Ellis Arnall

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Ellis Arnall
Ellis Arnall.jpg
69th Governor of Georgia
In office
January 12, 1943 January 14, 1947
Preceded by Eugene Talmadge
Succeeded by Herman Talmadge
Attorney General of Georgia
In office
Preceded byM. J. Yeomans
Succeeded byGrady Head
Personal details
Ellis Gibbs Arnall

(1907-03-20)March 20, 1907
Newnan, Georgia, U.S.
DiedDecember 13, 1992(1992-12-13) (aged 85)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Resting placeOak Hill Cemetery in Newnan, Georgia
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s)Mildred Delany Slemons Arnall
Alma mater Mercer University
University of the South
University of Georgia School of Law
Profession Attorney

Ellis Gibbs Arnall (March 20, 1907 December 13, 1992) [1] was an American politician who served as the 69th Governor of Georgia from 1943 to 1947. [2] A liberal Democrat, he is considered one of Georgia's greatest governors for his efforts to modernize the state. [3] Following his departure from office, he became a highly successful attorney and businessman. [4]

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.

Georgia (U.S. state) State of the United States of America

Georgia is a state in the Southeastern United States. It began as a British colony in 1733, the last and southernmost of the original Thirteen Colonies to be established. Named after King George II of Great Britain, the Province of Georgia covered the area from South Carolina south to Spanish Florida and west to French Louisiana at the Mississippi River. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788. In 1802–1804, western Georgia was split to the Mississippi Territory, which later split to form Alabama with part of former West Florida in 1819. Georgia declared its secession from the Union on January 19, 1861, and was one of the original seven Confederate states. It was the last state to be restored to the Union, on July 15, 1870. Georgia is the 24th largest and the 8th most populous of the 50 United States. From 2007 to 2008, 14 of Georgia's counties ranked among the nation's 100 fastest-growing, second only to Texas. Georgia is known as the Peach State and the Empire State of the South. Atlanta, the state's capital and most populous city, has been named a global city. Atlanta's metropolitan area contains about 55% of the population of the entire state.



Born in Newnan, Georgia, he attended Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, then attended and graduated from the University of the South, and, subsequently, from the University of Georgia School of Law. [5] He was admitted to the practice of law in 1931. While attending Mercer University, Arnall was initiated into Kappa Alpha Order.

Newnan, Georgia City in Georgia, United States

Newnan is a city in Metro Atlanta and the county seat of Coweta County, Georgia, approximately 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Atlanta. The population was 33,039 at the 2010 census, up from 16,242 in 2000, for a growth rate of 103.4% over that decade.

Mercer University Private university in Macon, Georgia

Mercer University is a private university with its main campus in Macon, Georgia. Founded in 1833 as Mercer Institute and gaining university status in 1837, it is the oldest private university in Georgia and enrolls more than 8,600 students in 12 colleges and schools: liberal arts, business, engineering, education, music, continuing and professional studies, law, theology, medicine, pharmacy, nursing, and health professions. Mercer is a member of the Georgia Research Alliance and has a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest collegiate honors society.

Macon, Georgia Consolidated city–county in Georgia, United States

Macon, officially Macon–Bibb County, is a consolidated city-county located in the state of Georgia, United States. Macon lies near the geographic center of the state, approximately 85 miles (137 km) south of Atlanta, hence the city's nickname "The Heart of Georgia."

Early career

In 1932, Coweta County voters elected Arnall to the Georgia House of Representatives. Arnall was elected 'Speaker Pro Tempore', the second highest officer position in the Georgia House. Governor Eurith D. Rivers appointed Arnall, then thirty-one, to a vacancy in the office of state attorney general.

Coweta County, Georgia County in the United States

Coweta County is a county located in the west central portion of the U.S. state of Georgia. It is part of Metro Atlanta. As of the 2010 census, the population was 127,317. The county seat is Newnan.

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.

Eurith D. Rivers American politician

Eurith Dickinson Rivers, commonly known as E.D. Rivers and informally as "Ed" Rivers, was an American politician from Lanier County, Georgia. A Democrat, he was the 68th Governor of Georgia, serving from 1937 to 1941.

