In 2009, Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States and the first African-American to hold the position. How did Obama make his money before becoming President?
Barack Obama worked as a civil rights lawyer after graduating from Harvard Law School. He earned a substantial government salary but made the majority of his wealth from several books he has published. He has been a popular writer and public speaker since his term as US President.
For more on Barack Obama’s life and his career before his Presidency, read on.
Barack Hussein Obama II was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu Hawaii, making him the first US President born outside the American mainland.
His father, Barack Sr., was born in Kenya and worked as a goatherder before earning a scholarship that allowed him to attend college in Hawaii. His mother, Ann Dunham, was born on a Wichita, Kansas army base during World War II. Barack Sr. and Ann met while the former was a student in Hawaii and they married in 1961.
Ann remarried to Lolo Soetoro, another University of Hawaii student, and the family relocated to Indonesia, Soetoro’s home.
Fearing for young Barack’s safety in Indonesia, Ann sent him back to Hawaii to live with her parents and soon joined him, along with Barack’s half-sister, Maya.
Obama enrolled at Punahou School, one of the finest private preparatory schools in Hawaii. He distinguished himself academically and as an excellent basketball player before graduating in 1979.
He continued his education at Occidental College in Los Angeles before transferring to Colombia University in New York. Obama graduated in 1983 with a political science degree.
After graduating, Obama worked in business before moving to Chicago in 1985. He worked as a community organizer in the poorest parts of the city’s South Side.
A visit to Kenya was transformative for Obama, who visited the graves of his father and grandfather. When he returned to the US, he enrolled at Harvard Law School and excelled.
He met Michelle Robinson, his future wife while working a summer job at a Chicago law firm. Returning to Harvard, he became the first African-American editor of the “Harvard Law Review”.
Having graduated from Harvard Law, Obama became a civil rights lawyer in Chicago, working for Miner, Barnhill & Galland. He was also a part-time lecturer, then professor, at the University of Chicago Law School between 1992 and 2004.
Always politically conscious, Obama organized voter registration drives for Bill Clinton’s 1992 election campaign. He wrote an autobiography, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance”, which was published in 1995.
In 1996, he was elected to the Illinois State Senate as a Democrat and focused on passing legislation in ethics, health care, and improving childhood education in poor areas.
He unsuccessfully ran for the House of Representatives in 2000 but was elected at his second attempt in 2004. Obama published a second book, “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream” in 2006, which became a “New York Times” number one bestseller.
In 2008, after overcoming Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, Obama defeated Republican John McCain to become 44th President of the United States. Obama was the first African-American to hold the office.
“Forbes” estimated that Barack and Michelle Obama made $20.5 million between 2005 and 2016, with about three-quarters of this coming from sales of his books. He was also paid about $3.7 million in government salaries.
Since his term as President ended, Obama remains a popular figure, earning significant money from public speaking engagements as well as earning money from various books.