Hillary Clinton is an American Politician most known for her 2016 presidential campaign as the Democratic Party’s nominee, against Republican candidate Donald Trump. Clinton’s incredible political career includes being the 67th Secretary of State, the U.S Senator from New York and First Lady of the United States when her husband Bill Clinton was president. A driven activist and natural leader, Hillary Clinton has managed to carve herself a place in American history as one of the most influential lawyers and talked-about politicians of all time.
Hillary Clinton was born as Hillary Diane Rodham, being raised by parents Dorothy Emma Howell Rodham and Hugh Rodham in Park Ridge, an affluent suburban area of Chicago, Illinois. Her father Hugh was a wealthy fabric business owner; his success enabled him to provide a comfortable lifestyle for Hillary and her two younger brothers Hugh Junior and Anthony, as they grew up. Hillary’s childhood was not always harmonious; she has spoken many times of her father’s strict parenting tactics, rigid values and the sometimes unattainably high standards he set for his children. In her earliest years, Hillary wanted to be an Astronaut. She even wrote to NASA about her desires; they actually wrote back to her, apologising and stating that they did not accept female applicants.
Hillary Rodham attended Maine South High School and went on to study at Wellesley College in 1965. It could be said that her impressive political career began during her days at Wellesley, where she was an active participant in student political groups and was elected student president before she graduated in 1969. Hillary’s interest in politics can actually be traced back to her late teenage years, when she was involved in Republican Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign, an unlikely start for a woman who would go on to become a powerful, career Democrat. Her early life Republican alignment was likely influenced by her father’s political beliefs; he was a staunch Republican and remained proud to be so his entire life, despite his daughter and son-in-law being influential Democrats. In her autobiography, Hillary remarks on this fact, saying “I wasn’t born a Democrat.” She changed her affiliations in 1968, having been inspired by a speech made by Reverend Martin Luther King Junior in Chicago.
Hillary attended Yale Law School and graduated, with Honors, in 1973. It was during her time here that she met fellow student and future husband Bill Clinton. At this point in her life, Hillary’s political path had been firmly established. She worked for Senator Walter Mondale on the Subcommittee on Migratory Labor during the summer of 1971, in Washington DC; under Mondale’s leadership the group investigated migrant working conditions, campaigning for better pay and worker’s rights. The following year, Hillary Rodham and her future husband Bill Clinton were members of presidential candidate George McGovern’s campaign team in the race which he ultimately lost to Republican Richard Nixon.
Having earned her law degree in 1973, Hillary entered into another year of post-graduate education at Yale Child Study Centre, taking courses in child development and medicine.
In 1974, Hillary Rodham began working as a member of the presidential impeachment enquiry team. While occupying this position she advised the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives during the Watergate scandal. President Nixon resigned later that year as a result of the enquiry, at which point Hillary moved to Arkansas to take up a teaching position at the University of Arkansas Law School alongside boyfriend Bill Clinton, who was also on the faculty.
She married fellow Yale Law graduate Bill Clinton on October 11th, 1975. The couple tied the knot in Fayetteville, the town where they lived. Clinton had secretly purchase a house that Hillary had admired; when she accepted his marriage proposal, he announced to her that it would be their new home.
Hillary Clinton worked on Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign team in 1976, while her husband Bill was elected attorney general, going on to win the Governor’s position in 1978. Hillary joined the Rose Law Firm in 1977 and was an active first lady of the state during the years her husband was Governor. She co-founded the Advocates for Children and Families, was the chair person for the Arkansas Education Standards Committee and served on boards for the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Arkansas Legal Services and the Children’s Defence Fund. Her remarkable career lead the National Law Journal to name her as one of the top 100 most influential lawyers in America in 1988 and 1991.
Hillary became America’s first lady when her husband took the oval office in 1993. She had been a key player in Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign; he recognised her value to such a degree that he appointed her to head the Task Force on National Health Reform when he became president. The plans for this heavily debated initiative never came to fruition; the task proved too complex and was abandoned the following year.
In 1998, the Whitehouse was thrown into chaotic uproar as the Monica Lewinsky scandal came to light. President Clinton was criticised for engaging in an extra-marital affair with Whitehouse intern Monica Lewinsky during 1995 and 1996, an allegation which he initially denied. Hillary Clinton publically supported her husband while he was impeached, despite harbouring private doubts about their marriage. Ultimately, the Senate chose not to convict President Clinton of misconduct and he was allowed to remain in office until he was superseded by George Bush in 2001.
Hillary Clinton became the first American First Lady in the country’s history to win a public office seat when she was elected as Senator of New York in 2001. She was also New York’s first ever female Senator. Despite being widely criticized for taking a public seat outside her home state, Clinton remained in office until 2009.
2007 saw Hillary announcing her plans to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential candidacy. However, she chose to concede to opponent Barrack Obama after it became clear that he held the majority of the party’s support. Obama praised Clinton’s ideals when he became president in 2009 and appointed her Secretary of State. Hillary used her position of power to speak out against women’s rights violations and general human rights issues. The state department also orchestrated military intervention in Libya while she was in leadership; she came under investigation when the Benghazi attack saw US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other American’s killed.
