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Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Described as the first major U.S. female political figure since Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary Rodham Clinton (born 1947) was considered a force to be reckoned with in American politics. Married to Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States, she figured prominently in the Clinton administration with substantial influence on domestic policy-making.

A First Lady with an independent professional identity, Hillary Rodham Clinton had experience as a corporate lawyer, a tenacious fighter for educational reform, a nationally recognized expert on children's legal rights, and a director of both corporate and nonprofit boards. Hillary Diane Rodham was born on October 26, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois. She grew up with two younger male siblings in Park Ridge, a conservative, upper-class suburb north of the city. Her parents, Hugh and Dorothy Howell Rodham, reared their three children with traditional mid-American values that stressed family, church, school, and social obligations that evolved from the adage that "to whom much is given, much is expected."

As a youth Rodham was influenced by her religious training in Methodism, with its emphasis on personal salvation and active applied Christianity. A seminal influence in her teen years was a youth minister, the Reverend Don Jones, who introduced Rodham and her peers to some of the issues, causes, and movements of the time and who encouraged involvement in direct social action. It was under Jones's guidance that she read religious philosophers such as Soren Kierkegaard and Dietrich Bonhoeffer; babysat the children of migrant farm workers; and met the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when he came to Chicago on a speaking tour.

Rodham attended the public schools of Park Ridge and in 1965 enrolled in Wellesley College, where she majored in political science and took a minor in psychology. Her undergraduate years were important to her developing world view and growing sense of personal empowerment. An exceptional communicator, she was a catalyst for many of the movements for change occurring on the Wellesley campus and was involved also in a number of off-campus activities. She spent her final undergraduate summer in Washington, D.C., working for the House Republican Conference and returned to campus to spend her senior year as president of the student government. Graduating with highest distinction in 1969, Rodham gave the first student address delivered during commencement in the history of the college. In the fall she enrolled in Yale University Law School, where she was among 30 women in the class of 1972.

Experience in Washington, D.C.

Rodham's experiences at Yale helped to focus her areas of interest and commitment toward issues related to children, particularly poor and disadvantaged ones. She became acquainted with Marian Wright Edelman, a civil rights attorney who headed up the Washington Research Project, a non-profit group based in Washington, D.C., later to be known as the Children's Defense Fund. Spending a summer internship in Washington, D.C., Rodham was assigned by Edelman to Walter Mondale's Senate subcommittee, which was studying the plight of migrant families. In subsequent years at Yale she volunteered to work in the Yale Child Studies Center and the Yale-New Haven Hospital, assisted the New Haven Legal Assistance Association, and engaged in several other projects aimed at improving understanding of, and effecting improvements in, the legal system where children were concerned. An extra year of study at Yale prior to her graduation in 1973 further refined her expertise in child law issues.

After graduation Rodham moved to Washington and took a full-time position with the Children's Defense Fund. As staff attorney, she worked on juvenile justice problems, traveling the country comparing census data with school populations and becoming involved in litigations related to juvenile issues. In January 1974 she was chosen as one of 43 lawyers handpicked to work on the legal staff of the House Judiciary Committee, which was charged with preparing impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon resulting from the Watergate scandal. When Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, and the legal staff disbanded, she accepted a teaching position at the University of Arkansas Law School. It was in Arkansas in 1975 that she married Bill Clinton, whom she had met while attending Yale.

A Life in Little Rock

Two years after their marriage Bill Clinton became attorney general of Arkansas, and the couple moved to Little Rock. In 1977 Hillary Clinton joined the prestigious Rose Law Firm, said to be one of the oldest law firms west of the Mississippi River, and became involved in an area of law known as "intellectual property." Her primary focus, however, remained in the area of children's rights, and she helped found Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. She continued to write on the rights of children, revising an earlier article published in the Harvard Educational Review. The revised essay, "Children's Rights: A Legal Perspective," appearing in Children Rights: Contemporary Perspectives, developed and refined her arguments for the implementation of children's legal rights. She also was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the board of the Legal Services Corporation in Washington (1978 to 1981), a federally-funded program that provided legal assistance to the poor. In January 1978, following her husband's successful bid for the governorship, Clinton became Arkansas' first lady. Later that year she also became the first woman ever to become a partner in the Rose Law Firm. In February 1980 she gave birth to a daughter, Chelsea Victoria.

