Hubert H. Humphrey dominated Minnesota's political landscape in the decades following World War II. His career is a compelling story of promise, ambition, disappointment, compromise, and accomplishment.
Humphrey was born in South Dakota in 1911. He grew up in Doland, then came to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota in 1929.
For 25 years, Humphrey helped define the ideals of liberalism in American politics. As mayor of Minneapolis from 1945 to 1949 he worked to reform city government and combat discrimination (left, Humphrey in his Minneapolis mayor's office in 1947).
Humphrey's stirring speech at the Democratic National Party Convention in 1948, and his successful campaign for a strong civil rights plank in the party's platform, made him a national figure. His career in the Senate, from 1949 to 1965 and 1971 to 1978, established him as one of the country's most effective legislators. Working for legislation on fair employment, civil rights, the Peace Corps, arms limitation, organized labor, and American agriculture, he was often able to sway public and congressional opinion.
Humphrey was a skillful and shrewd party politician. From 1944 through 1948 he helped to organize a coalition of Minnesota Democrats and Farmer-Labor Party members to support his initiatives, merging these two parties. While his efforts were successful, some criticized him for being intolerant of the progressive and radical Farmer-Laborites.
In 1960 Hubert Humphrey campaigned for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, but lost to John F. Kennedy (right, Humphrey with John F. Kennedy during the Wisconsin primary election that year). He remained in the Senate and served as Majority Whip.
From 1965 to 1969, he served as vice president for Lyndon Johnson. Humphrey worked for the administration's policies, both domestic and foreign. His support for the Vietnam War cost him many of his liberal backers.
Humphrey ran again for the presidency in 1968. He won the Democratic Party's nomination, but lost the election to Richard Nixon. He returned to the Senate in 1971, was reelected in 1976 and held office until he died of cancer in January 1978.