Clinton resigned from her position as Secretary of State in 2013. Critics suggested that she stepped down due to the controversy surrounding the Benghazi attack in Libya; however, Hillary had always been quite open about the fact that she only wished to serve one term in office. Once again she set her sights on the presidency; the official announcement that she intended to run for Democratic presidential nominee was made by her campaign chair person, John Podesta in the spring of 2015.
Clinton was a popular candidate; she was announced as the assumed winner of the Democratic presidential nominee race in June 2016, earning the majority of the party’s support against opponent Bernie Sanders. The following day, she acknowledged her astounding achievement of becoming the first female presidential candidate of a major United States political party in over 240 years, in an historic speech delivered from Brooklyn Navy Yard exactly eight years to the day since she conceded her loss to Barrack Obama. In this speech, Hillary praised her opponent Bernie Sanders for his contribution to the Democratic Party, and pledged to reform the criminal justice system, lower student debt and improve healthcare coverage should she become president.
Throughout her 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton was quite outspoken about her thoughts regarding her Republican opponent Donald Trump. She pulled no punches and wasted no time in declaring him an unsuitable candidate, once famously describing him as being “temperamentally unfit to be President and Commander-in-Chief.” Clinton amassed an enormous amount of celebrity support during her campaign, from famous faces such as Jon Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, George Clooney and current First Lady Michelle Obama.
As the 2016 general election votes came in it became clear that Trump had won the presidency, despite initial poles suggesting that Clinton was in the lead. She broke with tradition by not giving a concession speech when the results were finalised. Instead, she delivered a highly emotional speech the following day, in which she congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him for the good of America.
Hillary Clinton’s run for presidency in 2016 came under fire by the media as she was criticized for supporting her husband during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Former New York Major Rudy Guliani reportedly said that Clinton was “too stupid” to be president, based on her initial stance that her husband was innocent and Lewinsky was lying about the affair. Hillary’s treatment of Monica Lewinsky during the scandal damaged her public image when it later emerged that she had in fact been telling the truth.
In 2015, it emerged that Hillary Clinton had used her personal email address for official government business while she was Secretary of State. In her statement she claimed that she had utilized her personal address for convenience and willingly turned over any relevant correspondence to the Obama administration and the FBI for investigation. This scandal was used as ammunition by Clinton’s Republican rivals as they declared her unprofessional and sought to undermine her bid for presidency. Having concluded their investigations in 2016, the FBI made an official recommendation that criminal charges should not be brought against Clinton; Attorney General Loretta Lynch accepted this recommendation and did not pursue charges. This decision was upheld even when more email correspondence was leaked in October 2016, further damaging Clinton’s image and presidential campaign.
Hillary Clinton’s health has been the subject of public commentary on various occasions throughout her career. In 2012, a stomach virus reportedly prevented her from testifying before congress about her culpability in the Benghazi attack. Congress member Allen West accused her of suffering from a case of “Benghazi flu”, though it later emerged that she had been hospitalized with a life-threatening blood clot due to a concussion sustained as a result of fainting, during this illness. Despite making a full recovery, Clinton’s health has still been questioned throughout her 2016 general election campaign. The mental and physical demands of the campaign appeared to be taking their toll on her well-being, prompting speculation from the opposition that she was not fit enough to remain in the running.
In the latter months of 2016, emails were leaked which suggested that members of the Democratic Party who favoured Clinton over Sanders as presidential candidate had conspired to deliberately undermine his campaign. This discredited the unified approach that Clinton and Sanders appeared to be taking to the Democratic campaign, once again bringing Hillary under fire and damaging her reputation. In December 2016, the Central Intelligence Agency concluded that Russian Leadership, namely Vladimir Putin himself, had orchestrated the cyberattack behind the leak. Clinton herself attributed Putin’s actions to a personal vendetta against her since she spoke out against his unfair parliamentary elections, during her time as Secretary of State in 2011.
Hillary and Bill Clinton still enjoy a happy marriage of over 40 years despite their problems during his time as president. They have one child together; a daughter named Chelsea who was born on February 27th, 1980. During Chelsea’s formative years, Hillary was an extremely protective mother, doing everything in her power to shelter her daughter from life in the public eye. As an adult, Chelsea appears to have a strong relationship with her mother and has supported her throughout both bids for Democratic Party leadership and the 2016 general election.
Hillary Clinton is now the proud grandmother of daughter Chelsea’s two children, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinnsky, born in 2014 and Aiden Clinton Mezvinnsky, born in 2016. At the birth of both Children, Clinton spoke out on social media about her joy at becoming a grandmother; family values have always been at the core of her political beliefs.
Clinton’s fast paced lifestyle and extraordinary political career have left her little personal time or opportunity to pursue other avenues of interest. Despite this, Clinton has authored several books during her career including an autobiography, a non-fiction work on child development in America and a compilation of letters written by the public to the “First Pets”, Buddy and Socks, during her time as First Lady.
When asked about how she likes to spend her very limited spare time, Hillary Clinton expressed a simple wish to submerse herself in normal family life. She insisted that her ideal day would involve sleeping late, seeing a movie and family dinner at home. This craving for normality is hardly surprising when you consider the fact that she is officially the most travelled Secretary of State in American history; she covered enough miles to span the globe more than 38 times!
- It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us by Hillary Clinton
- Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets by Hillary Clinton
- An Invitation to the White House: At Home with History by Hillary Clinton
Written by: Laura Boyle