Governor Beauford Halbert Jester's First Inaugural Address - Jan 21, 1947
Journal of the House of Representative of the 50th Legislature of the State of Texas,
pp. 60 - 63 (1947)
My Fellow Texans,
As I stand before this great assemblage gathered in front of this historic Capitol of
Texas, I assure you, and those who participate in this ceremony throughout the land, that
the emotions which overwhelm me at this moment are gratitude and humility.
Being elected and having taken the oath of office as Governor of Texas is a great
responsibility. It is the greatest honor my native State could bestow upon me. My fellow
Texans, my gratitude for you expression of confidence and trust is surpassed only by my
awareness of the great responsibility entrusted to me and my humility in undertaking it.
In this challenging hour, it gives me heartening and inspiring assurance to be encompassed
by this vast assemblage of fellow Texans both here and in the invisible audience. I am
happy and grateful to have present with me my nigh onto sainted mother, my family,
relatives, life long friends, and neighbors. Here with me are brave and loyal men with
whom I served in combat in World War I. Here also are fine men and women with whom I have
been associated in various activities and endeavors. Flanking this platform are the
members of the Senate and House of Representatives of our Legislature - the men and women
who are our lawmakers. With them are Judges of our highest courts and the heads of our
departments of State government.
Before all of you, with the oath of office and the touch of this historic and Holy Bible
fresh upon my lips, I here and now dedicate myself and such talents and ability as I
possess to the service of all the people of this State.
Every inauguration of a Governor of Texas is an historic event. This ceremony today is
distinctly historic in that it is the first inauguration of a Texas Governor officially
attended by high officials of the national government of the Republic of Mexico, Governors
of Mexican States, representatives of the Panamanian Government and various others, all
bringing official greetings from our Latin-American governments and neighbors beyond the
Rio Grande and bordering upon the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the friendship of President
Aleman, the Band of the Mexican Navy is here for these ceremonies and the Republics
Minister of Finance, Ramon Beteta, who married a Texas girl, is the official
representative of President Aleman. In behalf of the State of Texas, I greet you and
express sincere appreciation of your presence and cordial felicitations on this occasion.
To and through you, as Governor of Texas, I greet you and express sincere appreciation of
your presence and cordial felicitations on this occasion. To and through you, as Governor
of Texas, I want to assure you, your governments, and your people of the desire of the
government and the people of Texas to know ou better, to be helpful, friendly neighbors
who are bound to you with strong ties of friendship, mutual helpfulness, trade, commerce,
travel and good will.
Our State is also honored today by the presence of General Wainwright, Lieutenant Genera
Stratemeyer, our Countrys internationally known heroic leaders in World War II, and
other distinguished officers and men of our armed forces too numerous to name in my
allotted time. The people of Texas salute you. Likewise we welcome and express our
appreciation to the many citizens of our neighboring and sister states who have come to
participate in these inaugural events.
As the Chief Executive of this commonwealth I ask the counsel and assistance of the people
of Texas and those who represent them in every branch of our State government in all
things looking to the advancement of the well-being of Texas and its people. I shall need
your prayers - to be added to mine and to those of my loved ones- to the God of us all,
that He give me as Governor of Texas the wisdom and strength sufficient unto the need of
the daily demands of my trust and responsibility.
Texas has entered its second century of Statehood shortly after its participation in the
victorious military conclusion of World War II. There is much unrest throughout the world,
in the United States and even in our own great State. Such unrest is ever the by-product
of war. In some instances, new theories of government have evolved in other countries -
theories strange and antagonistic to the democratic principals of government upon which
our Nation and State have built their greatness.
In my campaign for the Governorship of this State, I made it clear to Texans in my
proposal that the path our Government should take and follow was the one taken by the
pioneers who builded this State. That was the path and pattern of democratic principles of
government. These principles establish government of the people, for the people, by the
people - that government must be subservient to the will of the majority; - that
government must stem from the bottom up, and not from the top down; - that those who are
governed least are governed best.
