“There is no escaping the fact that the principle by which the male citizens of these United States assume to rule the female citizens is not that of self-government, but that of despotism…King George III and his Parliament denied our forefathers the right to make their own laws; they rebelled, and being successful, inaugurated this government.   But men do not seem to comprehend that they are now pursuing toward women the same despotic course that King George pursued toward the American colonies”

Victoria Claflin Woodhull, from her speech And the Truth Shall Make You Free: A Speech on the Principles of Social Freedom, 1871

The first woman to declare herself as a candidate for president, Woodhull announced her run on April 2, 1870, by sending a notice to the New York Herald.  This was an absolutely astounding thing to do:  women only recently received the right to vote in the two relatively obscure territories of Wyoming and Utah, and it would be another fifty years before the ratification of the 19th Amendment that assured the ballot to all American women.  Moreover, she took this step without contacting any leading suffragists, who by then had been well organized for more than two decades.  Susan B. Anthony and others were stunned by the action of this controversial woman, whose “open marriage” was the talk of New York City.

The next presidential election was two years away, and Woodhull used this time to bring attention to women’s issues, including the right to vote. Undaunted by the fact that women could not vote and that she was not yet old enough to legally become president, Woodhull traveled the country campaigning.  Her speeches not only advocated the vote, but also birth control, “free love,” and other positions that were a century ahead of her time.  Many listeners were surprised to find themselves more sympathetic than they had expected:  her beauty, soft voice, and reasoned arguments took the edge off of such shocking statements as her belief that marriage was “legalized prostitution.”

Woodhull and her sister, Tennie C., were in jail, however, when the 1872 presidential election occurred.  Because they wanted to draw attention to the era’s hypocrisy on sexual matters, their newspaper published the facts about an adulterous affair between the nationally popular Rev. Henry Ward Beecher and a leader of the women’s movement, Elizabeth Tilton.  It was true, but not politically correct, and the sisters were indicted for both libel and obscenity.  The charges eventually were dropped, but the scandal was enough to end Woodhull's presidential aspirations, as she spent election day in jail.

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Lady Liberty

Gender is probably the most restricting force in all aspects of American life, most recently noted by numerous pundits and commentators during the 2008 presidential election. Compared with other democracies, the United States in fact has been slow to use the abilities of the majority of its citizens – the majority born female.  Although Americans think of ourselves as leaders in all things progressive, the fact is that 26 countries granted women the vote before the U.S. did, and the same is true of electing women as national leaders.  The U.S. falls behind many others in setting this precedent, including Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, and even Pakistan.

It is not as though American women haven’t tried: NWHM research shows that at least 35 women have run for president.  Most are unknown, and some represented parties that arguably merit obscurity -- including the Surprise Party and the Looking Back Party. Although such may generate amusement, it nonetheless is true that the women who mounted platforms to speak to their issues were courageous:  more than men, they knew that their audacity invited ridicule.  As more and more accepted the risk, however, their candidacies elevated public esteem for women’s abilities. 

First But Not the Last: Women Who Ran for President highlights the campaigns of twelve women who announced their intention to contend for America’s top office.  Each attempt created a stepping stone for those who followed.  Representative Patricia Schroeder and one-time presidential candidate said many years ago that more women would run for office if they only knew their history and could make realistic use of these stepping stones.   It is the hope of NHWM leadership that this exhibit will inspire a truly democratic future, one in which every girl can grow up aspiring to be president.


“It will be entirely on her own merits, however.  No movement can place her there simply because she is a woman”

Belva Lockwood’s response when a reporter asked if a woman might one day occupy the White House, 1914 

Belva Ann Bennett McNall Lockwood was a self-made woman who adopted bold positions in support of equal opportunity for women.  She lived her life fighting to ensure that women had the same opportunities as their male counterparts, both by example and in her law practice. 

Lockwood was set to graduate from law school in 1873, but was notified that she would not receive her degree. She appealed to President Ulysses S. Grant and he intervened on her behalf. Later she refused to take no for an answer again when she lobbied Congress for the right to argue in front of the federal courts and helped get the bill passed in 1879. She also joined the National Women’s Suffrage Association (NWSA) lecture circuit, which made her money and gave her recognition.  She would upset the NWSA, though, with her decision to run as a presidential candidate for the National Equal Rights Party in 1884.  Susan B. Anthony and others felt that Lockwood’s decision was self-serving and distracting from their greater mission, but she saw it as a way to bring attention to women as genuine citizens.  

