Hubert Horatio Humphrey Jr. (May 27, 1911 – January 13, 1978) was an American politician who served as the 38th Vice President of the United States from 1965 to 1969. Humphrey twice served in the United States Senate, representing Minnesota from 1949 to 1964 and 1971 to 1978. He was the Democratic Party's nominee in the 1968 presidential election, losing to Republican nominee Richard Nixon.
Born in Wallace, South Dakota, Humphrey attended the University of Minnesota and helped run his father's pharmacy before returning to academia. He earned a master's degree from Louisiana State University and worked for the Works Progress Administration, the Minnesota war service program, and the War Manpower Commission. In 1943, Humphrey became a professor of political science at Macalester College and ran a failed campaign for mayor of Minneapolis. Humphrey helped found the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) in 1944, and in 1945, won election as mayor of Minneapolis. Humphrey served as mayor from 1945 to 1948 and co-founded the liberal anti-communist group Americans for Democratic Action in 1947. In 1948, Humphrey won election to the Senate and successfully advocated for the inclusion of a proposal to end racial segregation in the 1948 Democratic National Convention's party platform.
Humphrey served three terms in the Senate from 1949 to 1964 and was the Democratic Majority Whip from 1961 to 1964. During his tenure, Humphrey was the lead author of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, introduced the first initiative to create the Peace Corps, sponsored the clause of the McCarran Act to threaten concentration camps for 'subversives', proposed making Communist Party membership a felony, and chaired the Select Committee on Disarmament. Humphrey unsuccessfully sought his party's presidential nomination in the 1952 and 1960 Democratic primaries. After Lyndon B. Johnson acceded to the presidency he chose Humphrey to be his running mate, and the Democratic ticket was elected in the landslide 1964 election.
After Johnson made the surprise announcement that he would not seek reelection in March 1968, Humphrey launched his campaign for the presidency. Humphrey, who was loyal to the Johnson administration's policies on the Vietnam War as Vice President, saw opposition from many within his own party and avoided the primaries to focus on receiving the delegates of non-primary states at the Democratic Convention. Humphrey's delegate strategy succeeded in clinching the nomination, and he chose Senator Edmund Muskie as his running mate. In the 1968 election, Humphrey nearly matched Nixon's tally in the popular vote but lost the electoral vote by a wide margin. After being defeated in the 1968 election, Humphrey returned to the Senate and served in that chamber until his death in 1978.
Humphrey spent his last weeks calling old political acquaintances. One call was to Richard Nixon inviting him to his upcoming funeral, which he accepted. Staying in the hospital, Humphrey went from room to room, cheering up other patients by telling them jokes and listening to them.
He died on January 13, 1978 of bladder cancer at his home in Waverly, Minnesota. His body lay in state in the rotunda of both the United States Capitol and the Minnesota State Capitol, and was interred in Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis. Humphrey's passing overshadowed the death of his colleague from Montana, Senator Lee Metcalf with Metcalf's death occurring one day prior to Humphrey's. Old friends and opponents of Humphrey, from Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon to President Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale paid their final respects. "He taught us how to live, and finally he taught us how to die", said Mondale.
His wife, Muriel Humphrey, was appointed by Minnesota's governor Rudy Perpich to serve in the US Senate until a special election to fill the term was held. She did not seek election to finish her husband's term in office.