The three governors controversy was a political crisis in the U.S. state of Georgia in 1946-47. On December 21, 1946, Eugene Talmadge, the governor-elect of Georgia, died before taking office. The state constitution did not specify who would assume the governorship in such a situation, so three men made claims to the governorship: Ellis Arnall, the outgoing governor; Melvin E. Thompson, the lieutenant governor-elect; and Herman Talmadge, Eugene Talmadge's son. Eventually a ruling by the Supreme Court of Georgia settled the matter in favor of Thompson. Georgia's Secretary of State Ben Fortson hid the state seal in his wheelchair so no official business could be conducted until the controversy was settled.
There were three men who made claims to the governorship: Ellis Arnall, the outgoing governor, Melvin E. Thompson, the lieutenant governor-elect, and Herman Talmadge, Eugene Talmadge's son.
Arnall said that he should remain in office until his successor was properly sworn in. Thompson said that he should be sworn in as governor in Eugene Talmadge's place, upon his swearing-in as lieutenant governor. Eugene Talmadge's supporters had been unsure of his chances of surviving until he was sworn in, so they did some research into the state constitution and concluded that if he died, the Georgia General Assembly would choose between the second and third-place finishers. Talmadge ran unopposed, so they secretly arranged for some write-in votes for Eugene's son, Herman Talmadge, who had run his father's successful campaign for governor.
Thompson wanted the General Assembly to certify the election returns before addressing the issue of who should be governor. Once the certification was done, Thompson would have a stronger claim, as he would officially be the Lieutenant Governor-elect, but Talmadge's forces were successful in postponing the certification.On January 15, 1947, the General Assembly elected Herman Talmadge as governor.
Both Arnall and Thompson refused to accept the vote by the General Assembly. Thompson began legal proceedings, appealing to the Supreme Court of Georgia. Arnall physically refused to leave, so on January 15, 1947, both Talmadge and Arnall sat in the Georgia State Capitol claiming to be the governor.The next day, Talmadge took control of the governor's office and arranged to have the locks changed. Arnall soon relinquished his claim and supported Thompson's claim.
The state's highest court, the Supreme Court of Georgia, ruled in March 1947 that the legislature had violated the state constitution by electing Talmadge governor and that Thompson should serve as governor until the next general election in November 1948. The court directed that in November 1948 there would be a special election at which voters would choose someone to complete Eugene Talmadge's term.
Following the court's decision, Herman Talmadge ceded the office of governor to Thompson, ending the controversy. Talmadge then ran for governor in 1948, defeating Governor Thompson for the Democratic nomination with 51.8% of the votes to Thompson's 45.1%. Talmadge then went on to win the November special election with 97.51% of the vote.He served the final 26 months (November 1948 - January 1951) of the term for which his father had been elected, and was elected for a further full term in November of 1950.
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.
Herman Eugene Talmadge was a Democratic American politician who served as a U.S. Senator from Georgia from 1957 to 1981. A staunch segregationist and a controversial figure, he was censured by the Senate for financial irregularities, which were revealed during a bitter divorce from his second wife. He previously served as governor of the state from 1948 to 1955, taking over after the death of his father Eugene Talmadge, the governor-elect. Talmadge was well known for his opposition to civil rights, ordering schools to be closed rather than desegregated.
Eugene Talmadge was an American Democratic 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 and white supremacy, and for advocating for racism in the University System of Georgia.
Melvin Ernest Thompson was an American educator and politician from Millen in the U.S. state of Georgia. Generally known as M.E. Thompson during his political career, he served as the 70th Governor of Georgia from 1947 to 1948 and was elected as the first Lieutenant Governor of Georgia in 1946.
Ellis Gibbs Arnall was an American politician who served as the 69th Governor of Georgia from 1943 to 1947. A liberal Democrat, he helped lead efforts to abolish the poll tax and to reduce Georgia's voting age to 18. Following his departure from office, he became a highly successful attorney and businessman.
Howard Hollis "Bo" Callaway Sr. was an American politician and businessman from the state of Georgia. He worked with his family to develop what is now Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia and owned Crested Butte ski resort in Colorado.
Samuel Ernest Vandiver Jr. was an American politician who was the 73rd Governor of the U.S. state of Georgia from 1959 to 1963.
Samuel Marvin Griffin, Sr. was an American politician from the U.S. state of Georgia.
The Great Seal of the State of Georgia is a device that has historically been used to authenticate government documents executed by the state of Georgia. The first great seal of the state was specified in the State Constitution of 1777, and its current form was adopted in 1914. Its specifications are currently spelled out by statute.
The following table indicates the party of elected officials in the U.S. state of Georgia:
Garland Turk Byrd was United States Democratic politician from Georgia, who served as the fourth Lieutenant Governor of Georgia from 1959 to 1963.
The Moore’s Ford Lynchings, also known as the 1946 Georgia lynching, refers to the July 25, 1946, murders of four young African Americans by a mob of white males. Tradition says that the murders were committed on Moore's Ford Bridge in Walton and Oconee counties between Monroe and Watkinsville. in fact, the four victims, two married couples, were actually shot and killed on a nearby dirt road.
The 1966 Georgia gubernatorial election was held on November 8, 1966. After an election that exposed divisions within the Georgia Democratic Party, segregationist Democrat Lester Maddox was elected Governor of Georgia by the Georgia General Assembly. The voting also brought future President Jimmy Carter to statewide prominence for the first time.
The Cocking affair was an attempt in 1941 by Georgia governor Eugene Talmadge to exert direct control over the state's educational system, particularly through the firing of Professor Walter Cocking because of his support for racial integration, and the subsequent removal of members of the Georgia Board of Regents who disagreed with the decision. It has been made into an opera entitled A Scholar Under Siege.
Benjamin Wynn Fortson Jr. was a Secretary of State of Georgia. After being selected by Ellis Arnall, the governor in 1946, Fortson kept his title as secretary until 1979, making him the longest-running secretary in Georgia history.
The Association of Georgia Klans, also known as the Associated Klans of Georgia was a Klan faction organized by Dr. Samuel Green in 1944, and led by him until his death in 1949. At its height the organization had klaverns in each of Georgia's 159 counties, as well as klaverns in Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida. It also had connections with klaverns and kleagles in Ohio and Indiana. After Greens death, however, the organization foundered as it split into different factions, was hit with a tax lien and was beset by adverse publicity. It was moribund by the time of the Supreme Court's "Black Monday" ruling in 1954. A second Association of Georgia Klans was formed when Charles Maddox led dissatisfied members out of the U.S. Klans in 1960. This group appears to have folded into James Venable's National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan by 1965. There is also a current Klan group by that name.
The 1948 Georgia gubernatorial special election was held on November 2, 1948. The election was held as ordered by the Supreme Court of Georgia's decision in 1947 declaring Melvin E. Thompson governor in the wake of The Three Governors Controversy. Herman Talmadge, the son of the winner of the 1946 election, the late Eugene Talmadge, defeated Governor Thompson in the Democratic primary by a margin of 51.8% to 45.1% with three other candidates getting 3.1% of the vote and then proceeded to win the general election with 97.51% of the vote.
The 1948 United States presidential election in Georgia took place on November 2, 1948, as part of the wider United States Presidential election. Voters chose 12 representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
James Vinson Carmichael was member of the Georgia General Assembly, an attorney, business executive, and candidate for Governor of Georgia.