In her 11 years as first lady of Arkansas, Clinton continued to pursue activities aimed at public service and policy reforms in the state. In her husband's second term she served as chair of the Arkansas Education Standards Committee, established to study the state's educational system and to recommend changes in the standards for public schools. Released to the public in September 1983, the standards report was controversial in several aspects, although it would eventually become state law. In 1985 Hillary Clinton also gave leadership to the establishment in Arkansas of the Home Instruction Program for Pre-School Youngsters (HIPPY). The program, which brought instruction and tutorials into impoverished homes to teach four-and five-year-olds, became one of the largest programs in the country, with over 2,400 mothers participating.

In 1987 she was elected chairperson of the board of the Children's Defense Fund and of the New World Foundation, a philanthropic organization headquartered in New York that had helped launch the Children's Defense Fund. In that year, too, Hillary and Bill Clinton were awarded the National Humanitarian Award by the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Enjoying a national prominence, Hillary Clinton held directorships on the boards of directors of several corporations, including Wal-Mart, TCBY Enterprises (yogurt), and Lafarge (cement). She would also be cited by the National Law Journal in 1988, and again in 1991, as one of the "One Hundred Most Influential Lawyers in America."

Analyses of Clinton were varied; however, they generally pointed to her "spiritual center" and her "continuous textured development." People magazine, as one example, noted that "her social concern and her political thought rest on a spiritual foundation" (January 25, 1993). The "politics of virtue" according to the The New York Times Magazine, informed the actions of the newest First Lady (May 23, 1993).

In the White House

As the wife of the president of the United States Clinton remained an advocate for many of the programs and issues to which she earlier devoted her time and professional expertise. Her stated goal of "making a difference" in the world led her to press for reforms in many aspects of the American system, including health care and child welfare. Hers is said to be "the most purely voiced expression of the collective spirit of the Clinton administration, a spirit that is notable … for the long reach of its reformist ambitions …." (The New York Times, May 23, 1993). She provided leadership in a number of areas, with the most notable appointment in the first year of the Clinton administration being head of the Task Force on National Health Care, with responsibility for preparing legislation, lobbying proposals before Congress, and marshaling strategy for passage of a comprehensive reform package.

Her White House agenda beyond health care reform included promoting diversity in personnel appointments—an effort she began with her role in the transition group—and pushing for children's issues. With an office in the White House's west wing, close to the center of power, Clinton was expected to remold the role of First Lady for the 21st century.

Clinton has remained an active and vital figure in the White House throughout her husband's presidency. In August of 1995, Hillary Clinton was invited to deliver the keynote address at the United Nations International Conference on Women near Beijing, China. Early in 1996 Clinton and her daughter Chelsea made a goodwill trip to South Asia, addressing women's issues in Pakistan and India.

In November 1996 Bill Clinton was re-elected president of the United States. In that same year Hillary Clinton published her first book entitled It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us.

Further Reading

Several biographies provide coverage of Hillary Rodham Clinton's personal and professional life as well as her philosophical development and early tenure in the White House. These include the following: Norman King, Hillary: Her True Story (1993); Donnie Radcliffe, Hillary Rodham Clinton: A First Lady for Our Time (1993); and Judith Warner, Hillary Clinton: The Inside Story (1993). Short biographical articles and political analyses are found in a variety of magazines and newspapers. Recommended among these are Patricia O'Brien, "The First Lady with a Career?" Working Woman (August 1992); Margaret Carlson, "All Eyes on Hillary," TIME (September 14, 1992); Michael Kelly, "Saint Hillary," The New York Times Magazine (May 23, 1993); and "The Clintons: Taking Their Measure," U.S. News and World Report (January 31, 1994). Additional information may be obtained from the White House web site at http://www.whitehouse.com. □

