Shivers and Eisenhower relationship

During the 1952 gubernatorial race, Shivers faced his fieriest opponent in Ralph W. Yarborough. During the reelection Shivers fought the federal government and the Truman administration over ownership and mineral rights of the Texas Tidelands. The Democratic presidential nominee, Adlai Stevenson, supported federal ownership of the Tidelands, while his Republican opponent, Dwight D. Eisenhower, claimed the coastal areas were a natural resource and ownership belonged to the state. Shivers determined Stevenson would not be willing to change his stance and threw his political support to Republican nominee Eisenhower. Shivers established the “Democrats for Eisenhower” campaign and gained both parties’ nomination for Texas governor. Both campaigns allowed Eisenhower and Shivers to form an alliance, which lasted several years after. In addition to Shivers’s reelection, John Ben Shepperd was elected Texas attorney general and became one of Shivers’s strongest supporters.[1]

            Shivers’ relationship with President Eisenhower continued after his reelection as governor and on several occasions, he offered his position on a national stage. After the Brown I decision, Shivers wrote Eisenhower directly about Attorney General Herbert Brownell’s address to the Supreme Court. He believed segregation was a states’ rights issue, writing, “I trust that he will see the implications involved and advise the Court that this local problem should be decided on the local and state level.”[2] In 1954 Texas received the Supreme Court’s decision and Shivers took the stance of compliance. Unlike elected officials in other southern states who suggested abolishing public school systems, the governor said, “I hope the people of Texas will approach this problem with an effort toward solution rather that saying ‘abolish public schools.’”[3]

[1] Ben H. Procter, "SHIVERS, ROBERT ALLAN," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed April 29, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

[2] Robyn Duff Ladino, Desegregating Texas Schools: Eisenhower, Shivers, and the crisis at Mansfield High (University of Texas Press, Austin: 1996), 36.

[3] Ibid., 37.


Shivers and Eisenhower relationship