Life And Struggles Of Hillary Clinton History Essay
With courage, confidence, and determination you can do anything you want and be whoever you want to be. You may encounter many obstacles before you get to the place you would like to be, but eventually you can get there as long as you do not give up. Proof of this is Hillary Clinton’s life and the struggles she went through to get to where she is today is. Determination was the primary key to Hillary’s success and many people doubted her abilities just because she was a woman, but that did not and will not discouraged her.
Hillary Diane Rodham was born on October 26, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois. She was raised in Park Ridge, Illinois with her two younger brothers, Hugh Ellsworth Rodham, Jr. and Tony Rodham. Her mother, Dorothy Rodham, was a stay at home mother, whose days revolved around Hillary and her two younger brothers. Her father, Hugh Rodham, was a retired Navy officer who owned a small business in the textile industry. Hillary’s parents raised their children with the traditional middle-class, Midwestern values which strained family, school, and church.
As a child, Hillary attended public schools in Illinois. Growing up with two younger brothers and a father who loved sports, Hillary quickly became interested. Her father taught her how to shoot a gun and they practiced by shooting cans. She participated in swimming, softball, and other sports in school. Hillary also joined as a Brownie and then a Girl Scout earning many awards. As a Brownie then a Girl Scout, Hillary participated in food drives, cookie sales, parades and other activities that would earn a badge. When she was in the eighth grade, John E Kennedy won the presidential election. The day after the election her teacher came to school and showed the class bruises he said he got when he tried to question the activities of the Democratic poll watchers where he voted. Hillary and her best friend were outraged by their teacher’s stories and a few days later when Hillary’s friend heard about a group of Republicans asking for volunteers to check voter lists against addresses to try and uncover vote fraud they decided to volunteer. While volunteering, Hillary discovered evidence of electoral fraud.
When she was thirteen she started her first summer job working for the Park Ridge Park supervising a small park a few miles from her house. Her father took the only car they owned to work and left early, so Hillary had to pull a wagon with balls, jump ropes and other supplies back from her house to the park and back three mornings a week. After that year, Hillary always had a summer job and even worked during the year.
When Hillary was young she was influenced by her religious education from the Reverend Don Jones, who introduced Hillary to some of the issues and movements of the time. Hillary read work written by religious philosophers under the Reverend’s guidance and in April, 1962, at the age of fourteen, Hillary attended a speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall. She attended the speech, titled “Remaining Awake through a Revolution.” with her Methodist Youth Fellowship group.
Hillary attended Maine East High School and participated in student council, National Honor Society, and the school newspaper. Hillary’s first experience with an organized effort to stress American values of mutual respect and understanding came when the school administration established a student group called the Cultural Values Committee. The principal from the school asked Hillary to be on the committee and this gave her the chance to meet and talk with kids whom she did not know and would have avoided.
Towards the end of Hillary’s junior year another school was built to keep up with the baby boomer. Half of Hillary’s junior class was split in two and half of them became the first class at Maine Township High School South. Hillary was transferred to Maine South for her senior year of high school and ran for Student Government president against several boys. Hillary lost. As soon as the election was over, the winner asked her to head the Organizations Committee, which as far as Hillary could tell was expected to do most of the work. One of her high school history teachers furthered her early political development by introducing her to Barry Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative. Hillary volunteered to campaign for Republican candidate Barry Goldwater in the U.S. presidential election of 1964. In 1965, Hillary graduated from high school in the top five percent of her class.
In 1965 Hillary enrolled at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. At Wellesley, she majored in political science and minored in psychology. Hillary did not find her place as a Wellesley student right away and she was enrolled in courses that were very challenging. A month after school started, Hillary called home and told her parents she did not think she was smart enough to be at Wellesley. Although, her father told her to come home and her mother told her she didn’t want her to be a quitter, Hillary thought it was best to stay and not go home.
During her freshman year, she joined the Wellesley Young Republicans and served as their president. Along with this group, Hillary also supported the elections of Edward Brooke and John Lindsay. Her doubts about the party and its policies were growing, especially concerning civil rights and the Vietnam War. Hillary’s church had given graduating high school students a subscription to motive magazine, which was published by the Methodist Church. Every month Hillary read articles expressing views that sharply contrasted with her usual sources of information. Hillary decided to resign from her position as president of the Young Republicans.
