Reinhold Niebuhr Timeline: Corresponds with Humphrey about presidential election loss

Reinhold Niebuhr Timeline: Corresponds with Humphrey about presidential election loss

Correspondence with Hubert Humphrey


December 9, 1968

Dear Reinhold:

I am grateful for your warm note about the campaign.

Although it is not easy to lose, I do have the satisfaction of the feeling that the campaign may have done the country's mood some good.

I am grateful, as always, for your thoughtfullness and support.

Hubert H.
Hubert H. Humphrey

Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr
Yale Hill
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

November 18, 1968

Dear Hubert:

As one of your many friends who were worried about your involvement in the Vietnam issue and were afraid that the matter hurt your chances for the Presidency, I want to give you this special letter of congratulations on the gallant fight you made against heavy odds which almost but not quite won the election. You narrowed the gap in the various polls, and now President-elect Nixon has won the electoral college by a miniscule majority. This is as Jesse Unruh declared; this is the most tremendous personal triumph. I hope it will console you although the fact of losing this great office by such a narrow margin cannot offer sufficient consolation.

Meanwhile we are under the Presidency of Mr. Nixon whom nobody quite trusts, and I only hope as patriot that it may not be as bad as we feel that it may be. Incidentally, I was particularly struck by the 90% vote that you had from the ghettos of the various cities. This was among your many triumphs the greatest triumph. We are all so sorry that we will not have your leadership in the next four years. Politics is a strange game but the vicissitudes of politics cannot obscure the admiration and affectation which many of your friends, and indeed many of the citizens of our country, have for you.

Affectionately yours,
Reinhold Niebuhr

Vice-President Hubert Humphrey

Reinhold Niebuhr Papers: Library of Congress, Manuscript Reading Room

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Paul Elie

is senior editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux and author of The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage.

Jean Bethke Elshtain

is an author and Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Robin Lovin

is Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, and the author of Reinhold Niebuhr and Christian Realism.