Hubert Humphrey

Hubert Humphrey

Did you know that Hubert H. Humphrey—senator, vice president, and candidate for president in 1968—had also worked as a pharmacist? His father ran a drug store. He had to drop out of college because of the Depression and later received a pharmacy degree. But he really wanted to be a politician. He returned to college, graduated magna cum laude (that means he was really smart and got excellent grades), and earned a master's degree. He taught college students, and worked for the WPA, a Depression-era program.

Humphrey ran for mayor of Minneapolis and lost. He ran again, a few years later, and won. He was active in the Minnesota Democratic party and founded a national liberal political organization, Americans for Democratic Action.

The people of Minnesota elected him to the Senate in 1948. He was reelected several times—he served from 1949 to 1964 and then from 1971 until his death in 1978. He helped the Senate pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He also supported the Peace Corps, urban renewal, and aid to health and education. People called him the "Happy Warrior" because he good-naturedly fought for these and other liberal causes.

In 1964, he became President Lyndon Johnson's vice presidential running mate. As vice president, he worked with Johnson to end poverty and ensure civil rights for minorities. He also defended Johnson's policies in Vietnam. Many other liberals disagreed with him on that issue. When Johnson announced that he would not run for president again, Humphrey put his hat in the ring (that means he said he wanted the job). The nation was torn apart over Vietnam, and even the Democratic Party was divided. Humphrey lost to Republican Richard Nixon.

He taught college again briefly, and then the people from Minnesota elected him to the Senate again in 1970. He wanted to be the Democratic nominee for president in 1972. He continued to serve in the Senate until his death from cancer in 1978. His widow was appointed to complete his Senate term.

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