Wright Patman

John William Wright Patman (August 6, 1893 – March 7, 1976) was a U.S. Congressman from Texas in Texas's 1st congressional district and chair of the United States House Committee on Banking and Currency (1963–75). Patman was a fiscal watchdog who acted to protect American wage earners by identifying and preventing the excesses and unfair practices of the banks and the Federal Reserve. He sponsored the Robinson-Patman Act of 1935, which was designed to protect small retail shops against competition from chain stores by fixing a minimum price for retail products.[2]

Wright Patman
John William Wright Patman
40th Dean of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1973 – March 7, 1976
Preceded byEmanuel Celler
Succeeded byGeorge H. Mahon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1929 – March 7, 1976
Preceded byEugene Black
Succeeded bySam B. Hall
Member of the Texas House of Representatives from the 1st district
In office
January 11, 1921 – January 13, 1925
Preceded byJ. D. Newton
Succeeded byGeorge W. Coody
Personal details
John William Wright Patman

August 6, 1893
Hughes Springs, Texas
DiedMarch 7, 1976 (aged 82)
Bethesda, Maryland
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Merle Connor
Pauline Tucker[1]

Early life

Patman was the son of John N. and Emma (Spurlin) Patman, was born near Hughes Springs in Cass County, Texas, on August 6, 1893. After graduating from Hughes Springs High School in 1912, he enrolled in Cumberland University Law School in Lebanon, Tennessee. Receiving his law degree in 1916 he was admitted to the Texas bar the same year.[3] During World War I Patman enlisted in the United States Army as a private. He later received a commission as a first lieutenant and machine gun officer in the Texas Army National Guard's 144th Infantry Regiment, a unit of the 36th Division. He remained in the National Guard for several years after the war.[4]

Political career

Patman was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1920. He left the House in 1924 when he was appointed district attorney of the fifth judicial district of Texas.

Early Congressional career

Wright Patman, 74th Congress
Patman as depicted in the Pictorial Directory of the 74th Congress

In 1928, Patman was elected to the House of Representatives in Texas's 1st congressional district. In 1932, Patman introduced a bill that would have mandated the immediate payment of the bonus to World War I veterans.[5] It was during the consideration of this bill that the Bonus Army came to Washington. Patman was a supporter of the New Deal.[6]

In January 1932, Patman spearheaded a movement to impeach Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon,[7] which forced the latter's resignation the following month.[8]

Patman in the House and Joseph Taylor Robinson in the United States Senate were the sponsors of the 1936 Robinson-Patman Act, an effort to preserve independent wholesalers and retail outlets ("Mom and Pop stores") by preventing manufacturers or large retailers from becoming involved in wholesaling.[9]

Patman was one of four members of the Texas congressional delegation to sign the "Southern Manifesto," a resolution in protest of the United States Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.[10]

Watergate inquiry

Wright Patman's eponymous committee played an important role in the early days of the Watergate scandal that eventually brought down President Richard Nixon.

The Patman Committee investigated the hundred dollar bills found on the Watergate "plumbers" upon their arrest, suspecting they could directly link them to CREEP, the president's re-election committee. The Patman Committee's 1972 investigation was stymied by pressure from the White House, in part aided by Congressman Gerald R. Ford.[11] Despite these efforts to stop Patman, his investigative course ultimately proved to be Nixon's undoing in the sense that the money trail, as reported on in the Washington Post, helped lead to the establishment of the Ervin Senate Select Committee on Watergate in April 1973.

Loss of chairmanship

In 1975, Patman was voted out of his position as Chairman of the Banking committee by younger Congressmen, in a revolt against the 'Seniority system' which also removed Felix Edward Hébert and William R. Poage from their positions as chairmen.[12] Patman was replaced by Henry S. Reuss by a caucus vote of 152–117. The main reason given for the caucus removing Patman was concern about his age and effectiveness.[13][14]

Death and burial

Patman died of pneumonia in Bethesda, Maryland on March 7, 1976.[15] He was buried at Hillcrest Cemetery in Texarkana.[16]


In the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, the Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union is named after him. This credit union serves the banking needs of elected and former members of the House and their staff.[17] In addition, Wright Patman Lake and Wright Patman Dam in Northeast Texas are also named for him.[18]

In 2011 Rick Perry condemned the monetary policies of Ben Bernanke in populist-like language, earning him criticism from some mainstream Republicans, including Karl Rove. One observer, Alexander Cockburn, recalled that it used to be Texas Democrats like Patman who were regarded as the populists. According to Cockburn, Patman, sitting as chair of the House Banking Committee in the early 1970s, "snarl[ed] at then Fed chairman Arthur Burns, before him to give testimony, 'Can you give me any reason why you should not be in the penitentiary?'"[19]


