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Eugene Talmadge

Eugene Talmadge
67th Governor of Georgia
In office
January 10, 1933 – January 12, 1937
Preceded by Richard Russell, Jr.
Succeeded by Eurith D. Rivers
In office
January 14, 1941 – January 12, 1943
Preceded by Eurith D. Rivers
Succeeded by Ellis Arnall
Personal details
Born (1884-09-23)September 23, 1884
Georgia, United States
Died December 21, 1946(1946-12-21) (aged 62)
Political party Democratic Party
Alma mater University of Georgia
Profession Politician

Eugene Talmadge (September 23, 1884 – December 21, 1946) was a Governor of Georgia.


  • Early career 1
  • Governor 2
  • University of Georgia 3
  • Awards 4
  • Memory 5
  • Notes and references 6
  • See also 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9

Early career

Talmadge was born in 1884 in

Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Russell, Jr.
Governor of Georgia
Succeeded by
Eurith D. Rivers
Preceded by
Eurith D. Rivers
Governor of Georgia
Succeeded by
Ellis Arnall
  • Talmadge article in the Georgia Encyclopedia
  • Three Governors Site

External links

  • Anderson, William. The Wild Man from Sugar Creek: The Political Career of Eugene Talmadge (1975)
  • Lesseig, Corey T. "Talmadge, Eugene" in (2000)American National Biography Online
  • Logue, Cal McLeod. Eugene Talmadge: rhetoric and response (1989)

Further reading

See also

  1. ^ William Anderson, The Wild Man from Sugar Creek (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1975) p. 6.
  2. ^ William Anderson, The Wild Man from Sugar Creek, pp. 48-49.
  3. ^ William Anderson, The wild Man from Sugar Creek, p. 52.
  4. ^ William Anderson, The Wild Man from Sugar Creek, p. 56.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Eugene Talmadge (1884-1946) | New Georgia Encyclopedia
  6. ^ King, Gilbert (2012). Devil in the Grove. Harper Collins. p. 262.  
  7. ^ Current Biography 1941, pp 850-52
  8. ^ William Anderson, The Wild Man from Sugar Creek, pp. 78-79.
  9. ^ Current Biography 1941, p 851
  10. ^ William Anderson, The Wild Man from Sugar Creek, p. 83.
  11. ^ Tammy Harden Galloway, "Tribune of the Masses and a Champion of the People": Eugene Talmadge and the Three-Dollar Tag," Georgia Historical Quarterly, Fall 1995, Vol. 79 Issue 3, pp. 673–684
  12. ^ Labor in the South, by F. Ray Marshall, pages 167-168
  13. ^ National Affairs: Black on Blacks, TIME Magazine, April 27, 1936
  14. ^ a b c d e
  15. ^ William Anderson, The Wild Man from Sugar Creek: The Political Career of Eugene Talmadge (1975)
  16. ^ a b c
  17. ^ a b Walter F. George (1878-1957) | New Georgia Encyclopedia
  18. ^ Glenn Feldman, Politics and religion in the White South (2005) p. 111
  19. ^ James F. Cook, "Cocking Affair", New Georgia Encyclopedia, 2002.
  20. ^ Sue Bailes, "Eugene Talmadge and the Board Of Regents Controversy," Georgia Historical Quarterly, Winter 1969, Vol. 53 Issue 4, pp 409-423
  21. ^ William L. Belvin, Jr.. "The Georgia Gubernatorial Primary of 1946, Georgia Historical Quarterly, Spring 1966, Vol. 50 Issue 1, pp. 36–53
  22. ^ "Honorary Degrees Awarded by Oglethorpe University". Oglethorpe University. Retrieved 2015-03-18. 
  23. ^ Bynum, Russ, "Opera Tells How Georgia Racism Backfired", Associated Press, April 19, 2007. Accessed 27 January 2009.

Notes and references

) [23] (The "

The Savannah River.


