- Was First Lady of the United States during the presidency of her husband, Bill Clinton
- Served as Democratic U.S. Senator representing New York State from 2001-2009
- Was Named U.S. Secretary of State by President-elect Barack Obama in December 2008
Born in Chicago on October 26, 1947, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois, a solidly Republican suburb of Chicago. In 1964 she supported Republican conservative Barry Goldwater for U.S. President. The following year, she enrolled at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where her political views would undergo a radical transformation.
Rodham was deeply influenced by a 1966 article titled "Change or Containment," which appeared in Motive, a magazine for college-age Methodists. Authored by the Marxist/Maoist theoretician Carl Oglesby, who was a leader of the Students for a Democratic Society, this piece defended Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, and Maoist tactics of violence. Its thesis was that "certain cultural settings" (most notably American capitalism) were inherently inequitable and oppressive, and thus caused people to feel "pain and rage" that sometimes erupted into violence -- like that of "the rioters in Watts or Harlem" -- which was "reactive and provoked" rather than aggressive or malicious. Hillary later said that theMotive article had played a key role in her metamorphosis from Goldwater Republican in 1964 to leftist Democrat in 1968. During her years as First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Clinton would tell a Newsweek reporter that she still treasured the Oglesby piece.
Following the June 1968 assassination of Democratic presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy, Hillary ended her affiliation with the Wellesley campus Young Republicans and volunteered in New Hampshire to work on the presidential campaign of antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy. When McCarthy later dropped out of the Democratic primary, Hillary threw her support behind the Party's eventual nominee, Hubert Humphrey. From that point forward, wrote Barbara Olson in her 1999 book Hell to Pay, "Republicans were the enemy and the enemy was allied with evil -- the evils of war, racism, sexism, and poverty."
In late August 1968, when the so-called Chicago Seven incited massive countercultural protests and violent riots near the venue of that year's Democratic National Convention (in Chicago), Hillary was in Chicago for three nights during the mayhem.
HILLARY'S ADMIRATION FOR SAUL ALINSKY
In 1969 Hillary wrote her 92-page Wellesley senior thesis on the theories of radical Chicago organizer Saul Alinsky. A great admirer of Alinsky's activist tactics, Hillary met with the famed author several times in 1968 to interview him personally. She concluded her thesis by stating:
"Alinsky is regarded by many as the proponent of a dangerous socio/political philosophy. As such, he has been feared -- just as Eugene Debs [the five-time Socialist Party candidate for U.S. President] or Walt Whitman or Martin Luther King has been feared, because each embraced the most radical of political faiths -- democracy."
Her conclusion also included this sentence: “If the ideals Alinsky espouses were actualized, the result would be social revolution.”
Ultimately, Hillary's investigation of Alinsky's methods and ideals led her to believe that President Lyndon Johnson's federal antipoverty programs did not go far enough in redistributing wealth among the American people and did not give sufficient power to the poor.
When Hillary graduated from Wellesley in 1969, she was offered a job with Alinsky's Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) in Chicago. She opted instead to enroll at Yale Law School. Nevertheless, she would maintain her allegiance to Alinsky's teachings throughout her adult life. She also continued to correspond with him, as the two maintained a very friendly relationship steeped in mutual admiration. In a letter dated July 8, 1971, Hillary penned a letter to Alnsky that began: “Dear Saul, When is that new book [Rules for Radicals] coming out—or has it come and I somehow missed the fulfillment of Revelation? I have just had my one-thousandth conversation about Reveille [for Radicals] and need some new material to throw at people. You are being rediscovered again as the New Left-type politicos are finally beginning to think seriously about the hard work and mechanics of organizing. I seem to have survived law school, slightly bruised, with my belief in and zest for organizing intact."
According to a March 2007 Washington Post report: "As first lady, Clinton occasionally lent her name to projects endorsed by the [IAF].... She raised money and attended two events organized by the Washington Interfaith Network, an IAF affiliate."
RADICAL INFLUENCES AT YALE LAW SCHOOL
At Yale, Hillary was strongly influenced by the radical theoretician Duncan Kennedy, founder of the academic movement known as critical legal studies, which, drawing on the works of the Frankfurt School, viewed law as a "social construct" that corrupt power structures routinely exploited as an instrument of oppression to protect and promote their ownbourgeois values at the expense of the poor and disenfranchised. Advocates of critical legal studies were interested in revolutionary change and the building of a new society founded on Marxist principles.
During her time at Yale, Hillary became a prominent figure in the campus protest movement. She wore a black armband in remembrance of the students killed at Kent State in May 1970; she led demonstrations against the Vietnam War; and she led rallies demanding that tampons be made available in the women's restrooms on campus.
Hillary served as one of nine editors of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action, where she worked collaboratively with Mickey Kantor (who, more than two decades later, would serve as U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Commerce Secretary under President Bill Clinton) and Robert Reich (who would serve as Bill Clinton's Labor Secretary from 1993 to 1997). "For too long," said the Yale Review, "legal issues have been defined and discussed in terms of academic doctrine rather than strategies for social change." The publication was replete with articles by or about such radicals as William Kunstler, Charles Reich (author of The Greening of America); Jerry Rubin (who wrote a piece exhorting parents to "get high with our seven-year-olds," and urging students to "kill our parents"); and Charles Garry (the civil rights attorney who defended Black Panther Partymembers accused of murder). The Fall and Winter 1970 editions of theYale Review, on which Hillary worked as associate editor, focused heavily on the trials of Black Panthers who had been charged with murder. Numerous cartoons in those issues depicted police officers as hominid pigs.
One of Hillary's Yale professors, Thomas Emerson (known as "Tommy the Commie"), introduced her to the aforementioned Charles Garry. Garry helped Hillary get personally involved in the defense of several Black Panthers (including the notorious Bobby Seale) who were then being tried in New Haven, Connecticut for the torture, murder, and mutilation of one of their own members. Though evidence of the defendants' guilt was overwhelming, Hillary -- as part of her coursework for Professor Emerson -- attended the Panther trials and arranged for shifts of fellow students to likewise monitor court proceedings and report on any civil-rights abuses allegedly suffered by the defendants. (Those abuses could then be used, if the Panthers were to lose their case, as grounds for appeal.) Striving to neutralize what she considered the pervasive racism of the American legal system, "Hillary was," as Barbara Olson observed in Hell to Pay, "a budding Leninist."
In 1970, Hillary chaired a meeting where Yale Law School students voted in favor of joining a national strike against the Vietnam War.
For more categories on
- IMMERSION IN LEFTWING CAUSES
- BAR EXAM
- WORKING TO IMPEACH PRESIDENT NIXON
- DEFENDING AND PLEA BARGAINING ON BEHALF OF A KNOWN CHILD RAPIST
- MARRIAGE TO BILL CLINTON
- AFFILIATION WITH PRESIDENT CARTER AND THE LEGAL SERVICES CORPORATION
- WORKING WITH LEFTIST ORGANIZATIONS
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