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Hillary Clinton campaigning in Missouri, USA in 2016

Hillary Clinton: Biography

Image Credit: Gino Santa Maria / | Above: Hillary Clinton campaigns at Nelson-Mulligan Carpenters Training Center in Missouri, USA in 2016

Hillary Clinton is a modern day Superwoman and Emmeline Pankhurst rolled into one. With the political nous to rival any sexist male counterpart and with the wife, mother and sky-high IQ boxes all ticked, it's little wonder that her ambitions extend as far as the American Presidency. Her unstoppable character has made her into one of the most famous and successful personalities in current American politics, and there's enough energy left to keep the Clinton flag flying for a long while yet.

Hillary Diana Rodham was born on 26 October 1947 in Chicago, the eldest of three children (she has two younger brothers, Hugh and Tony). Her Methodist upbringing in Illinois, where the family moved when she was three, made for a strict childhood and, accordingly, she was top of her classes both academically and recreationally. She took part in every sports club going and earned many awards as a Brownie guide and Girl Scout.

Clinton set her sights high when she graduated in 1965 and decided to study political science at college. Her mother was her main source of support in wanting her only daughter to secure an independent career, coming into conflict with the opinion of her traditionalist father who preferred her to play the role of a dutiful housewife instead.

Clinton was the first student at her college to deliver a commencement address to the rest of the graduating students in her year, for which she received a standing ovation that apparently lasted seven minutes and giving her a good idea of how well suited she was to high-profile public speech-making.

Studying law at Yale Law School, she was to meet a young fellow student by the name of Bill Clinton, who took her fancy in 1971. She also began an internship at the Californian law firm of Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein. The law firm had a reputation for civil liberties and radical causes, and Clinton worked on cases involving child custody and constitutional rights.

Bill, already smitten, cancelled his plans for summer and moved in with Hillary. In 1973, Clinton graduated, having stayed on an extra year to be with her lover, and after her graduation Bill proposed. Steadfast and wildly independent, Clinton turned down Bill's offer of marriage and instead began a year of post-graduate study on children and medicine at the Yale Child Study Centre.

Bill's political future was looking bright by the time she finished her studies and after much continued badgering from him, she finally accepted his marriage proposal, despite concerns that she would lose her identity as merely Mrs Bill Clinton.

In October 1975, Hillary Rodham married Bill Clinton but kept her maiden name in a last ditch attempt to retain a degree of separation between them; her decision would upset both her own mother and new mother-in-law.

Bill's own political career was climbing and in 1976 he was elected as the Arkansas Attorney General, leading the couple to firmly set up home in the town. Clinton would join the law firm Rose, specialising in intellectual property law, while still maintaining her interest in children's law. She co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families in 1977 and later that year, President Jimmy Carter (who she had worked for before) appointed her to the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation, where she worked from 1978 until 1981.

As the first female chairperson of the board, she expanded funding for the corporation from $90 million to $300 million.

Bill was elected as Governor of Arkansas in 1978 and Clinton became First Lady of Arkansas in January 1979, while becoming the first woman to be made a full partner of Rose Law Firm. Until Bill entered the White House as President in 1992, Clinton earned a higher salary than her husband. She gave birth to their daughter Chelsea in 1980.

In 1992, the media got their first real taste of Clinton when Bill became a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Still clinging on to those headstrong tendencies from her younger days, she made several ill-considered remarks about women staying at home to bake, dismissing the concept as ridiculous - which didn't earn her many gold stars on the presidential election campaign.

Nevertheless, Bill was voted in as President of the United States in January 1993. Clinton had her own reasons to celebrate too: she was the first First Lady to have her own career upon entering the White House, and she took up an office in the West Wing, despite all her predecessors confining themselves to the East Wing.

Clinton was a driving force behind the State Children's Health Insurance Programme in 1997, providing state support for children whose parents were unable to provide them with health coverage, and she travelled to 79 countries during this time, breaking the record held by former First Lady, Pat Nixon.

