Burton, Phillip, 1926-1983

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Arnold Phillip Burton (June 1, 1926 – April 10, 1983), more commonly known as Phillip Burton, was an American politician who served in the United States Congress. He served 10 terms in the United States House of Representatives as Congressman for California's San Francisco district; prior to that he served four terms in the California State Assembly.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Burton moved to California during high school, graduating from San Francisco's George Washington High School in 1944. Between tours of duty in the military during World War II and the Korean War, Burton attended the University of Southern California, graduating with an undergraduate degree in Political Science in 1947, and then returned to San Francisco to earn his legal degree from Golden Gate Law School in 1952. Burton married his wife, Sala Galante, in 1953 and embarked on a legal career after his return from the Korean War; he was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court in 1956.

Burton's political career began with his election to the California State Assembly in 1957, where he served 4 terms; in 1959, he represented the United States at the Atlantic Treaty Association Conference in France. In February 1964, Burton won a special election to the House of Representatives to replace John Shelley, who had been elected mayor of San Francisco and resigned his seat.

During his time in Congress, Burton served on the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, Committee on Education and Labor, and the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Known as a forceful advocate of liberal politics, Burton opposed the Vietnam War from the onset, voting against all appropriations for the conflict; helped abolish the House Committee on Un-American Activities; and promoted labor, civil rights and social welfare, including helping to author bills such as the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act and the Supplemental Social Security for the aged, blind, and disabled, as well as legislation that expanded the minimum wage and provided funding for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Moreover, Burton was greatly known for promoting environmental causes, and during his time on the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs was instrumental in bolstering the National Park System and the establishment of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in his home district. In 1976, Burton missed becoming the youngest House Majority Leader in the history of the House of Representatives by a single vote. Burton was also a delegate for the California State Democratic convention from1968-1982 and a delegate for the Democratic National Convention in 1968 and 1970.

Burton died of an aneurysm in San Francisco on April 10, 1983. In a special election held only two months later, his wife, Sala Galante Burton, was elected to fill his vacant Congressional seat.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Charles K. Dayton papers., 1922-1979. Minnesota Historical Society
creatorOf Burton, Phillip. Phillip Burton papers, circa 1952-1983. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn University of California, Berkeley. Institute of Governmental Studies. [California general election, 1982 (Nov. 2), Congressional District 5 candidates, Burton and Marks : campaign ephemera and newspaper clippings]. Institute of Governmental Studies, University of California, Berkeley
creatorOf Dayton, Charles K., 1939- . Charles K. Dayton papers, 1922-1979. Minnesota Historical Society Library
referencedIn National Land for People collection, Bulk, 1972-1983, 1850-1991 Special Collections Research Center, California State University, Fresno
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Staff Secretary. 1976 - 1981. Staff Scheduling Memoranda. 1977 - 1978. 3/14/77-3/31/77 Jimmy Carter Library
creatorOf Phillip Burton papers, 1945-1986, bulk 1956-1983 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Hardy, Leroy Clyde. Oral history interview with Leroy C. Hardy, consultant on reapportionment, California Assembly, 1960-1961... : a history of reapportionment in California : oral history transcript / by Raphael J. Sonenshein, California State University, Fullerton. [1992?]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations, 1900 - 2003. Official Military Personnel Files, 1947 - 1998. National Archives at St. Louis
referencedIn J. B. Matthews Papers, 1862-1986 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Smith, Steven E., 1937-. Oral history interview with Steven Earl Smith : oral history transcript / By Philip Gianos, California State University, Fullerton for the State Government Oral History Program, California State Archives, 1990. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Heslop, Alan, 1938-. Oral History interview with Alan Heslop 1994. Transcript. / by EnidH. Douglass, Claremont Graduate School for the State Government Oral History Program, California State Archives. California State Archives
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Staff Secretary. 1976 - 1981. Presidential Files. 1977 - 1981. 3/29/77 Jimmy Carter Library
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Staff Secretary. 1976 - 1981. Presidential Files. 1977 - 1981. 10/10/78 - No. 2 [1] Jimmy Carter Library
Relation Name
associatedWith Ballis, George Elfie, 1925-2010 person
associatedWith Ballis, Maia person
sibling of Burton, John L., 1932- person
spouseOf Burton, Sala Galant, 1925-1987 person
associatedWith California. Legislature. Assembly corporateBody
associatedWith Dayton, Charles K., 1939- . person
associatedWith Hardy, Leroy Clyde. person
associatedWith Heslop, Alan, 1938- person
associatedWith Matthews, J. B. (Joseph Brown), 1894-1966 person
associatedWith Smith, Steven E., 1937- person
memberOf United States. Air Force corporateBody
memberOf United States. Army Air Forces person
associatedWith United States. Congress. House. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. House. Committee on Education and Labor corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. House. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities corporateBody
associatedWith United States. National Park Service corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
San Francisco CA US
Cincinnati OH US
Golden Gate Park (San Francisco, Calif.)
Members of Congress (House)
Representatives, U.S. Congress
U.S. Congressman


Birth 1926-06-01

Death 1983-04-10





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