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Edwin Carl Johnson (January 1, 1884 – May 30, 1970) was a Democrat who served as both governor and U.S. senator from the U.S. state of Colorado.

Edwin C. Johnson
Edwin Johnson.jpg
26th and 34th Governor of Colorado
In office
January 11, 1955 – January 8, 1957
LieutenantStephen L.R. McNichols
Preceded byDaniel I.J. Thornton
Succeeded byStephen L.R. McNichols
In office
January 10, 1933 – January 1, 1937
LieutenantRay Herbert Talbot
Preceded byWilliam Herbert Adams
Succeeded byRay Herbert Talbot
United States Senator
from Colorado
In office
January 3, 1937 – January 3, 1955
Preceded byEdward P. Costigan
Succeeded byGordon L. Allott
25th Lieutenant Governor of Colorado
In office
GovernorBilly Adams
Preceded byGeorge Milton Corlett
Succeeded byRay Herbert Talbot
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Edwin Carl Johnson

January 1, 1884
Scandia, Republic County
Kansas, USA
DiedMay 30, 1970(1970-05-30) (aged 86)
Denver, Colorado
Resting placeFairmount Mausoleum of Fairmount Cemetery in Denver
Political partyDemocratic
ProfessionRailroad dispatcher; Baseball official


Edwin Carl Johnson was born in Scandia in Republic County in northern Kansas. As a child, he moved with his family to Lincoln, Nebraska. Johnson attended Lincoln High School under the tutelage of William Jennings Bryan, who was serving as a substitute teacher. After graduation in 1903, Johnson pursued his dream of becoming a railroad man, and after numerous positions became a train dispatcher/telegrapher at Fairmont in Fillmore County in southeastern Nebraska. In 1909, Johnson contracted tuberculosis and was advised to relocate to Colorado, where the climate was believed helpful in his medical situation.


Beginning in 1923, Johnson served in the Colorado House of Representatives for four terms. He was lieutenant governor from 1931 to 1933. He represented Colorado for three terms in the United States Senate from 1937 until 1955, during which time from 1937 to 1940 he was an intraparty critic of the New Deal policies of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.[1] Johnson served as the 26th and 34th governor of Colorado from January 10, 1933 until January 1, 1937 and from January 12, 1955 until January 8, 1957.

He was perhaps best known for making a speech on the Senate floor criticizing the extramarital affair of actress Ingrid Bergman, who at the time was married to Petter Lindström. Bergman's affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini became a cause célèbre as a result of Johnson's speech, forcing her to relocate to Europe for several years until her return to Hollywood in the 1956 blockbuster film Anastasia. In 1972, Senator Charles H. Percy of Illinois entered an apology into the Congressional Record for the attack made on Bergman twenty-two years earlier.

Johnson is also known for the alternative he presented to mankind in November 1945: "God Almighty in His infinite wisdom [has] dropped the atomic bomb in our lap." Now for the first time the United States, "with vision and guts and plenty of atomic bombs," could "compel mankind to adopt the policy of lasting peace … or be burned to a crisp."[2]

Johnson was also the President of the Western League, a Class A baseball league, from 1947 to 1955. He was instrumental in the construction of Bears Stadium / Mile High Stadium, and was inducted in 1968 into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. He died in Denver and is interred at the Fairmount Mausoleum at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver. The eastbound bore of the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel is named for Johnson.


  1. ^ David M. Jordan, FDR, Dewey, and the Election of 1944 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011), p. 276, ISBN 978-0-253-35683-3
  2. ^ John Lewis Gaddis, The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941-1947, (New York & London: Columbia University Press, 1972), p 245.

External linksEdit

Other sourcesEdit

  • McCarthy, William T. Horse Sense: The Divided Politics of Edwin C. Johnson, 1923 - 1954 (Greeley, Co.: University of Northern Colorado, Unpublished Masters Thesis, 1996)
  • McCarty, Patrick Fargo Big Ed Johnson: A Political Portrait (Boulder, Co.: University of Colorado, Unpublished Master's Thesis, 1958)
Political offices
Preceded by
George Milton Corlett
Lieutenant Governor of Colorado
Succeeded by
Ray Herbert Talbot
Preceded by
William Herbert Adams
Governor of Colorado
Succeeded by
Ray Herbert Talbot
Preceded by
Dan Thornton
Governor of Colorado
Succeeded by
Stephen L.R. McNichols
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Edward P. Costigan
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Colorado
Served alongside: Alva B. Adams, Eugene D. Millikin
Succeeded by
Gordon L. Allott