Prints and Photographs Collection
Price Daniel brought an impressive resume to the governorship. He earned a law degree from Baylor University and became a well-known defense attorney in Liberty. Elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1939, he was an outspoken member of the "Immortal 56," a group of legislators opposed to a state sales tax. He was elected speaker of the House in 1943. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served as a judge advocate general (JAG) in the Pacific.
Daniel was discharged from the Army in 1946 and conducted a whirlwind campaign that same year to become the youngest attorney general in Texas history. Daniel was highly successful in the job, handling more than 5000 lawsuits, writing 2000 bills for the Texas Legislature, and successfully defending more land and money claims for the state than any previous attorney general. His most famous cases were his defense of the state's refusal to admit Heman Sweatt, a black student, to the University of Texas law school; his crusade against organized gambling; and the defense of Texas' claims to the Tidelands. With Allan Shivers, Daniel broke with the national Democratic party over the Tidelands issue, and in 1952 he was elected to the U.S. Senate as a "Texas Democrat." His first order of business was to draft the Tidelands bill that was signed into law by President Eisenhower in 1953. In the Senate, Daniel was best known for a nationwide narcotics probe that resulted in much stricter regulation drug laws, and for his near success in passing legislation to reform the electoral college.
Declaring that he would "rather be Governor of Texas than President of the United States," Daniel resigned from the Senate and was elected governor in 1956. He served three terms, during which he was able to pass major initiatives on highways, prison reform, water conservation, higher teachers' salaries, and improved care for the mentally impaired.