100th Birthday Of Hubert Humphrey
Today marks the 100th birthday of Hubert Humphrey.
Mr. Humphrey was a liberal champion of civil rights and full employment.
Mr. Humphrey was Vice President from 1965-1969 and the 1968 Democratic nominee for President.
From the Minnesota Historical Society about Mr. Humphrey’s time as Mayor of Minneapolis—
“In 1948, under his leadership, Minneapolis enacted the nation’s first municipal fair employment law. Buoyed, he went on to deliver a fiery speech at the 1948 Democratic national convention, an impassioned plea urging that a strong civil rights plank be included in the Democratic platform. Although the speech was not well received, Humphrey was instrumental in spurring the convention to add a civil rights plank to their platform.”
The Historical Society entry also has links to a number of reference sources about Vice President Humphrey.
The U.S. Senate website has good profiles of all the Vice Presidents.
As vice president during 1968—arguably the United States’ most politically turbulent post-World War II year—Hubert Humphrey faced an excruciating test of statesmanship. During a time of war in Southeast Asia when the stakes for this nation were great, Humphrey confronted an agonizing choice: whether to remain loyal to his president or to the dictates of his conscience. His failure to reconcile these powerful claims cost him the presidency. Yet few men, placed in his position, could have walked so agonizing a tightrope over so polarized a nation. Near the end of his long career, an Associated Press poll of one thousand congressional administrative assistants cited Hubert Humphrey as the most effective senator of the preceding fifty years. A biographer pronounced him “the premier lawmaker of his generation.” Widely recognized during his career as the leading progressive in American public life, the Minnesota senator was often ahead of public opinion—which eventually caught up with him. When it did, he was able to become one of Congress’ most constructive legislators and a “trail blazer for civil rights and social justice…”
Senator Humphrey was a liberal and an establishment politician. He took a risk that paid off with civil rights, while his failure to take an agressive stand one way or another on the Vietnam War would cost him later in his career.
Mr. Humphrey is worth taking some time to learn about. Learning about past political leaders offers insight not just on the times they impacted, but on the present day as well.
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