The son of sharecroppers in Webster County became one of the longest serving U.S. senators in Georgia history.
Walter F. George graduated from Mercer Law School and won election to the U.S. Senate in 1922. He supported early New Deal programs but broke with President Franklin D. Roosevelt over his attempt to pack the Supreme Court with judges more favorable to his policies. But as chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, George strongly supported FDR’s leadership during World War II and threw his weight behind U.S. involvement in the United Nations.
During the Cold War, George became a close bipartisan advisor to Republican President Dwight Eisenhower. Despite his 35 years in the Senate, George couldn’t withstand a 1956 challenge to his seat from former Georgia Governor Herman Talmadge and his political machine, and he decided not to run for re-election. He died in 1957.
Lake Walter F. George and the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer both honor the Georgia statesman born on January 29, 1878, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.