I’m pretty good at tracking things down on the Internet but a few months ago when I tried to find Hillary Clinton’s Wellesley College thesis on. It is no accident that she chose to write about Saul Alinsky for her senior thesis at Wellesley College. As a social activist, Alinsky was as much a. An Analysis of the Alinsky Model,” a page senior thesis at Wellesley College on the elder radical’s tactics. At the Clintons’ request, the thesis.
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Edited by Frank Marafiote for the Internet. With Hillary Clinton poised to win the Democratic nomination for president, questions about her intellectual and moral education abound. One of the major intellectual influences — perhaps an emotional one was well — was radical social philosopher and activist Saul Alinsky.
Hillary Clinton’s College Thesis on Saul Alinsky Resurfaces
As this story shows, Alinsky was both the ladder Hillary climbed to gain new perspectives on society — specifically the poor — and then, once there, a ladder she tossed aside when she no longer needed it. It is a large PDF file — please give it a moment to download and open. To read her thesis click here: The children of the Sixties combined the typical young adult developmental cycle with a cilnton cycle in the life of this nation.
They were not only trying to learn about dating, but also about foreign policy, ethics, and racism. Hillary Clinton was quintessentially one of these people — a Sixties person, although we would hardly have recognized her as such. It was also commonplace. Her generation was mixing private rites of passage with public ones, and it ainsky right to do so.
Hillary Clinton was a conformist to the extent szul she mixed these personal and political levels early, at a time when most of the people did likewise. As we search for social influences on the First Lady, we have to begin in this context, in the unique mix of the public and private that served as her environment as a young woman. She was as marked by her chronological age and the Age of Aquarius as most Sixties people were — and she is probably where she is today because she was even more influenced by it than the rest of us.
As a social activist, Alinsky was as much a part of the Sixties as was Kennedy and King. He was in the background creating the foreground of interpretation: Like the headband, Hillary abandoned much of what influenced her back then.
But still this heavy identification with her age and THE age continued in bold form right after she completed her senior thesis. It had to matter to her that the classes before remained in rhesis seats, not quite sure of what had just happened. This literal order of approval is important to our understanding of Hillary Clinton. She learned early on that people interpret things by their age.
No one needs the tag of the Sixties any more. Hillary is socially and personally based in the Sixties, not in its cultural but in its political dimension. Perpetual bad hair days. Thus she needed to leave as much thedis the Sixties behind her as possible.
This repudiation of the Sixties began early in her life. Say Alinsky and people think radical, that American word that now has a bad reputation. He personified the American theory of pragmatism in his commitment to power.
Flood the office with post cards. Before the toilet flushing escapade ever had a chance to happen, the city council gave in and granted some demands. A baked bean supper had been organized for participants. Alinsky was irreverent, but that was his only real bow in the counter-cultural direction. To understand how Hillary developed her skills as an activist we have to first tjesis her religious back ground.
One of young people confirmed at the church at age 11, she had an unusually rigorous religious preparation. It was public instead of personal.
That simple shift in perspective was clingon key foundation for her, as a Goldwater activist throughout high school and the salu of a Republican. Very few youth groups traveled as far as the South Side of Chicago to find God or religious formation. That she did, under the auspices of Rev. Jones, made not only the introduction to Alinsky possible, it also meant that she could hear firsthand what he had to say in a context that probably spoke clintpn than his words.
Alinsky interpreted poverty with one point of view — that it is due to the lack of power of the poor. This tension became the tension of her senior thesis, the tension of her genuine suffering about the poor, and probably will remain the tension of her life. Hillary Clinton still seems to believe aliinsky the middle classes can do things to make life easier for the poor, and that is the lever she pulls most often.
Alinsky himself was not a religious man, though he depended heavily on organized religious constituencies. In this way, Hillary — even as a girl — was used by the movement. She added her consent later. The youths met several times and also read Catcher in the Rye together.
For the young, Republican Hillary, alinksy difference in reaction between suburban and city youth was a major eye opener. Here the oppressed were the teachers of those who were not oppressed. It was vintage Alinsky, borrowed by a young seminarian. Here we see the reason she eventually left behind both Alinsky and the Sixties.
