Election 2016

Meet Hillary Clinton

Get the scoop on the life of Hillary Clinton

May 05, 2016
NICHOLAS HUNT—BET/GETTY IMAGES

If elected, former first lady, senator, and secretary of state Hillary Clinton would become the country’s first woman president.

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton was born on October 26, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois. She is the oldest of three children. Her father, Hugh Rodham, was a World War II veteran and owner of a small business that made and sold curtains. Her mother, Dorothy, was a full-time homemaker.

A Young Leader

After graduating from high school, Clinton attended Wellesley College, in Massachusetts. While she was there, she became involved in social justice issues. Her interest in these issues had been sparked years earlier, after hearing Martin Luther King Jr. speak. Clinton graduated from Wellesley in 1969, and was elected by her classmates to speak at the ceremony. She was the first student in the school’s history to do so.

Clinton moved to Connecticut, where she went to Yale Law School. Her graduating class had only 27 women. Clinton’s years at Yale prepared her for work at the Children's Defense Fund, in Massachusetts, where she fought for the rights of children and families. Soon, though, Clinton was ready for another big move. In 1974, she headed to Arkansas. That’s where Bill Clinton was from. The couple had met when they were students at Yale, and married in 1975.

A Working First Lady

Bill Clinton served as governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981, and again from 1983 to 1992. During her husband’s years in office, Hillary Clinton continued her law career and became involved with programs dedicated to helping children and the disadvantaged.

In 1993, she became the first lady of the United States after Bill Clinton was sworn in as president. He was re-elected in 1996 and served until 2001. Throughout President Clinton’s eight years in office, Hillary Clinton focused on public-service programs, including one aimed at providing Americans with health-care coverage. Her involvement in this issue, however, was controversial and in the end, Clinton’s efforts were unsuccessful.

Aiming for the White House

As the Clintons prepared to leave the White House, Hillary Clinton decided to run for office. In 1999, she moved to New York and campaigned for the state’s open seat in the U.S. Senate. In November 2000, Clinton won the election with 55% of the vote, becoming the first first lady to win elective office. She was re-elected in 2006.

A year later, Clinton announced that she would run for president. But the Democratic nomination eventually went to Barack Obama. After Obama won the 2008 presidential election, he asked Clinton to serve as U.S. secretary of state. She accepted, making her the third woman in this important position. She resigned in 2013 and two years later, announced her plan to run for president again. Clinton is currently the Democratic frontrunner. But the party won’t officially announce its nominee until July, at the Democratic National Convention, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If Clinton is chosen, she will be the first woman to be nominated by a major party for president of the United States.

Clinton lives in Chappaqua, New York. She and Bill Clinton have one daughter, Chelsea, and two grandchildren. 


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