Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Baby Boomers: All You Ever Needed to Know

How Boomers have shaped the World

In 1992, Bill Clinton (born in 1946) became America's first Baby Boomer President. He was followed eight years later by America's second Baby Boomer President, George W. Bush, also born in 1946.

They won't be the last Baby Boomer Presidents. It's quite conceivable that a Baby Boomer will be in the White House for another 20 years or more. Combined with the Boomer Generation's majority in Congress (62 percent in the House of Representatives, 46 percent in the Senate), Governorships (74 percent), and State Legislatures (between 54 and 58 percent) the generation that once vowed to fight authority has suddenly become the authority.

However, long before they controlled the halls of power, Baby Boomers shaped the political arena. As leaders in the civil rights movement, the feminist movement, gay rights, handicapped rights and the rights to privacy, the Baby Boomer generation has been at the forefront of the expansion of individual freedom.

But it's very difficult to pin Boomers down as being either liberal or conservative. A 2004 nationwide survey by the AARP found that a solid majority of Baby Boomers support abortion rights, gun control and stem cell research -- strongly liberal causes. At the same time, the survey found strong support among the Boomers for the death penalty and fiscal conservatism -- strongly conservative positions. The survey also found that nearly 60 percent of Baby Boomers believe the government has a responsibility to provide health care to all citizens, and more than 70 percent say the government must protect the environment.

So while we aren't quite living in an all-Boomer world, it's safe to say the Baby Boomer generation, having spent its youth fighting power and demanding change, has become the dominant force in the political arena. Time will tell what they do with the power they now wield.