In 1935, he married the former Mildred Slemons, whom he met at a friend's wedding. The two were happily married until her death in 1980, and they often showed their physical affection in public. Although Mildred Arnall was not particularly fond of politics and stayed out of the political arena, she stood by her husband throughout his career and encouraged him to succeed at whatever he did. [6] the


Actions undertaken by Governor Eugene Talmadge had caused the state's colleges to lose accreditation. Arnall unseated Talmadge in the 1942 primary, 174,757 (57.7 percent) to 128,394 (42.4 percent). [7] Without Republican opposition, Arnall hence became the youngest governor then serving in the United States.

Eugene Talmadge American politician

Eugene Talmadge was an American Dixiecrat politician who served two terms as the 67th Governor of Georgia from 1933 to 1937, and a third term from 1941 to 1943. Elected to a fourth term in November 1946, he died before his inauguration, scheduled for January 1947. Only Talmadge and Joe Brown, in the mid-19th century, have been elected four times as Governor of Georgia. He is well known for actively promoting segregation, white supremacy, and advocating for racism in the Georgia university system.

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

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.

Arnall obtained the repeal of the poll tax, ratification in 1945 of a new state constitution, and a state employee merit system. He also retired the Georgia state debt. When young men were drafted into the armed forces during World War II, Arnall argued that youths old enough to fight in war should be able to vote for their country's leadership. He succeeded in lowering the voting age to eighteen more than two decades before the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution implemented that change nationally. Georgia thus became the first state to grant the franchise to 18-year-olds. Arnall also removed the prison system from under the governor's direct control, establishing a board of corrections to oversee state prisons and a pardon and parole board to handle such requests. He removed the University of Georgia from political machinations, [8] and he led efforts to prevent a governor from exercising dictatorial powers, as opponents of Governor Eugene Talmadge had allegedly stated, had occurred during that administration. Arnall's reforms won him attention from the national press. Additionally, Arnall, a proponent of civil rights, argued that African Americans should be able to vote in the state's primary election. [9]

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

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

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

Re-election attempt

His career declined as he was unable to persuade the legislature to allow him to seek re-election. Arnall stood behind Henry A. Wallace's efforts to remain Vice President in 1944, when the former United States Secretary of Agriculture was replaced by U.S. Senator Harry S. Truman of Missouri. Arnall adhered to the United States Supreme Court decision banning the all-white Democratic party primary in the case Smith v. Allwright and hence opened the crucial Democratic primary elections to African Americans. This move particularly enraged Talmadge and his supporters, who used the issue to brand Arnall a 'race-traitor'.

Eugene Talmadge was elected governor once again in 1946 over James V. Carmichael [10] (who was supported by Arnall) and another former governor, Eurith D. Rivers. However, he died a month before he was scheduled to take office in January 1947. The state legislature then elected Talmadge's son, Herman Talmadge, as governor. Arnall refused to resign the office during the controversy, and the younger Talmadge ended up locking Arnall out of his office in the state capitol. Arnall soon endorsed Melvin E. Thompson's unsuccessful claim to the office.

Later career

After leaving office, Arnall worked as an attorney and a businessman in Atlanta, founding Arnall Golden & Gregory (now Arnall Golden Gregory LLP), which continues to be one of Atlanta's leading law firms. For a time one of his law partners was later U.S. Representative Elliott Levitas. Arnall served in the Truman administration for a short time as Director of the Office of Price Stabilization. Truman offered Arnall the post of Solicitor General but he declined in order to return to private practice. His business career made a multimillionaire, and he was able to live comfortably for most of his life. [11]

1966 election

Arnall's last campaign was for governor was in 1966. His principal opponent for the nomination was Lester Maddox, an Atlanta businessman who had hoisted ax handles as a symbol of his opposition to desegregation. [12] Maddox shelled Arnall as "the granddaddy of forced racial integration ... a candidate who would never raise his voice or a finger - much less an ax handle - to protect the liberty of Georgia." [13] Arnall practically ignored Maddox and concentrated his fire on Republican Howard Callaway, on whom Arnall had compiled a dossier that he said would guarantee Republican defeat in the general election. Arnall won a plurality of the vote in the primary but was denied the required majority, because of support for future U.S. President Jimmy Carter, then an obscure state senator from Plains, Georgia. Arnall barely campaigned in the runoff, and the result was a surprising victory for Maddox. After his own elimination, Carter refused to endorse Arnall, but he formally supported Maddox in the general election against Callaway. [14]