By the time Hillary was a junior in college, she had gone supporting Goldwater to supporting the anti-war campaign of Democratic Senator Eugene McCarthy. Hillary helped motivate many of the movements for change, such as getting rid of the surrogate mother living in the dormitories, occurring on the Wellesley campus. She believed that Wellesley held many opportunities for women and that the all-women college provided her more time to focus on her studies.
Near the end of Hillary’s junior year, the assassination of Dr. King on April 4, 1968 filled her with grief and rage. The next day, a massive march of protest and mourning was held at Post Office Square in Boston and Hillary joined it. After, Hillary organized a two-day student strike and worked with the black students attending Wellesley to try and recruit more black faculty and students. In 1969, Hillary delivered the first student address during graduation ceremonies and was named the first student commencement speaker in history. Her speech received a standing ovation lasting seven minutes long and she was featured in an article published in Life magazine because of her criticism of Senator Edward Brooke in part of her speech and the response it elicited. In the spring of 1969, Hillary graduated from Wellesley with highest honors.
Hillary attended Yale Law School, where she began her work as a supporter for children and families and also served on the editorial board of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action. As a law student, she represented foster children and parents in family court. She also worked on some of the earliest studies creating legal standards for identifying and protecting abused children. Hillary worked at the Yale Child Study Center, learning about new research on early childhood brain development. She also took on cases of child abuse at Yale-New Haven Hospital and volunteered at New Haven Legal Services to provide free legal advice for the poor.
Hillary was awarded a grant allowing her to work at Marian Wright Edelman's Washington Research Project in the summer of 1970. Working on this research project, Hillary was assigned to Senator Walter Mondale's Subcommittee on Migratory Labor and researched migrant workers’ problems with housing, health, education, and sanitation. Hillary claims Anne Wexler, a political advisor, provided her with her first job in politics, when Wexler recruited her to assist with working on the campaign of U.S. Senate candidate Joseph Duffey of Connecticut in 1970.
In the fall of 1970 is when Hillary first saw Bill Clinton in the law school’s student lounge talking to a group of fellow students. Even though they saw each other around campus it was not until that following spring that they were actually introduced. Hillary and Bill began dating after classes had ended in the spring on 1971.
In the summer of 1971, Hillary interned at the law firm of Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein in Oakland, California. At Treuhaft, Walker, and Burnstein Hillary worked for Mal Burnstein writing legal motions and briefs for a child custody case. Bill cancelled his original summer plans of going back to his home state of Arkansas and working in Senator George McGovern’s presidential campaign to accompany Hillary in California.
When Hillary returned that summer from California, her and Bill they continued to live together in an apartment they rented in New Haven. When the spring ended Hillary began to work for Marian Wright Edelman again. In the summer of 1971, most of Hillary’s work involved obtaining information about the Nixon Administration’s failure to enforce the legal ban on granting tax-exempt status to the private segregated academies that had sprung up in the South to avoid integrated public schools. Hillary went to Atlanta to meet with lawyers and civil rights workers who were gathering information that proved the private academies were created only for the purpose of avoiding the Supreme Court’s decisions, like Brown v. Board of Education.
That summer Bill was asked to go to Texas to help run the McGovern campaign and he asked Hillary to join him. Hillary wanted to go, but only if she had a specific job, and that is when Anne Wexler contacted her. Wexler offered Hillary a job heading up the voter registration drive in Texas, which she happily took. After completing law school in the spring of 1973, Bill took Hillary on her first trip to Europe. It was in the Lake District of England that Bill first proposed to Hillary. Saying no to Bill did not stop him from asking Hillary’s hand in marriage, he was persistent. Eventually he decided to wait for Hillary to ask him for marriage.
In 1973, Hillary graduated from Yale with a Juris Doctor degree. After her graduation she moved Cambridge, Massachusetts, to work for Marian Wright Edelman at the newly created Children’s Defense Fund. Working for Marian, Hillary went door to door trying to take census figures of school-age children. They compared those numbers to school enrollments and found significant discrepancies, and wanted to determine where these unaccounted-for children were. Two years later Congress passed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act. This Act stated that children with physical, emotional and learning disabilities are to be educated in the public school system.