  • Tax Exempt Foundations and Charitable Trusts: Their Impact on Our Economy (December 1962) 87th Congress, 2nd Session
  • Commercial Banks and Their Trust Activities: Emerging Influence on the American Economy (Washington DC 1968) 90th Congress, 2nd Session, volumes I and II

See also


  1. ^ "Today in Texas History: Wright Patman dies" Houston Chronicle, March 7, 2010. Retrieved 2014-09-25.
  2. ^ Roger D. Blair, and Christina DePasquale. "Antitrust's Least Glorious Hour": The Robinson-Patman Act." Journal of Law and Economics 57.S3 (2014): S201-S216. in JSTOR
  3. ^ Handbook of Texas Online - PATMAN, JOHN WILLIAM WRIGHT
  4. ^ Victoria (Texas) Advocate, Guard Regiments are Being Formed, May 29, 1921
  5. ^ "World War I Veterans Bonus Bill". United States House of Representatives.
  6. ^ Black, Earl; Black, Merle (2002). The Rise of Southern Republicans. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-674-01248-6.
  7. ^ "National Affairs: Texan, Texan & Texan", Time Magazine, January 25, 1932
  8. ^ Associated Press, (AP) (February 10, 1932). "Patman Charges Against Mellon Are Voted Down". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 1.
  9. ^ Walton, Gary M. (1979). Regulatory Change in an Atmosphere of Crisis. New York, NY: Academic Press, Inc. pp. 65–66. ISBN 978-0-12-733950-4.
  10. ^ "Southern Manifesto on Integration (March 12, 1956)". WNET. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  11. ^ Hersh, Seymour (August 1983), "The Pardon", The Atlantic Monthly
  12. ^ Cox, Gary W.; McCubbins, Mathew D. (2007). Legislative Leviathan: Party Government in the House. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. p. 261. ISBN 978-0-521-69409-4.
  13. ^ Alexander Cockburn, James Ridgeway, The Village Voice, Why They Sacked the Bane of the Banks, February 3, 1975
  14. ^ Beverly Deepe, Enterprise Washington Service, Harlan Daily Enterprise, Demos Reluctant to Reveal Committee Chairmen Votes, January 21, 1975
  15. ^ United Press International, (UPI) (March 8, 1976). "Veteran Demo Lawmaker Wright Patman Dies". Beaver County (Pa.) Times. p. A-2.
  16. ^ Guttery, Ben R. (2008). Representing Texas. Charleston, South Carolina: BookSurge Publishing. p. 118. ISBN 978-1-4196-7884-4.
  17. ^ "Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union". www.usacreditunions.com/. USA Credit Unions.com. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  18. ^ Wauer, Roland H.; Elwonger, Mark (1998). Birding Texas. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press. p. 246. ISBN 978-1-56044-617-0.
  19. ^ Cockburn, Alexander, "Rick Perry: One Lucky Son-of-a-B*", CounterPunch, August 19–21, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-20.

Further reading

  • Owens, John E. (1985), "Extreme Advocacy Committee Leadership in the Pre-Reform House: Wright Patman and the House Banking and Currency Committee", British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, 15 (2): 149–168, doi:10.1017/s0007123400004154, ISSN 0007-1234, JSTOR 193800
  • Young, Nancy Beck. Wright Patman: Populism, Liberalism, and the American Dream (2000).

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Eugene Black
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Sam B. Hall
Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
J. D. Newton
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 2 (Linden)

January 11, 1921 – January 13, 1925
Succeeded by
George W. Coody
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Emanuel Celler
Dean of the House
Succeeded by
George H. Mahon
1972 United States House of Representatives elections in Texas

Of the 22 Texas incumbents, 19 were re-elected, 1 retired, and 2 lost re-election.

Atlanta State Park

Atlanta State Park is a state park in northeast Texas in the United States. It is located on Wright Patman Lake in northern Cass County.

George H. Mahon

George Herman Mahon (September 22, 1900 – November 19, 1985) was a Texas politician who served twenty-two consecutive terms (1935–1979) as a member of the United States House of Representatives from the Lubbock-based 19th congressional district.

His legacies include the development of federal farm programs, the establishment of the former Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock and Webb Air Force Base in Big Spring, leadership in the development of Interstate 27, a short connection between Amarillo and Lubbock, and disaster relief during droughts and tornadoes common to West Texas.

