President Barack Obama’s final speech marked the end of an era as he prepares to hand over control of the world’s most powerful nation to Donald Trump.
In a sometimes tearful and emotional farewell, Obama warned that democracy is under siege in the USA and that more people should run for office to give voters a choice between populist politicians and public servants.
Obama only mentioned Trump once by name, explaining he was orchestrating a painless and easy transfer of power to the incoming president.
The mention of his name provoked a chorus of boos from the Chicago audience.
Wiping away tears from his eyes, Obama took time to thank his wife Michelle, a list of politicians and officials who had served in his administration.
Obama took office in The White House on January 20, 2009, after winning the 2008 US Presidential Election.
He won again in 2012 and took on a second term as president.
The president will be remembered for introducing the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which has stirred up controversy with foreign governments while prompting US expats to hand back their passports to avoid falling foul of the measure.
FATCA is aimed at revealing undeclared cash and investments US taxpayers have overseas.
So far, FATCA has raised more than $10 billion in tax.
Obamacare was another controversial policy. Health care reforms extended cover to many poorer communities and penalises insurance companies with expensive policies.
War and peace prize
Climate control to prevent global warming has been a key achievement for Obama, with his unswerving support for the COP 19, 20 and 21 conferences.
His one missed opportunity was winning support for gun control laws as outrages at schools, clubs and shopping malls led to a rising unnecessary death toll.
Despite a bid to introduce sweeping reforms, the gun lobby proved to be more powerful than the president and resisted most of his legislation.
Obama has also dealt with war in North Africa and the Middle East – the Arab Spring in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia and civil war in Syria, together with the rise of ISIS and the death of Osama Bin Laden.
He has also seen war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While in office, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring peace.