Henry A. Wallace:
Vice President, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, Advocate for the Common Man
Vice President Henry Agard Wallace was born in Adair County, Iowa on October 7th, 1888 to Henry Cantwell and Carrie Wallace. Growing up, Wallace spent most of his time fascinated by his family farm and the simplicity of nature. After graduating from university, the younger Wallace became the editor of his family’s farm journal, titled Wallace’s Farmer.
He went on to found the Hi-Bred Corn Company, one of the first in the world to sell hybrid corn that maximized the yields of farmers across the globe. Getting involved in politics, reluctantly at first, to support the rights of the working man in the Midwest, Wallace endorsed Franklin Delano Roosevelt for President in 1932. Following his electoral victory, President Roosevelt nominated Henry A. Wallace to be the 11th Secretary of Agriculture, a position with vast responsibilities that Wallace took on heartily.
Following several successful years working to alleviate rural poverty, Wallace was nominated to run with Roosevelt for Vice President in the 1940 election. Stumping across the nation on behalf of the then-ailing President, soon-to-be Vice President Wallace brought a message of hope and passion to the heartland of the United States, eventually triumphing with a staggering 449 electoral votes.
As Vice President, Wallace took an extreme interest in not only foreign affairs, but the well-being of common, working people across the globe. He traversed Latin America, China, and the Soviet Union, preaching a message of economic development, independence, and international cooperation. In 1942, he gave what would become his most-famous speech: “The Century of the Common Man."