Working for Marian brought Hillary great joy, but she began to miss Bill. Over the summer Hillary took the bar exam in Washington, D.C and Arkansas however, she passed the exam in Arkansas, but failed the exam in D.C. Instead of being upset by this news she took it as a sign, that it was time to go see Bill. By December 1973, when Hillary went to visit Bill, he decided he wanted to run for Congress. It was in January when Bill received a phone call asking him and Hillary to join Nixon’s impeachment staff being organized. Although Bill declined the offer, Hillary accepted it. She was offered a staff position and moved from Cambridge to an apartment in Washington, D.C. On the staff of the House Judiciary Committee, Hillary was one of the two women lawyers considering the impeachment of President Nixon.
Working on the committee, Hillary helped gather and prepare documents, which resulted from the Watergate scandal. The Watergate scandal involved recordings of the conversations between President Nixon and his Democratic opponents, these conversations were taped illegally by Nixon. The scandal started with a break-in to the National Democratic Headquarters and further investigation into the break-in revealed that Nixon knew about the break-in and helped to try and cover it up. Nixon’s involvement in the scandal eventually caused him to step down from office.
On August 9, 1974 Richard Nixon left office causing the committee to break up and leaving Hillary without a job. Hillary decided it was time to be with Bill and so she moved to Arkansas. Hillary accepted a teaching position at the University of Arkansas School of Law teaching criminal law and trial advocacy. Hillary also ran the legal aid clinic and the prison projects, which required Hillary to supervise the students who were providing legal aid to the incarcerated and poor. Along with teaching, Hillary also found time to help Bill in his campaign as best she could.
In the summer of 1975, Hillary and Bill bought a house in Fayetteville, Arkansas and Hillary finally agreed to marry Bill. Hillary and Bill were married on October 11, 1975 in the living room of their home. They were married by Reverend Vic Nixon, a local Methodist minister who had worked on Bill’s campaign. Hillary was asked many times over the years why she has stayed with Bill after certain events.
Soon after Hillary and Bill’s marriage, in 1976 Bill became the Attorney General of Arkansas. Since Bill’s election was secure, Hillary and Bill thought it was time they could get involved in Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign. Jimmy Carter’s staff asked Hillary to be the field coordinator in Indiana and Bill to head the campaign in Arkansas. Hillary’s job working as the field coordinator in Indian was to set up a campaign in every county in Indiana. Setting up a campaign in every county meant that Hillary had to find local people to work under the direction of regional coordinators. Carter however did not carry Indiana and so Hillary returned to Arkansas.
Returning to Arkansas, Hillary and Bill moved to the capital, Little Rock, Arkansas when Bill became the Attorney General of Arkansas. After the election, two partners from The Rose Law Firm approached Hillary with a job offer. The Rose Firm was reputed to be the oldest firm west of the Mississippi River. Through the law practice Hillary was able to work in the area of child advocacy. Working on cases for children’s rights convinced Hillary that Arkansas needed an organization devoted to children’s rights. With the help of Dr. Bettye Caldwell, a professor of child development at the University of Arkansas, Hillary cofounded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.
Later in the year 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Hillary to the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation. Hillary was the first woman to serve as chair of the board of directors for the Legal Services Corporation, and served until the end of 1981. Hillary became Arkansas’s First Lady in January 1978 when Bill won the bid for governor. By 1979, Hillary became the first female partner at the Rose Law Firm.
It was on February 27, 1980, that Hillary gave birth to her daughter, Chelsea Victoria Clinton. Following Chelsea’s birth the Rose Law Firm gave Hillary four months off to take care of her daughter. At the time there was no parental leave plan at the firm and it was on her time off that Hillary realized the need and importance that all parents have the option to stay home with their newborn children.