The key to this kind of government is the will of the people. But the will for the people
has been and still is in danger of frustration because of two conflicting theories thrust
upon us, with no alternate choice. One extremely far to the right, would imperil labor.
The other equally far to the left, would subjugate capital and management and destroy free
enterprise in the conduct of Texas business. The great masses of the people of Texas are
given scant consideration in either of these strongly pressed political programs. And yet,
it is the great masses of our people who pay the cost and are squeezed between labor and
management in their disputes and strikes and are the victims of the delays,
inconveniences, and threats to their health and workaday tasks.
In the program I presented to the people of Texas for the building of a greater Texas, -
presented as Texas stands on the threshold of great industrial and agricultural
development, - I charted a path between the extremes of the left and the right. This path
would give first consideration to the great masses of the people of this State. It was
built upon the principle that the people of Texas are entitled to first consideration in
all public matters. This path includes the importance of capital and labor, both of equal
dignity and responsibility, with both supported by and answerable to the people. Since the
sovereign democracy by their impressive vote chose this path and approved my program four
out State government, I take their vote and my election as a mandate to proceed upon this
path and to consummate that program. I have every reason to believe that members of the
50th Legislature who were elected in the same elections will likewise consider this
mandate of the people of Texas. Our charge from the voters of Texas, whose will has been
decisively expressed, calls for a progressive and a solvent State government. It calls for
a government that will keep pace with the great possibilities of this State, foresee and
shape its marvelous destiny. In so doing, our government must be possessed of Christian
heart and brain. It must always be mindful that the Home, the Church, and the School are
the very foundations of our well-being and ever strive to strengthen these foundations.
Our Legislative and Executive branches aided by the Judicial and other agencies of
government must furnish direction and leadership as, at this very moment, we are entering
a new period of great industrial and agricultural development. Texas will have a great
increase in population during the coming years. We cannot grow without money and work,
capital and labor. There must be leadership in government that will bring about harmonious
relations between capital and labor. It is governments duty to encourage men and
women and money to work and receive just returns in Texas.
We must discharge the duties of our public trust in meeting the needs of public education,
health, social welfare, law enforcement, safety, and the conservation of our national
resources. Adequate provisions must be made for our war veterans, State employees,
eleemosynary and penal institutions, and National Guard. These broad and general terms
include the detail of many specific subjects and measures which, as Governor, under the
law and in keeping faith with the people of Texas, I will submit and recommend for the
consideration and approval of the Legislature.
As we of the Legislative and Executive Departments of our government work hand in hand for
the public good, let us be ever mindful of our tradition and heritage as Texans. Texans
are a race of people because of the impress of the history of Texas upon them.
In the concluding paragraph of William Ransom Hogans recent book, "The Texas
Republic," is this summation:
"So there arose a Texan way of life that still exists, even in the face of all the
mass promotion and standardization of machine civilization. Stamina, individualism,
go-ahead initiative, pride in everything Texan - these were and still are, in
varying degrees, among the ingredients of the Texas spirit. Better courage, wry or raucous
laughter and kindliness stood out amidst the drabness and coarseness of frontier life. An
astonishing number of urban and intelligent men found a satisfying freedom from
compulsion. Indeed, the Republic of Texas worked a curious alchemy with its citizenry,
educated and untutored alike. It took the sons and daughters of Tennessee, the Carolinas,
Georgia, Mississippi, New York, France, and Germany, and set its own ineffaceable stamp on
their souls. The same process is working in Texas today"
I deem it our duty in government to effectuate the spirit of Texas and Texans into the
greatest State and finest civilization under Heaven. In our planning to do so, we may well
follow the safe and sound pattern of government of those Texans whose public service has
contributed to building the State of government that is ours today.
