Most people first became aware of Hillary Clinton as Bill Clinton’s wife. Probably the next thing they remember is the disaster of the Health Care reforms that she spearheaded at the time. Also, the controversy about Whitewater and Vince Foster’s Death. Then they were aware of her as a Senator from New York, followed by Secretary of State after losing to Barack Obama or the Presidency. But most people don’t know much about her early years.
She grew up on Park Ridge, IL near Chicago. It was a middle class community. Her father served in World War II in the Navy and had a drapery business after that. Interestingly, he not only sold them, but designed and printed them. He was a died in the wool Republican. Hillary had two brothers and they and their mother helped out in her father’s business when possible.
Hillary’s life growing up was very stable, unlike her mother’s. Her mother’s parents abandoned her and she was sent to live with relatives who also didn’t really want her. That would make you or break you. It seems to have made her because when she was 14 she started working and trying to support herself so she could be independent and didn’t have to worry about these other people. But it also made her want a different life for her own children.
Hillary went to public schools and was in the Brownies and Girl Scouts. She also played girls softball. Her mother, Dorothy taught Sunday School in the Methodist Church which is what Hillary was brought up as. Through the youth program, Hillary got to see Martin Luther King speak and the youth minister was a key reason that Hillary became a lifelong advocate for social justice.
College, Law School and After
Hillary went to Wellesley College and then to Yale Law School where she met Bill Clinton. After law school, instead of working for a law firm, she worked for the Children’s Defense Fund.
She then served on a congressional committee investigating Richard Nixon. She then moved to Arkansas and started Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. In 1975, she married Bill Clinton. As first lady of Arkansas, she pushed for better health care access and to improve educational standards and performance.