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Hillary Rodham-Clinton Biography

Early Life l Political Life



Early Life



Hillary Rodham with her family

Hillary Rodham (center) with her father, mother, and brother, Hugh Jr.


Hillary Diane Rodham was born on October 26th, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois. She is the oldest of Hugh and Dorothy Rodham, and has two younger brothers, Hugh Jr. and Anthony. Hillary, a women’s rights and equality advocate from a young age, was raised as a conservative Republican, but after seeing Martkn Luther King Jr. deliver a speech and beginning her studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts her life, and politics, were changed forever.


Rodham’s collegiate education began in 1965, and she quickly became active in student politics. Her work with campus politics gave her a strong, anti-war voice, and she changed her views from conservative Republican to the liberal Democrat ideologies she is known for today. After graduating from Wellesley in 1969 (she spoke at graduation as the senior class president), she attend Yale Law School.

It was at Yale that Hillary met, and began dating, her future husband William “Bill” Clinton. She graduated from law school with honors in 1973, and then spent a year doing post-graduate work at the Yale Child Study center about children and medicine. After her post-graduate year, Hillary moved to Little Rock, Arkansas where she became an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law, in addition to becoming a very powerful and distinguished attorney.


Hillary and Bill Clinton's wedding

Hillary and Bill Clinton at their wedding in 1975


On October 11th, 1975, Hillary Rodham married Bill Clinton (who at the time was also a law professor at the University of Arkansas) in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to the state capital, Little Rock, where Bill began his political life. Hillary continued her law work, which became so impressive that “she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1977 to serve on the board of the Legal Services Corporation, which she later chaired.” *


In 1978, while Hillary became partner at the Rose Law Firm, Bill was elected as the Governor of Arkansas, and so began her 12 year role as the Frist Lady of Arkansas. While she was First Lady of Arkansas, not only did she maintain her thriving career as a lawyer and the couple’s only child, Chelsea Victoria Clinton, who was born on February 27th, 1980, but “she [also] chaired the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee, co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, and served on the boards of the Arkansas Children's Hospital, Legal Services, and the Children's Defense Fund, [as well as writing] a weekly newspaper column entitled Talking It Over.’” †


It was not until Bill decided to run for president, however, that Hillary Rodham-Clinton became the internationally known woman, she is today.


* "Clinton, Hillary R."

† "Hillary Clinton Biography" (National First Ladies' Library)


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Political Life


Bill Clinton began running for president in 1992, throughout his campaign Hillary received lots of criticism, ranging from corruption to lacking “family values” – a term commonly used in the campaigns of particularly the Republican Party during the elections. Bill always came to Hillary’s defense, often claiming that, if elected, Hillary would be an integral part of his presidency, a “two for one deal.”


Hillary Rodham-Clinton with family after Bill's inauguration

Hillary Rodham-Clinton with husband, Bill, and daughter, Chelsea, after Bill's inauguration


On January 20th, 1993, Bill Clinton was inaugurated, becoming the 42nd President of the United States. Just as he had promised during his campaign, Bill made sure that Hillary was an equal partner in his presidency, appointing her head of the Task Force on National Health Reform.


While her purposed policies were considered “too liberal” by some administrators and were never presented to the House or the Senate, Hillary brought health care to the forefront of political and social discussion.


Another topic dear to the First Lady’s heart was, and remains so to this day, women’s rights. During her eight years as First Lady, Hillary went to the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China were she delivered a famous speech, saying that “human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights.” * While her husband’s presidency, particularly his second term, was marred with scandal and bad publicity, Hillary used her position as a stepping stone for her future successes.


Hillary Rodham-Clinton during her Senate campaign

Hillary Rodham-Clinton during her Senate campaign


In 2000, Hillary announced that she was going to run for the New York seat in the United States Senate, and on November 7th, she came she emerged from the elections victorious, being the first, and up until now the only, First Lady to be elected to the United States Senate. Hillary would serve as a New York senator for the next nine years. In the Senate, Hillary showed her determination and her ability to work across party lines – especially after the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, which devastated New York City.


During her years in the Senate, “she served on the Armed Services Committee, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Budget Committee and the Select Committee on Aging. She was also a Commissioner on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.” *


Hillary announced in 2007, that she would be running for president in the 2008 elections. Her campaign was very successful, and for some time she was considered the Democratic Party’s best candidate; however, Senator Barack Obama from Illinois also announced his candidacy. Hillary stayed loyal to her supporters and campaigned until the very end of the primary season, but in the end withdrew and told her supporters that if they supported her, they would support Obama.


The 2008 elections proved to be historic, despite Hillary’s withdrawal, as President Obama being the first African-American president of the United States. Shortly after his victory, however, he appointed Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State, a position which she accepted.


President Barack Obama with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham-Clinton

President Barack Obama with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham-Clinton


Hillary Rodham-Clinton remains the Secretary of State of the United States, and continually works to improve American foreign policy and relationships with international powers.


* "Clinton, Hillary R."


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