Why California’s Godless Governor Was Ahead of His Time

A Friend of FDR but Not of Big Business, Culbert Olson Believed Humans Had to Save Themselves

Culbert Olson is one the most important men you probably never have heard of. He was the only Democrat to serve as governor of California between 1896 and 1958, and he lasted just one term—elected in 1938, and ousted in 1942. He was that rarest of birds among American politicians elected to high office, an atheist and free thinker.

He may be best known for refusing to say the words “so help me God,” substituting it with “I will affirm” as he took the governor’s oath of office.

But he was …

Are California’s Strongman Governors Bullying the State?

With a Weakling Legislature and Few Checks on Power, Our Chief Executives Are Big-Footing Politics


Who is the most powerful governor in California history?

The next one.

Over the past four decades, our state’s governorship has grown so great in reach and power that it …