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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Herman Talmadge, December 18, 1975. Interview A-0331-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Assessing the Talmadge political legacy

Talmadge reflects on the political legacy of his father and himself in the state of Georgia. Together, Talmadge and his father dominated Georgia politics for more than fifty years. After briefly contrasting their political styles, Talmadge offers an example of the positive impact his administration had on Georgia industry.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Herman Talmadge, December 18, 1975. Interview A-0331-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACK NELSON:
Can you tell me . . . now you and your father together have sort of dominated Georgia politics for almost a half century.
HERMAN TALMADGE:
Just about that.
JACK NELSON:
What do you see as the Talmadge impact on the state and can you tell me something about the difference between your own style and the style of your father?
HERMAN TALMADGE:
My father was constantly involved in controversy. He would have two or three major rows and four or five minor rows going on all the time.
JACK NELSON:
Did he enjoy that?
HERMAN TALMADGE:
I think he did. My style is somewhat different from that. If I can avoid a row I do so. I don't back away from them but if you can flank a position rather than storm it, I prefer that.
JACK NELSON:
Your father would rather have stormed it?
HERMAN TALMADGE:
He would rather have stormed it, yes.
JACK NELSON:
What do you see as your own imprint?
HERMAN TALMADGE:
Well, my imprint I think, is primarily what I did as governor of Georgia and of course, I've made some contributions since I've been in the Senate, too. I think that most of the real progress that our state has made in recent years began with my administration as governor of the state. I'll give you just one illustration. Timber resources alone. When I took office as governor, most of the counties were burning the woods and driving through the state, you would have to stop during most of the winter and the spring months to let the smoke clear away so you could see the roads. In eighteen months, we adopted a forestry program that brought us from 46th position out of the 48 states to number one. Timber resources brings into Georgia now, including the end products, about three billion dollars a year. When I took office as governor, it was three hundred million dollars a year. That's an increase tenfold. Now, assuming that half of that is attributable to inflation, it is still a fivefold increase. Things like that. That's merely one example.