As presidents come and go, their legacy of what they have been able to accomplish while in office often carries through the years. As President Barack Obama is on his way out of the White House, some believe that he will also leave an historical impact on the country.

He entered the White House 220 years after the election of George Washington. As the 44th President of the United State he became the first African American, breaking that long standing color line.

Barack Obama took office, and race immediately became a focal point in a way that was unprecedented in American history. No matter his accomplishments, he seemed destined to be remembered foremost as the first black man to lead the world’s most powerful nation.

Upon taking office, President Obama faced some of the most daunting challenges that any new president has confronted since at least 1981, when America tumbled into a severe recession with its prestige ebbing around the world. Including home foreclosures and the automobile industry in its worst shape.

He faced the immediate task of leading a nation that’s reeling from its most serious economic down-turn in a generation, one whose government is saddled with a federal deficit that was over $1 trillion in 2009.

He took the reins of a country with more than 183,000 of its sons and daughters fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, conflicts that won’t end simply because a new president Trump wants to end them.

He also inherited a global war on terrorism against shadowy enemies who remain intent on doing America harm, not to mention hostile foreign capitals from Tehran to Moscow.

“Obama’s going to have an important place in American history, taking over the country at a time where there was great economic turmoil,” said Dr. Rob Alexander. “One of the arguments is that we’ve had job growth, but Republicans said we could have had more job growth.”

The first African American president, there was a significance to Obama’s time in office, which Ohio Northern University professor Dr. Rob Alexander says the president was aware of.

“President Obama understood the significance of him being the first African American president; I believe in his first inauguration, he was sworn in with Lincoln’s Bible, so he understood his historical significance, but in some way, race certainly did not define his presidency,” said Dr. Alexander, who is a professor of political science.

President Obama’s impact will be affected by what may happen in the future, based on what is decided by future legislation.

“If Obamacare is indeed repealed, depending on what parts of the Affordable Care Act remain or are jettisoned, that will also say a lot about his legacy moving forward,” Dr. Alexander said.

But it’s been made clear that we haven’t seen the last of Barack Obama as he says his final goodbyes in the last few days of being president.

“He also set a tone to say that he’s going to be involved as a former president and that will be very interesting moving forward as well,” said Dr. Alexander.

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