In 1998, the Clintons hit the headlines when husband Bill was reported as having an affair with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. The pair first attempted to dismiss the allegations as a right-wing conspiracy rather than being based on any solid proof.

Yet, Bill's lies were to come undone when the encounters became undeniable based upon newly uncovered evidence, forcing him to admit to the affair. Clinton issued a public statement, announcing that she remained committed to her husband and her marriage. She has since confirmed her decision to stick by her husband, despite the infidelity, saying, "no one understands me better and no one can make me laugh the way Bill does. Even after all these years, he is still the most interesting, energising and fully alive person I have ever met."

The long-serving Senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, announced his retirement in November 1998 and several prominent Democratic figures suggested that she ought to consider running for his seat in the US Senate election of 2000. With her mind made up to run, Clinton and Bill bought a home in New York and she subsequently won the election on 7 November 2000.

On entering the United States Senate, Clinton kept her head down publicly but worked her political know-how to build some important alliances. She played an integral part in obtaining $21 billion in funding for the redevelopment of the World Trade Centre, post 9/11. In 2004, she ran for a second term and spent a whopping $36 million to ensure that she won, a tactic that worked when she was re-elected into the Senate in 2006.

Clinton's anti-Iraq policy became evident in 2007 when she voted in favour of a bill that would require President Bush to start withdrawing troops within a certain time period, but despite strong approval from important political figures within the White House, Bush vetoed the plan.

It came as no surprise that her career aspirations and independence would extend as far as the presidency. In January 2007, it was official: Hillary Clinton was in the 2008 US presidential race, declaring "I'm in, and I'm in to win,” on her website.

Clinton's closest competitors in the Democratic nomination were fellow Senator Barack Obama and former Senator, John Edwards. The opinion polls were swinging well in Clinton's favour in the early days of the campaign, with her popularity leading the field in many states and national ratings.

Edwards soon fell behind, posing little challenge to her campaign. Thus, since the first day of the election war, it was Clinton and Obama who squared off against one another. Clinton would win a primary, only to be narrowly defeated by Obama in another state and each daily newspaper brought a “who's it going to be?” headline, with the two battling it out in a determined battle to secure their place in the presidential running.

Ultimately, it was the freshness and youth of Obama, as well as the overly public presence of Bill, that narrowly prevented Hillary from leading the Democrats against the Republican candidate for the US Presidency.

In mid-November 2008, Obama and Clinton discussed the possibility of her becoming the US Secretary of State in his administration, with reports on 21 November suggesting she had accepted. Obama announced Clinton as his nominee for the position on 1 December.

In order to relieve concerns over conflicting interests, her husband accepted several conditions and restrictions regarding his ongoing political activities and fundraising. To become the Secretary of State, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had to vote for her, which they did 16 to one in January 2009.

Clinton took the oath to become Secretary of State and resigned from the senate on 21 January 2009. She became the first former First Lady to enter the US's Cabinet. Her main duties include serving as the President's principal adviser in terms of foreign policy, conducting negotiations relating to the country's foreign affairs and promoting trade between the US and other countries.

She has developed a close working relationship with Obama and meets him once a week. As part of her duties, she travelled to Korea, Vietnam, Pakistan and Afghanistan while preparing for the 31 July 2010 wedding of her daughter.

In late November 2010, she headed the country's damage control after Wikileaks released confidential Department cables, some of which related to Clinton herself. She also advised the President on America's response to the 2011 protests in Egypt.

Clinton's shift in favour of military intervention gained approval for the US to help Libyan rebels overthrow the Gaddafi regime the same year. She also ensured that photographs of the dead Osama Bin Laden were not released in May 2011.

She has broken the record for being the most travelled Secretary of State, visiting 79 countries in her tenure. Clinton has also indicated that she does not want to run for President again and is not interested in being Secretary of State if Obama is re-elected in 2012.

In 2016, Clinton ran against Republican Donald Trump for the 2016 Presidency. Although it was widely predicted she would become the first female President of the United States, in the end she was tipped in the polls by the business tycoon.