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Clinton, Hillary Rodham

CLINTON, HILLARY RODHAM

Attorney, professor, First Lady, and now senator Hillary Rodham Clinton created a new and dramatic role in national politics. With a distinguished career that ranged from working for the House Judiciary Committee to teaching criminal law and working as a lawyer, she assumed a key policy role in the administration of her husband, President bill clinton. From 1993 to 1994 she ran that administration's top legislative priority, the failed effort at health care reform. Not surprisingly, her role in the administration was quite controversial. She was also exposed to criticism in the whitewater scandal. However, supporters praised her for her skills as a manager and negotiator.

Clinton was born on October 26, 1947, in Chicago, the eldest of three children, to Hugh E. Rodham, a drapery businessman, and Dorothy Howell Rodham, a homemaker. She became head of the local Young Republicans chapter as a first-year student at Wellesley College, in Massachusetts, but she eventually changed her party affiliation. Clinton's shift in political opinion is visible from her ongoing volunteer work for presidential candidates: In 1964, the high-school senior backed the conservative barry goldwater; in 1968, the political science major supported the liberal eugene mccarthy.

At Yale Law School, Clinton did research work for the Yale Child Study Center and for Senator Walter F. Mondale and also volunteered for the child advocacy group that later became the children's defense fund.

While working as an editor on the Yale Review of Law and Social Action, she wrote the first of several articles on children's rights. She was troubled by the law's refusal to consider children competent to make their own decisions until the age of 18. She concluded that the law should presume competence in children from the age of 12. Her 1979 article "Children's Rights: A Legal Perspective" argued in favor of children having the right to make a broad range of decisions, from tailoring their education to leaving an abusive home.

Yale also introduced Clinton to Bill Clinton, a fellow law student. They briefly went separate ways after graduating in 1973—he to teach law in Arkansas, she to work at the Children's Defense Fund in Massachusetts. Then, in January 1974, the 26-year-old Clinton was asked to Washington, D.C., to help impeach President richard m. nixon, whose presidency was undercut by the watergate scandal. The special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee hired her to be in charge of legal procedures for its inquiry. When Nixon resigned in August rather than face almost certain impeachment, Clinton's career was on the rise.

The Clintons were married in October 1975. They taught law at the University of Arkansas School of Law, in Fayetteville. In addition to conducting her criminal law courses, Clinton ran the school's legal aid clinic, founded the nonprofit Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, and worked on Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential campaign. Afterward, President Carter named her to the board of directors of the legal services corporation, which distributes federal funds to legal aid clinics nationwide. Over the next decade, she served on the boards of directors for national corporations and for the Children's Defense Fund. In 1980, she became a partner at the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas. Her husband, meanwhile, won election to five terms as governor of Arkansas and appointed her to head several committees, thus beginning the working partnership that would carry them to Washington, D.C. She chaired the Rural Health Advisory Committee and headed

the Arkansas Education Standards Committee as well as holding other official posts.

In 1992, Clinton campaigned for her husband for president. Her speeches on domestic issues made clear to voters nationwide what voters in Arkansas already knew: She was her husband's political and intellectual equal and not merely the a spouse along for the ride.

After he took office in 1993, Clinton's husband named her to head his task force on health care reform. The reform was a key campaign promise, and the stakes were high. Most critics thought it inappropriate to appoint her. A common complaint was nepotism: the president could not be expected to fire his own wife if problems arose. This resistance largely subsided once Clinton began managing the 500-employee task force, and it was silenced after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held in June 1993 that she was a de facto government official. Voters responded with mixed reactions in opinion polls, although a slim majority approved of her role. But lawmakers, despite bipartisan praise for her work with them, proved less receptive. Even a Democratic majority in Congress lacked sufficient votes to enact the plan developed by her task force.

