Hillary Clinton is one of the most influential and accomplished women in American politics. She has served as the first lady, a senator, a secretary of state, and a presidential candidate. She has also been a lawyer, an advocate, an author, and a Grammy winner. In this article, we will explore some of the facts and achievements that make Hillary Clinton a remarkable figure in history.
Early Life and Education
Hillary Diane Rodham was born on October 26, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois, and was raised in Park Ridge, a suburb of Chicago. She has two brothers, Hugh and Tony. Her parents, Hugh and Dorothy Rodham, instilled in her the values of hard work, education, and civic duty. Hillary was an excellent student and a leader in various activities, such as student council, newspaper, and debate team. She was also interested in politics from a young age, and was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement.
Hillary attended Wellesley College, where she majored in political science and became the first student to deliver the commencement speech in 1969. She then went to Yale Law School, where she met her future husband, Bill Clinton. She graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in 1973, and worked as a staff attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund, a nonprofit organization that advocates for children’s rights.
Marriage and Career
Hillary married Bill Clinton on October 11, 1975, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where they both taught at the University of Arkansas School of Law. They moved to Little Rock in 1976, when Bill was elected as the attorney general of Arkansas. Hillary joined the Rose Law Firm, where she specialized in intellectual property and corporate law. She became the first woman to be made a full partner of the firm in 1979. She also cofounded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, a group that works to improve the lives of children in the state.
In 1978, Bill Clinton was elected as the governor of Arkansas, and Hillary became the first lady of the state. She continued to work as a lawyer and a public servant, and was involved in various initiatives, such as improving education, health care, and rural development. She also gave birth to their only child, Chelsea, in 1980.
In 1992, Bill Clinton ran for president of the United States, and Hillary played an active role in his campaign. She faced criticism and scrutiny for her outspokenness and independence, as some people expected her to be a more traditional and submissive wife. She famously said, “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life.” She also defended her husband from allegations of infidelity and corruption, and stood by his side throughout the campaign.
First Lady of the United States
Bill Clinton won the presidential election in 1992, and Hillary became the first lady of the United States. She was also the first woman to have a postgraduate degree and a professional career before entering the White House. She broke the mold of the ceremonial and symbolic role of the first lady, and took on a more active and influential role in the administration. She was appointed as the head of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, which aimed to provide universal health care for all Americans. However, the plan faced opposition from Congress and the public, and failed to pass. Hillary was also involved in other issues, such as women’s rights, human rights, and children’s welfare. She traveled to more than 80 countries, and delivered a landmark speech at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, where she declared that “human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.”
Hillary also faced several controversies and scandals during her tenure as the first lady. She was accused of being involved in the Whitewater affair, a real estate deal that allegedly involved fraud and corruption. She was also investigated for the Travelgate and Filegate scandals, which involved the firing of White House travel staff and the improper access to FBI files. She was the first first lady to be subpoenaed and fingerprinted by the FBI, and to testify before a grand jury. She also endured the humiliation of her husband’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern, which led to his impeachment by the House of Representatives in 1998. Hillary chose to forgive and support her husband, and said that their marriage was “worth fighting for.”
Senator and Secretary of State
In 2000, Hillary decided to run for the U.S. Senate as a representative from New York, a state where she had never lived before. She faced skepticism and criticism from her opponents and the media, who questioned her motives and qualifications. She campaigned across the state, and met with various groups and communities. She won the election by a wide margin, and became the first woman elected to the Senate from New York, and the first first lady to hold an elected office.
As a senator, Hillary served on several committees, such as Armed Services, Environment and Public Works, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Budget. She worked on issues such as national security, health care, education, and economic development. She also supported the authorization of the use of force against Iraq in 2002, which later became a controversial decision. She was reelected to the Senate in 2006, with an even larger margin of victory.
In 2008, Hillary ran for president of the United States, and became the first woman to win a major party’s presidential primary. She competed against Barack Obama, a senator from Illinois, who had a similar platform and vision. The race was close and intense, and lasted until June, when Hillary conceded and endorsed Obama as the Democratic nominee. She also urged her supporters to unite behind him, and said, “Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it.”
After Obama won the presidential election, he appointed Hillary as the secretary of state, the highest-ranking cabinet position and the chief diplomat of the country. She accepted the offer, and resigned from the Senate in 2009. As the secretary of state, Hillary traveled to more than 110 countries, and logged more than 950,000 miles, making her the most-traveled secretary of state in history. She focused on restoring America’s leadership and reputation in the world, and promoted a “smart power” strategy that combined diplomacy, development, and defense. She also advocated for women’s rights, human rights, democracy, and global cooperation. She brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in 2012, and helped to impose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. She also faced challenges and crises, such as the Arab Spring, the Syrian civil war, the rise of ISIS, and the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans, including the ambassador. She took responsibility for the security lapses, and testified before Congress about the incident.
Hillary resigned as the secretary of state in 2013, and was succeeded by John Kerry. She received praise and criticism for her tenure, and was widely regarded as one of the most influential and powerful women in the world.
Presidential Candidate and Beyond
In 2016, Hillary announced that she was running for president again, and became the presumptive Democratic nominee after defeating Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont, in the primaries. She chose Tim Kaine, a senator from Virginia, as her running mate. She faced Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman and reality TV star, who was the Republican nominee. The campaign was unprecedented and divisive, and involved various issues, such as immigration, trade, health care, national security, and foreign policy. Hillary also faced controversies, such as the use of a private email server while she was the secretary of state, which was investigated by the FBI and the State Department. She also faced allegations of corruption and influence-peddling involving the Clinton Foundation, a charitable organization that she and her husband founded.
On November 8, 2016, Hillary lost the presidential election to Trump, despite winning the popular vote by nearly three million votes. She conceded the next day, and delivered a gracious and emotional speech, in which she said, “I know how disappointed you feel, because I feel it too. And so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort. This is painful, and it will be for a long time. But I want you to remember this: Our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted.”
Hillary also addressed the young girls and women who supported her, and said, “And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
After the election, Hillary largely stayed out of the public eye, and focused on spending time with her family and friends. She also wrote and published two books, What Happened, which is a memoir of her campaign and its aftermath, and The Book of Gutsy Women, which is a collection of stories about women who inspired her and her daughter. She also launched Onward Together, a political action organization that supports progressive causes and candidates. She occasionally speaks out on various issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 presidential election, and the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. She also hosts a podcast, You and Me Both, where she interviews guests from different fields and backgrounds.
Hillary Clinton is a trailblazer for women in politics, and a role model for many people around the world. She has faced many challenges and obstacles, but she has also achieved many successes and accomplishments. She has shown courage, resilience, and determination in pursuing her goals and serving her country. She has also demonstrated compassion, empathy, and generosity in helping others and making a difference. She is not perfect, and she has made mistakes, but she has also learned from them and grown from them. She is a human being, with strengths and weaknesses, hopes and fears, joys and sorrows. She is a woman, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a leader, and a citizen.