In 1895, as Governor James Stephen Hogg concluded his term at the inauguration of Governor
Chas. A. Culberson, the third speaker on that occasion, my revered father, Lieutenant
Governor George T. Jester, closed his speech with this admonition:
"In our deliberations let us adhere to the doctrine taught by all true apostles of
American liberty, that the sole end of legislation should be the greatest good for the
greatest number; that the government should do nothing for the citizen which the citizen
is able to do for himself; that the people shall support the government, not the
government the people
"In this day and time when all forms of paternalism are invading the politics of the
State and Nation, let us stand close to the Constitution, and contending as our fathers
did of old, for its strict construction; administer economically and on a cash basis, the
affairs of the government, with a revenue sufficient to maintain the different
institutions of the State commensurate with its growth and development."
This concept of our public duty is as sound today as it was a half century and two years
My fellow Texans, this is neither the time nor the place for details pertaining to
governmental problems of our state. I am neither unmindful nor forgetful of my advocacy
last summer of definite proposals for the improvement of State government. These subjects,
from time to time, will be recommended in general and special messages for necessary
action, which I hope the Legislature in its wisdom may see fit to adopt - thus preserving
the check and balance control so necessary to out Democratic form of government.
In conclusion, I pledge my efforts to serve my State and all its people during my term as
Governor. I shall serve no master save my God and the people of Texas. I ask the pastors
of every church in Texas to have their congregations next Sunday sing that great hymn of
responsibility, "A Charge to Keep I Have." For I would like to have the
God-trusting people of Texas to sing this hymn and then remember me in their prayers after
they have sung it, remembering as they do, that the second verse is my desire as Governor
"To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill;
O may it all my powers engage
To do my Masters will."
Governor Beauford Halbert Jester's Second Inaugural Address Jan 18, 1949
Journal of the House of Representatives of the Fifty-first Legislature of the State of
Texas (1949) pp. 44-46
My fellow Texans and distinguished guests,
In this historic granite Capitol of our beloved State, with the oath of office as Governor
of Texas and the touch of this historic Bible fresh upon my lips, I extend heart felt,
cordial greetings to this goodly assemblage before me and to you of the invisible
It is heartening and inspirational to take the oath of this office, which is the highest
gift of the people of Texas, surrounded as I am by you who are present at this historic
Here are my fellow-workers in the public service of Texas. Here are my Mother, members of
my family and friends whose loyalty and devotion have sustained me through the years. Here
are my comrades in arms of World War I.
Here have come representatives of our friends and neighbors to the South - the magnificent
Republic of Mexican States. Here is the personal representative of His Excellency, the
President of Mexico and others of high place and distinction from the Mexican States.
Here are officials of the Government of the United States and visitors from other States -
and here have come thousand of my fellow Texans from every part of Texas.
I am profoundly moved and grateful for your interest and your presence here today. I
cherish and shall, to the best of my ability, endeavor to merit the confidence of the
people of Texas who, for the second time, have elected me as their Governor.
As one of those selected to serve the people of Texas, I stand in humility at the
threshold of my second administration as your Governor.
In the presence of these Members of the Senate and House of Representatives of our
Legislature, the judges of our highest courts, the heads of our departments of our State
Government and those who by appointment are serving on the Boards and Commissions of our
State, I am, and I feel sure, with them, here and now rededicating myself and such talents
and ability as I possess to the service of all the people of Texas.
I am grateful to the Members of the 50th Legislature, the heads of the various departments
of our State Government, and to all of my fellow workers in the service of the State, as
well as to the people of Texas for their cooperation and helpfulness during my first term
We can view with satisfaction the success which by cooperative thought and effort we have
been able to achieve during the past two years. We are paying our public school teachers
today the highest salaries in the history of the State. We have built more roads during
the past two years than any other State in the Union. We have doubled our appropriations
for public health and have attained new all-time low records in death from communicable
We have reorganized our Prison System and have increased by 100 per cent our
appropriations for State hospitals and schools of special instruction for the handicapped
and unfortunate among us.
We have provided funds for assistance to the aged, the needy blind, and dependent children
to the full limit allowed by our Constitution.
We have given the most substantial support to higher education in the record of our State.
We have built a new institution - the Texas State University for Negroes - and have
devoted our attention to the taks of making it worthy of Texas and the equivalent of any
educational institution of the State.
