30 Dec Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton – Trailblazer
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (73) (née Rodham; born October 26, 1947) is an American politician, diplomat, lawyer, writer, and public speaker who served as the 67th United States secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 (She became the first former first lady to be a member of the United States Cabinet), as a United States senator from New York (1st female Senator in New York) from 2001 to 2009, and as First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Clinton became the first woman to be nominated for president of the United States by a major political party when she won the Democratic Party nomination in 2016. She was the first woman to win the popular vote in an American presidential election, which she lost to Donald Trump, due to the electoral process. She had 2.8 million more popular votes, however, only had 232 electoral votes versus Trump’s 306. Interestingly, at that time, she was the 5th candidate that won the popular vote and lost the election to the electoral vote.
Over a hundred books and scholarly works have been written about Clinton. Clinton has also been featured in the media and popular culture in a wide spectrum of perspectives.
A 2006 survey by the New York Observer found “a virtual cottage industry” of “anti-Clinton literature” put out by Regnery Publishing and other conservative imprints. Books praising Clinton did not sell nearly as well (other than her memoirs and those of her husband).
When she ran for Senate in 2000, several fundraising groups such as Save Our Senate and the Emergency Committee to Stop Hillary Rodham Clinton sprang up to oppose her. Don Van Natta found that Republican and conservative groups viewed her as a reliable “bogeyman” to mention in fundraising letters, on a par with Ted Kennedy, and the equivalent of Democratic and liberal appeals mentioning Newt Gingrich.
Raised in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, Clinton graduated from Wellesley College in 1969 and earned a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 1973. After serving as a congressional legal counsel, she moved to Arkansas and married future president Bill Clinton in 1975; the two had met at Yale. In 1977, she co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. She was appointed the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation in 1978 and became the first female partner at Little Rock’s Rose Law Firm the following year. The National Law Journal twice listed her as one of the hundred most influential lawyers in America. Clinton was the first lady of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and again from 1983 to 1992. As First Lady of the United States, Clinton advocated for healthcare reform. In 1994, her major initiative—the Clinton health care plan—failed to gain approval from Congress. In 1997 and 1999, Clinton played a leading role in advocating the creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, and the Foster Care Independence Act. Clinton advocated for gender equality at the 1995 UN conference on women.
Her marital relationship came under public scrutiny during the Lewinsky scandal, which led her to issue a statement that reaffirmed her commitment to the marriage.
Following her loss, she wrote her third memoir, What Happened, and launched Onward Together, a political action organization dedicated to fundraising for progressive political groups. She is the current chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
She has often told the story of being inspired by U.S. efforts during the Space Race and sending a letter to NASA around 1961 asking what she could do to become an astronaut, only to be informed that women were not being accepted into the program.
She attended Maine East High School, where she participated in the student council and school newspaper and was selected for the National Honor Society. She was elected class vice president for her junior year but then lost the election for class president for her senior year against two boys, one of whom told her that “you are really stupid if you think a girl can be elected president”. For her senior year, she and other students were transferred to the then-new Maine South High School. There she was a National Merit Finalist and was voted “most likely to succeed.” She graduated in 1965 in the top five percent of her class.
Rodham’s mother wanted her to have an independent, professional career. Her father, who was otherwise a traditionalist, felt that his daughter’s abilities and opportunities should not be limited by gender. She was raised in a politically conservative household, and she helped canvass Chicago’s South Side at age 13 after the very close 1960 U.S. presidential election. She saw evidence of electoral fraud (such as voting list entries showing addresses that were empty lots) against Republican candidate Richard Nixon, and later volunteered to campaign for Republican candidate Barry Goldwater in the 1964 election.
Rodham’s early political development was shaped mostly by her high school history teacher (like her father, a fervent anti-communist), who introduced her to Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative and by her Methodist youth minister (like her mother, concerned with issues of social justice), with whom she saw and afterwards briefly met, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. at a 1962 speech in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall.
Wellesley College years
In 1965, Rodham enrolled at Wellesley College, where she majored in political science. During her first year, she was president of the Wellesley Young Republicans. In 2003 Clinton would write that her views concerning the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War were changing in her early college years. In a letter to her youth minister at that time, she described herself as “a mind conservative and a heart liberal”. In contrast to the factions in the 1960s that advocated radical actions against the political system, she sought to work for change within it.
