On November 30th, 2018, the United States lost one of their most beloved leaders, George Herbert Walker Bush. He died at the age of ninety-four in Houston, Texas, and suffered from vascular parkinsonism.   

Bush came from what was already a political family, with his father, Prescott Bush, being a US Senator. He served as a US Representative, a US Ambassador to the United Nations, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, the Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China, the director of the CIA, the US Vice-President, and the President of the United States of America.   

Like the president, many historical events occurred during his term. The Cold War ended as the Soviet Union collapsed, and the countries relationship with China worsened because a student protest in Beijing was suppressed. Panamanian dictator, Manuel Noriega, was overthrown by American troops, and the country led an international effort to victory against Iraq in the Persian Gulf War. He desired regional diplomatic solutions and he wanted a greater role for the United Nations. Throughout his term, both chambers of Congress we held by the Democrats, which made agreeing on many domestic issues extremely difficult. Although things were difficult with Congress, he was able to get them to pass two important pieces of legislation which were the Disabilities Act, which reduced legal and physical obstacles that negatively affected the lives of those with disabilities, and the Clean Air Act, which, for the first time in twelve years, created even more strict air pollution standards.   

However, the United States economy was growing since 1983 and it ceased in 1991. On July 1st, 1992, the Bush administration made the announcement that the national unemployment level hit 7.8 percent, which was the highest level it had hit in the last eight years. Unemployment was not able to be reduced even with the economy’s recovery in late 1992 and with the president signing NAFTA. Bush needed to reduce the deficit in the budget and increase military spending in the Persian Gulf, so he worked with Congress on the budget and did raise taxes. This was a brutal hit to his presidency due to the fact in his famous 1988 speech when he was running for president when he said, “Read my lips: no new taxes”. In Bush’s bid for reelection, he went on to lose to Arkansas Governor, Bill Clinton, in the general election.   

Even after his defeat, Bush would continue to be vocal about politics and still have an influence. Some of children and grandchildren entered politics, most notably George and Jeb, with the former being the Forty-third United States President. While his son served as president, Bush worked with him as an advisor and helped him with issues like Iraq in 2002. The president would even go on to give a commencement speech in 2008 to the graduating class of Bryant University when he said, “Seeing all of you … only reaffirms my optimism in my country’s future”.   

In April of 2018, Barbara Pierce Bush, a relative of former president Franklin Pierce and famous author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as well as Bush’s wife, passed away. The death of the woman he met at a dance at a country club hurt him dearly, and he went to the hospital multiple times after her death. George H.W. Bush was a president who cared about his country and served it well, and due to that, the country mourns his death and remembers the man who once led it. 

 

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