List of dams and reservoirs in Texas

Following is a list of dams and reservoirs in Texas.

All major dams are linked below. The National Inventory of Dams defines any "major dam" as being 50 feet (15 m) tall with a storage capacity of at least 5,000 acre feet (6,200,000 m3), or of any height with a storage capacity of 25,000 acre feet (31,000,000 m3).

List of lakes in Texas

The following is a list of reservoirs and lakes in the U.S. state of Texas.

List of members of the United States Congress by longevity of service

This is a list of United States congresspersons by longevity of service. It includes Representatives and Senators who have served at least 36 years. It is divided up into several categories.

In cases where there is a tie in time the following criteria will sort people higher:

Achieved time uninterrupted (total tenure rank only)

Achieved time first

Senators over Representatives (House and Senate list only)

Senate or House seniority (Dan Rostenkowski versus Neal Edward Smith)

Maud, Texas

Maud is a city in Bowie County, Texas, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 1,056. It is part of the Texarkana, Texas - Texarkana, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Museum of Regional History (Texarkana)

The Museum of Regional History (originally the Texarkana Historical Museum) is a local history museum in Texarkana, Texas. It is the first and oldest museum in the Texarkana metropolitan area; it was established in 1971. It is located in the Offenhauser Insurance Building, which was built in 1879, making it the oldest brick building in the city.The Museum of Regional History narrates the history of the region, from its indigenous Caddo people and early Spanish and French explorers, to its agriculture and early industry, to its relationship to railroads, World War II, and the civil rights movement. Its Caddo collections include jewelry, pottery, and tools as well as rare images. Its most prominent collection documents the region's musical history, which includes Scott Joplin (widely recognized as the "Father of Ragtime"), Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, and Conlon Nancarrow. This collection emphasizes jazz and folk music, and includes one of Joplin's pianos. The museum also has an exhibit on Texas Congressman Wright Patman.The Museum of Regional History additionally houses the Wilbur Smith Research Library and Archives, which holds photographs and research materials, including rare books and other documents. The archives also includes the Texarkana city directory collection and Pioneer History files.The museum is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is also both a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places.

Northeast Texas

Northeast Texas is a region in the northeast corner of the U.S. state of Texas. It is geographically centered on two metropolitan areas strung along Interstate 20: Tyler in the west and Longview/Marshall to the east. Mount Pleasant, Sulphur Springs, Paris and Texarkana in the north primarily along Interstate 30, Jacksonville and Palestine to the south are also major cities within the region. Most of Northeast Texas is included in the inter-state region of the Arklatex.

Its climate is warmer and wetter than most of Texas and its geography is more hilly and forested. Its culture is similar to that of Southeast Texas, but does not have as much of a Cajun influence. Many of the largest cities in Northeast Texas still follow a rural Southern way of life, especially in dialect, mannerisms, religion, and cuisine.


Patman may refer to:

Mr. Patman, 1981 film directed by John Guillermin

Robinson–Patman Act of 1936, a United States federal law that prohibits anticompetitive practices,

William Neff Patman, (1927–2008), American politician and member of the United States House of Representatives

Wright Patman (1893–1976), U.S. Congressman from Texas and chair of the United States House Committee on Banking and Currency (1965–75)

Wright Patman Dam, earth-fill dam across the Sulphur River in northeast Texas in the United States

Wright Patman Lake, reservoir in northeast Texas in the United States

Patrick Patterson, Basketball player for the Toronto Raptors

Sam B. Hall Jr.

Sam Blakeley Hall Jr. (January 11, 1924 – April 10, 1994) was an American lawyer, politician, and judge. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Texas's 1st congressional district from 1976 to 1985 and a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas from 1985 until his death in 1994.

Sulphur River

The Sulphur River is a 175-mile-long (282 km) river in northeast Texas and southwest Arkansas in the United States.

Texas's 1st congressional district

Texas's 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives is a Congressional district that serves the northeastern portion of the state of Texas. As of the 2000 Census, the First District contained 651,619 people. It consists largely of three small East Texas metropolitan areas—Lufkin-Nacogdoches, Longview-Marshall, and Tyler.

The First District once encompassed large parts of North Texas and Central Texas, but as the population of Texas grew, the district got smaller until it only encompassed about half of Northeast Texas.

For most of its history, the district was based in Texarkana, but in a controversial 2003 redistricting orchestrated by then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texarkana was drawn out of the district and moved to the neighboring Fourth congressional district. Lufkin, Tyler and Longview were added in its place.

