Ferguson Impeachment

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FERGUSON IMPEACHMENT. In 1917, James E. Ferguson, nicknamed "Pa Ferguson," was impeached and removed from the governorship of Texas. He was replaced by William P. Hobby after the Texas House of Representatives found him guilty in ten of twenty-one charges. These included misappropriation of state funds, falsification of records, unwarranted interference with the control of the University of Texas—he directed the board of regents to fire a leading educator and prominent Democrat, A. Carswell Ellis—and refusal to divulge the source of a personal loan of $156,500, a huge sum at the time.

Ferguson was first elected in 1914, and was reelected in 1916. The accusations, apparently true, were typical of the corruption, graft, and manipulations of American public life. Ferguson, a political novice, suffered from the lack of a viable power-base. This independence made him critical of existing policies, earning him sufficient popular support to win office, but also the consequent wrath of the establishment that could have protected him from investigation. Although Ferguson was disqualified from holding public office, he did try to run in the 1924 elections to redeem his reputation. He was barred, but managed to have his wife ("Ma Ferguson") elected governor; she was elected for a second term in 1932.


Gould, Lewis L. "The University Becomes Politicized: The War with Jim Ferguson." Southwestern Historical Quarterly 86 (October 1982).


See alsoImpeachment ; Texas .