citizens in achieving that vision. The strength of his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention helped to set the tone for the rest of the campaign, and remained with him all the way through to his election as the forty-first American President.

George H.W. Bush served one term as president of the United States. Between 1989 and 1993, Bush dealt with a number of issues that set him apart in the history of American presidents. The Bush Administration issued the order that allowed the United States to enter into the first Gulf War, with the United States leading a coalition of United Nations forces in the dispute. The collective detachment, known as Desert Storm, sought to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait and also prevent the invasion of Saudi Arabia by the Iraqis. Once the stated purpose of ensuring the security of Kuwait was accomplished, Bush began to recall American troops without addressing the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein, a move that would later be questioned by many different people.

Another controversial action was the support of Bush for the formation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. While NAFTA would not become reality until the presidency of Bill Clinton, Bush worked closely with Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to lay the groundwork and do much of the preparation for the agreement.

George H.W. Bush also holds the honor of being in office at the time of the dissolution of the USSR and the end of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet state. The cooperation between the two countries during the Gulf War is sometimes cited as one of the factors that made the end of the Cold War possible.

Since retiring from the political arena after his term as president, George H.W. Bush has lent his name and influence to a number of human rights causes both in the United States and abroad.

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