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Price Daniel

by Archie P. McDonald
Archie McDonald Ph.D.
Price 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 office.

Marion Price Daniel began life in 1910 in Dayton, in Liberty County, in Southeast Texas. Daniel began a law practice in Liberty, 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.


Archie P. McDonald
All Things Historical
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

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