Hillary Clinton Has This Woman to Thank for Her Campaign


June 9, 1972 cover of .June 9, 1972 cover of LIFE Magazine.

Hillary Clinton’s expected announcement Sunday that she will seek the Democratic nomination for president a second time is the culmination of decades of hard work and strategic maneuvering. But behind every great woman is another great woman, and behind Clinton—and, really, every woman who has run for U.S. political office in the last four decades—is Bella Abzug.

Abzug was a New York City lawyer who practiced for more than two decades, taking on civil rights cases and representing targets of Senator McCarthy’s Communist witch hunt, before becoming one of 12 women in Congress in 1971. She came up as an activist, advocating for peace, gay rights and women’s causes, and her resolve only strengthened when she achieved a post from which she could influence policy. After the legislative body to which she belonged failed to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, she spearheaded the…

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