Although always a fringe group, the party had its strongest support in California, where San Franciscan Marietta Stowe served as the vice-presidential nominee.  The party's platform was not just limited to feminism:  it included positions on foreign affairs, civil service reform, and other issues, including an innovative proposal for federalization of family law.  The Lockwood/Stowe ticket won just over 4,000 votes in six states, but Lockwood was not discouraged and ran again in 1888.  "Women should not merely talk about what needed to be done", she said, "but should do it".  

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“The argument contends that I would be pioneering the way for woman in the future—to make her more acceptable—to make the way easier—for her to be elected President of the United States.  Perhaps the point that has impressed me the most on this argument is that women before me pioneered and smoothed the way for me to be the first woman to be elected to both the House and the Senate—and that I should give back in the return that which had been given to me.” 

Margaret Chase Smith, in her speech announcing her candidacy for the U.S. Presidency, 1964


Margaret Chase Smith served 32 years in Congress and was the first woman elected to both the House and Senate. Although a champion for women’s issues, she was always clear about being seen as a U.S. Senator and not a woman Senator. In 1964, she became the first credible female candidate for president. Unlike her predecessors, she had legislative experience.

A liberal Republican closely associated with her native state of Maine, Margaret Madeline Chase was born to a blue-collar Skowhegan family in 1897. Her entry into politics began when her employer suggested that she be added to the Skowhegan Town Committee. She still was carrying out traditional wifely duties, however, as this helped husband, Clyde Smith, be elected the U.S. House in 1936. She moved to Washington and served as his aide, doing research on pending bills and assisting with speeches. When Clyde died in 1940, Margaret won the special election to succeed him, and three months later, Maine voters elected her to the first of four full House terms. 

Smith moved up to the Senate in 1948, defeating both Maine’s current governor and a former governor. Her 1960 re-election was a milestone for women, as it was the first time that two women were nominated for a U.S. Senate seat: Smith easily defeated Democratic nominee Lucia Cormier. Nationally respected by 1964, Smith ran for president. Most states did not yet conduct primaries, but she ran credibly in those that did, and won the votes of 27 delegates at the Republican National Convention that nominated the more conservative Barry Goldwater. 

At 66, ageism joined sexism as a factor in her loss. She was not credited for her greater experience; instead pundits speculated about whether Senator Smith was menopausal. Her point that “I haven’t seen the age played up in the case of the men candidates” was in vain.

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“It is easy enough to vote right and be consistently with the majority.  But it is more often more important to be ahead of the majority and this means being willing to cut the first furrow in the ground and stand alone for a while if necessary.”

Patsy Takemoto Mink, Honolulu Star Bulletin, October 8, 1975  

Patsy Takemoto Mink was the first woman of color to serve in the United States Congress, but it was the work that she did there that should be remembered. Mink represented many groups that, prior to her election, had been absent from national politics, working tirelessly to serve women, minorities and the poor. She brought attention to issues that others ignored. 

Takemoto learned first-hand that she could not take citizenship and the promise of the U.S. Constitution for granted: her family was put under surveillance after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, and her father was taken from their home for interrogation. Like most Hawaiians of Japanese descent, the Takemotos were not sent to an internment camp, but the awareness that most mainland Japanese Americans were incarcerated was an important factor in Patsy’s development.

She graduated from law school in 1951, however no Chicago law firms would hire her, which she initially thought was due to her ethnicity, but her gender and married status were also negative factors.  Instead of allowing herself to be defeated, she and her husband moved to Hawaii. She opened her own law practice, becoming the first female Japanese-American lawyer in Hawaii. Active in the territory’s Democratic Party, she also was a founder of the Young Democrats of America. This led to her election to the Territorial House of Representatives in 1956 and to the Hawaii Senate in 1958. Mink made her first run for the U.S. House when Hawaii became a state in 1959: she lost that election, but won in 1964, after Hawaii’s population became large enough to merit a second seat. 

In 1972, a group of liberal Democrats in Oregon asked Mink to be their presidential candidate, and she was on the ballot in Oregon’s May primary. She received 2% of the vote, coming in eighth out of nine candidates. Nevertheless, Mink achieved her objective of getting Americans to find a female president thinkable. 

