Robert E. Pattison, Governor of Pennsylvania, 1883-1887 and 1891-1895.
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Oil on canvas of Robert E. Pattison.

Credit: Courtesy of Capitol Preservation Committee, and John Rudy Photography,

A reformer committed to the idea that “public office is a public trust,” Robert Pattison was only 32 when elected governor of Pennsylvania in 1882. The first Pennsylvania governor to challenge the growing power of corporations, he championed civil service and made extensive use of the veto against bills that benefited special interests. Unable by state law to run for a second term, he won re-election as governor in 1890.

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