Eugene Talmadge was born in Forsyth, Georgia, on Sept. 23, 1884. After he graduated from the University of Georgia in 1907, Talmadge practiced law in Atlanta before moving to Montgomery County.
A member of the Democratic Party, he successfully ran for the office of Commissioner of Agriculture in 1926. Six years later he was elected governor of Georgia. Talmadge's main support came from white farmers and his right wing views earned him the name, the "Wild Man from Sugar Creek".
Once in power Talmadge dramatically cut budgets resulting in massive reductions in state services. He also helped local businessmen in their opposition to trade unions.
Talmadge was an outspoken opponent of President Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal policies that he described as a combination of wet nursing, frenzied finance, downright Communism and plain dam foolishness." He also controversially claimed that the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) were "bums and loafers." He also disliked what he considered to be Roosevelt's pro trade union legislation such as the National Labour Relations Act . When a textile strike broke out in 1934, Talmadge declared martial law and sent troops to deal with strikers.
Talmadge was also opposed to black civil rights and in 1941 attempted to fire two University System administrators, allegedly for advocating integrated public schools. When the Board of Regents refused, Talmadge dismissed all of them and replaced them with people amenable to his will. This led to ten Georgia public colleges and universities losing their accreditation.
Talmadge was elected as governor of Georgia in 1932, 1934, 1940 and again in 1946. However, he was in poor health and died before he could take office. He was now replaced by his son, Herman Talmadge, as governor of Georgia.