In 1969, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, with departmental honors in political science. After some fellow seniors requested that the college administration allow a student speaker at commencement, she became the first student in Wellesley College history to speak at the event. Her address followed that of the commencement speaker, Senator Edward Brooke. After her speech, she received a standing ovation that lasted seven minutes. She was featured in an article published in Life magazine, because of the response to a part of her speech that criticized Senator Brooke. She also appeared on Irv Kupcinet’s nationally syndicated television talk show as well as in Illinois and New England newspapers. She was asked to speak at the 50th anniversary convention of the League of Women Voters in Washington, D.C., the next year. That summer, she worked her way across Alaska, washing dishes in Mount McKinley National Park and sliming salmon in a fish processing cannery in Valdez (which fired her and shut down overnight when she complained about unhealthy conditions).
Yale Law School and postgraduate studies
Rodham then entered Yale Law School, where she was on the editorial board of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action. During her second year, she worked at the Yale Child Study Center, learning about new research on early childhood brain development and working as a research assistant on the seminal work, Beyond the Best Interests of the Child (1973). She also took on cases of child abuse at Yale–New Haven Hospital, and volunteered at New Haven Legal Services to provide free legal advice for the poor. In the summer of 1970, she was awarded a grant to work at Marian Wright Edelman’s Washington Research Project, where she was assigned to Senator Walter Mondale’s Subcommittee on Migratory Labor. There she researched various migrant workers’ issues including education, health and housing. Edelman later became a significant mentor. Rodham was recruited by political advisor Anne Wexler to work on the 1970 campaign of Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate Joseph Duffey. Rodham later credited Wexler with providing her first job in politics.
In the spring of 1971, she began dating fellow law student Bill Clinton. During the summer, she interned at the Oakland, California, law firm of Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein. The firm was well known for its support of constitutional rights, civil liberties and radical causes (two of its four partners were current or former Communist Party members); Rodham worked on child custody and other cases. Clinton canceled his original summer plans and moved to live with her in California; the couple continued living together in New Haven when they returned to law school. The following summer, Rodham and Clinton campaigned in Texas for unsuccessful 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern. She received a Juris Doctor degree from Yale in 1973, having stayed on an extra year to be with Clinton. He first proposed marriage to her following graduation, but she declined, uncertain if she wanted to tie her future to his.
Rodham began a year of postgraduate study on children and medicine at the Yale Child Study Center. In late 1973 her first scholarly article, “Children Under the Law”, was published in the Harvard Educational Review. Discussing the new children’s rights movement, the article stated that “child citizens” were “powerless individuals” and argued that children should not be considered equally incompetent from birth to attaining legal age, but instead that courts should presume competence on a case-by-case basis, except when there is evidence otherwise. The article became frequently cited in the field.
Early Arkansas years
At the university, Rodham taught classes in criminal law at the University of Arkansas. Rodham and Bill Clinton bought a house in Fayetteville in the summer of 1975 and she agreed to marry him. The wedding took place on October 11, 1975, in a Methodist ceremony in their living room. November 1976, Bill Clinton was elected Arkansas attorney general, and the couple moved to the state capital of Little Rock. In February 1977, Rodham joined the venerable Rose Law Firm, a bastion of Arkansan political and economic influence. She specialized in patent infringement and intellectual property law, while working pro bono in child advocacy; she rarely performed litigation work in court.
Rodham maintained her interest in children’s law and family policy, publishing the scholarly articles “Children’s Policies: Abandonment and Neglect” in 1977 and “Children’s Rights: A Legal Perspective” in 1979. The latter continued her argument that children’s legal competence depended upon their age and other circumstances and that in serious medical rights cases, judicial intervention was sometimes warranted. An American Bar Association chair later said, “Her articles were important, not because they were radically new but because they helped formulate something that had been inchoate.” Historian Garry Wills would later describe her as “one of the more important scholar-activists of the last two decades”.
In 1977, President Jimmy Carter (for whom Rodham had been the 1976 campaign director of field operations in Indiana) appointed her to the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation. She held that position from 1978 until the end of 1981. From mid-1978 to mid-1980, she was the chair of that board, the first woman to hold the job. During her time as chair, funding for the corporation was expanded from $90 million to $300 million.
Following her husband’s November 1978 election as governor of Arkansas, Rodham became that state’s first lady in January 1979. She would hold that title for twelve nonconsecutive years (1979–81, 1983–92). Clinton appointed his wife to be the chair of the Rural Health Advisory Committee the same year, where she secured federal funds to expand medical facilities in Arkansas’s poorest areas without affecting doctors’ fees.
In 1979, Rodham became the first woman to be made a full partner in Rose Law Firm. From 1978 until they entered the White House, she had a higher salary than her husband. During 1978 and 1979, while looking to supplement their income, Rodham engaged in the trading of cattle futures contracts; an initial $1,000 investment generated nearly $100,000 when she stopped trading after ten months. At this time, the couple began their ill-fated investment in the Whitewater Development Corporation. Both of these became subjects of controversy in the 1990s.
