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Hubert Humphrey

Hubert Humphrey was a Minnesota Democratic politician, who after a long career in the U.S. Senate served as vice-president under Lyndon B. Johnson and ran unsuccessfully against Richard M. Nixon in the Election of 1968. Hubert Horatio Humphrey was born in Wallace, South Dakota, on May 27, 1911. He dropped out of college in the 1930's to work for his father in the family drugstore in Huron, but returned to obtain a degree in political science from the University of Minnesota and a masters from Louisiana State. He taught at both of his alma maters as well as at Macalester College. During the New Deal, Humphrey worked for the Works Progress Administration and was later elected (1943) and re-elected (1947) mayor of Minneapolis. At the Democratic National Convention in 1948, Hubert Humphrey gave a stirring speech:

Now let me say this at the outset that this proposal is made for no single region. Our proposal is made for no single class, for no single racial or religious group in mind. All of the regions of this country, all of the states have shared in our precious heritage of American freedom. All the states and all the regions have seen at least some of the infringements of that freedom -- all people -- get this -- all people, white and black, all groups, all racial groups have been the victims at time[s] in this nation of -- let me say -- vicious discrimination.
Humphrey's successful push for a strong civil rights plank in the Democratic national platform contributed to the departure of the Dixiecrats under Strom Thurmond, but in the Election of 1948, Humphrey became the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from Minnesota and Harry Truman beat Dewey. Humphrey campaigned unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for vice-president in 1956 and for president in 1960. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson brought him onto the presidential ticket, and in the Election of 1964, they resoundingly defeated Barry Goldwater and William Miller. A little more than three years into his term as vice-president, Humphrey was suddenly thrust into the forefront of the 1968 presidential campaign when Johnson decided not to seek renomination. Drawing on the same core of support that had backed Johnson in the early primaries, Humphrey won the nomination but lost the election of 1968 to Richard Nixon. Hubert Humphrey died of cancer on January 13, 1978, in Waverly, Minnesota.