Date of Award

1997

Document Type

Senior Scholars Paper (Open Access)

Department

Colby College. American Studies Program

Advisor(s)

Margaret McFadden

Second Advisor

Charlie Bassett

Third Advisor

Tony Corrado

Abstract

This paper examines the "saint or sinner" Hillary Rodham Clinton myth and its implications. I am not concerned with ascertaining the "truth" about Mrs. Clinton in the way that the truth is conventionally defined. In fact, such would be impossible, since very few Americans know HRC personally, and the media only provide an interpretation of the "truth." Rather, this paper is concerned with examining the meaning of the saint/sinner dichotomy in American society. It examines the development of the myth in the 1992 campaign, the failed health-care initiative, the Whitewater affair and other "Clinton scandals," and in the Clintons' marriage. It then turns to the Clinton campaign's failed attempt to break down that myth in the 1996 presidential campaign. Finally, it concludes by explaining the implications of the myth for American society.

Keywords

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Media, Myth