Hiram Warren Johnson (September 2, 1866 – August 6, 1945) was initially a leading American progressive and then a Liberal Isolationist Republican politician from California. He served as the 23rd Governor of California from 1911 to 1917 and as a United States Senator from 1917 to 1945. He was also Theodore Roosevelt’s running mate in the 1912 presidential election on the Progressive (also known as the “Bull Moose”) ticket.
After working as a stenographer and reporter, Johnson embarked on a legal career. He began his practice in his hometown of Sacramento, California, but moved to San Francisco, where he worked as an assistant district attorney. Gaining statewide notoriety for his prosecutions of public corruption, Johnson won the 1910 California gubernatorial election with the backing of the Lincoln–Roosevelt League. He instituted several progressive reforms, establishing a railroad commission and introducing aspects of direct democracy such as the power to recall state officials. Johnson joined with Roosevelt and other progressives to form the Progressive Party and won the party’s 1912 vice presidential nomination. In one of the best third party performances in U.S. history, the ticket finished second nationally in the popular and electoral vote.
Johnson won election to the Senate in 1916, becoming a leader of the chamber’s Progressive Republicans. But he emerged as an early voice for Liberal Progressive isolationism, opposing U.S. entry into World War I and U.S. participation in the League of Nations. As a postwar Liberal Republican, he helped enact the Immigration Act of 1924, which severely restricted immigration from East Asian countries. Johnson unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1920 and 1924 and supported Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1932 presidential election. Johnson supported many of the New Deal programs but came to oppose Roosevelt as the latter’s tenure continued. Johnson remained in the Senate until his death in 1945.