On February 27, 1980, Rodham gave birth to the couple’s only child, a daughter whom they named Chelsea. In November 1980. She was named Arkansas Woman of the Year in 1983 and Arkansas Mother of the Year in 1984.
Clinton continued to practice law with the Rose Law Firm while she was the first lady of Arkansas. From 1982 to 1988, Clinton was on the board of directors, sometimes as chair, of the New World Foundation, which funded a variety of New Left interest groups. From 1987 to 1991, she was the first chair of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession, created to address gender bias in the legal profession and induce the association to adopt measures to combat it. She was twice named by The National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America—in 1988 and 1991.
Clinton was chairman of the board of the Children’s Defense Fund and on the board of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s Legal Services (1988–92) In addition to her positions with nonprofit organizations, she also held positions on the corporate board of directors of TCBY (1985–92), Wal-Mart Stores (1986–92) and Lafarge (1990–92). TCBY and Wal-Mart were Arkansas-based companies that were also clients of Rose Law. Clinton was the first female member on Wal-Mart’s board, following pressure on chairman Sam Walton to name a woman to it.
When Bill Clinton took office as president in January 1993, Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first lady. Her press secretary reiterated she would be using that form of her name. She was the first in this role to have a postgraduate degree and her own professional career up to the time of entering the White House. She was also the first to have an office in the West Wing of the White House in addition to the usual first lady offices in the East Wing. She was part of the innermost circle vetting appointments to the new administration. Her choices filled at least eleven top-level positions and dozens more lower-level ones. After Eleanor Roosevelt, Clinton was regarded as the most openly empowered presidential wife in American history.
The pressures of conflicting ideas about the role of a first lady were enough to send Hillary Clinton into “imaginary discussions” with the also-politically active Eleanor Roosevelt. From the time she came to Washington, triggered in part by the death of her father in April 1993, she publicly sought to find a synthesis of Methodist teachings, liberal religious political philosophy and Tikkun editor Michael Lerner’s “politics of meaning” to overcome what she saw as America’s “sleeping sickness of the soul”; that would lead to a willingness “to remold society by redefining what it means to be a human being in the twentieth century, moving into a new millennium”.
Over the course of the marriage, Clinton’s husband had infamous extramarital affairs with Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky. In both instances, Hillary chose to stay in the marriage, which had mixed results in the press.
Together with Attorney General Janet Reno, Clinton helped create the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice. In 1997, she initiated and shepherded the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which she regarded as her greatest accomplishment as the first lady. In 1999, she was instrumental in the passage of the Foster Care Independence Act, which doubled federal monies for teenagers aging out of foster care. As First Lady of the United States, Clinton was the host for various White House conferences. These included one on Child Care (1997), on Early Childhood Development and Learning (1997), and on Children and Adolescents (2000). She also hosted the first-ever White House Conference on Teenagers (2000), and the first-ever White House Conference on Philanthropy (1999).
Clinton traveled to 79 countries during this time, breaking the record for most-traveled first lady previously held by Pat Nixon. Clinton visited 112 countries during her tenure as Secretary of State, making her the most widely traveled secretary of state, as well.
In a September 1995 speech before the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, Clinton argued forcefully against practices that abused women around the world and in the People’s Republic of China itself. Delegates from over 180 countries heard her say: “If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.” In doing so, she resisted both internal administration and Chinese pressure to soften her remarks. The speech became a key moment in the empowerment of women and years later women around the world would recite Clinton’s key phrases.
Whitewater and other investigations
Further information on these investigations: Whitewater controversy, Travelgate, Filegate, and Hillary Clinton cattle futures controversy. Clinton has been a subject of several investigations by the United States Office of the Independent Counsel, committees of the U.S. Congress and the press.
On January 26, 1996, Clinton became the first spouse of a U.S. president to be subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury in light of the Whitewater controversy. After several Independent Counsels had investigated, a final report was issued in 2000 that stated there was insufficient evidence that either Clinton had engaged in criminal wrongdoing.
Scrutiny of the May 1993 firings of the White House Travel Office employees, an action that became known as “Travelgate”, began with charges that the White House had used audited financial irregularities in the Travel Office operation as an excuse to replace the staff with friends from Arkansas. The 2000 final Independent Counsel report concluded she was involved in the firings and that she had made “factually false” statements, but that there was insufficient evidence that she knew the statements were false or knew that her actions would lead to firings, to prosecute her.
