Daniel served in more political offices than anyone I know and he
did so with distinction and honor. We became acquainted through mutual
service in the 1970s on the Texas County Records Inventory Commission,
chaired by Mary Pearson of North Texas State University. At the time
Judge Daniel also served on the Texas Supreme Court, his final elective
Marion Price Daniel began life in 1910 in Dayton,
in Liberty County, in Southeast Texas. Daniel began a law practice
Texas, in 1932, after earning a law degree from Baylor. In 1939 he
won his first election to the Texas House of Representatives, and
made a name for himself opposing a state sales tax.
Daniel became speaker of the Texas House in 1943 but enlisted in the
Army after a single term; he completed officer's candidate school
and worked with the judge advocate general's office until discharged
in 1946. Daniel came home to run for state attorney general, a post
he held until he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1952.
While attorney general, Daniel championed Texas' claims to control
of offshore drilling in what was known as the "tidelands issue." When
President Harry Truman vetoed quitclaim legislation that would have
given Texas such control-and access to oil & gas revenues-Daniel endorsed
Republican presidential candidate Dwight Eisenhower when he pledged
to support such legislation.
Both were elected in 1952 and Daniel immediately introduced new quitclaim
legislation, which passed through the efforts of Senator Lyndon Johnson
and Speaker Sam Rayburn, both Texans.
Ike signed the legislation.
Daniel remained in the Senate until he came home to win the governorship
in 1956. He claimed he would rather be governor of Texas than president.
After completing three terms as governor, Daniel served as President
Johnson's liaison to state governors until Governor Preston Smith
appointed him a justice of the Texas Supreme Court.
Price Daniel took an oath of loyalty and service as an officer of
the court, state representative, house speaker, U.S. soldier, attorney
general, U.S. senator, governor, federal appointed official, and Supreme
Court justice. He left this life in 1988. Of all the state's governors,
Daniel served in more offices and longer than any other.
May 21, 2007 column
A syndicated column in over 70 East Texas newspapers
This column is provided as a public service by the East Texas Historical
Association. Archie P. McDonald is director of the Association and
author of more than 20 books on Texas
by Archie P. McDonald