"There is no formula for how women should lead their lives. that is why we must respect the choices that each woman makes for herself and her family. every woman deserves the chance to realize her god-given potential."
—Hillary Clinton

The Whitewater scandal created more controversy around Clinton. The issue began with a failed land deal that she and her husband had made in the 1980s while he was governor and she an attorney at the Rose Law Firm. It surfaced during the 1992 presidential campaign. By 1994, it became a flood of legal, political, and personal concerns: shady deals, improper influence, tax evasion, bribery, cover-ups, congressional hearings, independent counsel, and even the suicide of deputy White House counsel Vincent Foster. Clinton's work at the Rose Law Firm placed her squarely in the middle of the controversy. In the spring of 1994, she admitted to having made some mistakes but claimed that neither she nor her husband had done anything criminal. She asserted that political enemies were trying to smear the administration.

Despite spending millions of dollars and obtaining convictions of several Clinton associates, special prosecutor Ken Starr was unable to prove that the Clintons had broken the law. As the case began to wind down, new controversy reignited the investigation. In the course of being deposed by Starr on sexual harassment charges by a woman named Paula Jones, President Clinton denied having had a sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Starr issued a report, called a "referral" in which he accused the president of having perjured himself. As a result of the report, the Republican-led House passed articles of impeachment in December 1998. Hillary Clinton voiced her strong support of her husband, and in 1999 President Clinton was acquitted of the charges.

In 1999, Clinton announced that she would run for the Senate seat that had been held by Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who had announced his retirement. When New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani decided not to run, the Republican nomination went to U.S. Representative Rick Lazio. After a long and costly campaign, Clinton was elected senator from New York on November 7, 2000, becoming the first former First Lady to be elected to the United States Senate as well as the first woman elected statewide in New York. Clinton serves on the Senate Committees for Environmental and Public Works; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. In 2003, she was appointed to the Senate Armed Services Committee becoming the first New Yorker to serve on that committee.

As a freshman senator, Clinton's greatest challenges arose in the aftermath of the september 11th attacks in 2001. She worked with members of the New York delegation and Congress to secure funds for clean-up and recovery of Ground Zero (as the former World Trade Center site is now known) as well as health tracking for persons who worked in the area and grants to small enterprises who lost business as a result of the terrorist attacks.

In October, 2002, Clinton spoke in support of the resolution authorizing the United States to use force against Iraq, while voicing opposition to a unilateral attack. In early 2003 she proposed a funding formula for homeland security and also proposed a $7 billion Domestic Defense Fund that included $1 billion in funding for "high-threat" areas such as New York City and Washington, D.C.

Clinton has been the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the National Association for Home Health Care's Claude Pepper Award, the Public Spirit Award of the american legion Auxiliary, and the New York City Legal Aid Society's Servant of Justice Award. Clinton has written numerous op-ed pieces as well as articles for magazines and journals.

She has published several books, including 1997's It Takes a Village, and Other Lessons Children Teach Us and the An Invitation to the White House (2000), both of which were best-sellers.

Over the last two decades, Clinton has been the subject of more than a dozen books and hundreds of articles. Many have recognized her for her advocacy of democracy and human rights, including women's rights and children's rights, as well as religious tolerance and health care. Many have vilified her for her promotion of the same. As long as she remains on the political stage, Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the focus of heated debates and discussions.

further readings

"About Hillary Rodham Clinton." 2003. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton web page. Available online at <clinton.senate.gov/about_hrc.html>; website homepage: <clinton.senate.gov> (accessed November 11, 2003).

Clinton, Hillary Rodham. 2003. Living History. New York: Simon & Schuster.

——. 1996. It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Halley, Patrick S. 2002. On the Road with Hillary: A Behind the Scenes Look at the Journey from Arkansas to the U.S. Senate. New York: Viking.

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Clinton, Hillary Rodham

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Born: October 26, 1947
Chicago, Illinois

American first lady, U.S. senator, and lawyer

Described as the first major U.S. female political figure since Eleanor Roosevelt (18841962), Hillary Rodham Clinton has become a strong force in American politics. As first lady, married to Bill Clinton (1946), the forty-second president of the United States, she became active in domestic policy. Her election as a U.S. senator from New York in 2000 marked the first time that a first lady still in the White House was elected to office.

