Hillary Diane Rodham was born in Chicago in 1947 and, after graduating with a BA from Wellesley College in 1969, attended Yale Law School, where she met Bill Clinton. In 1979 she became First Lady of Arkansas and was appointed to a number of positions focusing on education standards in the state, while also pursuing her career as an attorney.
When Bill was elected President in 1992, Hillary became an advocate of health-care reform and worked on many issues relating to children and families. She also represented the US internationally, championing human rights, democracy and civil society.
Hillary Clinton made American history in 2000 as the only First Lady elected to the Senate, and the first woman to be elected state-wide in New York. She won re-election to the Senate in 2006 and a year later embarked on the her bid to become the Democratic nominee for president.
Although Clinton was initially assumed to be the likely winner, the contest was tightly fought and the emergence of Barack Obama, a Democrat star since his 2004 Convention speech but running four years earlier than many thought likely, put paid to her chances.
A post-primaries rapprochement of sorts saw Clinton accept Obama's offer to become Secretary of State.
Although American foreign policy has become increasingly attuned to Clinton's electoral manifesto, she claims that she will not stand against Obama in 2012.