Talmadge, Eugene

Talmadge, Eugene,

1884–1946, governor of Georgia (1933–37, 1941–43), b. Forsyth, Ga. In his second term as governor (1935–37) of Georgia, his staff was forbidden by Harry Hopkins to disburse federal relief funds, and Talmadge became violently opposed to the New Deal. Twice defeated (1936, 1938) for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, he became governor again in 1940. His dismissal (1941) of several educators in the state university system who had advocated racial equality in the schools aroused much resentment, and in 1942 he lost the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Talmadge, however, had strong support among the rural counties and became governor-elect again in 1946. He died before taking office.

His son, Herman Eugene Talmadge, 1913–2002, b. McRae, Ga., practiced law for a time with his father. He won a special election for governor in 1948 and was reelected in 1950. After the 1954 Supreme Court decision on school desegration, he was a staunch opponent of integration. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1956 and was reelected three times. He was one of the members of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, which investigated (1973–74) the Watergate affairWatergate affair,
in U.S. history, series of scandals involving the administration of President Richard M. Nixon; more specifically, the burglarizing of the Democratic party national headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C.
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. In 1979 he was censured for mishandling both his office and campaign finances. Although the Justice Department (1980) chose not to prosecute him, he lost his 1980 bid for a fifth term.

Bibliography

See W. Anderson, The Wild Man from Sugar Creek (1975).

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Talmadge, Eugene

(1884–1946) governor; born in Forsyth, Ga. A Georgia farmer and lawyer, he entered state politics as Democratic commissioner of agriculture (1927–33). A states rights governor (Dem., 1933–37), he attacked individuals and agencies opposed to him, and, with Huey Long, he led Southern opposition to President Franklin Roosevelt, even mounting an abortive campaign to replace Roosevelt in 1936. He returned to farming, practicing law, and publishing his own weekly paper, the Statesman. Governor again (1941–43), he lost favor after demanding that the University of Georgia regents fire a pro-integration dean. He was reelected governor in 1946 but died before assuming office.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.