Her early years

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton was born on October 26, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up, along with two younger brothers, in suburban Chicago. Her parents, Hugh and Dorothy Howell Rodham, raised their children with traditional middle-American values that stressed family, church, school, and social obligations.

As a youth, Clinton was influenced by her religious education, especially from the Reverend Don Jones, who introduced Rodham to some of the issues, causes, and movements of the time. It was under Jones's guidance that she read religious philosophers and helped the needy by babysitting the children of migrant farm workers. Another influence was meeting the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (192968) during his trip to Chicago on a speaking tour.

In 1965 Clinton enrolled in Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where she majored in political science and minored in psychology. Her undergraduate studies inspired her developing world view. A natural communicator, she motivated many of the movements for change occurring on the Wellesley campus. Graduating with highest honors in 1969, Clinton gave the first student address delivered during graduation ceremonies in the history of the college. In the fall she enrolled in Yale University Law School.

Washington and Watergate

Clinton's experiences at Yale helped to focus her areas of interest and commitment toward issues related to children, especially the poor and disadvantaged. For a summer, Clinton worked with Marian Wright Edelman (1939), a civil rights attorney who headed the Washington Research Project, a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C. The group would later become known as the Children's Defense Fund. Afterwards, Clinton returned to Yale, where she volunteered in several projects aimed at improving the legal system to address children's rights.

After graduating in 1973, Clinton moved to Washington and took a full-time position with the Children's Defense Fund as a staff lawyer. In January 1974, she was chosen as one of forty-three lawyers handpicked to work on the legal staff of the House Judiciary Committee.

At the time, the committee was preparing documents resulting from the Watergate scandal. Watergate was named for the Washington, D.C., complex in which it took place. The Watergate scandal involved burglary and the illegal tapings of the conversations of the Democratic opponents of Republican president Richard Nixon (19131994) during the 1972 presidential campaign. Eventually the American public would learn of Nixon's involvement in the scandal. The president's involvement all but forced him to step down from office.

After Nixon left office on August 9, 1974, the legal staff broke up. Soon Clinton accepted a teaching position at the University of Arkansas Law School. It was in Arkansas in 1975 that she married Bill Clinton, whom she had met while attending Yale.

Life in Little Rock

Two years after their marriage, Bill Clinton became attorney general of Arkansas, and the couple moved to the state's capitol, Little Rock. In 1977 Hillary Clinton joined the Rose Law Firm, said to be one of the oldest law firms west of the Mississippi River. Her primary focus, however, remained in the area of children's rights, and she helped found Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. In January 1978, following her husband's successful bid for governor, Clinton became Arkansas's first lady. In February 1980, she gave birth to a daughter, Chelsea Victoria.

In her eleven years as first lady of Arkansas, Clinton continued to pursue activities aimed at public service and policy reforms in the state. In her husband's second term she served as chair of the Arkansas Education Standards Committee. In 1985 Hillary Clinton led the establishment of the Home Instruction Program for Pre-School Youngsters (HIPPY). The program brought instruction and tutorials into impoverished, or lower-income, homes, and became one of the largest programs of its kind in the country.

In 1987 she was elected chairperson of the board of the Children's Defense Fund and of the New World Foundation, a charity organization headquartered in New York that had helped launch the Children's Defense Fund. Also in that year, Hillary and Bill Clinton were awarded the National Humanitarian Award by the National Conference of Christians and Jews. For the first time, Hillary Clinton enjoyed national attention when the National Law Journal, in 1988 and again in 1991, named her as one of the "One Hundred Most Influential Lawyers in America."

Life in the White House

After Bill Clinton was elected president of the United States in 1992, Hillary's involvement in political issues, both in the United States and in foreign countries, increased. She began to remold the role of the first lady. Hillary Clinton remained an advocate for many of the programs and issues to which she earlier devoted her time and professional skills. She provided leadership in a number of areas, including the Task Force on National Health Care, which was responsible for proposals and passing reform packages before Congress.

