This episode of "Longines Chronoscope" features journalists William Bradford Huie and Henry Hazlitt interviewing Texas Attorney General Price Daniel in 1952. Attorney General Daniel discusses his ongoing campaign for the U.S. Senate, his battle against organized crime in Texas, and his involvement in the controversial Supreme Court ruling in the Tidelands Controversy. Daniel states that the most serious problem that the people of the United States face in 1952 is "to get rid of some of this concentration of power in Washington. We have too much power centralized in our national sovereign."
Marion Price Daniel, Sr. served Texas for forty years, holding a number of offices at the state and national level. Daniel was born in Dayton, Texas on October 10, 1910, earned his law degree from Baylor University in 1932, and worked as a defense attorney in Liberty, TX, until his election to the Texas House of Representatives in 1938. His political career then steadily advanced: he was elected Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives in 1943, Texas Attorney General in 1947, and U.S. Senator from Texas in 1952. In 1957 he was elected Governor of Texas, a position he held until 1963. From 1967 to 1969 he headed the Office of Emergency Preparedness under President Lyndon B. Johnson, and from 1971 to 1978 served as Associate Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Some endeavors for which Price Daniel became best known are his defense of Texas ownership of its tidelands, his defense of the University of Texas Law School in the 1950 Sweatt v. Painter desegregation case, his staunch opposition to a state sales tax, and his key role in the construction of the Texas State and Library Archives building on the Capitol grounds. Price Daniel died in 1988 and is buried on his family ranch in Liberty.
The Tidelands Oil Case was part of a larger tidelands controversy where the United States government began reacquiring submerged land from various state seashores. Texas became involved when oil was discovered in these areas under dispute, specifically between low tide and three leagues (10.35 miles) from shore. This land, some 2,440,650 acres, was mapped out by Sam Houston soon after Texas gained its independence from Mexico in 1836. The United States and President Andrew Jackson recognized this boundary, along with Texas' independence in 1837. The boundary was also recognized by President James K. Polk and the Supreme Court upon Texas' annexation in 1845. The School Land Board was eventually allowed to sell mineral leases with all earnings used for public schools.
1946 saw a Congressional bill pass that favored California's (a state undergoing similar disputes) claim to submerged land only for it to be vetoed by President Harry Truman. However, Texas was viewed as a special case by many, including Truman, due to the state joining voluntarily as an independent entity. Truman eventually recanted this view after his 1948 reelction. Texas was brought to court by the attorney general, under Truman's guidance. The matter was wrought over in various government branches, and a clear resolution was not reached until 1953 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill protecting Texas' ownership. Unfortunately, the matter was again brought up in Congress and once more in the Supreme Court where Texas successfully defended its claim in 1960, a decision that forevermore validated the claim.