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James Edward "Pa" Ferguson (August 31, 1871 - September 21, 1944) was a United Statesmarker politician from the state of Texasmarker.

Early life

Ferguson was born near Salado, Texasmarker. He entered Salado Collegemarker at age twelve but was eventually expelled for disobedience. At the age of 16, he left home and drifted though the states of the American Old West. After he returned to Texas, he was admitted to the bar. He married Miriam A. "Ma" Wallace on December 31, 1899. During the 1900s and 1910s, Ferguson ran several local campaigns.

Governor of Texas

In 1914, Ferguson was elected Governor of Texas running as an anti-prohibitionist Democrat. He served in this position from January 19, 1915 to August 25, 1917.

After being re-elected in 1916, Ferguson vetoed the appropriations for the University of Texasmarker. This was in retribution for the university's refusal to dismiss certain faculty members whom Ferguson found objectionable. This move spurred the drive to impeach Ferguson. A leading Ferguson critic on the UT campus was historian Eugene C. Barker. Ferguson was indicted on nine charges in July 1917. The Texas House of Representatives prepared 21 charges against Ferguson and the Senate convicted him on 10 of those charges. The Senate removed him from the office of Governor and declared him ineligible to hold office in the state of Texas. Despite this ruling, Ferguson ran for Governor in 1918, but he was defeated by William P. Hobby.

Presidential candidate

Ferguson also ran for President of the United States in the 1920 election as the candidate of the American Party. Ferguson was on the ballot in only Texas, where he received 47,968 votes (9.86 percent of the vote in Texas, 0.18 percent of the vote nationwide). The 1920 presidential election was won by Republican candidate Warren Harding although Democratic nominee James M. Cox won in Texas.

Ferguson was also surpassed by four other unsuccessful candidates:

Senate bid and First Gentleman of Texas

He failed at his bid for the United States Senate in 1922, making it to the runoff election but losing to Earle B. Mayfield. Ferguson ran the campaigns of his wife Miriam A. Ferguson, who was elected to two terms as Governor of Texas (January 20, 1925 - January 17, 1927 and January 17, 1933 - January 15, 1935).


  1. TSHA Online - Texas State Historical Association - Home at

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