Carl Sanders

Last updated

Carl Sanders
Carl Sanders.jpg
74th Governor of Georgia
In office
January 15, 1963 January 11, 1967
Lieutenant Peter Geer
Preceded by Ernest Vandiver
Succeeded by Lester Maddox
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
In office
Member of the Georgia Senate
In office
Personal details
Carl Edward Sanders

(1925-05-15)May 15, 1925
Augusta, Georgia
DiedNovember 16, 2014(2014-11-16) (aged 89)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Resting place Westover Memorial Park, Augusta, Georgia
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Betty Bird Foy
Alma mater University of Georgia
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United States (1912-1959).svg United States
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service1943–1945
Unit U.S. Army Air Corps
Battles/wars World War II

Carl Edward Sanders Sr. (May 15, 1925 – November 16, 2014) was an American attorney and politician who served as the 74th Governor of the state of Georgia from 1963 to 1967.

Georgia (U.S. state) U.S. state in the United States

Georgia is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Georgia is the 24th largest in area and 8th-most populous of the 50 United States. Georgia is bordered to the north by Tennessee and North Carolina, to the northeast by South Carolina, to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by Florida, and to the west by Alabama. The state's nicknames include the Peach State and the Empire State of the South. Atlanta, a "beta(+)" global city, is both the state's capital and largest city. The Atlanta metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 5,949,951 in 2018, is the 9th most populous metropolitan area in the United States and contains about 60% of the entire state population.


Early life and education

Sanders was born in Augusta in Richmond County in eastern Georgia, and attended the University of Georgia at Athens on a football scholarship. A backup, left-handed quarterback, Sanders received little playing time, which prompted coach Wally Butts to recount years later, "Carl, if I had known you were going to be governor, I'd have played you more."[ citation needed ] He was a member of the Chi Phi fraternity, Order of the Greek Horsemen, Gridiron Secret Society and the Phi Kappa Literary Society. He left to fight in World War II, enlisting in the United States Army Air Corps in 1943 and became a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber pilot. After the war, he returned to complete his bachelor's and law degrees at the University of Georgia.

Augusta, Georgia Consolidated city-county in Georgia, United States

Augusta, officially Augusta–Richmond County, is a consolidated city-county on the central eastern border of the U.S. state of Georgia. The city lies across the Savannah River from South Carolina at the head of its navigable portion. Georgia's second-largest city after Atlanta, Augusta is located in the Piedmont section of the state.

Richmond County, Georgia U.S. county in Georgia, United States

Richmond County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 200,549. It is one of the original counties of Georgia, created February 5, 1777.

University of Georgia Public university located in Athens, Georgia, United States

The University of Georgia, colloquially known as UGA or Georgia, is a public research university with its main campus in Athens, Georgia. Founded in 1785, it is one of the oldest public universities in the United States.


In 1954, Sanders won a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives. In 1956, he was elected to the Georgia Senate and served two years as president pro tempore of the chamber.

Georgia House of Representatives

The Georgia House of Representatives is the lower house of the Georgia General Assembly of the U.S. state of Georgia. There are currently 180 elected members.

Pro tempore, abbreviated pro tem or p.t., is a Latin phrase which best translates to "for the time being" in English. This phrase is often used to describe a person who acts as a locum tenens (placeholder) in the absence of a superior, such as the President pro tempore of the United States Senate, who acts in place of the President of the United States Senate, the Vice President of the United States.

In the 1962 Democratic gubernatorial primary, Sanders defeated former Governor Marvin Griffin. Sanders received 494,978 votes (58.7 percent) to Griffin's 332,746 (39 percent). [1] Thereafter, Griffin largely retired from politics. Sanders was the first Georgia governor from an urban area since the 1920s. He was the first modern Georgia governor nominated in the Democratic primary by the popular vote after the abolition of the County Unit System, a kind of electoral college formerly used to elect Georgia governors. When Mr. Sanders became governor in 1963 - age 37, he was the youngest in the nation at the time. [2]

Marvin Griffin American politician

Samuel Marvin Griffin, Sr. was an American politician from the U.S. state of Georgia.

Democratic Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its rival, the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

Electoral college Set of electors who are selected to elect a candidate to a particular office

An electoral college is a set of electors who are selected to elect a candidate to a particular office. Often these represent different organizations, political parties, or entities, with each organization, political party or entity represented by a particular number of electors or with votes weighted in a particular way.

As governor, Sanders worked to improve education and the environment and led the transition toward racial desegregation, cooperating with U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson on complying with civil rights laws.

John F. Kennedy 35th president of the United States

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, often referred to by initials JFK and Jack, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. Kennedy served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his work as president dealt with managing relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba. A Democrat, Kennedy represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate prior to becoming president.

Lyndon B. Johnson 36th president of the United States

Lyndon Baines Johnson, often referred to as LBJ, was an American politician who served as the 36th president of the United States from 1963 to 1969. Formerly the 37th vice president from 1961 to 1963, he assumed the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A Democrat from Texas, Johnson also served as a United States Representative and as the Majority Leader in the United States Senate. Johnson is one of only four people who have served in all four federal elected positions.