In November of 1980 Bill lost his bid for reelection, but two years later in 1982 he won and returned to the governor’s office. During Bill’s campaign Hillary decided to take a leave of absence to devote her help to Bill’s campaign. During Bill’s second term, Hillary was appointed chair of the Arkansas Education Standards Committee. On the committee Hillary helped to change the state’s public education system. Hillary continued to fight against the Arkansas Education to establish teacher testing and state standards for curriculum. Hillary was given the honor in 1983 and named Arkansas Woman of the Year and then in 1984 she was named Arkansas Mother of the Year.
In 1985, Hillary established the Arkansas's Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youth. This program helped provide instruction to lower-income homes, and helped parents work with their children in preschool. Even though Hillary was First Lady of Arkansas she continued to work for the Rose Law Firm although, she worked less hours and made less money as the other partners. Hillary brought the firm many clients from her corporate connections. By 1987, Hillary was chosen as chairperson of the board of the New World Foundation and the Children’s Defense Fund. The New World Foundation was a charity organization stationed in New York and it helped start the Children’s Defense Fund.
In 1992 Bill was elected President of the United States and this caused Hillary’s political involvement to increase. Not only was Hillary the first First Lady to have a postgraduate degree she was the first to have an office located in the West Wing along with the usual First Lady office in the East Wing of the White House. Bill selected Hillary to head the Task Force on National Health Care Reform in January 1993. This allowed Hillary to further her skills as an advocate for children and health care and she tried to develop effective efforts to help reduce teen pregnancy, improve the foster care system and help provide health care to children through the organization, Children's Health Insurance Program.
In the summer of 1995 Hillary was asked to deliver the keynote address at the United Nations International Conference. The speech covered important issues concerning women near Beijing, China. In 1996, Hillary published her first book titled It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us and it became a best-seller. The same year Hillary’s first book was published Bill was reelected President.
In November 1998, the United States Senator, Daniel Moynihan, announced his retirement. After being urged by friends, Hillary announced that in the 2000 US Senate election she was going to run for the open seat. With the decision to run for Senator also came the decision for Hillary, Bill, and their daughter Chelsea to move. In September 1999, Hillary and Bill bought a home in Chappaqua, New York. Hillary was the first First Lady to be a candidate for elected office. On November 7, 2000 Clinton won the election and on January 3, 2001 she was sworn in as the United States Senator of New York.
Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks Hillary became strongly involved in securing funding for the rebuild of New York’s Ground Zero and the health concerns associated with those who were first at the scene and risked their lives. Hillary fought to obtain better health care for wounded soldiers, and believed the 2001 military action in Afghanistan was an opportunity to not only fight terrorism, but help the women citizens who suffer under the Taliban. Hillary supported the military action in Afghanistan and after the start of the Iraq War she went to visit the American soldiers who were station in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2003 Hillary published her second book titled, Living History. Her memoirs sold over three million copies in the United States and other nations and was even translated into other languages. Hillary announced she wanted a second Senate term in November 2004. Hillary won the election on November 7, 2006 with 67% of the vote and 58 of New York’s counties. By then her views on the war had changed and she believed it was time to begin withdrawing soldiers from Iraq. When the Iraq War troop surge came in 2007 Hillary was strongly opposed and she voted in favor of a bill that would require President Bush to withdraw soldiers from Iraq, but the bill was vetoed by President Bush.
Hillary had been planning to run for the United States President since 2003, but it was not until January 20, 2007 that she announced she was forming a presidential committee for the US Presidential election of 2008. The beginning of the election polls showed Barack Obama and John Edwards as Hillary’s closest competitors. By September 2007, the Democratic primaries were held and the polls showed in those first six stated that Hillary was in the lead. The next month Hillary was far ahead of the Democratic competitors in the election according to the national polls. But by June 2008, Obama was gaining in the polls and Hillary decided to end her campaign and endorse Obama. She continued to campaign for Obama until he won the election.
In November 2008, President Barack Obama nominated Hillary to be Secretary of State, but it was not until December that Obama announced that Hillary was his nominee for Secretary of State. After much debate Hillary finally accepted the position and was sworn in on January 21, 2009 as the 67th Secretary of State. Starting as a student then a successful lawyer and passing through as the First Lady of the United States, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is following in the great footsteps of women who have made history.
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