Humphrey, Hubert Horatio

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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Humphrey, Hubert Horatio

Hubert Horatio Humphrey, 1911–78, U.S. Vice President (1965–69), b. Wallace, S.Dak. After practicing pharmacy for several years, Humphrey taught political science and became involved in state politics. An ardent New Dealer, he was appointed to several federal offices in Minnesota. He was instrumental in getting the Democratic party and the Farmer-Labor party to merge, and with the combined backing of both parties he was elected mayor of Minneapolis in 1945 and reelected in 1947. In 1948, Humphrey (with the backing of the Farmer-Labor party) became the first Democrat from Minnesota ever elected to the U.S. Senate. He gained a national reputation by his strong stand for civil rights. Reelected in 1954, Humphrey campaigned in the 1960 presidential primaries against John F. Kennedy but withdrew after his defeat in the West Virginia primary. He was (1960) reelected to the U.S. Senate and became (1961) the assistant majority leader. In 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson chose Humphrey as his running mate on the Democratic national ticket, which won. In 1968, after Johnson decided not to run for reelection, Humphrey was a leading contender for the Democratic nomination. He was opposed by many critics of the Vietnam War, however, because he had supported the escalation of the war during Johnson's administration. Humphrey nevertheless secured the nomination but he was narrowly defeated by the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon, in the election. Humphrey successfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1970. In 1972 he made another bid for the Democratic presidential nomination but failed to secure it. He was reelected to the Senate in 1976.

See his War on Poverty (1964), School Desegregation: Documents and Commentaries (also publ. as Integration vs. Segregation; 1964), Beyond Civil Rights (1968), and The Political Philosophy of the New Deal (1970); biographies by M. Amrine (1960), A. H. Ryskind (1968), and R. Sherrill and H. W. Ernst (1968).

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