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We live in revolutionary times. The shackles that various groups have worn for centuries are being cast off. This is evidenced by the ‘developing’ nations of the world, which we consider, for the most part, underdeveloped.  Countries such as India, Ceylon, and Israel have women for Prime Ministers and in other decision-making positions.  American women must stand and fight—be militant even—for rights which are ours”

Shirley Anita Chisholm, from her speech Economic Justice for Women, 1971-1972

Shirley Chisholm attended Brooklyn College where a blind political science professor, Louis Warsoff, encouraged her to consider politics based on her “quick mind and debating skills.”  She reminded him that she had a “double handicap” when it came to politics—she was black and a woman. 

In her neighborhood, she was an active member of the Democratic Club. The group managed to elect a black man, Thomas R. Jones, to state assembly in 1962 and, when he decided to run for a judgeship in 1964, the community replaced him with Chisholm.  She served in the state legislature until 1968 when she decided to run for a seat in the U.S. Congress.  Chisholm won the seat with the use of her “independent spirit” and her campaign slogan, “Unbought and Unbossed.”  Chisholm’s win made her the 1st African American woman in Congress. 

It was during her 2nd term in the House that Chisholm ran for the US Presidency.  She became the 1st well-known black woman to run for president, but this is not what she wanted people to focus on during her campaign.  The fact that her campaign was seen primarily as “symbolic” by many really hurt her.  She did not run on the mere base of being a “first,” but because she wanted to be seen as “a real, viable candidate.”

Her bid for the presidency was referred to as the “Chisholm Trail,” and she won a lot of support from students, women and minority groups.  She entered 11 primaries and campaigned in several states, particularly Florida, but with little money it was difficult to run an aggressive campaign.

Overall, people in 14 states voted for Chisholm for president.  After six months of campaigning, she had 28 delegates committed to vote for her at the Democratic Convention.  The 1972 Democratic Convention was in July in Miami, and it was the first major convention in which an African American woman was considered for the presidential nomination.  Although she did not win the nomination, she received 151 of the delegates’ votes.

When asked how she wanted to be remembered, Chisholm said, “When I die, I want to be remembered as a woman who lived in the 20th century and who dared to be a catalyst of change. I don’t want to be remembered as the first black woman who went to Congress. And I don’t even want to be remembered as the first woman who happened to be black to make the bid for the presidency. I want to be remembered as a woman who fought for change in the 20th century. That’s what I want.” 

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"Abortion is put forth as a solution for the poor, but I think the poor want better housing, more jobs and food on their tables. I don't think aborting their babies makes them any happier. I think it probably contributes to their misery."

Ellen McCormack, from "She's Running 'To Defend the Unborn,'" San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle, 29 Feb. 1976, A-13.   

The mother of four, New York resident Ellen McCormack became involved in politics because of her passion against abortion.  Her campaign centered on that issue in both her 1976 and 1980 presidential bids. 

McCormack termed herself a housewife and grandmother during her campaigns.  Building on the earlier candidacies of Congresswomen Margaret Chase Smith, Patsy Mink, and Shirley Chisholm, McCormack ran for the presidency, however, she had no governmental experience and developed no platform beyond issues related to “life.”  Unlike many other opponents of reproductive freedom, however, she was consistent in this position:  she also opposed the death penalty and the ongoing Vietnam War.

She made the decision to run just three years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973
Roe v. Wade decision on abortion, declaring herself a candidate in the 1976 Democratic primaries for “the defense of unborn babies.”  Overturning the court’s ruling with a constitutional amendment to ban abortion was her main focus.

Because of changes in federal election law, McCormack became the first female presidential candidate to qualify for federal campaign funding.  The matching funds boosted her candidacy, allowing her to run television advertising and to become fairly visible nationally.  She also was the first female candidate to receive Secret Service protection.  

McCormack appeared on the ballot in at least eighteen states, more than any other woman to that point.  She did not win any primaries, but her vote total of 238,027 was higher than that for some well-known Democratic men.  She had 22 delegates at the Democratic National Convention that nominated Jimmy Carter.

She then led the formation of the Right to Life Party, sometimes called “Respect for Life.”  The party’s purpose was to work for a constitutional amendment that would reverse Roe v. Wade and support legislation restricting and regulating abortion around the country.  McCormack was its chairwoman and was its nominee for lieutenant governor of New York in 1978. 

 Running as the nominee of a minor party instead of as a Democrat proved to be a disadvantage to her, as McCormack was successful in getting on 1980 primary ballots in just three states -- New York, New Jersey and Kentucky.  She and her running mate, Carroll Driscoll, received 32,327 votes. 

