His father, William Jefferson Blythe, died in a car crash several months before Clinton was born. He was left in the care of his mother, Virginia Cassidy Blythe.
To provide for her son, his mother moved to New Orleans, Louisiana to complete two years of nursing school. Clinton stayed with his grandparents, Eldridge and Edith Cassidy.
They were strict disciplinarians who instilled the importance of a good education in William Clinton.
“My grandparents had a lot to do with my commitment to learning. I was reading little books when I was three.”
His mother returned to Arkansas in with a degree in nursing in 1950, and later that year, married automobile salesman Roger Clinton. The family moved from Hope to Hot Springs, Arkansas two years later.
Neither the grandparents nor his parents showed an interest in religion, but Bill Clinton became a devoted Baptist from a very young age.
His stepfather drank heavily and was abusive to both his mother and younger half-brother. At age 14, Clinton had had enough. Standing at more than six feet tall, he told his stepfather, “If you want them, you’ll have to go through me.”
The abuse stopped, but Roger Clinton’s drinking did not. Clinton’s mother divorced him in 1962.
Clinton was the 42nd President of the United States, and served from 1993 to 2001. William Clinton was the third-youngest president, inaugurated at the age of 46.