Her White House agenda went beyond health care reform and included pushing for children's and women's issues. Hillary Clinton proved to be an active and vital figure in the White House throughout her husband's presidency. In August of 1995, Hillary Clinton was invited to deliver the keynote address (a speech that covers the issues that are most important to a particular group of people) at the United Nations International Conference on Women near Beijing, China.

In November 1996, Bill Clinton was reelected president of the United States. In that same year Hillary Clinton published her first book entitled It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us. The book became a best-seller.

On September 20, 2000, Independent Counsel Robert Ray announced his final report reviewing the Clinton's 1970s-era Whitewater real estate partnership. Although the first family's involvement in the partnership was somewhat unclear, "Whitewater," as it would become known, was a real estate scandal that followed the Clintons throughout the 1990s. Ray said in his final report reviewing the scandal that there was not enough evidence to prove that either President Clinton or Hillary Rodham Clinton had been guilty of any criminal wrongdoing.

New York senator

In 2000 Hillary Clinton announced that she was running for a seat in the U.S. Senate from New York and was later named as the Democratic nominee. Her Republican opponent was originally Rudolph Giuliani (1944), the mayor of New York. However, when Giuliani had to drop out of the race after becoming ill, Republican Rick Lazio (1958) jumped into the race. On November 7, 2000, Clinton won the election.

On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the United States and destroyed the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan, New York. Clinton then focused her energy on developing a plan to help that section of the city to rebuild. As a senator, Clinton also continues to work for laws to help children, women, and families.

For More Information

King, Norman. Hillary: Her True Story. New York: Carol Publishing Group, 1993.

Milton, Joyce. The First PartnerHillary Rodham Clinton. New York: William Morrow, 1999.

O'Brien, Patricia. "The First Lady with a Career." Working Woman (August 1992).

Sheehy, Gail. Hillary's Choice. New York: Random House, 1999.

Warner, Judith. Hillary Clinton: The Inside Story. New York: Signet, 1993.

Wheeler, Jill C. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Edina, MN: ABDO Pub. Co., 2002.

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Clinton, Hillary Rodham

Hillary Rodham Clinton (rŏd´əm), 1947–, U.S. senator and secretary of state, wife of President Bill Clinton, b. Chicago, grad. Wellesley College (B.A. 1969), Yale Law School (LL.B., 1973). After law school she served on the House panel that investigated the Watergate affair. She was in private practice from 1977 until 1992, becoming an expert on children's rights. After her husband's election as president, she initially played a highly visible role in his administration, co-chairing the task force that proposed changes in the U.S. health-care system. Less publicly involved in policy issues after that program failed to gain support, she won sympathy for her support of her husband during the Lewinsky scandal and the subsequent impeachment proceedings. She became the first first lady to be subpoenaed by a grand jury when she testified about the Whitewater affair in 1996. In 2000, Clinton won election as a Democrat to the U.S. senate from New York, becoming the first wife of a president to win election to public office; she was reelected in 2006. A candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, she ultimately narrowly lost to Barack Obama, but she subsequently served (2009–13) as secretary of state after he was elected president. Clinton is the author of It Takes a Village (1996) and two memoirs, Living History (2003) and Hard Choices (2014).

See biographies by D. Radcliffe (1994), D. Brock (1996), G. Sheehy (1999), G. Troy (2006), C. Bernstein (2007), and J. Gerth and D. Van Natta, Jr. (2007); W. H. Chafe, Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal (2012); J. Allen and A. Parnes, HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton (2014).

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Clinton, Hillary Rodham

Clinton, Hillary Rodham (1947– ) US Senator (2000– ) from New York, attorney and first lady (1993–2001), wife of 42nd US President Bill Clinton. In 1993, she drafted a plan to provide health insurance for all Americans, but it was not implemented. Clinton involved herself with women's rights around the world. Along with her husband, she was implicated in the Whitewater land and banking scandal. She firmly supported Bill Clinton through a series of allegations of extra-marital liaisons.

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