In 1941, Talmadge received an honorary degree in Doctor of Laws from Oglethorpe University.[22]


Talmadge lost the popular vote in the Democratic primary to James V. Carmichael but won a majority of the "county unit votes". However, he died in December 1946, before he could be sworn in for his fourth term; his death precipitated the 1947 "Three Governors Controversy" among Arnall, Melvin E. Thompson and Talmadge's son Herman.[21]

During Arnall's term, the state legislature lengthened his term to four years and prohibited him from seeking re-election in 1946. Talmadge ran for governor and used the United States Supreme Court's Smith v. Allwright decision as his main issue. Talmadge promised that if he were to be elected, he would restore the 'Equal Primary'.

Talmadge returned to the governor's office in 1940, emerging as the leader of racist and segregationist elements in Georgia.[18] Responding to reports that Ellis Arnall in 1942.[19][20]

University of Georgia

[14] surprised his critics.[14] However, Talmadge's victory over Roosevelt's candidate Camp, who managed to secure just 78,223 popular votes and 16 unit votes,[14] Talmadge challenged Senator

Talmadge pledged to defend the "sovereignty of our states and local self-government" at the upcoming Democratic National Convention. But Roosevelt, who visited Georgia often, was more popular with the poor farmers. Unable to run for re-election in 1936, Talmadge chose to challenge Senator Russell in the Eurith D. Rivers by an overwhelming margin.[14]

Though Democratic, Talmadge governed as a conservative and vehemently attacked the liberalism of President Huey P. Long coalition.

The governor's reaction to the textile workers strike of September 1, 1934, was to declare martial law in the third week of the strike, and direct 4,000 National Guard troops to arrest all picketers throughout the state. Those prisoners were to be held behind the barbed wire of a former World War I prisoner of war camp for trial by a military tribunal. While the state interned only a hundred or so picketers, the show of force effectively ended picketing throughout most of the state. On balance, when Talmadge discovered that one of the employers had hired the notorious strikebreaker Pearl Bergoff, he had Bergoff and his 200 men deported to New York City.[12]

He was re-elected in 1934, carrying every county but three in the state's Democratic primary,[5] though he was often tied to both controversy and corruption.[5] When the Public Service Commission, a body elected by the voters,[5] refused to lower utility rates,[5] he appointed a new board to get it done.[5] When the Highway Board resisted his efforts to control it, he declared martial law and appointed more cooperative members to the board.[5] When the state treasurer and comptroller general refused to cooperate, the governor had them physically removed from their offices in the state Capitol.[5] Critics denounced him as a dictator,[5] a demagogue,[5] and a threat to the tranquility of the state[5] while his supporters considered him to be a friend of the common man and one of the state's most outstanding governors.[5]

In 1932, Governor Republican Party was practically non-existent).[8] The County Unit System gave power to the most rural counties, which were Talmadge's base. He boasted, "I can carry any county that ain't got street cars."[9] He made 12 campaign promises, the most controversial of which was to lower the price of an automobile license to $3, which put them within reach of the poorest farmers.[10] The state legislature intensely debated the $3 license issue, but did not pass it. After adjournment, Talmadge fixed the $3 fee by proclamation.[11]


The State House declined requests to impeach Talmadge but agreed to sue him to recover state funds spent on the hog price manipulation scheme.[5] When Governor Richard B. Russell Jr. referred the suit to the state attorney general, however, the request to sue Talmadge was rejected.[5]

As commissioner, Talmadge used the newspaper of his department to give advice to farmers and talk about his political views, extolling the virtues of a laissez-faire economic policy and individual action to improve the well-being of farmers.[5] During his time as agriculture commissioner, Talmadge also developed a reputation for being a corrupt, freewheeling individual who disregarded standard ethics and played by his own set of rules.[5] Nevertheless, he maintained widespread support among Georgia's rural community.[5] He was also an "admitted flogger and racial demagogue who presided over a Klan-ridden regime".[6]

[4] and again in 1930.[3] Talmadge was re-elected commissioner in 1928[2]

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