In a Tumultuous Era, Hillary Clinton Emerged as a Voice of Her Generation

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It was the spring of 1968, and the nation's colleges were convulsed in protest. Students were barricading themselves in buildings, and antiwar demonstrations were growing violent. At Wellesley College, a group of students were threatening to go on a hunger strike if the administration did not agree to recruit more black faculty members and students.

In an effort to avert the strike, administrators convened an all-campus meeting so students could voice their grievances. When it devolved into a shouting match, Hillary Rodham, the student-government president, stepped in. Acting as a mediator between the administration and the students, she brokered a compromise, and the hunger strike was called off.

Over the next 40 years, Hillary Rodham Clinton would return to the role of negotiator again and again. But it was at Wellesley that she first practiced the art of what she calls "principled compromise." And it was in college, at the height of the Vietnam War and the civil-rights movement, that the future presidential candidate became passionate about social issues.

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