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"I’m a feminist to the core and will be until I die…fiercely, passionately, reverently, and totally committed to justice for my sisters on this earth. I feel, frankly, as if I had been born in this time because I have always felt this way—even in the preexistence. This is the right time for me. I feel as if I have come home"

Sonia Johnson, from her book From Housewife to Heretic, 112

Sonia Johnson was a fifth-generation Mormon who came into the political sphere when the Mormon Church spoke out against the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). An English professor and mother of four, she knew little about it until she became "uneasy" that her church was "opposing something with a name as beautiful as the Equal Rights Amendment." This eventually led Johnson to run for the presidency. (Click here to read more about the ERA)

ERA opponents successfully stalled the bill, as Indiana’s 1977 ratification became only the 35th of the necessary 38 states. Congress cooperated with feminists by extending the 1979 deadline to 1982, but Republican Ronald Reagan’s 1980 victory moved ERA supporter Jimmy Carter out of the White House. With little support, the second deadline passed with no more ratifications; and it was this that motivated Johnson’s 1984 presidential campaign.

Nominated by two minor parties, the U.S. Citizens Party and the Peace and Freedom Party, she was the first third-party candidate to qualify for primary matching funds. It is difficult for third-party candidates to get on primary ballots in most states, however, and Johnson probably would have made her point more successfully had she stayed with the ERA-supporting Democratic Party. Most feminists in 1984 saw Sonia Johnson as akin to Belva Lockwood in 1884: they thought her race was unrealistic and excessively personal. Instead they supported former Vice President Walter Mondale, who lost to incumbent Reagan.

The Equal Rights Amendment never passed, and Johnson grew cynical about its relevance. In her 1989 book, From Housewife to Heretic, she stated: "Though there was a time when I would have given my life for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), at this point nothing could persuade me to work even two seconds for its passage. We are not going to change the world by getting women included in the constitution—that document which ensured freedom for rich white men. Since the constitution was not designed to work for anyone else, it never has nor can ever be expected to work for women."

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“Imagine a picture of the House Floor of 406 women and 28 men or the Senate floor with 98 women and two men.”

Patricia Scott Schroeder, comment made on Bill Moyers WNET and WTTW television program Women in Politics, 1991 

Although Colorado first elected women to its legislature in 1894, it was not until 1972 that Patricia Scott Schroeder became its first congresswoman.  Her quarter-century career there made her the all-time leader on women’s issues, and her campaign for the 1988 presidential election was based on her belief that “America is man enough to back a woman.” 

She graduated from Harvard Law School, where her 1964 class had 19 women among more than 500 men.  Schroeder later described this as “the best preparation for the infiltrating the boys’ club of Congress.” 

Her children were preschoolers when her husband, Jim Schroeder, also an attorney, encouraged Pat to challenge Denver’s Republican congressman in 1972 -- a turbulent year when students at the University of Colorado “produced a mini-revolution.”  At just age 32, she upset the incumbent and narrowly won. 

Her opposition to the Vietnam War was the key to her victory, and she worked to become the first woman on the House Armed Services Committee.  Other congresswomen held similar positions during World War II, but the postwar era was more conservative and the Pentagon more powerful, and Schroeder had to win this appointment over the objections of the chairman.  She used it to press issues related to women, including the first entrance of women into military academies, hearings on sexual harassment in the military, and the passage of other acts to protect the wives and children of military men. 

As co-founder of the bi-partisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues and as Democratic Whip, Schroeder became the lead sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment, as well as other legislation to secure women’s rights in employment, education, and finance.

Schroeder thus found firm support among feminists for her 1988 presidential campaign – but not enough to win the Democratic nomination that went to Michael Dukakis.  She came closer than any woman thus far, coming in third in a June 1987 Time poll. NOW pledged $400,000, enough for her to qualify for federal matching funds, and Schroeder visited 29 states during 1987.  Ever practical, however, her motto from the beginning was “no dough, no go,” and when she could not raise sufficient money to compete against better-funded men, she ended her campaign that autumn.  Her strong sense of humor was reflected in her response to inquiries about running as a woman:  “What choice do I have?”

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“In unity lies power… There are millions of Americans looking to come together, looking to create this new force…changing the political culture…[so that] not just money and top-down forces speak. I think our democracy is on the decline, because of the influence and corruption of the two-party system.” 

Lenora Branch Fulani, Redding News Review, March 2002 

Lenora Branch Fulani has spent almost three decades fighting to end the two-party system and create a “viable, national, pro-socialist” party for those who feel ignored by the Democratic and Republican parties.  Fulani ran for the presidency in 1988 and 1992.

