Cold War Files: All Units: People: Hubert H. Humphrey

Hubert H. Humphrey
Hubert H. Humphrey
b. May 27, 1911 - d. January 13, 1978
Vice President, United States, 1965-1969
Senator, United States, 1949-1964

Hubert Horatio Humphrey Jr. was the 38th Vice President of the United States, and twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota.

Humphrey was born in Wallace, South Dakota. He attended the public schools of Doland, South Dakota, where his family had moved. After public school, he graduated from Capitol College of Pharmacy, Denver in 1933. He then became a pharmacist with the Humphrey Drug Co. in Huron, South Dakota, from 1933 to 1937.

Humphrey returned to school at the University of Minnesota, and received his degree in 1939. He later earned a graduate degree from Louisiana State University in 1940, while serving as an assistant instructor of political science. During 1940-1941 he was an instructor and graduate student at the University of Minnesota. Humphrey never finished his Ph.D., and for this reason, after he lost the presidency to Richard Nixon and returned to the university to teach, the political science department refused to let him teach in their department.

During World War II, he became state director of war production training and reemployment and State chief of Minnesota war service program 1942; assistant director, War Manpower Commission 1943; professor in political science at Macalester (Minn.) College 1943–1944; radio news commentator 1944–1945. In 1943, he made his first run at elective office, for mayor of Minneapolis, but he lost.

Minnesota elected Humphrey to the United States Senate in 1948 on the DFL ticket, and he took office on January 3, 1949. Humphrey's father died that year, and Humphrey stopped using "Jr." He was reelected in 1954 and 1960. His colleagues selected him as majority whip in 1961, a position he held until he left the Senate on December 29, 1964.

Humphrey ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960, but lost to Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy. He was elected Vice President of the United States on the Democratic ticket with Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and served from January 20, 1965, until January 20, 1969. As Vice President, Humphrey was controversial for his complete and vocal loyalty to Johnson and the policies of the Johnson Administration, even as many of Humphrey's liberal admirers opposed Johnson with increasing fervor about the Vietnam War. Even Humphrey's nickname, the Happy Warrior, was used against him. The nickname referred not to hawkishness but to Humphrey's crusading for social programs.

In 1968, Humphrey ran for President of the United States winning the United States Democratic Party nomination at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, but lost the 1968 election to Richard M. Nixon.

He then resumed teaching at Macalester College and the University of Minnesota 1969–1970; and served as chairman of board of consultants of Encyclopædia Britannica Educational Corp. He was again elected in 1970 to the United States Senate; the incumbent U.S. Senator from Minnesota, Eugene J. McCarthy, realized the DFL would punish him for his role in bringing Johnson and Humphrey down in 1968 and chose to pre-empt their wrath by stepping aside. Humphrey was reelected in 1976 and served from January 3, 1971, until his death in office; the post of Deputy President pro tempore of the Senate was created for him and he held it from January 5, 1977, until his death in Waverly, Minnesota, January 13, 1978.

footer navigation
Copyright 2005, Cold War International
History Project. All rights reserved.