Flamboyant and packed with self-importance, General David Douty Colton was proud of his title though he had never seen active service. He gained the title "the General" from a brief stint with the state militia. The General was an ambitious man who learned the political game, particularly organization, manipulation, ballot stuffing and intimidation in the jungle of San Francisco politics. He was a crony to his patron and mentor, David Broderick, the Tammanyite who established San Francisco's political machine in 1849, served as the autocratic leader of the California Democratic Party in the 1850s, and became a U.S. senator only to lose his life in a duel with California Supreme Court Justice David Terry.