In March 1994, newspaper reports revealed that Clinton had earned spectacular profits from cattle futures trading in 1978–79. The press made allegations that Clinton had engaged in a conflict of interest and disguised a bribery. Several individuals analyzed her trading records, but no formal investigation was made and she was never charged with any wrongdoing.
An outgrowth of the “Travelgate” investigation was the June 1996 discovery of improper White House access to hundreds of FBI background reports on former Republican White House employees, an affair that some called “Filegate”. Accusations were made that Clinton had requested these files and she had recommended hiring an unqualified individual to head the White House Security Office. The 2000 final Independent Counsel report found no substantial or credible evidence that Clinton had any role or showed any misconduct in the matter.
Her use of a private email server when she was Secretary of State was the subject of intense scrutiny; while no charges were filed against Clinton, the email controversy was the single most covered topic during the 2016 presidential election.
It Takes a Village release and tour
In 1996, Clinton presented a vision for American children in the book It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us. In January 1996, she went on a ten-city book tour and made numerous television appearances to promote the book, although she was frequently hit with questions about her involvement in the Whitewater and Travelgate controversies. The book spent 18 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List that year, including three weeks at number one. By 2000, it had sold 450,000 copies in hardcover and another 200,000 in paperback.
Clinton received the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 1997 for the book’s audio recording.
Other books published by Clinton when she was the first lady include Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets (1998) and An Invitation to the White House: At Home with History (2000). Publisher Simon & Schuster paid Clinton a near-record advance of $8 million in December 2000 for her autobiography, released in 2003, as Living History. Clinton’s third memoir, What Happened, an account of her loss in the 2016 election, was released on September 12, 2017, by Simon & Schuster, in print, e-book, and as an audiobook read by the author. A book tour and a series of interviews and personal appearances were arranged for the launch. What Happened sold 300,000 copies in its first week, less than her 2003 memoir, Living History, but triple the first-week sales of her previous memoir, 2014’s Hard Choices. Simon & Schuster announced that What Happened had sold more e-books in its first-week than any nonfiction e-book since 2010.
Once she decided to run for the open Senate seat in New York, the Clintons purchased a home in Chappaqua, New York, north of New York City. In September 1999, she became the first wife of the president of the United States to be a candidate for elected office.
She was sworn in as U.S. senator on January 3, 2001, and as George W. Bush was still 17 days away from being inaugurated as president after winning the 2000 presidential election that meant from January 3–20, she simultaneously held the titles of First Lady and Senator – a first in U.S. history.
On March 4, 2019, Clinton announced that she would not run for president in 2020. On April 28, 2020, and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president in the 2020 election. On October 28, 2020, Clinton announced that she is on the Democratic slate of electors for the state of New York in the 2020 election.
Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast
On January 2, 2020, it was announced that Hillary Clinton would take up the position of Chancellor at Queen’s University Belfast after her husband had previously played a role in the Northern Ireland peace process and the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. Clinton became the 11th and first female chancellor of the university, filling the position that had been vacant since 2018 after the death of her predecessor, Thomas J. Moran. Commenting on taking up the position, she said that “the university is making waves internationally for its research and impact and I am proud to be an ambassador and help grow its reputation for excellence”. Queen’s Pro-Chancellor Stephen Prenter said that Clinton on her appointment “will be an incredible advocate for Queen’s” who can act as an “inspirational role model”.
Clinton has been a lifelong Methodist, attending various churches throughout her lifetime and all are part of the United Methodist Church and is currently a congregant at Metropolitan Community United Methodist Church in New York, New York.
Clinton discussed her faith at 2014 United Methodist Women church rally at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Kentucky. She has openly discussed her Christianity on several occasions, discussing for example the importance of loving one’s neighbor as oneself, of helping the poor and “creating opportunities for others to be lifted up”. Clinton has also expressed disappointment that “Christianity, which has such great love at its core, is sometimes used to condemn so quickly and judge so harshly.
Professor Paul Kengor, author of God and Hillary Clinton: A Spiritual Life has suggested that Clinton’s political positions are rooted in her faith. She often expresses a maxim often attributed to John Wesley: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can.” In fact, Clinton repeated this saying in her acceptance speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, adding that her mother Dorothy “made sure I learned [these] words from our Methodist faith”.
She has often been described in the popular media as a polarizing figure. Newsweek editor Jon Meacham summed up the relationship between Clinton and the American public by saying “Hillary Rodham Clinton has been on the periphery or in the middle of national life for decades … she is one of the most recognizable but least understood figures in American politics”
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s reported net worth is approximately 45 million dollars.