Hiram Warren Johnson: The western Bull Moose
In a hotly contested recall election, California's voters turned Gov. Gray Davis out of office. The new governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, quickly set about reforming California's controversial Worker's Compensation Act. The delicious irony is that Hiram Johnson made it all possible. He created the recall, and he brought about the original Workmen's Compensation Act. If Hiram Johnson is watching California from above, one wonders if he is laughing, crying, or simply shaking his head in bewilderment. The man who would be a thorn in the side of politicians and presidents, from Woodrow Wilson to FDR, was born in 1866 in Sacramento. He attended UC Berkeley but did not graduate because he had to get married; his girl friend, Minnie McNeil, was pregnant, and Hiram Jr. was born six months later. Hiram's father, Grove, was a lawyer who held several political offices in the state Assembly and the Senate. Hiram learned politics and political campaigns at his side, ultimately serving as campaign manager of the old man's first successful run for Congress in 1894.