The Happy Warrior

Humphrey returns from the 1948 Democratic Convention

Growing up in Minnesotan this speech sixty years ago at the 1948 Democratic Convention, and the man who gave it has always meant something special to me:

Fellow Democrats, fellow Americans:

I realize that in speaking in behalf of the minority report on civil rights as presented by Congressman DeMiller of Wisconsin that I am dealing with a charged issue — with an issue which has been confused by emotionalism on all sides of the fence. I realize that there are here today friends and colleagues of mine, many of them, who feel just as deeply and keenly as I do about this issue and who are yet in complete disagreement with me…

Friends, delegates, I do not believe that there can be any compromise on the guarantee of civil rights which I have mentioned in the minority report.

In spite of my desire for unanimous agreement on the entire platform, in spite of my desire to see everybody here in honest and unanimous agreement, there are some matters which I think must be stated clearly and without qualification. There can be no hedging — the newspaper headlines are wrong! There will be no hedging, and there will be no watering down — if you please — of the instruments and the principals of the civil-rights program!…

To those who say, my friends, to those who say, that we are rushing this issue of civil rights, I say to them we are 172 years late! To those who say, to those who say this civil-rights program is an infringement on states’ rights, I say this: the time has arrived in America for the Democratic party to get out of the shadow of states’ rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights!

Sixty years later Hubert we are getting there. It is by no means the end, but it is a pretty awesome step.

Oh, and this happens to be the forty-fifth anniversary of another great moment which makes tonight all the more satisfying.

Never prouder to be an American, never prouder to be a Democrat.

(photo via the Nandotimes)

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