Under the term limit law then in effect, Sanders was ineligible to run for re-election in 1966. In the general election campaign that year, he endorsed Democratic nominee Lester Maddox, a segregationist, as his successor though the two had disagreed on many issues. At the Democratic State Convention in Macon on October 15, 1966, Sanders told the delegates: "A man should be loyal to his country, his family, to his God and to his political party -- and don't you ever forget it." [3]

A term limit is a legal restriction that limits the number of terms an officeholder may serve in a particular elected office. When term limits are found in presidential and semi-presidential systems they act as a method of curbing the potential for monopoly, where a leader effectively becomes "president for life". This is intended to protect a democracy from becoming a de facto dictatorship. Sometimes, there is an absolute or lifetime limit on the number of terms an officeholder may serve; sometimes, the restrictions are merely on the number of consecutive terms he or she may serve.

During general election all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation's primary legislative body, as distinguished from by-elections and local elections.

Lester Maddox Georgia politician

Lester Garfield Maddox Sr. was an American politician who served as the 75th Governor of the U.S. state of Georgia from 1967 to 1971. A populist Democrat, Maddox came to prominence as a staunch segregationist when he refused to serve black customers in his Atlanta restaurant, in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He later served as Lieutenant Governor during the period when Jimmy Carter was Governor.

In his speech, Sanders likened Maddox's Republican opponent, U.S. Representative Howard Callaway, to the "arrogance of Richard Nixon, the chameleon ability of Ronald Reagan to switch rather than fight, and the callous concern for human needs that is a throwback to McKinley, Harding, and Coolidge." [4] The Marietta Daily Journal said that Sanders in supporting Maddox had glorified party at the expense of statecraft. [5] Callaway criticized Sanders for mishandling the state budget surplus, a position which weakened the Republican among anti-Maddox moderate voters. [6] Callaway led Maddox in the popular vote but failed to win a majority, and the Democratic-controlled Georgia General Assembly chose Maddox as governor.

Sanders left office at the peak of his popularity and turned down several offers for federal government positions from President Johnson. Instead he returned to mount an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 1970 against future U.S. President Jimmy Carter. According to Atlanta Constitution political reporter Bill Shipp, Carter employed race-baiting tactics to defeat Sanders in the Democratic primary. [7] [8] [9] Fifty-three newspapers throughout the state endorsed Sanders and only one major daily (the Columbus Enquirer) backed Carter. [10] Carter's campaign criticized Sanders for paying tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and distributed grainy photographs of Sanders arm-in-arm with two black men. At the time, Sanders was part-owner of the Atlanta Hawks, and the two black men were Hawks players celebrating after a victory. [11] Carter won both the gubernatorial primary and the general election (Maddox, ineligible to run for re-election as governor in 1970, successfully ran for lieutenant governor that year).

Later life and death

After the loss in the primary to Carter, Sanders left electoral politics to concentrate on the practice of law. He served as chairman of the law firm of Troutman Sanders LLP for thirty years, and in 2007 became the firm's chairman emeritus. He died in Atlanta on November 16, 2014 at the age of 89, after a fall at his home. [12] [13]

In recognition of his role in encouraging the construction and expansion of airports in Georgia, he was inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame in 1997. [14]

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  1. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections, p. 1677
  2. Yardley, William (November 18, 2014). "Carl Sanders, 89, Dies; Led Georgia in '60s" via
  3. Billy Hathorn, "The Frustration of Opportunity: Georgia Republicans and the Election of 1966", Atlanta History: A Journal of Georgia and the South , XXXI (1987-1988), p. 42
  4. Atlanta History, p. 42
  5. Marietta Daily Journal , October 4, 1966
  6. Atlanta History, p. 42
  7. Torpy, Bill (November 19, 2014). "The political grudge Carl Sanders takes to his grave". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  8. Sanders, Randy (1992). ""The Sad Duty of Politics": Jimmy Carter and the Issue of Race in His 1970 Gubernatorial Campaign". The Georgia Historical Quarterly. 76 (3): 612–638. ISSN   0016-8297. JSTOR   40582593.
  9. Sanders, Randy (2007). Mighty Peculiar Elections: The New South Gubernatorial Campaigns of 1970 and the Changing Politics of Race. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. ISBN   9780807132906. OCLC   153582828.
  11. David Freddoso, "Jimmy Carter's racist campaign of 1970" Washington Examiner, September 16, 2009
  12. "|". Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  13. Yardley, William (November 18, 2014). "Carl Sanders, 89, Dies; Led Georgia in '60s" via
  14. "Carl E. Sanders". Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on June 2, 2017. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ernest Vandiver
Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia
1962, 1966
Succeeded by
Lester Maddox
Political offices
Preceded by
Ernest Vandiver
Governor of Georgia
Succeeded by
Lester Maddox