Johnson, Hiram Warren

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Johnson, Hiram Warren

Hiram Warren Johnson, 1866–1945, American political leader, U.S. Senator from California (1917–45), b. Sacramento, Calif. His role as attorney in the successful prosecution of Abe Ruef, political boss of San Francisco, led to his election (1910) as governor of California. Johnson broke the political domination of the Southern Pacific RR in California and secured the enactment of much reform legislation. A founder of the Progressive party, he was Theodore Roosevelt's running mate on the unsuccessful Progressive ticket of 1912. He was reelected governor in 1914. In 1916, Johnson refused to support Charles E. Hughes, the Republican presidential candidate, and Hughes lost California and the election to Woodrow Wilson. Johnson himself was elected U.S. Senator on the Progressive ticket and, reelected four times, served in the Senate until his death. In 1920 he was a leading contestant for the Republican presidential nomination, but after Warren G. Harding was nominated, Johnson declined offers of the vice presidential nomination. Although he at first supported the Hoover administration, he later became its bitter opponent, and in 1932 he gave Franklin D. Roosevelt strong support. Johnson had been a stubborn opponent of the League of Nations, and he remained one of the most consistent of the isolationists in Congress.

See study by S. C. Olin, Jr. (1968).

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