We have given the closest study to proper measures for the conservation and scientific
utilization of our resources-agricultural, industrial, and mineral.
We have launched larger programs in the fields of water and soil conservation and flood
We have sought to provide more adequately for the safety and well being of our people in
every walk of life.
All of these things have been done without imposing new taxes, and at the beginning of
this second administration we have in the surplus fund of the States general revenue
the largest amount in the history of Texas and more than twice as much money as was there
two years ago.
We have strengthened our friendship, cooperation and good relations with our good
neighbors beyond the Rio Grande.
These accomplishments are recounted as indicative of what Texans working together - for
Texas - can in truth achieve.
Our opportunity for the future and further betterment of the well-being of Texas and its
people is great with possibility. I have indicated to the 51st Legislature during the
first week of the session my idea of some of the opportunities which lie ahead. As the
session progresses, I shall have the privilege of suggesting still other directions for
our steady march toward the destiny which so surely is ours.
I have consistently adhered to the philosophy that government must stem from the bottom
up, and notfrom the top down; that those who are governed least are governed best; that
government must always be subservient to the will of the majority; that we must strive
unceasingly and to the utmost of our capacity and ability to see that ours is indeed a
government "of the people, by the people, for the people."
If we are to have strong State government and local government, State and local
governments must perform their functions of government. States cannot preserve their
rights unless they exercise their duties. Every yielding or surrender of government duties
and functions to higher government weakens the government closest to the people.
Texas and other States of the Union must exert every effort to stem the tide of
centralization of governmental power, authority, regulation, taxes, and property in the
heads of the Federal government. The sighs and trends of this tide are ominous. Texas is
now faced with the danger of the taking of its tidelands and submerged lands by the
Federal government in the face of its Republic and State ownership which was expressly
acknowledged and was a part of the annexation agreement when Texas entered the Union.
I believe that Texas and other States can almost write their own program in the setting up
and meeting the responsibilities and activities of their local governments. Meeting local
government responsibilities and demanding that the Federal government meet only Federal
government responsibilities is the only sure way of keeping in adjustment the Federal and
States balance of responsibilities, services, rights, and powers.
In every department of government, in every sphere of public activity, we must eliminate
waste, inefficiency and questionable practice. We must develop character in our
institutions of government as well as in the lives of our people.
Government should face up to and endeavor to alleviate the sins of modern society which
Canon Frederick Lewis Donaldson, of Westminister Abbey, enumerates as "policies
without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without
character, industry without morality, science without humanity, worship (and I shall add,
public service) without sacrifice."
In all areas of governmental activity, we must choose the high road and the middle path
God and nature have richly endowed us. Here in Texas are all the elements of material
greatness. Here is climate and terrain and power; here are natural resources which in many
respects are unequaled elsewhere in all the world. From the utilization of these things
can come products of which mankind is greatly is greatly in need. From this potential
there will come more remunerative employment for our people, increased revenues for our
cities, our counties, our State - improvement of our entire economy.
The things material are here. Do we have the skill the ingenuity, the wisdom and spiritual
qualities to us them for the advancement of the well-being of our people?
I think we Texans have.
I think the spirit of a heroic past abides with us still. The courage of men who pioneered
this empire, the bravery of those who have defended it against many foes, the strength of
those who have tilled its soil and ridden its ranges, the vision of men who have harnessed
its rivers, and minded the riches of its good earth, the devotion of those who have died
that the greater Texas of tomorrow might live - all of these things are our heritage.
How can we fail our heritage? How dare we go forward with less courage, with less vision,
with less abiding faith?
We must draw our plans for the future to a comprehensive scale. We must proceed with
determination, to achieve a great purpose.
In our planning and in our work may we always place our reliance upon God. Let us seek His
aid and try to do His will.
We who have been chosen to administer the government of our people must ever know
"A mighty fortress is our God
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood,
Of mortal ills prevailing."
In conclusion, I ask the ministers of every church in Texas to have this four-century-old
hymn sung in their church next Sunday, and that they pray for Gods guidance of those
of us who are serving the people of Texas.