Senator, lawyer, former First Lady. Hillary Diane Rodham was born on October 26, 1947 in Chicago and raised in Park Ridge, Illinois, a picturesque suburb located 15 miles northwest of downtown Chicago.
She was the eldest daughter of Hugh Rodham, a prosperous fabric store owner, and Dorothy Emma Howell Rodham. Hillary had two younger brothers, including Hugh, Jr. (born 1950) and Anthony (born 1954).
As a young woman, Hillary Rodham was active in young Republican groups and campaigned for Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater in 1964. She was inspired to work in some form of public service after hearing a speech in Chicago by the Reverend Martin Luther King and became a Democrat in 1968.
Rodham attended Wellesley College; she was active in student politics and was elected Senior Class president before she graduated in 1969. She then attended Yale Law School, where she met Bill Clinton. Graduating with honors in 1973, she also attended one post-graduate year of study on children and medicine at Yale Child Study Center.
Hillary worked at various jobs during her summers as a college student. In 1971, she first came to Washington, D.C to work on U.S. Senator Walter Mondale’s subcommittee on migrant workers. In the summer of 1972, she worked in the western states for the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern.
In the spring of 1974, Rodham became a member of the presidential impeachment inquiry staff, advising the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives during the Watergate Scandal. After President Richard M. Nixon resigned in August, she became a faculty member of the University of Arkansas Law School in Fayetteville, where her Yale Law School classmate and boyfriend Bill Clinton was teaching as well.
Rodham married Bill Clinton on October 11, 1975, at their home in Fayetteville. Before he proposed marriage, Clinton had secretly purchased a small house that she had remarked that she liked. When he proposed marriage to her and she accepted, he revealed that they owned the house. Their daughter, Chelsea Victoria, was born February 27, 1980.
In 1976, she worked on Jimmy Carter’s successful campaign for president while husband Bill was elected Attorney General. He was elected governor in 1978 at age 32, lost re-election in 1980, but came back to win in 1982, 1984, 1986 (when the term of office was expanded from two to four years) and 1990.
Hillary joined the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock and in 1977 was appointed to part-time chairman of the Legal Services Corporation by President Carter. As First Lady of Arkansas for a dozen years (1979-1981, 1983-1992), she 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. She also served on the boards of TCBY and Wal-Mart. In 1988 and 1991, The National Law Journal named her one of the 100 most powerful lawyers in America. During the 1992 presidential campaign, she emerged as a dynamic and valued partner of her husband, and as president he named her to head the Task Force on National Health Reform (1993). The controversial commission produced a complicated plan which never came to the floor of either house. It was abandoned in September 1994.
During this period, she and her husband invested in the Whitewater real estate project. The project’s bank, Morgan Guaranty Savings and Loan failed, costing the federal government $73 million. Whitewater later became the subject of congressional hearings and an independent counsel investigation.
In 1998, the White House was engulfed with the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. Though she publicly supported her husband, Mrs. Clinton reportedly considered leaving her marriage. He was impeached, but the U.S. Senate failed to convict and he remained in office. With her husband limited to two terms in the White House, Mrs. Clinton decided she would seek the U.S. Senate seat from New York held by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He was retiring after four terms. Despite early problems, and charges of carpet bagging, Clinton beat popular Republican Rick Lazio by a surprisingly wide margin: 55 to 43 percent. Clinton became the first wife of a president to seek and win national office and the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate from New York. She easily won re-election in November 2006.
In early 2007, Hillary Clinton announced her plans to strive for another first—to be the first female president. During the 2008 Democratic Primaries, Senator Clinton conceded her nomination when it became apparent that nominee Barack Obama held a majority of the delegate vote.
Shortly after Obama won the U.S. presidential election, he nominated Clinton to become Secretary of State in his 2009 cabinet. She accepted the nomination, and was officially approved by the senate on January 21st, 2009.