Pat Brown

Pat Brown

Infobox Governor
name = Edmund Gerald Brown, Sr.

order = 32nd
office = Governor of California
term_start = January 5, 1959
term_end = January 2, 1967
lieutenant = Glenn M. Anderson
predecessor = Goodwin Knight
successor = Ronald Reagan
birth_date = birth date|1905|4|21|mf=y
birth_place = San Francisco, California
death_date = death date and age|1996|2|16|1905|4|21
death_place = Beverly Hills, California
party = Democrat
spouse = Bernice Layne
profession =
religion = Roman Catholic

Edmund Gerald "Pat" Brown Sr. (April 21, 1905ndash February 16, 1996) was the 32nd Governor of California, serving from 1959 to 1967.


Brown was born in San Francisco, the son of Edmund and Ida Schuckman Brown. He was one of four children. His father was Irish Catholic, his mother a German Protestant. He acquired the nickname "Pat" during his school years. When he was 12 years old, he sold Liberty Bonds on street corners. He would end his spiel with, "Give me liberty, or give me death."Fact|date=November 2007 The nickname was a reference to his Patrick Henry-like oratory. He graduated from Lowell High School where he was a high school debate champion as a member of the Lowell Forensic Society. After high school, Brown skipped college and instead worked in his father's cigar store and ran an illegal gambling room,Fact|date=November 2007 while studying law at a local night school. He graduated from San Francisco Law School in 1927. He took some University of California extension courses, but acquired his broad knowledge through reading widely.

Pat Brown started a law practice in San Francisco. He ran as a Republican for the State Assembly in 1928, but lost. He waited until 1939 to run again, this time as a Democrat, for District Attorney for San Francisco against Matthew Brady. Again, he lost. He ran again for the same position in 1943, and finally won. He served here for seven years, and made his name attacking bookies and underground abortion providers,Fact|date=November 2007 before running for, and winning, election as Attorney General of California. He served in that role for eight years. While he was the Attorney General, he was the only member of the Democratic Party to win statewide election. In 1949, he raided Sally Stanford's elegant San Francisco bordello [ [ 19 December 1999] ] .

In 1958, he was the Democratic nominee for Governor of California. He defeated U.S. Senator William F. Knowland by a margin of nearly 20 percentage points. He was reelected in 1962, defeating former Vice President Richard Nixon. He lost the 1966 election to another future Republican President, Ronald Reagan.

Brown's two terms as governor are generally regarded as successful. His time in office was marked by an enormous water-resources development program (which later evolved into the California Aqueduct, which also bears his name "The Governor Edmund G. Brown California Aqueduct" ), the enactment of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, fair employment practices, state economic development commission, and a consumers' council. He sponsored some forty major proposals. Only five failed to pass the legislature: state-wide minimum wage, regulation of unions, campaign finance, and an oil tax. He more than doubled the amount of state highways.Fact|date=November 2007

As for capital punishment, Brown commuted 23 death sentences (first time just second day after taking office) and allowed 36 executions [ [ New York Times] ] , including highly controversial case of Caryl Chessman in 1960 and Elizabeth Duncan - the last female put to death before national moratorium was enacted.

Brown himself opposed the death penalty [ [ The History of the California Master Plan for Higher Education: Biographical Glossary ] ] and no execution took place after 1963 [] .

During the Chessman case he also proposed that the death penalty be abolished, but the proposal failed [ [ New York Times] ] . His Republican successor, Ronald Reagan, was a firm death penalty supporter and oversaw the last pre-Furman execution in California in 1967.

Personal life

Brown met his wife, Bernice Layne, when he was young. They were childhood sweethearts. They married in 1930. She was the daughter of a San Francisco police captain. They had four children: a son, Edmund, Jr. ("Jerry"), and three daughters: Kathleen Brown, Barbara Brown Casey, and Cynthia Brown Kelly. In 1974, Jerry Brown was elected the 34th Governor of California. He was reelected in 1978, was defeated in a bid for the U.S. Senate in 1982, and was elected California Attorney General in 2006. Kathleen Brown was elected California State Treasurer in 1990 and was defeated in a bid for Governor of California in 1994. Pat Brown's granddaughter's, Sascha Rice and Hilary Armstrong, are currently making a documentary film on their grandfather. []

Pat Brown died aged 90 in Beverly Hills and is interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma.

::— Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, Sr.

Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate

Unlike his son, Jerry, Pat Brown never seriously ran for President of the United States, but he frequently was California's favorite son, running exclusively in his home state.

During the 1952 Democratic primaries Brown placed distant second to Estes Kefauver in total votes (65.04% to 9.97%) [ [] ] , losing California to him [ [] .

While Governor, Brown was again California's favorite son in 1960, winning his home state with a large margin to only opponent George H. McLain [ [ Our Campaigns - CA US President - D Primary Race - Jun 07, 1960 ] ] . Like other favorite sons (like Governor of Ohio Michael DiSalle of Florida Senator George Smathers) he was not a serious candidate, like John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Adlai Stevenson II or Stuart Symington. Thanks to his sole California victory, however, he was again second in total vote, just behind Kennedy [ [ Our Campaigns - US President - D Primaries Race - Feb 01, 1960 ] ] . Despite this he won one vote for President at the 1960 Democratic National Convention [ [ Our Campaigns - US President - D Convention Race - Jul 11, 1960 ] ] .

During the 1964 primaries he technically, again thanks to only California's votes [ [] ] placed first in primary total number [ [] . He, like other candidates (except George Wallace), was only a stalking horse for incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson, whose nomination was assured.

As for the Vice Presidency, he briefly sought nomination at the 1956 Democratic National Convention, winning one vote [ [ Our Campaigns - US Vice President - D Convention Race - Aug 13, 1956 ] ] .

Political party identity in California

Prior to 1959, loyalty to a political party was not important in California. Through a practice known as cross-filing, a person could run in both the Democratic primary and the Republican primary at the same time. As indicated in the article on the California Democratic Party, Governor Earl Warren did so in 1946 and 1950. Cross-filing was abolished in 1959. Thus the fact that Brown first ran for office as a Republican and later as a Democrat was not, at that time, as significant in California as it would have been elsewhere.


* [ Rarick, Ethan] "California Rising: The Life and Times of Pat Brown", University of California Press. (2005) ISBN 0520236270, the standard scholarly biography
*R. Rapoport. "California Dreaming: The Political Odyssey of Pat & Jerry Brown," Berkeley: Nolo Press, ISBN 0917316487


External links

* [ Official Biography and portrait from State of California]
* [ Brown family of California at Political Graveyard]
* [ California Rising: The Life and Times of Pat Brown]

NAME= Brown, Edmund Gerald, Sr.
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Governor of California
DATE OF BIRTH= 1905-4-21
PLACE OF BIRTH= San Francisco, California
DATE OF DEATH= 1996-2-16
PLACE OF DEATH= Beverly Hills, California

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