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Hubert Horatio Humphrey

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  • Ram Lau
    http://hubert-humphrey.com/humphrey.hhh Humphrey, Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Hubert Horatio (1911-1978), 38th vice president of the United States. He was elected
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 23, 2005
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      Humphrey, Hubert Horatio

      Humphrey, Hubert Horatio (1911-1978), 38th vice president of the
      United States. He was elected with President Lyndon B. Johnson on the
      Democratic ticket in 1964, and he was his party's unsuccessful
      presidential candidate in 1968.

      A leading champion of civil rights and other liberal causes, Humphrey
      made his national reputation as a U.S. senator, serving from 1949 to
      1964 and from 1971 until his death. Despite his sometimes
      controversial stands, especially his support of the Johnson
      administration's Vietnam policy, and a hearty personality that
      bothered some with its exuberance, Humphrey became in his later years
      one of the most respected and beloved figures in American political life.

      An indication of that respect and love was bestowed on Humphrey after
      his death, when he was given a funeral worthy of a head of state. His
      body lay in the Capitol rotunda in Washington, and his last rites in
      Minneapolis were attended by the nation's leaders. President Jimmy
      Carter eulogized Humphrey by saying: "From time to time, our nation is
      blessed by the presence of men and women who bear the mark of
      greatness, who help us see a better vision of what we can become.
      Hubert Humphrey was such a man."

      Youth and Early Career. Born in Wallace, S. Dak., on May 27, 1911,
      Humphrey grew up in Doland, S. Dak., where his father ran a drugstore.
      He dropped out of the University of Minnesota because of the
      Depression but later (1933) received a degree from the Denver College
      of Pharmacy. In 1936 he married Muriel Buck (1912[en_dash]1998).
      Returning to the University of Minnesota, he graduated magna cum laude
      with a major in political science in 1939. In 1940 he received a
      master's degree from Louisiana State University. He also taught at
      both institutions and at Macalester College. In 1941 he joined the
      Work Projects Administration in Minnesota.

      In 1943, Humphrey ran for mayor of Minneapolis and narrowly lost. He
      then helped unite the Minnesota Democratic and Farmer-Labor parties,
      and after their merger in 1944 he became a state party leader. In 1945
      he was elected mayor by more than 30,000 votes. While mayor, he
      secured passage of the nation's first municipal fair employment
      practices ordinance. He helped wrest control of the Minnesota
      Democratic Farmer-Labor party from Communist influences and was a
      cofounder (1947) of the Americans for Democratic Action, a national
      liberal, anti-Communist organization. In 1947 he was reelected by a
      record 50,000-vote plurality.

      Rise to National Prominence. A delegate to the 1948 Democratic
      national convention, Humphrey was instrumental, through his
      evangelical oratory, in having the convention override the platform
      committee and include President Truman's civil rights proposals in the
      platform. Humphrey's convention triumph preceded his election to the
      U.S. Senate that year and gave him a reputation as a fire-breathing
      Midwestern liberal.

      His Senate record reinforced his liberal reputation. His first
      legislative proposal was for medical care for the aged (a medicare
      bill was eventually enacted, in 1965, after Humphrey had become vice
      president). Although initially he earned the antipathy of his
      colleagues because of his brashness, he sought the tutelage of another
      new senator, Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, and by the end of his first
      term he had gained the respect of Senate elders. He was reelected in
      1954 and 1960. He became assistant majority leader in 1961 and helped
      win Senate approval of the nuclear test ban treaty of 1963 and of the
      Civil Rights Act of 1964.

      Although disappointed in his bid for the vice presidential nomination
      in 1956 and for the presidential nomination in 1960, Humphrey had
      enhanced his national stature. After Vice President Johnson became
      president in 1963, Humphrey was the most likely 1964 vice presidential
      nominee. At the national convention President Johnson appealed for
      Humphrey's nomination, and the convention chose him by acclamation.

      Vice President. Vice President Humphrey served as chairman of several
      official bodies, including the National Aeronautics and Space Council.
      He was a prominent spokesman for the administration's legislative
      program and helped dramatize the administration's efforts to secure
      civil rights for minorities and to reduce poverty.

      Johnson sent Humphrey on many foreign missions, including trips to
      several Asian nations to explain U.S. positions on the war in Vietnam.
      At home Humphrey staunchly defended administration policies in
      Vietnam, and thereby alienated many of his former liberal supporters.
      He attempted to dissuade "peace" candidate Sen. Eugene McCarthy of
      Minnesota from challenging Johnson's renomination in 1968.

      The 1968 Campaign. After a strong showing by McCarthy in the New
      Hampshire primary, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy of New York also challenged
      Johnson. Then, to almost universal astonishment, Johnson announced
      that he would not run again. Anticipating urban, liberal, labor,
      university, and business support in all regions, Humphrey announced
      his candidacy. When Kennedy lost the Oregon primary to McCarthy,
      Humphrey's nomination was virtually won. A week later Kennedy defeated
      McCarthy in California, only to die from an assassin's bullet.

      Humphrey held his delegates through a stormy Democratic convention
      that included a fight over the Vietnam plank in the platform.
      McCarthy's supporters complained that Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago
      and other convention officials had managed the
      proceedings[em_dash]which had been nearly overshadowed by antiwar
      protests in the streets[em_dash]to suit the interests of the Johnson
      administration and Humphrey's candidacy. Humphrey and his
      vice-presidential candidate, Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie, set out to
      restore party unity. Ex-Alabama Gov. George Wallace, a third-party
      candidate, threatened to cut into the Democratic vote in Northern
      industrial areas. The country was in a mood for change. Humphrey lost
      by 1% of the popular vote to Republican Richard Nixon. Humphrey
      carried 13 states, mostly in the East, and the District of Columbia,
      for 191 electoral votes. Nixon won 301 electoral votes, and Wallace 46.

      In 1969[en_dash]1970, Humphrey taught again at Macalaster, before
      being reelected to the Senate in 1970. He unsuccessfully sought the
      Democratic presidential nomination in 1972, and decided not to
      challenge the front-runner, Jimmy Carter, for the nomination in 1976.
      He underwent an operation for cancer late in 1976, but was reelected
      to the Senate. In 1977 he was elected deputy president pro tem of the
      Senate, a new position created for him.

      Humphrey's cancer proved to be terminal, but he exhibited unusual
      fortitude and good cheer as he faced the end. He died at his home in
      Waverly, Minn., on Jan. 13, 1978. His widow was appointed to fill out
      his Senate term.

      James A. Robinson, *
      President The University of West Florida

      Solberg, Carl, Hubert Humphrey (Norton 1984).
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