While serving as a guest researcher at Rockefeller University, Fulani joined the New Alliance Party (NAP) and became the party’s most prominent -- and controversial -- spokesperson.  In 1982, she was its candidate for lieutenant governor of New York; in 1985, she ran as it nominee for mayor of New York City; and the following year, was the NAP’s candidate for governor.  These failed races made no difference, as she ran for president in 1988, declaring “a militant crusade for fair elections and democracy…with the goal of changing the electoral process.” 

It was the same election in which two others ran for the Democratic nomination:  Reverend Jesse Jackson mounted the first serious candidacy of an African American, while Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder emphasized feminist issues.  With a base in neither camp, Fulani nonetheless became the first woman and first African American to appear on the ballot in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.  With her poll standings never high enough for participation in televised debates, she won 225,000 votes, or 0.2% of the November total.  Although infinitesimal, this was the highest number of votes for a female presidential candidate in a general election.

Jackson won 1200 delegates to the Democratic convention that nominated Michael Dukakis, and Fulani joined other blacks in being outraged that he did not ask Jackson to join his ticket – which lost in a landslide to Republican George H.W. Bush.  Undeterred, Fulani again ran for New York governor in 1990, when an endorsement from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan could have hurt more than it helped.  Fulani’s last race was in 1992, when she received only 0.07% of the vote in the general election won by Bill Clinton.

Third-party candidate Ross Perot also lost that year, and Fulani briefly joined him in an effort to create a “multiracial, pro-reform, national political party.”  She co-founded and chaired the Committee for a Unified Independent Party, and in 2004, spearheaded ChIP, “Choosing an Independent President.” 

Lenora Fulani combined a career as a psychologist with a life of activism.  She explains, “I identify very strongly with the outsiders. I am a leader who has chosen to be outside corporate America and inside the real mainstream—with my people and other outsiders.”

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“Women share with men the need for personal success, even the taste of power, and no longer are we willing to satisfy those needs through the achievements of surrogates, whether husbands, children, or merely role models.”

Elizabeth Hanford Dole

Elizabeth Hanford was voted “most likely to succeed” by her high school class, an astute prediction.  The first woman to serve in two different Cabinet positions under two presidents, she ran for the Republican nomination in the presidential election of 2000.

After graduating from law school, at the encouragement of Senator Margaret Chase Smith, Hanford joined Richard Nixon’s administration as an assistant on consumer affairs, and he appointed her to the Federal Trade Commission shortly before he left office in 1973.  She wed Kansas Senator Robert Dole in 1975; he was divorced, and they never had children.  When Democrats won the White House in 1976, Elizabeth Dole was out of office until 1983, when Ronald Reagan appointed her to head the Department of Transportation.  The department was less than twenty years old at the time, and she was the first woman to hold the top position. 

When Vice President George H.W. Bush became president in 1989, he swore in Dole as the nation’s 20th Secretary of Labor -- much to the chagrin of organized labor, who did not view her as a friend. She left the Bush Cabinet in 1991 to head the American Red Cross. Dole was the first woman in that role since founder Clara Barton retired in 1904. Dole managed to hold on to the Red Cross position while campaigning for her husband, the 1996 Republican nominee for president, and took another leave of absence in 1999, when she sought the Republican presidential nomination in her own right. 

Although she had never held or ran for elective office, her previous positions and especially her effective campaigning for her husband gave Dole high name recognition.  Early polls showed her second only to George W. Bush.  Controversy arose, however, when the New York Times quoted Bob Dole as saying he wanted to contribute to John McCain because McCain had supported him during his campaign.  Many felt that the comment indicated a lack of faith in his wife and damaged her campaign.  Elizabeth Dole raised more money than any previous female presidential candidate, but discovered the same phenomena that hurt well-qualified women who preceded her:  donors do not give as freely to women as to men. 

She withdrew after a seven-month effort, when she had raised only $4.7 million compared to Bush’s $57 million.  Some pointed out that her lack of support was the result of the fact that Dole rarely reached out to feminists during her career; her poll numbers showed a particular lack of appeal with younger women.  Statistical analysis of media coverage confirmed that she, too, was a victim of the old habit of focusing on personal qualities with female candidates, not on their issues.  Indeed, her campaign may have reinforced this habit with a vague platform and an attention-getting speaking style.  Dole often left the stage to interact with audiences, a method that audiences loved – but which also encouraged reporters to emphasize her style over substance.

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“It’s time to take the ‘Men Only’ sign off the White House door!”