The district was predominantly rural for much of its history, and thus was far friendlier to electing Democrats to Congress even as most of Texas swung toward the Republicans. The district's four-term Democratic incumbent, Max Sandlin, was a particularly severe critic of the DeLay-led redistricting effort, claiming that lumping rural areas with urban ones stifled the voice of rural voters. Indeed, the 2003 redistricting made the district more urban and Republican, especially with the addition of the Republican strongholds of Tyler and Longview. Sandlin was heavily defeated in November 2004 by Republican Louie Gohmert, a longtime judge in the Tyler area. Gohmert is the first Republican to represent the district since Reconstruction. Proving just how Republican the reconfigured 1st is, Gohmert has been reelected five times with no less than 68 percent of the vote (and faced only token opposition in 2010 and 2012).

The district's best-known congressman, Wright Patman, represented the district for 47 years — the second-longest tenure of any Texan in Congress. He was an early supporter of the New Deal, and later chaired the House Banking Committee for 12 years.

United States House Committee on Small Business

The United States House Committee on Small Business is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives.

United States congressional delegations from Texas

These are tables of congressional delegations from the State of Texas to the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives.

Watergate Babies

Watergate Babies are Democrats first elected to the United States Congress in the 1974 elections, following President Richard Nixon's resignation over the Watergate scandal, on August 9, 1974.Tom Downey of New York was the youngest among the "babies", aged 25 upon his election, the minimum age at which one may serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Future Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) was also elected to Congress in this election cycle. In November 1974, Democrats picked up 49 seats in the House and 5 in the Senate. This group greatly increased the strength of Northerners and liberals in the House Democratic Caucus. They teamed up with some more senior liberals to strike a blow against the seniority system and overthrew three committee chairmen whom they viewed as too conservative and/or too old to represent the Democratic Party in these prominent positions: William Poage, Wright Patman and F. Edward Hébert.

Only one Watergate Baby is currently a member of the U.S. Congress: Senаtor Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1974.

"Watergate Babies" can also apply to those Democrats elected to state or local office in 1974. "Democrats made substantial state legislative gains in a large number of states in 1974, the Watergate election," the political scientist Malcolm Jewell wrote. Numerous states passed sweeping ethics and public disclosure reforms in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal. The Center for Public Integrity has compiled a state by state account of governmental political corruption watchdogs, many with roots in the post-Watergate era. A prominent Watergate baby of 1974 who served as Governor of California for a second stint from 2011 to 2019 is Jerry Brown.

"Watergate Babies" has also been used to apply to journalists who entered journalism because of their fascination with the Watergate scandal. "Watergate," David Baumann wrote, "also created a generation of journalists who were not willing to accept politicians at their word. If the journalists who helped uncover the scandal, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, could expose the crimes of a president, then certainly there were crooked politicians elsewhere. Those journalists believed in investigative reporting and became watchdogs who attempted to keep politicians honest.

William Neff Patman

William Neff "Bill" Patman (March 26, 1927 – December 9, 2008) was an American politician who served from 1981 to 1985 as a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Texas. He was the son of John William Wright Patman, the long-time U.S. Representative who chaired the House Banking Committee and was a self-proclaimed advocate of small business, having co-authored the Robinson-Patman Act.

Patman was born in Texarkana, Texas. He attended public schools there and in Washington, D.C. He then attended the now closed Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri, graduating in 1944. He served in the United States Marine Corps as a private first class from 1945 to 1946. He subsequently served in the United States Air Force Reserve as a captain from 1953 to 1966. He was a diplomatic courier for the United States Foreign Service from 1949 to 1950.

Patman graduated in 1953 from the University of Texas at Austin. Later that year he was admitted to the Texas bar and served as a legal examiner for the Texas Railroad Commission until 1955. In 1955, Patman commenced the private practice of law. He also served as the city attorney for Ganado, Texas from 1955 to 1960.

Wright Patman Dam

Wright Patman Dam is an earth-fill dam across the Sulphur River in northeast Texas in the United States. The water impounded by the dam forms Wright Patman Lake.

Wright Patman Lake

Wright Patman Lake is a reservoir in northeast Texas in the United States. The lake is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir formed on the Sulphur River in Bowie and Cass counties by Wright Patman Dam. The reservoir provides flood control and water conservation for the communities downstream from the dam. The lake is also a popular recreational destination. The Bowie County side of the lake is part of the Texarkana metropolitan area.

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