Hillary Rodham Clinton, born in Chicago in 1947, is an American politician, former first lady, senator and secretary of state. In 2015, she formally declared herself as a Democratic candidate for president in the 2016 election, but lost to Mr. Donald Trump.

Early Life and Education

Clinton was raised in Park Ridge, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Her father owned a small business; her mother stayed at home. The family was United Methodist.

From an early age, Clinton excelled in school and, foreshadowing her future in politics, quickly ascended to leadership positions in student government and on her school's debate team. Her people skills were palpable from early childhood; teachers doted on her, and she was popular among classmates.

Interestingly, her politics, prior to college, were conservative. She campaigned for Richard Nixon against John F. Kennedy in 1960, even discovering evidence of voter fraud against him on Chicago's South Side. In 1964, impressed by the candidate's political screed, Conscience of a Conservative, she became a "Goldwater Girl" who campaigned heartily for libertarian-leaning conservative Barry Goldwater.

It was at Wellesley College where Clinton's ideology began to swing hard left. Disillusioned by the Vietnam War, she resigned from Wellesley's chapter of Young Republicans and began campaigning on behalf of Democratic candidates. After earning a degree at Wellesley, Clinton received her J.D. from Yale Law School.

Success Story

Political opponents decry Hillary Clinton's success as having come on the coattails of her husband, former President Bill Clinton. These charges are unfortunate, as they marginalize Hillary's multitudinous accomplishments, many of which came before her husband's presidency.

Following law school, Clinton, then Hillary Rodham, put off several marriage proposals from her future husband. After failing the notoriously difficult District of Columbia bar exam, however, she agreed to relocate with Clinton to his home state of Arkansas, where he was running for Congress. In Arkansas she blossomed, becoming the second female faculty member at the University of Arkansas School of Law and, later, the first director of the school's Legal Aid clinic, which provided low-cost legal services to low-income and marginalized groups.

Hillary became first lady of Arkansas in 1979. Not content to play second fiddle to her husband, she blazed forward with her own career at the same time, becoming the first female partner of Rose Law Firm. She also proved to be a keen investor, turning $1,000 into $100,000 trading cattle futures.

When her husband became president of the United States in 1993, it was no secret Hillary helped guide his decisions, perhaps more than any first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt. She drew up an ambitious health care reform proposal, which became known as Hillarycare, though it was ultimately defeated by a Newt Gingrich-led Republican Congress.

After her husband left the White House, Hillary's political stock continued to climb, owing to her shrewd diplomacy and no-nonsense manner. She served as a U.S. senator from 2001 to 2009 and narrowly lost the 2008 Democratic primary for president to upstart Barack Obama, who went on to serve two terms in the White House. Obama later tapped her as secretary of state, a position she held from 2009 to 2013.

Clinton's boundless energy, tenacious manner and unwavering commitment to everyday Americans has made her wildly popular among Democrats and a favorite in the 2016 race.

Net Worth & Influence

Hillary Clinton's net worth is estimated at $21.5 million. Much of that comes from public speaking and royalties from her best-selling memoir, "Hard Choices." Clinton pulls in speaking fees that average $275,000.

Her influence comes from her unprecedented ascent from first lady to senator to secretary of state to, as of summer 2015, leading candidate for president. Clinton's shattering of the glass ceiling, and then some, serves as an inspiration to career-oriented women everywhere.

Most Influential Quotes

"Human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights." Clinton knows she is a role model for millions of women and uses that position to champion causes she knows to be important to them.

"If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle." Clinton shows her sense of humor, while also delivering a biting criticism of the press' focus on tedium.

Want to learn how to invest?

Get a free 10 week email series that will teach you how to start investing.

Delivered twice a week, straight to your inbox.