Carol Moseley-Braun  

Carol Moseley-Braun was elected to the Senate in 1992, which was considered the “Year of the Woman,” as many angry female voters came out to show their disagreement with the outcome of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill proceedings.  Her win made her the first African American woman elected to the United States Senate, the first African American senator to be elected as a Democrat, and the first woman elected to the Senate from Illinois. 

She lived with her grandmother after her parents divorced, and at age 16, conducted a one-person sit-in at a restaurant that would not serve her.  In the next decade, she marched with Martin Luther King in an all-white neighborhood to protest segregation.  These events, along with the Mississippi lynching of Chicago teenager Emmitt Till, shaped her activism. 

She graduated from the University of Chicago with a law degree and joined the Justice Department. Three years later, after being recruited by neighbors, she was elected to the Illinois House.  In 1991, she ran for the Senate in Illinois. Illinois often votes Republican, however, women all over America sent donations to help her defeat the Republican nominee, and she won 53% of the vote.  The “Year of the Women” had mixed results elsewhere, but Carol Moseley-Braun was its best exemplar.  She was the only African American in the U.S. Senate. 

On September 11, 2003, she announced her run for the presidency at Howard University in Washington, D.C.  While acknowledging that it might be a “long-shot,” she did not think that this meant she could not win.  Moseley-Braun argued that her experience in local, state, national and international government made her a well-rounded candidate. 

However, many feminists were disappointed in her Senate tenure, and some African Americans urged her to step down in favor of black activist Al Sharpton.  Yet when television journalist Diane Sawyer asked why she didn't support another candidate who had a “real shot at victory,” Moseley-Braun replied that her record was as strong as that of some male candidates:  John Edwards had yet to stand for re-election; Howard Dean led a state with fewer residents that Cook County; and Al Sharpton never held elective office.

Like other female candidates, Moseley-Braun found it difficult to raise money, and her well-publicized effort to get on the Virginia ballot by petition did not collect enough signatures.  On January 15, 2004, four days before the Iowa caucuses, she dropped out on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.

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“Women’s rights are human rights.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Beijing, 1995 

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first First Lady elected to the United States Senate and the first female senator from New York, is currently (2008) campaigning to be the first woman nominated by a major party for president.  Running on the Democratic ticket, she is working hard to ensure that the press and American people do not see her as the wife of former President Bill Clinton, but as a senator who has contributed much in her own right.

After graduating from Yale Law School, Hillary Rodham, as she called herself, continued to practice law after Bill Clinton became governor, while also serving as a more activist first lady than any in Arkansas history.  She led the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee, which greatly improved schools, and promoted programs that benefit women -- such as Little Rock-based Heifer International, which allows third-world women to become economically independent by providing them with livestock.   Nationally, she served on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession. 

With the possible exception of Eleanor Roosevelt, Clinton traveled more than previous first ladies.  She often took her daughter along when she visited women in Africa and Asia, and in 1995, she joined the American delegation that went to Bejing for the United Nation’s conference on women’s rights.  This convocation has been held every five years since 1975, but no first lady before or since has attended it.

As her husband’s second term ended, she ran in 2000 for the New York Senate seat being vacated by Daniel Monahan, who supported her.  Many accused her of being a “carpetbagger” because she had never lived in New York, but voters chose her by a solid 55% majority.  She has served on four major Senate committees:  Armed Services; Budget; Environment and Public Works; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. New Yorkers gained confidence in her, and Clinton easily won her 2006 reelection. 

On January 20, 2007 – the anniversary of her husband’s 1992 inauguration -- Clinton announced that she was running for president, proclaiming, “I’m in.  And I’m in to win!”  The 2008 race already is a historic milestone, as her chief rival for the Democratic nomination is Barack Obama, an African American.  The National Democratic Convention, which will be held in Denver, Colorado on August 25-28, will determine whether or not America will find its first woman on the presidential ballot in November 2008.

On June 7, 2008, Hillary Clinton ended her historic march to the White House after her primary opponent, Barack Obama, reached the necessary number of Democratic delegates to claim victory.  She received more than 18 million votes, arguably the largest number of any primary candidate in history. She described it as "18 million cracks in the glass ceiling."   Undeniably, she broke through the cash ceiling for women by raising more than $212 million.  Fundraising has always been the biggest impediment to women candidates.  Clinton's 18-month campaign with intense media coverage will inspire women and girls to seek elective office and has broken old perceptions that a woman cannot succeed in running for the nation's highest office.  Clinton came very close to winning the Democratic nomination. 


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