Hillary Rodham engaged in politics early. As a preteen in 1960, she canvassed for Richard Nixon in Chicago. When she was fourteen in 1962, she saw the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. speak in Chicago on a youth group trip. His speech inspired her to be a public servant. Her high school history teacher encouraged her early conservative ideals, and in 1964 she campaigned for Republican candidate Barry Goldwater in the presidential campaign.
Rodham attended Wellesley College, an all-female college near Boston, Massachusetts, from 1965 to 1969. She participated in student politics and served as president of the Young Republicans Club. Rodham changed her political outlook after witnessing Vietnam War protests, Civil Rights riots, the struggle of her black classmates and the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. By the end of her undergraduate career, she identified as a Democrat.
Rodham took her studies seriously and enthusiastically embraced every opportunity for learning. She spent her summers following her passion for public service and politics. In the summer of 1971, she traveled to Washington, D.C., to work on U.S. Senator Walter Mondale’s subcommittee on migrant workers, and in the summer of 1972 she campaigned for Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern. Rodham always displayed a dedication to helping children. Rodham spent an extra year at Yale Law School to study children and after graduating Yale, she worked for the Children’s Defense Fund in Massachusetts.
In the spring of 1974, Rodham joined the impeachment inquiry staff advising the Judiciary Committee for the House of Representatives during the Watergate Investigation. After President Richard M. Nixon resigned in August of 1974, she joined the faculty at the University Of Arkansas Law School in Fayetteville, where Bill Clinton taught as well. In 1975, she founded the university’s legal aid clinic and worked with prison advocacy. Her clinic served over three hundred individuals the first year it opened, and the clinic continues its operations today.
In 1976, Rodham joined the Jimmy Carter campaign for President in Indiana as a field coordinator. Meanwhile Clinton ran for Attorney General of Arkansas and accepted an invitation from the Carter campaign to chair the campaign in Arkansas. When Arkansas elected Clinton as Attorney General, Rodham and Clinton moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1977, President Carter appointed Rodham to be the first woman to serve on the board of directors of the Legal Service Corporation. That same year, Rodham joined the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, the oldest law firm west of the Mississippi, and in 1979 she became the first female partner of the firm.
As First Lady of Arkansas for five terms, from 1979 to 1981 and 1983 to 1992, Hillary Clinton remained a dedicated professional and served the people of Arkansas in both public and private capacities. Clinton became the first woman to serve on the Wal-Mart board of directors. She also served on TCBY and Lafarge boards. In 1988 and 1991, The National Law Journal named her one of the 100 Most Powerful Lawyers in America.
Clinton’s knowledge of early childhood development allowed her to be a powerful ally for Arkansan women and children. Starting in 1977, Clinton co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, an organization that continues to fight for economic equality, early childhood education and children’s healthcare. In 1983, she chaired the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee and in 1985 introduced the Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youth, or HIPPY, a program aimed preparing preschool children for school. In 1986, she served on the board of the Children’s Defense Fund, and in 1988 served on the board of the Arkansas’ Children’s Hospital Legal Services.
After leaving the White House in January, 2000, Hillary Clinton announced in February that she would seek the New York Senate seat. Despite criticisms that Clinton had never lived in New York, she defeated popular Republican Rick Lazio 55 to 43 percent. Clinton became the first First Lady to win elected office and the first woman New York Senator. New York re-elected her in November 2006.
In 2015, Secretary Clinton announced that she was running for president again. In 2016, she accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination as the first female candidate for a major political party. She ran against real estate mogul Donald Trump. After a brutal and controversial campaign, Clinton won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College and conceded to Donald Trump. In September 2017, she released her analysis of the campaign in her bestselling book What Happened.