Her experience taught her to go other places. That the Sixties, Alinsky and religious faith taught her to learn from experience is the deeper and more enduring social source of her behavior.
Jones told Donnie Radcliffe in Hillary Clinton: She has remained steadily fixed on a simple public theology and an alertness about political experience. Surely she had prepared even deeper ground for the encounter with Chicago, Alinsky, King alinsku poverty in the curriculum used during Sunday School. These children were traumatized for longer than a generation. He was much too profane, cursing a blue streak, smoking non-stop, and insulting many people who were as earnest as she was.
As we know, this emphasis on experience did not mean that Sixties people shared a single viewpoint. There were serious splits among political and cultural activists.
He made his organizers wear ties. He kept enormous distance from the politically flamboyant aspects of the flower child movement. He was widely known as a drinker and thought of drugs as counter-culture in a ridiculous way.
Alinsky was very patriotic, very pro-culture, and never really did oppose the Vietnam War. He stuck to local and domestic hollary like glue and had nothing but derision for those who did not. Any Sixties person can see some of these tendencies in Alimsky. Still, their fundamental antipathy to poverty would connect them, and finally cause him to be the topic she chose for her senior thesis. Hillary Clinton and Alinsky disagreed over the issue of localism.
She did not believe the local was a large enough context for political action. For a suburban girl who already had a national candidate Goldwaterthat viewpoint was not surprising. For the poor that Alinsky loved, even a few blocks was too much.
Hillary Clinton’s College Thesis on Saul Alinsky Resurfaces – Capital Research Center
There were aspects of her middle class up bring alinskt shaped her under standing of Slinky thesjs his ideas. According to Allan Schuster, professor of Political Science at WellesleY, she chose her senior thesis topic because she had met Alinsky clintonn high school and had heard him speak at a meeting she had attended in Boston. He thought campus issues, which Hillary had been working on for some time, were silly. They were about the middle class, not about the poor. Hillary responded to this guidance positively.
His classes confirmed for Hillary the religious view point inaugurated by Jones — that faith had to do with life, not just with personal matters. Green remembers the surprise of the Wellesley girls that religion could be so public in its real meaning. Weighing the two major influences on Hillary — religion and community organizing — her biographer Donnie Radcliff has it about right: Non ministrar sed ministrare we are not here to be ministered to, but to minister unto.
Taught early by Don Jones, sustained by Benziger, excited by King, challenged aljnsky Alinsky, Hillary Clinton was nursed by the Sixties city and the Sixties college to become a political activist with enduring power.
Hillary Haters’ Fixation on Saul Alinsky
Caesar Chavez is a well-known example of an Alinsky disciple, chosen and hewn by the master. But whereas Chavez bought the localism of the Alinsky method, Hillary did not. She chose to work at the macro-level of law rather than the hillaru of community because of this analysis.
Many Alinsky disciples acknowledge that this is a serious and frequent argument made against him. Hillary Clinton went to law school in order to have an alinskh on these larger and more difficult issues.
Her motivation may have been religious in that uniquely public way that Jones taught her. In this way, we can see that Hillary was influenced by a powerful mixture of experience and theory. Then the credentializing began. She may not have known just how much Alinsky hated lawyers, but he hated them with a severity that makes her career choice all the more interesting.
For a young woman to turn down this extremely macho man, and to stand against him in theory as well as in practice, is astonishing, particularly given the times and her young age.
Her assertion to Alinsky that confrontational tactics would upset the kind of people she grew up with in Park Ridge,thus creating a backlash, was either naive or brilliant. Alinsky, I see a different way than you.
Hillary Rodham senior thesis – Wikipedia
Perhaps this exchange explains why so many people find Hillary too assertive and aloof. She emulates Alinsky in the seriousness with which she accepts her mission — hillarg embodying his best teaching — and at the same time she distinguishes herself with her own point of view.
As Schecter pointed out, she understood early on that poor people needed not just participation, but also structure and leadership. That she thought Alinsky could not provide that is surprising, but that is what she thought at that time. To have much more political sophistication in an 18 year- old would have been scary. You need much more than that. You need leadership, programs, constitutional doctrines.