Maddox defeated Arnall in the runoff, 443,055 to 373,004. The civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., denounced what he called "a corroding cancer in the Georgia body politic. Georgia is a sick state produced by the diseases of a sick nation. This election revealed that Georgia is desperately competing with Mississippi for the bottom." [15] Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr., of Atlanta, who once worked for Arnall's law firm, blamed Arnall's loss on the "combined forces of ignorance, prejudice, reactionism, and the duplicity of many Republican voters," many of whom are believed to have voted for Maddox in the Democratic runoff on the theory that Maddox would be a weaker opponent for Callaway than Arnall would have been. [15]

Stunned Arnall backers announced a write-in candidacy for the general election, a move that impacted Callaway more than it did Maddox. In the general election, Callaway finished in the tabulation with a slight plurality over Maddox. Arnall received more than 52,000 write-in ballots and led the field in one county, Liberty County in the southeastern portion of the state. Under the election rules then in effect, the state legislature was required to select a governor from the two candidates with the highest number of votes. With the legislature overwhelmingly dominated by Democrats and despite court challenges, Maddox became governor early in 1967. [16]

Death and legacy

After the 1966 campaign, Arnall never again sought public office. Harold Paulk Henderson published the 1991 biography, The Politics of Change in Georgia: A Political Biography of Ellis Arnall.

Arnall wrote the 1946 book, The Shore Dimly Seen (J. B. Lippincott & Co.), about politics and challenges of the South.

Arnall was an active Civitan. [17]

He died in 1992 on his large estate. [18] He was worth tens of millions of dollars at the time of his death. [19]

Arnall is interred at the Oak Hill Cemetery in his native Newnan.

Arnall Middle School in Newnan is named after him.

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  1. "Arnall, Ellis Gibbs". Who Was Who in America (1993-1996). New Providence, N.J.: Marquis Who's Who. 1996. p. 9. ISBN   0837902258.
  2. "Ellis Arnall (1907-1992)". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  3. "How governor Ellis Arnall modernized Georgia — a case study in leadership - SaportaReport". SaportaReport. 2015-01-26. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  4. Henderson, Harold P. (1991). The Politics of Change in Georgia: A Political Biography of Ellis Arnall. University of Georgia Press. ISBN   9780820313061.
  5. "Ellis Arnall (1907-1992) | New Georgia Encyclopedia". Georgiaencyclopedia.org. 2015-01-15. Retrieved 2015-06-21.
  6. Henderson, Harold P. (1991). The Politics of Change in Georgia: A Political Biography of Ellis Arnall. University of Georgia Press. ISBN   9780820313061.
  7. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections, p. 1677
  8. Billy Hathorn, "The Frustration of Opportunity: Georgia Republicans and the Election of 1966", Atlanta History: A Journal of Georgia and the South , Vol. XXXI (Winter 1987-1988), p. 38
  9. Henderson, Harold P. (1991). The Politics of Change in Georgia: A Political Biography of Ellis Arnall. University of Georgia Press. ISBN   9780820313061.
  10. "Georgia's Three Governors Controversy". www.ourgeorgiahistory.com. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  11. Henderson, Harold P. (1991). The Politics of Change in Georgia: A Political Biography of Ellis Arnall. University of Georgia Press. ISBN   9780820313061.
  12. Bullock, Charles S.; Hood, M. V. (2015). "The Damnedest Mess: An Empirical Evaluation of the 1966 Georgia Gubernatorial Election". Social Science Quarterly. 96 (1): 105. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  13. Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, September 30, 1966, p. 2316
  14. Atlanta History, p. 39
  15. 1 2 Atlanta History, p. 40
  16. Atlanta History, pp. 46-47
  17. Leonhart, James Chancellor (1962). The Fabulous Octogenarian. Baltimore Maryland: Redwood House, Inc. p. 277.
  18. Henderson, Harold P. (1991). The Politics of Change in Georgia: A Political Biography of Ellis Arnall. University of Georgia Press. ISBN   9780820313061.
  19. "Governor Ellis Arnall". Don McClellan's half-a-century with WSB Television. 2009-11-28. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
Legal offices
Preceded by
M. J. Yeomans
Attorney General of Georgia
Succeeded by
Grady Head
Political offices
Preceded by
Eugene Talmadge
Governor of Georgia
Succeeded by
Herman Talmadge