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Hiram Warren Johnson, the son of a lawyer, was born in Sacramento, California. After finishing high school he entered the University of California in 1884. After graduating he became a partner in his father's law office.
In 1910 Johnson, a member of the Republican Party, was elected governor of California. Under his leadership the legislature passed a series of progressive measures including women's suffrage, restrictions on child labour and workingmen's compensation. When Theodore Roosevelt decided to be the Progressive Party candidate in the 1912 presidential elections, he selected Johnson as his prospective vice-president. Roosevelt and Johnson won 4,126,020 votes but were defeated by Woodrow Wilson. However, because of Johnson's record as a reforming governor, they won California.
In 1914 Johnson was re-elected as governor of California. This time he represented the Progressive Party rather than the Republican Party. A progressive on domestic issues, Johnson was an isolationist in foreign affairs and helped to defeat Woodrow Wilson in his plans for the United States to join the League of Nations.
Hiram Warren Johnson died on 6th August, 1945.