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Miriam Ferguson Research Paper

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Miriam Amanda Wallace “Ma” Ferguson (1875-1961), first woman governor of Texas, daughter of Joseph L. and Eliza (Garrison) Wallace, was born in Bell County, Texas, on June 13, 1875. She went to Salado College and Baylor Female College at Belton. In 1899, at the age of 24, she married James Edward Ferguson, as well of Bell County. Mrs. Ferguson served as the first lady of Texas during the gubernatorial terms of her husband (1915-17), who was challenged during his 2nd administration. When James Ferguson failed to get his name on the ballot in 1924, Miriam entered the race for the Texas governorship. Before announcing for office, she had committed her energies mostly to her husband and two daughters. This fact, and the mixture of her first and …show more content…

However, after the Texas Supreme Court again rejected her husband's petition to place his name on the ballot in 1930, she entered the gubernatorial race. In the May primary she led Ross Sterling, who then defeated her in the August runoff. Her defeat proved fortuitous politically because Sterling, rather than she, was blamed by the voters when Texas began to feel the full impact of the Great Depression. In February 1932 she again declared for the governorship; she promised to lower taxes and cut state expenditures, and condemned alleged waste, graft, and political favoritism by the Sterling-controlled highway commission. After leading Sterling in the May primary by over one hundred thousand votes, Ma Ferguson barely won the Democratic nomination in the August primary. She then defeated the Republican nominee, Orville Bullington, in November to secure her 2nd term as governor. Her second administration did not engender as much controversy as the first, despite dire predictions to the contrary by her political opponents. The fiscally conservative governor held the line on state expenditures and even advocated a state sales tax and corporate income tax, although the state legislature did not act on these proposals. Mrs. Ferguson continued her liberal pardoning and parole policies, but even that action did not stir as much controversy as in her first administration since every convict paroled or pardoned represented that much less

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