Pat Brown: Father of Modern California Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1078 Words
Date:  2022-10-25

California is a state found towards the west of the US. It borders the Mexican border to the south and boasts of a huge coastline that runs for approximately 900 miles. It is a cosmopolitan state which is what most of the American states are. From 1958 to 1966, California was headed by Governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown or simply Pat Brown as he is fondly recognized. He was the 32nd Governor of California. During his eight-year tenure, it is evident that he was able to bring major contributions that were able to bring enrichment to the lives of the people in California (Issel 362). He has been credited as being the father of Modern California as he spearheaded a number of policies and developments whose impacts are still being felt to this day (Lotchin 1524). The purpose of this paper is to look at the impacts that Governor Pat Brown implemented and how they impacted California to this day.

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Indeed, Governor Brown brought with him a raft of changes that cemented his place as one of America's greatest governors. His biggest achievement and one that still stands today are the State Water Projects that he spearheaded during his tenure (Rapoport 4). The project culminated with the construction of the Oroville Dam which until today is America's tallest dam. The governor was relentless in his ambition to see the success of the dam even misleading stakeholders, and voters about the cost of the project was not deterred by recommendations about delaying construction and shrugged off any and all propaganda that the construction of the dam was being constructed and utilized substandard material. Indeed, his administration went past land scandals. Labor strife, and worst of all, the death of 34 workers on site to hand in the project on time (Dallek 123).

Indeed, the success of the dam was unmatched and the network of dams, canals and reservoirs were marvelous, and the whole state had running water something that is still evident today all thanks to the relentless leadership of Pat Brown. The water project showed a relentless personal effort that was important for meeting the needs of the citizenry despite much backlash and fighting (Devine 421).

Another impact that Governor Pat was his zealous fight for various visionary legislation that was introduced during his tenure. He had a persuasive element in him as he was able to persuade the legislators to pass these laws that would transform California's social and economic status. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) of 1959 and the Master Plan for Higher Education present an impressive portrait of what he was able to achieve as governor. FEHA was meant at giving everyone irrespective of sex, gender, age, race or color, religion and any other form of discrimination fair and equal access to housing as well as work (Schutz 144). It was meant to protect and eliminate particular types of employment discrimination. Even with the legislation, his tenure was overly branded to be branded especially in the face of the civil rights movement that was taking place at the time. The Watts riots particularly were a trying moment in Governor Pat Brown's tenure as his leadership was part of his eventual downfall in the elections that followed (Issel 362-364).

Governor Pat Brown's California Master Plan for Higher Education of 1960 was a plan that was designed, developed and created by a survey team that was appointed by the State Board of Educations. It was called by the then governor to streamline California's education and make its universities and public colleges have the best system in America as well as the whole world in general (Schutz 144-145). During his tenure and following the guidelines of the master plan, he oversaw the construction of seven new state colleges and universities a fete that is not easy to achieve in a short span of only eight years. This confirmed California as a higher education center with systems that worked and were the best in America (Rapoport 3-8).

Other than legislation and the State Water Project, the governor also saw the unprecedented expansion of the freeway system. Similar to the State Water Project at the time, the governor oversaw an infrastructure building boom whose impacts are still being felt today. The freeway system was an answer to the growing population as the road infrastructure failed to keep up with this growth. There was a need to bring the roads up to date especially considering the over-reliance on automobiles by the population during this time (Dallek 157). Indeed, the construction of the freeways was a follow up of Brown's predecessor Earl Warren who during his tenure started the discussions and plans for the construction of these freeways and highways all over California to ease traveling and bring better roads (Lochin 1524).

The impact of these freeways is that they were the first of their kind during the period and pioneered the construction of interconnecting freeways all across America. Indeed, it was during the reign of Pat Brown that 1000 miles of freeways were built which is about a quarter of the freeway system in California (Devine 422). Indeed, from California's freeways that other states around America, as well as other countries, built freeway systems connecting towns, cities, provinces, states, and nations altogether. These freeways are still in existence and show how much impact Pat Brown had through his infrastructural development (Issel 363).


In conclusion, Governor Pat Brown was an outstanding leader who yearned for the best for his citizenry. Indeed, the fact that we still talk about him is a testament to his great leadership and impact that he left to society. From the above paragraphs, it is clear that the governor was indeed the father of Modern California.

Works Cited

Dallek, Matthew. "Brown, Pat (1905-1996), California's thirty-second governor." American National Biography Online, 2009.

Devine, Tom. "CALIFORNIA RISING: The Life and Times of Pat Brown Ethan Rarick." Southern California Quarterly, vol. 87, no. 4, 2005, pp. 420-422.

Issel, Bill. "California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat BrownCALIFORNIA STATE OF MIND: The Legacy of Pat Brown . Directed By Sascha Rice . (Fire of Life Films, 2012 ). Reviewed by Bill Issel." Southern California Quarterly, vol. 96, no. 3, 2014, pp. 362-364.

Lotchin, R. W. "California Rising: The Life and Times of Pat Brown." Journal of American History, vol. 92, no. 4, 2006, pp. 1523-1524.

Rapoport, R. "The Political Odyssey of Pat Brown." California History, vol. 64, no. 1, 1985, pp. 2-9.

Schutz, John A. "CALIFORNIA POLITICS & POLICY: The California of the Pat Brown Years: Creative Building for the "Golden State's Future" Martin Schiesl." Southern California Quarterly, vol. 81, no. 1, 1999, pp. 144-145.

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